compartment doors

Troubleshooting and Repairing: Storage Compartment Door Edition

Hitting the open road in your beloved RV is an unparalleled experience. All seasoned RVers know that that RV parts can break on occasion. Sometimes, broken items become can be forgotten about, especially if they are used infrequently or still technically work, despite being damaged. If any of your storage compartment doors (also often known as baggage doors, cargo doors, bay doors, access doors, basement doors, or any other combination of these names) are experiencing problems with staying closed, locking, or staying open, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into how to troubleshoot potential issues with your compartment doors and replace any broken parts. 

Credit: Motorhome.com

Latches

Compartment door latches refer to the pieces that connect and keep the compartment doors closed. Below, you can find tips for troubleshooting these potential issues and repairing them.

Troubleshooting

If your RV compartment doors won’t stay closed after shutting them, you may have some faulty latches. Compartment door latches are prone to breaking when they are roughly slammed shut, especially during the cold months. Most compartment doors are secured by pop-out latches that are triggered by the opening and closing of the handle. Typically there is a latch on both sides of the compartment door to hold it in place.

If the latches are broken or malfunctioning, it can create a huge safety hazard while driving. Imagine your compartment door flying open, potentially hitting another car, and spilling its contents onto the highway. Securely close your compartment door. Push hard on both sides until you hear your latch click to ensure contact is made. Give your compartment door a gentle tug on the bottom to check your latch functionality. If your compartment door opens or wiggles on one side, it’s time to replace some latches. 

Repairs

Thoroughly check your compartment doors to see what type of latches they require. Googling your RV’s year, make, and model can produce inconsistent results because the latches used can sometimes vary greatly. It’s best to check your rig’s manual to find the exact type of latch for the replacement.

Sometimes a special screwdriver can be required to remove the existing latches. Test the mechanism to see if the latch itself or the strike plate hole is the issue. In some cases, it may not be necessary to replace both parts of the latch if only one is broken. However, you will still need to buy an entirely new latch if yours is broken.

Order your new latch sets and replace them by installing the new latch where the existing one was. Typically the same holes can be utilized. There may be spring-loaded wire assemblies that need to be attached onto the latch. Be sure to order extra latches in case they’re needed in the future. In addition, read all directions before beginning this repair and test to ensure that the latches are working correctly once the repairs have been completed.

New compartment door latch sets typically look like this.

Locks

Troubleshooting

The ability to lock your outdoor storage compartments not only prevents your items from being stolen, but also adds a layer of protection in keeping the doors from accidentally opening while in transit. However, if your locks are no longer working, this can be a big problem. Troubleshooting is simple. Securely shut your compartment door and lock it. Then attempt to lift the handle to open it. If it opens, the lock is faulty and will need to be replaced. It’s a best practice to replace all of your locks at once so you’ll only need to carry around one key to open them. Be careful though, as some compartment doors may have different locks than other compartment doors. Be sure to inspect all of them before placing an order. 

Credit: RVShare

Repairs

In some cases, replacing the lock may mean replacing the entire handle of your compartment door. In other cases, it’s as simple as removing the old round lock and replacing it with a new one. If your lock is not installed into your handle, installation should be easy. 

It may be necessary to remove your old lock first before ordering a replacement. The following instructions apply to most RV compartment door locks. Start by opening your compartment door. Use a screwdriver to remove the cam or locking arm. Use pliers to remove the large lock retention nut, and then pop off the old lock. Take some measurements of your lock and compare it to online results to find the one that will fit your RV door. Most outdoor circular locks on an RV are referred to as “751 locks” due to the imprint on the keys. Use the same instructions for removing your lock to install the new one. 

Once you have ordered and received your new locks, you can move forward with replacing them. As always, be sure to read all instructions before beginning this repair, and test that the locks are now working correctly once the repairs have been completed.

Pistons, Props, or Lift Struts

Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting a tired liftgate is easy. Will your door stay open on its own? Can the door support its own weight while in the air? Does it slowly lower or ever hit you in the head? If your door fails any of these tests, it may be time for some new liftgates. Stop using that old pool noodle to prop open your doors, and let’s replace your liftgates to allow the doors to stay open on their own. 

Repairs

This is, surprisingly, the easiest repair on our list today. However, most RVers tend to put off this small task for fear of an overly complicated repair process. Begin by securely propping open the compartment door, or have someone hold it open for you. Next locate the tabs at the top and bottom of the liftgate that you plan to replace. The top and bottom of each prop have a tiny band or tab that are flush with the arm. Once you find the tab, use a flathead screwdriver to carefully pry it open. Then use the screwdriver as leverage to remove the tab entirely. Before purchasing new liftgates, be sure to measure the length when fully extended and double check which weight rating your pay doors require. When the new liftgates arrive, simply install them in the existing space, and enjoy your hassle-free storage compartment doors!

Troubleshooting and fixing small things on your compartment doors can make a big difference when traveling. After all, safety and security should be top priorities when hitting the road to your next Harvest Hosts location. We hope our little how-tos have helped you check a few items off of your to-do list. 

Credit: RVShare

What repairs have you been putting off? Have you replaced any of the items on our list today? Tell us your stories in the comments below!

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