Friday, November 3, 2017

Attention to the Door

The door was removed from the body so that several issues could be addressed:
First, the door handle was badly pitted and worn and needed to be replaced.  Second, the hinges needed to be reworked for better alignment.  Third, the door needed some metal work and cleaning that could be done easier while lying on a table setting.

When the door handle was removed, I discovered that there were broken parts inside.  
Replacement parts are not easily obtained. 

This view shows the multiple holes in the aluminum.

Outside view of the handle.

Inside view of the handle.

I decided to install a modern door latch with deadbolt that I had in my stock pile of usable vintage parts. It is in used condition, but it is in very serviceable.  It will function well, but it certainly is a sizable departure from true vintage.

Now to address these holes left behind by the old handle on the inside and outside of the door.

The one section of aluminum that held the latch handle on the inside of the door  was easily removed by drilling out several pop rivets. I cut a new piece of aluminum and re-skinned the inside section of the door.  The newly installed handle will look good against the new aluminum.  The new skin will later be painted the same color as all other interior panels.

I carefully measured, made the cut-out for the handle and drilled screw holes in the new aluminum. 

The new skin was fastened onto the door using pop rivets as before.
I also put new insulation into the cavity since it was easily accessible.  The old rubber seals on the door were removed while the door lay on the table. Three new rubber seals will be ordered from Vintage Trailer Supply. 

The two latches to the door-within-a-door were re-installed on the new skin inside the main door.

The outside of the door needed a patch to cover the holes and to install the new latch.
Buck rivets were easily installed here using a rivet squeezer.

I mounted the hinges onto the body.  I installed aluminum backer plates on the inside of the trailer behind the hinges.  These plates added another layer of strength to the wall and will stabilize the door operation.  My assistant with a bucking bar made it much easier to install buck rivets through the hinges. The hinges were then aligned for proper door placement within the body cavity.
Lots of fitting and adjusting were necessary here. The door now swings true and the latch works great.

 Outside view of the finished latch.

Inside view of the finished latch with incorporated deadbolt.

The door on the Ambassador has a feature known as a "door-within-a-door." 
The specialized hinges allow for the incorporation and the operation of this door-within-a-door, which allows a cool breeze to flow through while still retaining privacy.
They work very well.

After all that work both doors work perfectly!
The screen insert will be added later.

Two more conveniences were installed during this time.

One was a door "hand hold" that I acquired a couple of years ago.
It should work perfectly to assist one to "step up" into the trailer!

I also installed a 110/120 volt electrical outlet on the curbside front corner. 
I used the opportunity to re-purpose the odd opening from an previously obsolete electrical plug.

Exterior Priorities

Water Heater 

The opening for the old water heater was "Huge."
It was in need of a big "Patch" to plug the irregular sized opening.  A smaller opening will be created later for a modern water heater.  It will "look" modern and will not protrude three inches from the surface like the old one.

I cut out a patch from the same composition aluminum as the body to cover the hole.

I drilling and spaced rivet holes evenly which took patience.
Buck rivets were used here since the back side is exposed and accessible for a bucking bar.
A  horizontal brace about  five inches from the top was also re-installed on the back side to add strength.  (See the secondary rivet line.)
The old water heater was so large that this brace was "cut out" to make room for the install.

The finished patch looked great and blended right into the body.

When I install a new water heater here it will require a much smaller surface cut out.