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Old 01-11-2018, 11:19 AM   #1
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Trick to opening Gull-Wing Baggage Doors?

I have a 1999 Londonaire Bus 4359 that has the gull-wing basement doors. Last week, during extra-cold weather weather in the Boston area, I broke one of the latches, or maybe the control cable to it, on one door that was frozen shut. Now I cannot get into that compartment at all to fix it. It houses the inverter/charger and battery disconnect switch so that's a problem waiting to happen too.

Does anyone know of a trick to get them open if the latch is non-functional?
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Billg501 View Post
I have a 1999 Londonaire Bus 4359 that has the gull-wing basement doors. Last week, during extra-cold weather weather in the Boston area, I broke one of the latches, or maybe the control cable to it, on one door that was frozen shut. Now I cannot get into that compartment at all to fix it. It houses the inverter/charger and battery disconnect switch so that's a problem waiting to happen too.

Does anyone know of a trick to get them open if the latch is non-functional?
In most cases you can work a thin bladed screwdriver in the gap between the doors and work the latch back till you can get it open. Look at one you can open to see how they work.
Bill
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:56 PM   #3
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I have the same doors but don't have an answer to your question sorry and if your inverter is in the same place as mine, you can't sneak into it from another bay.
I do see a cable in the center of the door,

I'm sure you examined another door to see what it looks like.


If you think you broke one of the cables in the lifting/lowering mechanism (you can see in the upper pic on the right side), could it be possible that the door is unlocked and just too heavy to lift? I think the doors are like 30-40 or more pounds with all the hardware on them.

Here is a pic from a door on the street side (non-gull) and it shows the latch that has to move to lock or unlock the door.


Sorry I can't be of more help - I did have to replace a couple of the lifting cables and adjust a couple more - that was an adventure. We got good at it by the end.
I'll take a look tonight and see if there is anything I can see that might help. You did unlock the doors with the switch on the dash, right?
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Old 01-11-2018, 04:29 PM   #4
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Ok I looked at how the door is constructed and it has a steel angle bracket going across the top and bottom a few inches from the edge. I thought maybe you could snake something up from the bottom but the angle bracket will stop you and I don't think you can get a clean shot at drilling through it.
I started operating the door handle and have some questions for you: Does you handle move like it is locked? Does it move like it is unlocked (you know what I'm talking about)? or is it something different?
If the door handle is broken - you know it is unlocked (even used the key to ensure it is) and still get no action but the door is latched closed, then these pics might help you.
This first 2 pic is from the center of the door looking down at the the bar that moves when you lift the handle. First is where it sits when door is latched closed


The next shows that the bar moves to the left when it releases the latch that holds the door closed.


This pic shows the left end of the door, this is the end that releases the door latch. I don't see any way to get to this but wanted you to see how it works. The cable you see in this pic is the other end of the cable that you saw above on the bar. The bolt sticking out toward you that you see the head of to the right, is there to give the mechanism a place to latch.


This a pic (sorry for the blur) shows that the cable is pulling down the metal that the bolt is mounted to and releases the door latches.


This pic shows the upper latch - when the door is closed the "U" is up - there is a matching one at the bottom of the door facing down. These doors are latched tight against the rubber gaskets mounted around the door frame


This pic shows the metal work of the latching mechanism and you can see it is behind that bolt, keeping it latched closed


This pic shows the "U" in the unlatched/open position


So you lift the handle, the bar attached to the handle mechanism moves left and the cable is pulled down, which releases the latching mechanism which forcefully pushes the door away from the frame and the springs lift it up the side of the coach.

Ok, so how do we bust into this thing? The only thing I can see is we need a way to move the bar to the left to release the door. I think that you need to drill a hole in the handle area to allow something in to get to the bar. Here is the handle from the outside. Notice the sloping bottom below left of the key and below the button you push for the "magic closing"


This is the handle area and mechanism from the rear. As you can see there isn't much room especially to the left of the bar - that is the key side. To the right of the bar you have more room AND you can see the sloping part of the handle area we talked about just above


Here is a closeup (sorry for the blur) and the wires you see to the right are the ones coming out of the "magic button". So my suggestion is you drill a hole in the sloping part of the handle about a 1/2" right of the button and toward the upper part of the slope


Drilling the hole 1/2" to the right of the button will bring you in to the "left" of the bar (as you're looking from the top). Looking at the pics you see you don't have much area to drill successfully through without hitting the mechanism. Maybe you could drill an inch to the right and come in behind the bar??? In this pic you can make out that there are nuts on the back of the bolts through the bar and you can make out that you don't have much room.


I am not sure what you can use to move the bar to the left and of course that will decide how big a hole you drill. If you need any more pics or a measurement I am happy to get them for you. You have other doors that you can investigate this approach on. I think if you do this right you won't be able to see the hole very easily and you'll patch it with something anyway.
Now if you answered the questions about the door handle acting a different way, then all this could be moot.
Good luck.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:07 PM   #5
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This is exactly why I love this forum. folks willing to help out and show you as much as they can, complete with pictures and everything.

Hats off to you Rick, for trying to be so helpful!!
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:36 PM   #6
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Hey RKins,
Nice pics and explanation.
What is the bolt securing that is located within the handle pocket to the left? Looks like it may have a locking tab washer. Would removing that allow the handle assembly to be pulled out enough to fish a coat hanger or other tool to move the latch? Perhaps it is just holding something inside in place. I have no idea but thought it was worth asking.
Thanks for offering help and hope Billg501 can get some positive resolution.

Cheers
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:24 PM   #7
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Hey RKins,
Nice pics and explanation.
What is the bolt securing that is located within the handle pocket to the left? Looks like it may have a locking tab washer. Would removing that allow the handle assembly to be pulled out enough to fish a coat hanger or other tool to move the latch? Perhaps it is just holding something inside in place. I have no idea but thought it was worth asking.
Thanks for offering help and hope Billg501 can get some positive resolution.

Cheers
If you are talking about the "outside" pic that has the key slot - I wondered the same thing for a while until "I pushed it". In the very first pic I posted you can see some motors on the inside of the door. Pressing this "magic button" activates those motors and actually pulls the door into it's latched position for you - all you do is get it close and push and hold the button for a few seconds and you'll hear the motors take over. Magic.
To remove that you'd have to be inside the door :-(
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:33 PM   #8
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This is exactly why I love this forum. folks willing to help out and show you as much as they can, complete with pictures and everything.

Hats off to you Rick, for trying to be so helpful!!
:Blush: - there are only so many of us old London Aire owners, so we gotta stick together and help each other figure out on these problems. Maybe this will get more old coach owners involved???

The factory can't help, these things are 20 years old and the people you talk to weren't there when they were built. Maybe some of the old timer people that were there would see the coach and say "yeah I remember when we built those" but would they remember why the slide controller was installed under the sink just under the counter on the outside wall (grrr) - no. I think it is up to us, the members here, to help each other, especially on the old ones. I am no expert on mine (yet) and I know nothing about the new ones. I help where I can.
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RKins View Post
If you are talking about the "outside" pic that has the key slot - I wondered the same thing for a while until "I pushed it". In the very first pic I posted you can see some motors on the inside of the door. Pressing this "magic button" activates those motors and actually pulls the door into it's latched position for you - all you do is get it close and push and hold the button for a few seconds and you'll hear the motors take over. Magic.
To remove that you'd have to be inside the door :-(
Got it! Thanks. Looks like a bolt head in the picture. Looking closer I can see not. So if the nut was removed from the magic button would it fall inside? If so would the resulting hole give enough access to fish a wire/tool in there? Just another crazy thought. If that could work wouldn't matter if the switch fell in as it could be replaced once the door was open.

Cheers
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:34 AM   #10
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Got it! Thanks. Looks like a bolt head in the picture. Looking closer I can see not. So if the nut was removed from the magic button would it fall inside? If so would the resulting hole give enough access to fish a wire/tool in there? Just another crazy thought. If that could work wouldn't matter if the switch fell in as it could be replaced once the door was open.

Cheers
Great thinking but there is no way to remove the button unless you do it from inside. There is no nut on the outside. The thing you see at the bottom is part of the switch, paint is coming off the bottom portion. What I didn't try was prying up/out on the switch to see if it would pop out. I'll let Bill try that. ;-)

If he broke the cable (or it came loose) that you see in the pic attached to the bottom of the bar, this approach is moot since it controls the latching mechanism. Unless he can grab it with needle nose pliers.

We'll have to wait and see when he comes back.
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:25 AM   #11
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Many thanks and Some Answers to Your Questions

First, many, many thanks for the posts on this topic. Rick and Larrie's explanations and photos are over the top!

Some good questions have been asked and I'll do my best to answer them. The handle is unlocked and the paddle moves freely - so freely in fact that I believe I've broken the cable that connects it to the latch release or it's become disconnected. I will try drilling the hole suggested in the sloping part of the handle and see what I can see. If I can get at the cable end and pull on it, I should be able to release the door. Of course, if the cable is broken at the latch end or somewhere in the middle, that won't do much good.

If drilling the hole doesn't do the trick, I'm thinking of cutting out the whole handle assembly - not cutting into the door but cutting off the flange around the handle so that the entire handle assembly falls into the compartment. I think that would leave a hole big enough to find a way to trip the latch open. Of course if I do that, I'll need to buy a new handle assembly. Has anyone done that; know the handle manufacturer, etc?? It looks like the handle might a TriMark "030-0450 2-Point Paddle Handle" but I'm not sure. See it at this link

http://www.trimarkcorp.com/en/media/...tech%20pub.pdf

And I guess Newmar parts might be able to supply a handle assembly.

Once again thanks for everyone's help! I'll let you know what drilling the hole yields.

Bill Green
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:04 AM   #12
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If it's floppy and it's unlocked then I think you're right. So note to myself, don't pull real hard on the handle. Not that you would even think about it though, you're trying to open the door. Fingers crossed that the cable just came loose at the bar of the handle. If it did I imagine the cable will drop down inside a bit, might have to fish for it. The cable seems to go from the handle to the right and then in a curve go to the bottom of the door and across to the left side. Hopefully it'll be easy to find.
I didn't look to see if a single width bay door works the same as the full width bay doors. My inverter bay is a single width. I will check today when I get home.

That link to the handle does look close to what we have.
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:21 PM   #13
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I looked at all the doors and all the latches are driven from the left mechanism.
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Old 02-27-2018, 09:31 AM   #14
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Problem Solved!

My thanks again to everyone who provided input and suggestions. Itís taken a while but Iíve finally resolved this issue. Hereís the blow-by-blow. I hope itís useful to others.

1. After mulling this over and examining the doors I could open, it seemed to me that the cable between the handle and the latch trip had to be broken or disconnected. The only way I could think of to reach the trip was through the hole in the door normally filled by the handle. I figured that if I cut off the flange around the handle on the exterior of the door, then the whole handle asssembly would fall into the compartment. I should be able to reach through the open hole and trip the latch open. So I ordered a new handle assembly from Newmar - Item Number 04358. $188.

2. The new handle finally arrived. Itís a Tri-Mark handle but came via PTL Engineering. PTLís part number is 009-048. Iím guessing that PTL modifies the Tri-Mark handle by adding the switch and boot. Or maybe PTL made the door lift assembly for Newmar.

3. After looking at the new handle assembly, I decided the easiest way to remove the outer flange would be to drill a ring of holes around the central bolt that ties the whole assembly together. Itís made of die cast aluminum so drilling it should be easy. I did that and used an old flat screwdriver to break out the material between the holes. As I had hoped, the assembly fell into the compartment and I was able to reach in, trip the latch and open the door.

4. I found that the cable had pulled out of the crimped-on ring terminal that is used to attach the cable to the handle. The handle was effectively disconnected from the latch.

5. I crimped the ring back on the cable (securely) and installed the new handle without too much trouble. The whole thing took about 90 minutes. Except for the fact that that the new handle is black, everything is back to normal and I can now access my inverter/charger when needed.

I have some photos but the slow internet connection at my location seems to be preventing me from attaching them.

Thanks again for everyoneís help.

Bill Green
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