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Old 09-23-2011, 07:07 PM   #1
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Entry Step Attachment Issue - 36 Mid Door

We have an issue that I haven't seen posted before. Our 06 36 MDDS has the single entry step that retracts under the coach body, and the attachment near the front of the step is breaking loose on the left side of the step, where we usually step as we open the door.

The Kwik-ee step is a good, rugged design. But WRV attached it to a chunk of about 18 gauge sheet metal that was tack welded to another piece of similar metal from the metal step box that WRV inserted into the bay for entering the coach. The metal has cracked and two of the welds have broken. It is clearly under-designed for this application.

Caused me to have to use a hydraulic bottle jack under the left corner of the step everytime I stopped on a trip we just finished to Canada.

I think I have found a solution to getting this problem fixed, but it involves drilling some 1 1/2" access holes through the bay next to the step box and adding some steel strap that can be bolted to this sheet metal holding the entry step brackets. It is a tricky thing to do, and not have it welded so it can be removed if needed later.

It's hard to describe and hard to get a good picture of it because access is limited around that step in the vicinity of the break.

Posting this to see if anybody else has had this problem and found another way to solve this problem, and beef up the step support.
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:45 PM   #2
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I have a front-door model, but could you bolt an "L" bracket in place? Right side up or upside down? If space is too tight. You could put a sturdy bolt through the panel to the side that just holds the step bracket from moving downward. It wouldn't be attached to the step bracket, but would stop movement, like a shelf pin. I'd reinforce the bolt hole with large washers to prevent metal deformation around the bolt.
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:10 AM   #3
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Takepride:

It's a little different with the single step in the mid-door model. I looked at bolting an "L" bracket in place to keep the step bracket from moving downward, like a shelf pin, but can't figure out a way to bolt the bracket in place. There's just not room to get a drill in there and also get a bolt attachment in position to fasten to it. Looks like we sort of have to create this special bracket and come in from the bay side of the step to get something to grab on to hold it. We agree with the large washers around the bolt for the same reasons.

Sure would be easier to bolt in a simple L bracket but we don't see how. The good news is our new design should be a solid fix to a poor design.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:14 PM   #4
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Bill-
1) don't go to Canada, bad things happen or at least that's what I've heard.
2) Not picturing your issue very well. Maybe a sketch would help.
3) would a threaded rod w/a nut/washer/OEM-metal/washer/nut on each side work? Could make it a 1/2" or 5/8" rod w/heavy fender washers.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EngineerMike View Post
Bill-
1) don't go to Canada, bad things happen or at least that's what I've heard.
2) Not picturing your issue very well. Maybe a sketch would help.
3) would a threaded rod w/a nut/washer/OEM-metal/washer/nut on each side work? Could make it a 1/2" or 5/8" rod w/heavy fender washers.
Mike
EM,

Donna says she takes exception to the "Bad things ihappen n Canada" line..(She's from Alberta!)
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:31 PM   #6
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Maybe I shoulda had a clue when the teller of the bad things kept using the term "Canajun," to refer to the nationality of our always polite neighbors from the north?

All in jest of course. If the step fell off in Idaho, I'da impugned the Idaho'ers. (Idahoans?) (Idahoi?) (Idahuns?) (stop me when I get there)
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Old 09-25-2011, 03:43 PM   #7
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EngineerMike is an equal opportunity offender. Most states and countries. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
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Old 09-25-2011, 04:48 PM   #8
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Mike,

Canada doesn't bother me. I travelled it hard from coast to coast for my former employer, with a lot of time in Alberta. Trick is to carefully comply with the border crossing requirements both ways, especially alcohol and weapons. And as i learned this time, drive slowly (repeat, slowly) when driving the coach through the X-ray scanner coming back into the U.S. It's a difficult back up with the toad if you don't!

Got the step fixed with the help of Torq-Lift in Kent, WA. Similar to your idea, we ended up cutting two 1 1/2" holes through the bay wall, down next to the floor, from the bay access door area to the left of the entry door. That allowed us to get a couple bolts through a 1/4" thick strap that connected to the side mounts for the step frame. From that strap we attached a piece of angle iron that runs across the sheet metal at the side close to the entry door that was holding the step frame, and breaking loose from the small welds. Now we have a very solid connection that definitely beefs up the original design, yet still removable.

Difficult to take a picture of this, and not easy to sketch, but I would give it a shot if somebody else had the same issue on their mid-door step.

Currently have those access holes plugged by duct taping over them. So I need to look for a site that sells a plastic or rubber plugs for 1 1/2" holes, so I have something a little more permanent and easily removed.
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Old 09-25-2011, 06:35 PM   #9
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OF - Plugs - my brain says check out boaters world for deck plate options, that might be the ticket. A picture would be great, as we have a mid door as well, and I have that cavernious compartment under the entry steps which I keep stuff we need for quickly parking on hills or stuff I need for light maintenance, does anyone else have this compartment?

Assuming, getting a tig welder or similiar into the space and just tack welding up the old metal was not an option?
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:57 PM   #10
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OF:

Here is a PVC plug, about halfway down the page. Used for pipes. Also available at places that sell pipe or wrought iron. They are used to keep rain and debris out of outdoor vertical pipes. You could snap it in place or glue it in.

Product Listing PVC-Plugs-InsidePipe

Of course, you could always just screw a piece of white-painted sheet metal over the hole(s) for future access.
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:46 PM   #11
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Old RV'er -- we don't have the compartment under our entry step. There may be space under the first step in the coach, but it's all boxed in.

My first thought was just to get a TIG welder up there, since I did a lot of welding in my younger years. But there just isn't room to properly weld the sheet metal back in place, unless the entire entry step is removed. And if you look a the design, you can see it still isn't strong enough, even with good welds. Ours didn't break just at the welds; the sheet metal actually fatigue cracked first diagonally across one end. That produced a "soft" step, or some give when stepping on it. A little later it became a more pronounced "give" so I knew something wasn't right.

So we decided the attachment needs beefing up. That led us to the bolt-on design of reinforcement that now will probably hold 400 lbs without an issue.

As you know, that step gets a lot of activity, and the weight's usually on left (or toward the rear of the coach) side of the step, which is where our attachment started breaking.

When I get a couple medical issues healed a little better (one of them a broken bone in my wrist from my trip to Canada), I will see if I can get under the coach step and try to take some pictures of the reinforcement and where the break occurred.

It's really pretty easy to see where this break occurred if you crawl under the step with your flashlight and safety glasses, and pull upward and downward on the step with your hand. You will see the area of sheet metal with short tack-type welds between the step frame attachments up toward the bay floor and the actual exterior of the coach. The upward and downward pull on the step will show flexing occurring in this sheet metal where it's welded. At least ours did, even in the portion that's welded.

Takepride -- thanks for the cap search on the internet. I found a similar type cap on another site for a similar price. It had expansion hooks on each side. But I think I like your site better so I'm going to order a couple caps and see how they work. would like to be able to snap them on and off. Main purpose I need in covering those holes is to keep dust out of the bay, and a little splashed water when driving in the rain.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:54 PM   #12
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OF thank you for the update. I understand about medical issues, having some tests done now, so cannot do much prior to it. Then it is time to get my RV Calls done, and hit the maintenance on the MH real hard to get it ready for a trip.

Wonder which rigs have that storage compartment, maybe only APEX's, but it's a huge compartment, I keep the compressor hose, tire chucks, fuel treatment, gosh lots of stuff in it. To access all I do is lift the steps up.
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:47 PM   #13
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Monty,

WRV must have changed the step box for the APEX mid door. Our steps do not lift up.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:45 PM   #14
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I had a similar problem recently with my Kwickee two step, and solved it by bolting 1" U channel (galvanized) to the framework under the coach, and bolting the step to the channel. I found that it was easiest to mount the steps to the U channel first, drill and bolt the outside edge to the MH framework first, and then pivot the whole assy into place. I used a jack to hold it in place while I drilled the rear holes and bolted in place. I found Stainless bolts at Lowes and used them as I am lazy and only want to fix things once. I also discovered several ground wires attached to various places that I cleaned up and reattached while I was under there. I have no idea what I was grounding, but it all seems to work well now. The only movement now is from the step flexing when I step on it.

Sorry about the photos, there isn't much room for me under there.
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