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Accessing a basement compartment


proxima

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I have been living in my RV (2002 Damon Challenger) for a couple of weeks now, and yesterday I ran into an issue when I was going to hook up my lavatory services. Apparently I am unable to access my bay. When I lift up the handle, the latch does not move, and the door will not open. I am lucky enough that I am parked next to restrooms, but I will like to access my bay and drain the gray and black tanks. What will be a good way to access the bay? I can post pics if you guys need it.

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Sometimes they want to stick .

 

Very true. The lock bars metal on metal can get a touch of corrosion sometimes as well so the added friction will hang on pretty tight. Shooting a goodly amount of WD-40 or the like between the cracks where the bars are located might also help break the friction lock.

 

Some latches you're able to lift the handle and use a small screw driver to help assist the turn mechanism, but depends on your latch.

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Some slam latches have a pot metal actuating bar that sometimes cracks at the center pivot point. I've used an 'L' shaped piece of wire coat hanger to slip up under the hatch and into the latch cavity so I can push up on the tapered latch bolt to release it. Look at a working bin latch to get the idea. And be patient! I replaced all of my pot metal bars with steel bars I cut from 1/8" flat stock.

Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F-53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/brake system

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I messed around with it some more today and still no luck, it could be a bar on the inside, looks like there is no way for me to access the guts of the door. Here is the pic fully up. I've tried to pull and push the door, but nothing, even the handle will lock.

 

byb0AdC.jpg

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Can you see the bolt on each side? If you can, use an old knife blade to pry the bolt back into the door. It is spring-loaded, so when you pry it back into the door with one movement, pull out on door bottom to hold the bolt in place, re-position knife blade, then repeat until the bolt clears the latch or is fully into the door. Slide something into the opening at bottom of door (1/4" thick should do) to hold the bolt away from the catch, this will not hurt the door. Now do the other side the same way. It will be slow and tedious work so don't get discouraged.

New door latch assys. are available at most larger RV supply houses or online. This is a DIY job if you have a phillips screwdriver and pliers, Sometimes the bolt assy is held in place by pop-rivets, which must be drilled out. This of course requires a drill, bit of appropriate size, usually 1/8", new rivets and installation tool too.

utube video of replacing a broken compartment door latch:

Once you get the door open you may find it simply came loose from the pull handle and need to be repaired.

Don't tell anyone you can open a compartment door this way, even when locked_.

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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Ok, you should be able to work an 'L' shaped coat hanger wire, with about a 1" short leg, in between the door and the bin so you can push up on the latch dog until it clears the rod that it engages with. Pressing in lightly on the door while pushing up on the dog will make it easier, but it still takes patience to get it done.

Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F-53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/brake system

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Am I right that the latch has only 1 dog to engage the bottom of the bin? If it were me, I'd try the knife method that Ray suggests. If there is a single dog that makes it a less difficult job. You might be able to use two knives, one on either side of the dog and walk it upward.

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

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proxima, now that I know what your doors looks like, bend an old table knife in a Z, only with two 90* angles, then grind or file a wedge shape on the end to work/push the plastic plunger out of the latch, following my procedure, instead of using the point, which is only possible if you can see the plunger.

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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Sorry for the delays guys, been busy with work. I did managed to get my compartment door open today, and I plan to change out the handle when I get paid. A crowbar actually did the trick, and at the same time, I found a way to bypass almost all of the basement locks...

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