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Old 05-11-2010, 09:40 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 37
Help opening Furnace Bay doors on '02 Zephyr

I've got a furnace that won't start so I need to open the furnace bay door. The furnace bays are held in place by exactly the same retractable locking mechanism as the other storage bays; however, there is no visible retracting mechanism. The way the frames fit together, there really doesn't seem to be room for much of anything to slide between the bay panels. Even the mobile RV "doctor" had no idea how to open these panels. Can anybody help? I've called and emailed Tiffin service but so far, no response. I'm tired of the back end of the MH freezing!

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Old 05-12-2010, 06:24 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Sheboygan, WI
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I'm not quite sure I follow what you mean regarding the locking mechanism.

It almost sounds like you are saying that the wedge shaped bar that passes through the loop that holds the door shut is there but that there is no handle assembly there to retract the bar so that it can open. I haven't seen that before but then I haven't really looked at the older Zephyrs that closely either. Tiffin made plenty of changes over the years so anything is possible.

Presently, most bay doors have a latch mechanism with handle. If there is a blank panel, such as the one that covers the curbside of the water tanks, then that panel is hinged to swing upwards but is retained at the bottom by 2 screws that go up through some angle brackets into the basement flooring.

If Tiffin did use latches to hold them shut but did not install latch handles (to keep people out of that area under normal conditions) then that's a new one on me. If that's the case, you should be able to push up on the wedge shaped latch bar with a large screwdriver or punch and it should pop out of the retaining loop because the latch bar is spring loaded.

Also, on any panel that has a furnace vent installed, you will need to remove the vent flange in order to swing the panel out. The vent flange is in two pieces. You'll need to remove 4 or 6 screws and take the outer flange off. It will have a sheet metal exhaust tube that goes into the furnace so you'll need to slidethat out. There's also a second tube but it is held in place by a flange that is beneath the outer flange. It easily slides out. Once the two tubes are out the door will be free to swing open (assuming the latch is released). When it's time to reassemble you'll find that the gasket behind the exhaust flange is torn. Ideally you'll want to replace that gasket. If you can't, you'll at least have to caulk the flange up. Rope caulking or sealant works great for that application.

Mark & Leann Quasius
2016 Cornerstone 45A
2007 Allegro Bus 42QRP (Sold)
2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - Rubicon
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Old 05-15-2010, 04:49 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 37
Furnace bays are open!


Thanks for your suggestions. I finally called Tiffin service. They said they used bent screwdrivers to reach down through the space between the panels and then used the tip to push the nylon/delrin/??? sprung retaining clip back far enough to release the panel.

I didn't even have enough space to fit a bent screwdriver; however, I took a grinder to an old paint scraper and fashioned it into an arc with a "hook" on the end. Once I had the bay open, I modified the retaining clips on the frame to make "release" easier.

It's still a little tricky but at least it is possible.

Now on the the furnace repair!

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