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Old 12-17-2018, 04:52 PM   #1
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
 
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Side Radiator Door Latches

I did this project on my previous coach (2014 DS) and wanted to do it again on my 2019. I like to be able to easily open the side radiator door for cleaning of the radiator and waxing around the edges of the door.

The last time I did this, I made it more complicated than it needed to be. I used the same locks this time, SouthCo push button locks. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I took a piece of thin aluminum plate, 3" x 1.5" and drilled a hole in the center of the plate and then enlarged it with a file until the lock fit the hole. I drilled holes along the upper and lower edge of the plate and then positioned it on the door fins so that it caught the edges of the vertical tin plate behind the radiator door. I used four small self tapping screws and secured the assembly to the back side of the radiator door via the horizontal fins.

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I used some woodworking clamps to hold the latches in place and try them. Keep in mind, when mounting the laches, that the radiator door slides back and forth, right to left and left to right on the upper hinge, so make sure it's centered before setting the position of the locks. I lucked out and with the locks both tightened to the plate, they were the perfect length for latching the door firmly.

Lastly, Freightliner attaches that plastic shroud along the bottom of the radiator very poory. It's held on (behind the radiator door) with several screws, but the bottom of it was just two sided taped on mine, which had already come loosely. The lower flap, under the coach just flopped around.

With the radiator door open, I drilled a hole (downward) through the plastic shroud, next to the metal plate that runs the length of the radiator. I then put a vert slight "Z" bend into four large fender washers and clamped the plastic to the metal plate by pinching the plastic to the plate with the washers, using some 1/4 - 20 x 1" bolts.

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Old 12-17-2018, 08:32 PM   #2
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After reading about your mod on the radiator door I ordered the same push button locks and will tackle that tomorrow.
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Old 12-17-2018, 08:37 PM   #3
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Well.....I did your power cord reel the other day. Used a pvc pipe cutter to cut the tubes. Should solve the binding up cord issue.
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:55 PM   #4
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When you said they used double sided tape to hold the plastic bottom together I thought wow how cheap. So I took a look at my Spartian Chassis and saw my high dollar double sided tape not holding, wow how cheap. I found 4 threaded 3/8 holes in the metal above the plastic so I drilled holes in the plastic and used 3/8 S.S. B.H. with fender washers to hold it together. (thanks for pointing that out) I had some hood bumpers left over from building my Jeep and used them to cushion and hold the door tight. I used the 2 brackets that came with the push button locks to hold the door from sliding left and right. Great mod, thanks for posting.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:18 AM   #5
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Is the louvered "door" hinged from the factory? Do you have a pic with it in the open position?
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:02 AM   #6
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Thanks Don, parts on order
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Old 12-19-2018, 06:43 AM   #7
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Don, are lift struts coming in the future?
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdnash View Post
Is the louvered "door" hinged from the factory? Do you have a pic with it in the open position?
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Don't have a picture of it open but if you look at my third picture you can see the make shift hinge they use. I used the L bracket to stop it from sliding, one on each side.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:33 PM   #9
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Yes.....It's hinged at the top from the factory. If I'm doing a thorough cleaning, I use one of my many adjustable cleaning poles to hold it open.

On our first trip in the coach, we picked up a bunch of stringy road debris (dried brown grass) that stuck to the jacks, wheel wells and some even went inside the side radiator, behind the cover.

Side note.....If you look at your side radiator, the main section you see, is radiator. Part way up you'll see a metal divide, which is the intercooler. Now look down low at the bottom 3". The bottom 3" is the A/C condenser. Just in the first trip, the debris at the bottom, blocked about 10% of the condenser. Newmar, with their zealous use of foam, also blocked some of the condenser near the front. During the summer months, I like to keep that lower section clean for A/C cooling.

Lastly, I like to lift the cover and wash and wax the sides.
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Old 05-05-2019, 03:17 PM   #10
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Dutchstar Don:

I wanted to thank you for this updated method. I just did the installation today and it was very simple to do using the new method you posted here.

I wish I had larger drill bits, as that hole required a lot of filing. I had to eat a can of spinach 1/2 way through just to finish the job!

I do have a tip for those that are going to do this. I was not able to find a clamp to hold it in place, but I did have some cheap 2 sided tape. This worked perfect for adjusting it, and getting it in place to attach the screws.

I also had to secure the bottom radiator trim as noted by others. I added 2 short sheet metal screws with a washer.
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Old 05-05-2019, 03:26 PM   #11
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I sure wish they would make that bottom trim out of sheet metal, instead of plastic, but I'm guessing it would get bent. The tow sided tape was a good idea.
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Old 05-05-2019, 05:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Well.....I did your power cord reel the other day. Used a pvc pipe cutter to cut the tubes. Should solve the binding up cord issue.
Power cord reel mod? To get it to wind on more smoothly? Did I miss this? I've been considering how to modify mine to keep it from bunching up in the middle.

A link or details would be appreciated.

TJ
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:48 PM   #13
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Jim....here is what several of us have done. You cut the spacers and reinstall them. It's just an aluminum rod (threaded) with a phillips head screw on both ends.

Disassemble the horizontal aluminum rod, upper and lower and remove the spacers. The rod is threaded with a phillips screw at both ends.Take the two horizontal center spacers and cut them in half, making four. Move them to the outside position and move the two outside spacers to the center.

I have a Milwaukee tubing cutter I used to cut the plastic rollers. They're pretty soft. Others are using pvc pipe cutters.

The mod makes it easier to feed the cord right and left as you wind it in.

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Old 05-05-2019, 08:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Jim....here is what several of us have done. You cut the spacers and reinstall them. It's just an aluminum rod (threaded) with a phillips head screw on both ends.

Disassemble the horizontal aluminum rod, upper and lower and remove the spacers. The rod is threaded with a phillips screw at both ends.Take the two horizontal center spacers and cut them in half, making four. Move them to the outside position and move the two outside spacers to the center.

I have a Milwaukee tubing cutter I used to cut the plastic rollers. They're pretty soft. Others are using pvc pipe cutters.

The mod makes it easier to feed the cord right and left as you wind it in.

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Thanks, Don. That's just what I was thinking of doing. Glad others have tested it for me. It is now on my to-do short-list.

TJ
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