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Old 05-20-2014, 06:07 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,002
Rivets holding steps up

I had loose rivets on my steps and really feared they would fail at the most in opportune time so I wanted to replace them. While I was unable to find the replacement parts, I did find this alternate solution. It worked great.

step door preemptive fix

---copied from popup portal

step door preemptive fix
on: June 11, 2011, 01:33:16 AM
There are a lot of posts in this forum, going back several years, complaining and commenting on the failure rate of the step-door hinge links on Coleman trailers. Having read the stories of how much grief it creates and how much a replacement door can cost, I decided to take a closer look at my PUP hinges. Sure enough they were showing signs of wear and I figured it was cheaper to fix it now than later.

Shown here is the right side hinge, the one that does not receive all the load of people entering and exiting the PUP since the door opens on the left. The left side hinge rivet was no longer flush in the metal, and you could spin it with your fingers. There is more than one thread here that describes the nice triangle pattern that forms in the sheet metal of the door frame when the left side breaks free. I decided to replace my pin with something stronger, and carry spares in case it decided to go bad on me while camping. A trip to Depot and I had the parts. Some have suggested some stainless screws and a nylock nut, but there just isn't enough room in the hinge for all that hardware. The method I found seems to be a perfect fit given the limited space, and cost just a few bucks. First thing is to drill out the rivet to 1/4", which should be the same size as the slotted long link that attaches to the step.

File off any burrs and get a 10-32 screw and 10-32 T-nut, the kind you often see inside particle board furniture. It is a T shaped piece of metal with teeth that embed themselves into the wood, creating a flush and captive nut for assembly. Clip off or bend the teeth down and make them flat, and use a liberal amount of loc-tite to secure the screw. I used a #10 washer under the screw head because there was plenty of room and I wanted to give the smaller diameter screw head some extra surface area. The #10 T-nut has a shaft diameter of slightly less than 1/4", so this fits nicely in the hole I drilled.

I used blue loc-tite, because that is what I had, but you could use red loc-tite, or a small dab of polyurethane glue (gorilla glue) on the threads, because we just want these two parts to stay in place as the hinge does not allow for tightening the fastener down with any force. It must bend easily. I've used gorilla glue as a thread locker on several projects, and so far have not needed to remove the screw. Loc-tite has better thread locking characteristics and can be removed with a little bit of heat.

When the thread locking compound is dry, use a hack saw to trim the bolt and a file to smooth out the burrs. A bag of #10-32 screws is cheap, but a baggie of three T-nuts may cost you a few bucks. I debated between the stainless fasteners and the hot dipped galvanized ones, and decided the corrosion resistant stainless was a better choice. I had a hard time finding #10 grade-5 or grade-8 bolts that have a small enough head to fit in this location. A higher grade bolt would be my first choice, since the hardened steel would never shear off under the load of the hinge at the step. Stainless, while fairly soft, should be much stronger than the original rivet design from Coleman. This assembly folds nicely into the frame of the step door.
TV: 2006 E350 Van
PUP: 2000 Coleman Utah
Family: Me + SuperWife + 3 crazy monkeys
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