Find out how I did a camper door replacement fix for $1.67 instead of getting a new one! Easy fix that just takes a little bit of your time.
A travel trailer door replacement was not exactly on my agenda. Not really sure when the rv entry door deterioration transpired, but one evening I went to go put something in the trailer and the old door wouldn’t shut.
Bending down to take a closer look, it appeared part of the wood frame had broken away from the hinges. Oh no… only when we want to plan a camping trip of course!
A quote for a new door was so high…
So I got on the phone to price out a new rv replacement door. Quoted at $750 for a new door and a few weeks delay before a next rv vacation, I wasn’t a happy camper! (sorry, had to)
However one trailer salesman 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 where it’s latched on. A chunk of wood is rotten.”
Then he told me to just fix it myself.
His reply? “Fix it yourself.”
And that’s when I hit a wall. Me?! A camper door replacement? My thoughts ran, “I’m gonna sell this thing!” “The replacement parts or repair kits will be costly!” “I won’t have the right tools!”
Ever notice how expensive having an extensive amount of rv parts costs?
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.
The I decided to take a closer look at the door one more time. Hmmm… it didn’t look all that difficult to figure out. What did I have to lose?
And I’m so glad I did. Because not only did I manage to fix the camper door, it cost me a whoppin’ $1.67 and we got off to our camping trip as planned!
Here’s how I did this camper door replacement fix for next to nothing.
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RV door replacement that cost $1.67!
1. Assess the issue.
When I swung the travel trailer door open, a small chunk of wood fell right out of the frame. Not good. And then the words of my friend Dan taunted me.
“Anything is fixable. Anything.”
I first felt resistance. I don’t know how to fix rv doors.
So I coaxed myself… “Break it down…break it down. Step one… unscrew the thing. Work backwards to a build. Take it apart.”
Oh, and right here is where I’d suggest to start taking pictures before removing any bolts or screws. Photos come in handy for reference when you assemble the door again.
2. Remove the door
Deep breath… 3 screws per latch. “Do it. You have nothing to lose and you might save $750. Do it!”
So I did.
Grabbing a cordless drill, the door rv hinges were unscrewed in just a few moments.
And the travel trailer door came off, just like that. Huh! Camper door replacement, coming right up!
The peanut gallery (cats inside the trailer) were in an uproar. “Bravo! Bravo!!!!!”
Yes. My cats come camping 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…
3. Repair the frame
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!
So after a quick measure, I ran to the nearest hardware store, hoping they sold wood planks in this very size.
They did. Which I found for a whole $1.67. No fancy exterior door parts would be required this round!
4. Replace the wood strip
The wood simply fell into place and was almost a perfect fit!
My goodness. I think this new rv door fix stage is when I started to laugh and feel all amazing and genius-like. Invincible even! This was going to happen!
But… the wood needed some shaping. It was a tiny bit larger than the travel door opening.
So I tried to sand it down with an orbital sander, but it wasn’t heavy duty enough.
Then I borrowed neighbour Otto’s belt sander. No again.
But here’s what did work…
Clamp the wood down with a Workmate
Before I move on with the camper door replacement fix, 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 woodworking table that is meant for clamping stuff down while you work on it. The table is very intuitive and hugs wood in all the right places.
Some newer workmakes are made with metal tops, but this one is an old school with a real wood top. I LOVE it. If you don’t have one of these, I recommend getting one.
And that’s when Otto came back with the tool that DID work!
Shaping the wood with a wood planer
A wood planer was the ticket. This thing is on my shopping list!
A wood planer shaves down wood with each swipe, which is much quicker and an easier way to shape wood than sanding.
And it’s mobile too, making it a great tool for travel trailer door repairs.
Check out lots of wood planers on Amazon HERE
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 of 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.
Travel Trailer Door Repair Steps:
- Assess the damage
- Unscrew the door
- Remove the rotted wood
- Shape the new wood
- Insert the wood in the door edge
- Reinstall the door moulding over the wood piece
- Caulk for waterproofing
5. Reinstalling the travel trailer door
“Well, since you ARE here Otto… wouldja mind holding the 20000 ton door up so I can attach it again?”
So the door hinges were attached to the trailer once again. Having another to help hold the door made this easy.
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!
The fixed door!
The travel trailer door is fixed and road worthy! And know what? The door works better than it did before it needed fixing. No more slamming, nor frustrating rv locks issues… just a nice quiet *click.* Wow.
Should we even tell door manufacturers this secret?
I DID IT!
And 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!
Everything is fixable
I remember a similar conversation with that same friend. 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.
How to fix anything
- Look for screws. Most everything built has them. Then start unscrewing.
- Take pictures of something you are taking apart first so you remember how they fit back together again.
- Ask for help or guidance if needed.
- Borrow or buy tools that do the job.
- Watch YouTube for advice.
- Or read a blog post like this one to help guide you!
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! Even a camper door replacement. All you need to do is give it a try.
Have you fixed anything on your trailer you thought was impossible?
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