A travel trailer door repair was not exactly on my agenda. Not really sure when the deterioration transpired, but one evening I went to go put something in the trailer and the door wouldn’t shut.
I bent down to take a closer look and it appeared the frame had broken away from the hinges. Oh no… only when we want to plan a camping trip of course!
So I got on the phone to price new doors. At $750 and a few weeks wait, I wasn’t a happy camper! (sorry, had to) But one sales guy didn’t try to sell me a door. He quite simply asked what exactly was WRONG with the door.
I had to think for a moment. “It’s coming apart from where it’s latched on. A chunk of wood is rotten.”
He told me to just fix it.
Me. Me? Ha! Seriously… whatever!
And that’s when I hit tantrum mode. “I’m gonna sell this thing! I don’t wanna do this anyway. It’s too stressful to tow, too much work, blah blah…”
I always get this way when something goes wrong with the unit. It’s aging and every year brings a new bill to the table it seems. That’s just the way old stuff works.
While in pouting mode, I decided to take a look at the door one more time.
A small chunk of wood fell right out of the frame. Not good. And then the words of my friend Dan haunted me…
“Anything is fixable. Anything.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t know how to fix a trailer door…” I mumbled to myself.
So I coaxed myself… “Break it down…break it down. Step one… unscrew the thing. Work backwards to a build. Take it apart.”
Deep breath… 3 screws per latch. “Do it. You have nothing to lose and you might save $750. Do it!”
So I did.
I proceeded to kill my trailer.
The peanut gallery was in an uproar. “Bravo! Bravo!!!!!”
Yes. My cats come with me wherever I go. We are joined at the hip us 3. And they love the trailer. Cats loving a trailer. Well I’ll be…
And this is what I found. A simple chunk of wood rotted in the door frame. And it just needed replacing. Everything else was perfectly fine!
“Go get a piece of wood the size of the one you just removed. EASY. The hardware store is still open. GO.”
Crossing my fingers such a size existed (because I’m not in love with my table saw YET), I found a piece that was the perfect size. Seriously?! $1.67. That was ONE DOLLAR SIXY SEVEN CENTS.
My goodness. I think this is when I started to laugh and feel all amazing and genius like. Invincible even! This was going to happen!
Before I move on, this is worth a BIG mention. I should have taken a picture of the entire thing, but that wood is clamped into a Workmate I landed at a thrift store for $10. A Workmate is a collapsible mini table that is meant for clamping stuff down with. It is AMAZING. The new ones are made from metal but this one is an old school one with a real wood top. I LOVE it. If you don’t have one of these, I recommend getting one.
p.s. I didn’t like my newer one so I gave it away. The old one worked better. So just try them first!
Anyway, I was workin’ up a sweat with that belt sander when Otto came back with tool #2.
A wood planer was the ticket. This thing is on my shopping list!
A wood planer shaves down the wood with each swipe, which is much quicker than sanding.
This is where the work went fast so I didn’t take pictures (I needed my hands). The wood was slightly shaved down so the outer moulding could fit on top if it easier.
I didn’t use any caulking but I think it could use some so the wood doesn’t rot again. That’s on the list too.
“Well, since you ARE here Otto… wouldja mind holding the 20000 ton door up so I can connect it?”
Nevermind. Kathy did a better job! Ok, truth be told, these two are a great team. Kathy also found every single screw I dropped and guided us on doing things better. Everyone needs an Otto and Kathy for a little added support. ADORE these two!
This beast (needing a makeover I might add) is fixed and road worthy! And know what? The door works better than it did before it needed fixing. No more slamming, just a nice quiet *click.* Wow.
I DID IT!
I realize this post wasn’t pretty. And probably not even pin worthy. (unless you also need to fix a travel trailer door I guess!)
THIS is what this post is all about. The feeling that’s left when you went after something you thought you couldn’t do. And it worked! Ok, and because you saved a ton of money does not hurt!
I remember a similar conversation with that same friend. I found being a homeowner on my own absolutely daunting at the time. I didn’t know how to fix anything and here I was buying my own place. But even then he said…
“Everything is fixable.”
So here’s my advice when you come across something you aren’t sure you can fix. It truly is all about mechanics. Things come apart. Take pictures of something you are taking apart first so you remember how they fit back together again. The task as a whole may seem daunting, but if you just take your time and think about what you’re doing, it’s true.
Everything IS fixable!
Next up… let’s go camping!