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Old 03-14-2018, 10:00 PM   #1
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Cracks at Door Latch

I just finished polishing our 2011 '19. Doing this I noticed a potential problem in the door latch area. Here is a picture of the door latch from the inside.


The second picture below shows a close up of the latch area.


The picture above shows two cracks highlighted by the two red circles. I think these start at the screws in the side holding the latch to the door but haven't taken the latch assembly off to verify this.

Has anyone had this problem? Any suggestions on a fix before it fails.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
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Old 03-15-2018, 01:16 AM   #2
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I'd remove all the door hardware from the area, clean it up as much as you can, and take a few more pictures as close as you can get crisp focus from a couple angles. do you slam your camper door closed? if the latch is a little too tight it encourages that...

drilling very tiny holes at the ends of the cracks may stop spreading.

to fix cracks like that in fiberglass, you need to grind or dremel them out, and apply new resin, then sand, polish, and gelcoat. google `marine fiberglass cracks` and you'll find all kinda information. the magic stuff they are selling doesn't work.

I've done some resin repairs on small boats. its pretty simple. for bigger fixes, you need some chopper glass, which is almost a powder, and you mix that with the resin to thicken it, then mix in the catalyst and brush on or fill the hole or whatever. let cure, sand smooth, fine sand, super fine sand, then brush it with gel-coat enamel. voila, it looks like new. wear a dust mask and gloves when working with the resins and glass and stuff.

this page seems to explain it pretty well, although its talking about a different sort of crack...
https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/m...cks-fiberglass

figuring out WHY your latch is cracking there, and fixing that so it doesn't happen again, that will be trickier.
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Old 03-15-2018, 01:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by currinh View Post
I just finished polishing our 2011 '19. Doing this I noticed a potential problem in the door latch area. Here is a picture of the door latch from the inside.


The second picture below shows a close up of the latch area.


The picture above shows two cracks highlighted by the two red circles. I think these start at the screws in the side holding the latch to the door but haven't taken the latch assembly off to verify this.

Has anyone had this problem? Any suggestions on a fix before it fails.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
Currin looks like some ware on the latch . If I found that on my lockset considering kind of important . I would remove lock .Then I would sand down the fiberglass , clean up good . Get some fiberglass cloth to reinforce that area and fiberglass repair and reinforce . Marine stores have smaller kits to repair . There are some u tube video 's fixing bad area's in boats to help . I checked those out to fix our door cracks . If you can remove your door much easier to do your repairs. That is what I would do . Check out that lockset too . Pat
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Old 03-15-2018, 01:24 AM   #4
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Currin looks like some ware on the latch . If I found that on my lockset considering kind of important . I would remove lock .Then I would sand down the fiberglass , clean up good . Get some fiberglass cloth to reinforce that area and fiberglass repair and reinforce . Marine stores have smaller kits to repair . There are some u tube video 's fixing bad area's in boats to help . I checked those out to fix our door cracks . If you can remove your door much easier to do your repairs. That is what I would do . Check out that lockset too . Pat
Also forgot make small holes at each end of cracks . I still would add some fiberglass cloth . The idea is like fixing cracks in drywall , best to tape them instead of just using compound Pat
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Old 03-15-2018, 03:06 AM   #5
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The tricky part is, how do you reinforce that? does that inside panel remove from the door, so you can fix the backing ?

what sort of plate or nuts are on the inside that are holding the screws? thats probably from where the cracks originated, and will again if its not fixed.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
The tricky part is, how do you reinforce that? does that inside panel remove from the door, so you can fix the backing ?

what sort of plate or nuts are on the inside that are holding the screws? thats probably from where the cracks originated, and will again if its not fixed.
When I had the door off to insulate it I don't recall the inside panel being removable. Also the latch was simply screwed into holes in the fiberglass. I don't recall any type of plate/nuts on the inside when I put it back together. Ignore the paper towel tube. It was my funnel.

On edit I realized that there is actually small bolts that go through the latch plate, thru the fiberglass hole and then engage with threaded inserts on the lock mechanism itself.
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:16 AM   #7
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My guess as to cause of the cracking is that the door is either being slammed to close it, or the door is being pulled shut without pulling back on the latching mechanism. On our 19', I always pull back on the latch as I pull the door shut. Makes it much easier to close properly without excessive resistance.
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
The tricky part is, how do you reinforce that? does that inside panel remove from the door, so you can fix the backing ?
Perhaps with the lockset removed, someone could get their hand and fiberglass mat inside enough to reinforce those areas? I haven't seen the inside of the door. Is there insulation that might be in the way?
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:23 AM   #9
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If you put a load on it while it's open, can you see the cracks open up ? Might be more cosmetic than structural if you're lucky ( gelcoat crack ) .

But yeah, we always try to "open" the latch while closing the door, never slamming it.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
to fix cracks like that in fiberglass, you need to grind or dremel them out, and apply new resin, then sand, polish, and gelcoat. google `marine fiberglass cracks` and you'll find all kinda information. the magic stuff they are selling doesn't work.
John, your solution works if the cracks are just in the gel coat, but not if the problem is structural and involves fracture of the fiberglass in the laminate. If the fiberglass is compromised, the repair would have to include grinding a taper into the laminate, and adding glass cloth reinforcement over the crack. Given the nature of the cracking, I suspect that the damage is more structural than just gel coat, so a proper repair will involve some significant glass work, and making it as tidy as the original but stronger will be a challenge.

If the OP wants to take this on, there is plenty of information on line about structural glass repairs, not to be confused with gel coat crack repairs. For what it is worth, I would choose epoxy over polyester for a repair in material this thin, but in theory either will work. Just make sure that you use glass that is compatible with epoxy, and epoxy that works well with glass (relatively low viscosity for starters). Not all glass works well with epoxy (the stuff at the local hardware store will not likely even tell you one way or another), and not all epoxy will properly wet out glass cloth. Finally, more layers of thinner glass will be a better bet on this repair than fewer layers of heavy cloth. The stuff at the local hardware store is likely thicker than ideal in my opinion.

https://www.thayercraft.com/ is an excellent source of glass material and information.

OTOH, if this seems too complicated, it may be time to find a competent glass repair place - good luck with that.
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