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Old 12-13-2015, 09:21 AM   #1
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Baggage door gas rod tear out

Greetings all. We're pretty new to 5ers and have been doing a lot of reading and learning on this site since joining. This issue, however, I couldn't find a reference to so here's what I need advice on.

Our 2012 Montana 3100RL we have only had a few months. When we bought it, we didn't notice that the curb side baggage door, where the gas rod attaches, has started to tear out, the rear one is worse than the front.

I have tightened up the screws (being careful not to over tighten them) but I'm sure that will only help temporary. I have come up with a couple possible solutions.

1) fashion a larger metal plate that I can screw to the door and attach the existing bracket to and spread out the torque on the door.

2) reposition the existing mounting bracket to a different location on the door, and wait for it to tear out again.

3) remove the gas rods and use a baggage door catch to hold it open. The thought of that door coming down on me does give me pause and potentially, one heck of a bruise.

I'd appreciate your thoughts.


2012 Dodge C3500 DRW 4x4
2012 Keystone Montana 3100RL
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:42 AM   #2
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Nice picture. Helps to see what you are facing.
As a suggestion, remove the strut support bracket, flatten the bent door panel, enlarge the center bracket screw hole, and inject epoxy into the door panel. Inject enough epoxy to create a solid core in the bracket mount area. Reattach the support bracket.
Home Depot sells epoxy tubes that can be used with a caulking gun. The best is a two part epoxy that mixes as you empty the tube.
Good luck. Maybe this helps.

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Old 12-13-2015, 09:51 AM   #3
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How do the rods feel when opening the door, do they feel like they are much stronger than needed?

It looks like your door swings up (hinged on the top), or is it hinged on the side.

You should determine if a weaker gas strut would do the job, they come in various lengths and pressures.

Can you determine what the core material is for your door?
Injecting epoxy is one possibility.
in addition, a larger plate would allow you to spread out the load and spread the screw holes.

Tough problem to repair.

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Old 12-13-2015, 11:03 AM   #4
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Yes, the door opens up and it appears to be laminated plywood.

I continued my search on this topic and found this. http://www.cedarcreekrvownersclub.co...pic.php?t=1708

This looks like the way I want to go, pending other suggestions.
2012 Dodge C3500 DRW 4x4
2012 Keystone Montana 3100RL
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Old 12-13-2015, 03:58 PM   #5
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Looks like a good deal of work, but there is not way to use the door as it is constructed. Compartment doors are pretty darn flimsy.

Steve & Andra
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Old 12-13-2015, 07:53 PM   #6
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Our 2011 HitchHiker is doing the same thing. It appears the lifts are too strong for the material they are attached to. Will be following this thread...



Bob & Karen Tipton
2011 NuWa Hitchhiker 31.5 UKTG
2010 Dodge Ram 3500 DRW 6.7 CTD
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Old 12-14-2015, 05:52 AM   #7
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As I see it, the main problem is the material used in the doors isn’t strong enough for the struts. The manufacturers are using stronger struts because most of the time the doors are large and fairly heavy. To further complicate things, the base of the bracket is pretty small which means the screws that hold it in place are too close together to properly distribute the force from the strut. Not only that, but with the screws that close together, once they pull out, the plywood substrate is already shot so adding bigger screws or more screws isn't an option.

The motorhome we used to have had aluminum plates built right into the edges of the doors where the bracket for the gas struts were attached. Our current 5th wheel has no aluminum, and I have had screws for 2 of brackets tear out in less than a year. I added a 1/16" aluminum plate held in place with 6 screws, and re-attached the bracket to the plate. The plate and the 6 screws help distribute the load from the strut over a larger area. Although the screws for the bracket itself sometimes gradually work themselves loose, I have had no more tear-out problems on those 2 struts. I’ll continue to add plates as more problems arise.

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Old 12-14-2015, 06:48 AM   #8
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My fix would be similar to what is noted above and that is to make up an aluminum plate shaped to fit the corner radius, probably about 6" square and ~1/8 thick and screw to the inner side of the door. I would then reattach the bracket to that plate. I might even put a couple machine screws (stainless steel, of course) right through that door if it had been severely weakened, As far as appearance, it could look like something Keystone did in the factory. I have to store this in my memory bank as those doors - really flimsy - and of course our Montana, though a High Country 343RL, has what looks like the same puny doors.
Dave W along with my DW, Susan and our poodlepups, Callie & Molly,2011 Ford F250 6.7 CCLB, 5er Hitch Option w/B&W Hitch,,Ride Rite air bags, 2014 Montana High Country 343RL (38')
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Old 12-14-2015, 08:20 AM   #9
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X2 with Paz's fix....although I did not use quite as large of a plate to remount mine, I will if go with a larger one if my current year old fix needs to be repaired again.

When working on mine, I also noticed the mount was also at a bit of an angle that was putting additional lateral stress on the rod mounts...I corrected the position about a half inch to get better alignment of the rod with the mount and it works really nice now.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:30 PM   #10
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I have the same year and model Montana and mine did the same thing on the same door. I bought a wooden dowel approximately the same diameter as the screw holes. I cut the wooden dowel the same length as the depth of the hole and glued the dowel into the hole. Once it dried I took an awl and started a new hole with the awl (just enough to start the screws) and re-screwed the bracket onto the door. Did it about 2 months ago, so hoping it will hold. As suggested above, make sure you straighten out the bracket so it will lie flush to your door when you screw it back on.
Steve and Jill
Montana 3100RL
5th wheel, 2012
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Old 12-14-2015, 04:18 PM   #11
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That linked Cedar Creek mod is, IMO, the way to go and about what I had mentioned in my post. Our 343RL appears, after looking at it a short while ago, to have too acute an angle as well, putting way too much load on that aluminum inner skin. I will be at least modifying the ball bracket if nothing else (in the spring of course).
Dave W along with my DW, Susan and our poodlepups, Callie & Molly,2011 Ford F250 6.7 CCLB, 5er Hitch Option w/B&W Hitch,,Ride Rite air bags, 2014 Montana High Country 343RL (38')
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Old 12-14-2015, 04:44 PM   #12
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I'm going to stop at Lowe's tonight on my way home and pick up 4 of their 5-3/4"x 7" nail plates M#NP57 and some epoxy. I'll keep a record of this fix and post back here.

But my sticks and bricks furnace requires some attention too. My DW will appreciate fixing that before the door.
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Old 12-18-2015, 06:59 PM   #13
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Baggage door repaired

Well, I got one door done. Here is a list of the materials and tools I used.
100 #8 x 1/2 Inch Hex screws (Hillman 35100)
4 NP37 nailing plates (2 per door)
1 box 50 3/16" short aluminum rivets
1 box 30 3/16" aluminum washers
13/64" drill bit
Tin snips
4x4 block of wood
clamp (C clamp will do nicely)
1/4" socket, driver and ratchet
magnetic parts holder (cause I hate chasing screws all over the place)
and last but not least, #2 & #1 (?) square drive for my ratcheting screwdriver

I started out by removing the baggage door from the 5er. You have to remove one of the small square drive retainer screws and the plastic plug that keeps the door on the hinge. Then I propped the door up with an extendable pole I use for painting and cleaning the rig while I removed screws that hold the trailer end of the gas rod brackets. (I couldn't figure out how to remove the retaining clips on the ends of the gas rods and I was pressed for time.) Door slides right off but you might want a helper.

Next I laid 6 piles of rags in the back of my truck, which doubles as my workbench, to lay the door on so I could work on it and not scratch it up.

I then marked the existing location of the gas rod brackets on the back of the door with a sharpie before removing the existing screws, brackets and gas rods.

As you can see from the picture, one of the brackets had been "repaired" before. I should mention here that the door is a sandwich of thin aluminum over an equally thin piece of plywood, a foam core then plywood and aluminum. No wonder these tore out!

Next, I laid down the nailing straps in each corner and marked them so I could radius them to fit as close to the edge as possible. The tin snips and sharpie came in handy for that. I also marked them L & R so I wouldn't mix them up. (Don't ask)

Next, with the radiused nailing straps laid on the door, I marked the location of the gas rod mounting bracket's holes on the nailing strap with the sharpie. With a 13/64" drill bit, I drilled out two of the holes on opposite corners of the bracket. I pop riveted the bracket to the nailing strap from the back so it would lay as flat as possible, then drilled out the remaining 5 holes. Then I installed the rest of the rivets. (keep track of the ends. they'd raise hob with your tires)

Next, I positioned the nailing strap in it's correct location and using the clamp and block of wood (the wood block goes on the outside of the door) I clamped the bracket in place. Then, it was time to use the 1/2" screws to attach the nailing strap to the door. There are 18 or 19 in each strap; I used every available hole. Repeat on the opposite on side of the door.

Next, my DW helped me slide the baggage door back on it's hinge and she held the door while I reattached the trailer side of the gas rod brackets back in their original location. Total time for one door, about 1 hour 45 minutes.
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Old 12-18-2015, 07:11 PM   #14
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To repair the strut attachment, I always used the metal plate. The only difference with my repair is the fact that I always spread a thin layer epoxy on the plate before I attached it to the door. That way you had the attachment of the plate over the entire surface and not just at the screw points.

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