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Old 01-03-2016, 08:21 AM   #1
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Can't repair cargo door?? Really

I took my cargo door to two different body shops to have it repaired. Both told me that it is made of aluminum and a new one has to be made as they can not repair aluminum. What about the new Ford trucks. Seems like something can be done? Anyone have any experience or advise on this problem?? Thanks in advance for any assistance.

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Old 01-03-2016, 08:26 AM   #2
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Do you have pictures of the damage ? I would think minor scrapes or tiny dents could be pounded out and filled with bondo just like any automotive repair. If it's more extensive that that, then yes probably a new door (or used from salvage) is better.
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:32 AM   #3
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Depends on how yours is made.

Unless the subframe is completely bent/mangled I would think the door can be fixed. On my coach the top hinge portion is riveted to the door, the rivets can be drilled out and the hinge portion removed. The door skin is held onto the frame with two sided adhesive tape, it can be removed using heavy putty knives. A good body shop can make a new skin.

I was able to fix 3 basement doors and the bottom of the slide.

My wife lost a battle with a post at a fuel station resulting in damage to 3 basement doors and the bottom of the slide. The door hinges on a piece of aluminum excursion attached to the side of the motorhome. The excursion was flattened on the 3 doors.

I was able bet the aluminum excursion that attached to the door from Monaco, that part that attached to the coach was not available but I was able to get a used piece from a salvage yard.

2 of the doors had heavy scratches that sanded out the bottom 1/3 of the door and primed.

The 3rd door was actually dented in along the whole length. After I removed the aluminum hinge I clamped the door down to my table saw and then using wood blocks to protect the aluminum I used clamps and a large pipe wrench to straighten the door skin. I was able to get ~80 of the dent out and then used bondo to fill in the remaining dent. I then sanded the whole door and primed.

The trim around the slide is aluminum, I was able to used large clamps and heavy angle iron to pretty much straighten the aluminum. I had to add some bolts on the bottom through the slide extension to hold it in place.

I was able to recreate the paint scheme on the doors, I have 4 color paint scheme but only had to paint 3 colors. After painting I applied 3-4 coats of the clear coat.

Overall it turned out pretty good, most people can't see where I did the work. Cost me ~$500 to fix with about 1/2 for the aluminum extrusion pieces and the rest for paint and supplies.
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:31 AM   #4
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I watched a Mexican guy use a claw hammer and some cold chisels to rebuild about 75% of an aluminum bay door. When finished and painted, it looked factory new and he used very little bondo.

If he could do it with limited resources, think what he could do with modern body equipment.

Sounds like you found someone that didn't want to do the work
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:57 AM   #5
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I was at Perry Legends body shop in Columbus MO. well know for RV bodywork. http://perrylegend.com/we-offer-large-vehicle-repairs/ They had a Country Coach that had gone off the road at high speed and tore the bay doors up. They were having they doors re-skinned by a sheet metal shop saying it was less expensive than to trying to rebuild them. Maybe your body shops were correct.
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Old 01-03-2016, 01:13 PM   #6
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Generally, they can fix just about anything, but many of these shops don't want to or know how to do fabrication work. They just want to R&R new parts. You're going to have to find a fabrication shop, like these hot rod shops you see on TV, or keep searching for an RV specific body shop that's used to these types of repair.
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Old 01-03-2016, 01:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Generally, they can fix just about anything, but many of these shops don't want to or know how to do fabrication work. They just want to R&R new parts. You're going to have to find a fabrication shop, like these hot rod shops you see on TV, or keep searching for an RV specific body shop that's used to these types of repair.
Don, I agree but the problem in today's market is that if the damage is extensive, it is cheaper to replace than repair due to the cost of labor.
That labor cost of course increases when you have a person that has limited experience. That's why the Mexican guy could do the job but others cannot. IMO,,
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Old 01-03-2016, 01:30 PM   #8
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Can't offer an opinion without photos.
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Old 01-03-2016, 05:14 PM   #9
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I am waiting to see what happens when the new Ford trucks are taken in for body repair.
My son just bought one and the first week he had it he tweaked the tailgate. His has the built in step and the rear view camera. It really was not damaged badly but they would not repair it, so it had to be replaced. I think it was $4000.00. Alot of the big trucks over the years have used aluminum in there cabs and parts like doors were usually replaced after being damaged.

Cargo doors would be pretty easy to re skin, at least the ones on my coach.
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Old 01-03-2016, 05:31 PM   #10
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FWIW I think the bolt on new and paint it comment nailed the situation. It's not even labor cost as an hour or so with the right tools will move a lot of metal. It will take them that long to process the part order then you will get hit with the markup for the part. Works for them, makes no difference to your bill. That is without getting to all the plastic parts in use now.

If you think about it when we were kids people took shop classes and learned to do a bit of metal and wood work even if it was not our specialty. The younger crowd today took technology with computers but seldom handled a hand tool let alone actually make anything. They do not have a clue. "Repair" is really "replace".
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Old 01-03-2016, 06:09 PM   #11
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How about a local aircraft mechanic? Many are proficient with aluminum repair.

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Old 01-03-2016, 06:52 PM   #12
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"dennis45"......I agree 100% and would rather have a new door than one that was repaired, but finding a replacement door for any coach that is more than a couple fo years old can be tough.
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:48 AM   #13
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Cars and trucks have been built with aluminum body panels for decades. I remember the discussions and training sessions, probably back in the 80s.

Again, without a photo of the damage any opinion offered here is of limited value.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Generally, they can fix just about anything, but many of these shops don't want to or know how to do fabrication work. They just want to R&R new parts. You're going to have to find a fabrication shop, like these hot rod shops you see on TV, or keep searching for an RV specific body shop that's used to these types of repair.
Excellent advice!
These days most just want to R&R parts, getting greasy or dirty is not in the plan, doesn't require as much skill either = cheaper pay scale.
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