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.
This post contains some Amazon affiliate links in which I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases through these links, at no extra cost to you. Thank-you for helping to support my blog!
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…
Check out many of our travel trailer adventures HERE!
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!
View many Workmates on Amazon HERE
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?
Check out all my Amazon store favs in one spot!
Winterizing accessories for your RV
Other related posts you may enjoy:
BEST TIPS on camping with a travel trailer
Includes: best supplies to get / how to backup a trailer easily / easy septic tank setup and more!
How to winterize a travel trailer by blowing out the lines
Visit all my travel trailer posts HERE
119 thoughts on “Easy camper door replacement fix that cost $1.67!”
more proof that we dont know what we can do, till we try~!
I just had this experience last week when I built my own door sidelights.. so I understand your elation..
applause applause- well done, indeed.~!
Hit the road, Jack! Don’t forget the sunscreen….have a great time you-3! Enjoy your vacation….and if you make it to FL, you can plug-in for free (we are 30 min. from Mickey). We have a pool and we’d love to have you. The pitcher of sweet tea is ready.
Great story… I love your humor.
Just bought an older camper, loved the door repair story!
Im so proud of you, and I don’t even know you! As a fellow single woman vintage trailer owner and days-from-being a first time homeowner, your post is pure inspiration and encouragement. Thanks for the lift and brava!
I’ve never done anything that ambitious❤
Way to go! I am so proud of you! I can believe you did this – you use big girl tools all the time! My hubby won’t let me use the ‘real’ tools so I have never learned to do all you do. As a result I have to wait for him to do the stuff I want done.
And you are so blessed to have that sweet couple to help you out! God bless you all!
I had a husband like that Jill. He now sees the error of his ways. LOL I suggest you ask your husband to guide you with something simple to start with because you’d like to learn, not to take his job away. It’s incredibly rewarding in every way!
I love reading your stuff because you’re so real! This was such a great message – we tend to shut down at repairs like this, when a guy typically just goes at it. No reason we can’t do the same – just need the right mind set! I love that encouragement, that anything can be fixed and to start step-by-step unbuilding it ’til you get to what needs to be repaired. Perfect! Good for you – and thanks for the reminder that girls CAN do it! 🙂
Great story! There’s definitely a moral to this story that we all choose to follow sometimes or get mad and never return. And what great $AVINGS!
Hooray! Well done and great friends Kathy and Otto are!!
So where are you off to?
Great post! You always inject just the right amount of humor while reminding us girls that we can tackle anything. I work in accounting & a good friend told me once that there is “no mistake that cant be fixed” I’ve always remembered that throughout my 35 year career & its come in handy more than once. So i loved your friend telling you “anything can be fixed!!” and i especially liked your “work backwards to a build” statement. SO TRUE!! When you break it down in increments, the task doesnt get so overwhelming! Love your post -you are one of my favorites & are encouraging to all of us girls that we can do these things! Keep up the good work & enjoy your camping!!!
Good Job! I would have cried first, and maybe during, if I’d had the guts to go for it. Enjoy your camping trip!
I may or may not have added a few frustrating tears to that tantrum… 🙂
You did a great job Donna. And you watched and learned. YOU GO GIRL!!!
Wow! I am so impressed with that! You always inspire me to try something that is just out of my comfort zone. Btw my potting bench has been very useful this gardening season, but I need to put longer screws in as some of the pieces are not secure. Thanks for the great story!
Good going Paulette! Yes, longer screws are the answer. I learned that one through trial and error too! I love to hear that you’re building AND learning what did or didn’t work!
Everyone could use those words of encouragement. Sometimes as you said, we find things needing repair and are completely overwhelmed. I’m going to swipe the WorkMate Mom has at her place!
Girl Power! I need to try to be more capable myself, but usually rely on my husband when it comes to fixing things. Only when a must-do-now situation comes up and he’s not around do I really find out what I can do, and it’s really satisfying!
Hurray for you!! You continue to inspire me to tackle things that I wasn’t sure I could handle…keep it up!
Personally, I love this post! Real. Inspiring. Successful. Yay!
Very inspirational… now to find myself an Otto and Kathy!
You’re my hero! I love it when things look impossible and then get accomplished!! Yay!
I just did the exact same thing with my camper!! I love that ‘we can fix it’ attitude. I guess my dad instilled that in me. Isn’t it rewarding to be able to do it yourself?!