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Old 06-21-2013, 06:53 PM   #1
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2009 Bounder 35H - Main door handle is malfunctioning

So, we went camping this week and, while we were out, the handle on the rig busted. We can no longer get in, if the door is latched. The door opens from the inside but not from outside. We had to toss my youngest daughter through the driver's window just to gain access. (Luckily, it was unlocked and we opened it before chucking poor Shelby in...) Still, she did not come out unscathed.
I've since pulled the handle mechanism apart and it seems like the small horizontal metal piece that actuates the latch from the outside handle is not up to task. When the handle is assembled, it feels like that metal piece merely scraps another metal piece and then brushes by it. Maybe it's too short? I don't know but I'm sure this has previously happened to someone else. Just wondering what the final resolution was for you.
Thanks in advance for any ideas you have.
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:24 PM   #2
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Location: Oswego, NY
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Door lock!!

Jeff,
Me again, had the same problem, shoved my 19yr old daughter thru the kitchen window (only one open!!) I drilled a small 1/16" hole on the end of the transfer rod and placed a 1/8' washer and a cotter pin thru the hole and it has been fine since 2009!! Be ready for the luggage doors to do the same thing, use the same fix! My list of problems I had with my NEW 2008 Bounder goes on forever! Currently have an overhead cabinet pulling away from the ceiling and wall, a shower surround that cracked in three places and a generator that will not run in temp's over 90 degrees F!! Don't give up the ship, the floor plan is GREAT and very comfortable. Our '97 Fleetwood Flair gave us 10 years of ZERO problems!!

2008 Bounder
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:08 PM   #3
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So, basically, you made a mechanical a linkage with a cotter pin? That's genius. Sure beats $280 for a new door handle assembly. I guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:16 AM   #4
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So, yesterday, I pulled the entire handle assembly apart to check it out. The construction and assembly was substandard. Embarrassing, really. Pot metal materials and screws that, at 3/4", were too long and would bottom out before allowing both the inner and outer handle sections to seat properly on the door. I replaced them with 1/2" screws. Issue resolved. I'm not sure how to post pictures here without a URL but I have pics if anyone cares to see them.
Upon further observation, I noticed that the small piece of metal that extends inward from the bottom of the outside handle is only just barely long enough to contact the inside metal piece to operate the latch. Got pics of this, too. I had to carefully bend the metal piece to ensure it will always contact the other piece. Now my handle works as it should. And, I didn't drop +/-$280 on another substandard FW product. Guess I can spend that dough on new house batteries. Yeah me!
What makes me pound my head against the wall is how nobody at FW ever saw (or cared to see) this as a potential problem for owners. It would have been as simple as making either or both of those metal pieces longer by about 1/4" or reshaping them to make better contact, to ensure that problem never arose. Instead, they ignored it and now there are who-knows-how-many owners out there with this potential issue.
I hope the new FW entity is putting more care into the construction of new coaches. Otherwise, they're probably going to find themselves in a situation not unlike the old FW folks.
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