Malfunctioning door strut on 2014 Broadway

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Post by Quilter on Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:47 pm

Our last van, a Bessacarr, had, when we bought it new, a hydraulic strut on top which enabled the door to open about 120 deg. It needed quite a lot of effort to push the door open and it did stay in place, even in quite strong winds. The door itself soon gave problems ( leaks ) and was eventually replaced with a different type. This had no stay at all and opened fully to latch into a positive clip in the side of the van. After a few years the plastic clip became worn and needed replacing and the same thing happened again just before we exchanged the van.

I wonder about magnetic catches - modern magnets being both strong and light, and a differently positioned or longer cable.

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Post by Pete Taylor on Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:37 pm

The idea of a hydraulic strut sounds very sensible on a door which does not open 180 to be held by a catch. Ours is already beginning to annoy me and we've not used it on a windy day yet!

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Post by Claytaa on Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:39 pm

Get the bungees ready!
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Post by Pete Taylor on Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:45 pm

Claytaa wrote:Get the bungees ready!
In the old days, you could just get one of those kids from down a coal mine to open and close yer door...   wave

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Post by gef on Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:28 pm

yes i think a lot of people have suffered from this problem and i have as well with the first sign being a small bolt on the floor what i did not realise was that there was a plastic disc which had dissapeared which is to  take the strain from the  bolt turning.
my solution was to make a swan neck of the strap so that both ends were in line.  then i did use screw lock but did not do the bolt up to tight to allow some movement.  12 months later and all is well.  it would be so easy for the manufactors to do a swan neck and aviod these probs
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Post by Cymro on Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:49 pm

gef: any chance of a photo, please? It would help to understand your solution, which seems to work well. Thanks.
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Post by ajrm on Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:02 pm

I just ordered a new stay from Baileys ( thanks for the link Paul). I'll fit the new stay pivot with an e clip, but try and make a neater job of it. Mine at the moment is a but rough and ready where I fitted the clip, but now I know what I'm doing, it should look nicer. The nylon widget has broken too, so that needs replacing, I'll take some photos as I go along.
Gef, I would be interested in your mod too.
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Post by inspiredron on Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:53 pm

gef wrote:
my solution was to make a swan neck of the strap so that both ends were in line. 
Do you mean a double kink in the stay? A bit like my suggeation of bending the stay down but then bending it straight again like a very shallow unfolded Z?

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Post by ajrm on Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:32 am

New door strut came yesterday. Looking at the nylon slider and how it fits the arm, there is a square section at the end of the round hole that clips into the groove round the end of the pin. This is quite a firm fit, but it doesn't take much imagination to figure out that once the pin is pulled out ( after the door opens too wide) it damages this square section and the pin then just rests in the hole and pulls out.
I have fitted the new strut as it came, if it pulls out again, I will either fit the old strut or modify the new one with an e clip.
See photos

New strut and slider showing square end to the hole
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My mod to the original strut showing the e clip in place
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Post by inspiredron on Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:33 am

Your picture confirms what I found out this morning while tinkering with my battery issues.
I tried to lift the strut out of the slider and it was obviously retained by something. I did not try to unclip it! 
As you say, if the wind catches the door then the excess strain is quite likely to wreck that nylon square. Your circlip solution is the obvious answer - my ideas of bending the strut were clearly silly and should be consigned to the bin.

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Post by artheytrate on Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:07 pm

Checked my door today and as others the screw was working loose so I've put a dab of silicone on the screw thread and tightened it back up. I will see how it now goes.

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Post by dash on Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:58 pm

thanks to paulmold for bailey door catch link and all the tips for redoing catch, also took the opportunity with the door fully back to tack the cable by the door down so if it  is forced back by the wind again the cable will not be pulled out 

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Post by Pete Taylor on Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:11 pm

Claytaa wrote:Get the bungees ready!
Sorted, bungee around wheel spoke to bottom edge of door- not the cheapo scratchy wire-ended bungee, the real Perfect Bungee!

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Post by Pete Taylor on Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:13 pm

Really sorted(!):

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Here you can see the previously mentioned "Perfect bungee" plus a "prop-thingy" for keeping the door off it's stop. It consists of two walking-stick rubber ferrules (couple of quid for four, from e-bay) and an extendable tube, made from a cut-down telescopic squeegee handle, which was hanging about in the garage. This could just as easily have bee a piece of timber dowel, etc. but with the variable length it is easy to adjust for the position of the wheel spoke. It is resting on the brake caliper and the door edge; I pull the door closed slightly (against the bungee tension)  before fitting it; this way the door is not fully open against the flimsy slider-gizmo which this thread is about!   drinksallround

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Post by Dave 'R' on Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:40 pm

This is a good idea for a Stanton, Pete, but would not work on my Broadway FB because the wheel is on the rear of the door which means the door opens away from the wheel, not towards it.
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Post by Pete Taylor on Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:12 pm

Dave 'R' wrote:This is a good idea for a Stanton, Pete, but would not work on my Broadway FB because the wheel is on the rear of the door which means the door opens away from the wheel, not towards it.
Hmmmm, I looked on the A-S website and did not notice that the Broadway FB and EL duo had a different door position from all the other Broadways. so_sad

Looks like it will not work on Burford or Malvern either, as their doors are also amidships.

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Post by Quilter on Sat May 23, 2015 2:13 pm

An update on our door strut: AS replaced the strut at the first service earlier this month. We used the van for 2 further days at Broadway before coming to France. Two days into our French trip and the wretched peg has come out of the slider yet again, leaving the door swinging freely and putting excess stress on the wire that operates the central locking of the hab door. We've been through all the work-arounds detailed earlier in this thread and none of them last beyond closing and reopening the door. So, the fix lasted 4 days.

We now have a month of increasing temperatures when we will have to guy or bungee the door open. Surely there has to be a permanent fix ?

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Post by ajrm on Sat May 23, 2015 5:33 pm

I don't think there is a permanent fix with the original stay. The metal peg is only held onto the slider ( or perhaps it should be the slider is held onto the metal peg) by 4 very small pieces of nylon which seat in a small slot on the peg ( its like a square section at the end of the hole that the peg goes through, and the square section sits inside the slot on the end of the peg). Once the peg is pulled out, the bits of nylon break off or loose their edges and cannot hold onto the peg.
I found the best way to keep the peg attached was to use an e clip over the end of the peg, but I am sure this would come off if a particularly strong gust of wind took the door.
At the moment, we have a new strut fitted and are very careful when we open the door. It has lasted beyond the last 3 weeks in France in high winds and we are away there for another 6 weeks next month.
Most of the vans we saw in France have no stay, but the doors open fully and engage in a catch on the van body. 
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Post by Quilter on Sat May 23, 2015 7:02 pm

We used to have a Bessacarr before this. The original door had a gas strut / damper at the top which seemed to do the job but the door could not be folded back fully ( though it did open further than on this Broadway.)

The door had to be replaced and the new door had no provision for a strut at the top, it opened fully and was held in place with a peg arrangement which clamped into a grip on the van wall. This arrangement we really liked and it worked very well for much of the 7 years we had the van and was only needing a new clamp and peg when we sold the van.

We asked AS if we could have the same arrangement on this van rather than a replacement strut but it seems there is nowhere strong enough on the side of the van to attach the clamp that the peg docks into.

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Post by Pete Taylor on Wed May 27, 2015 8:51 pm

Of course the inevitable happened in Caithness... Mrs T opened the door and it flew out of her hand and whacked against the side of the van. The pin which fits into the slider had popped out; as I'm only 6 ft I could not see what was going on on top of the door!
Back home after 3 weeks and I'll look at it tomorrow.

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Post by Pete Taylor on Thu May 28, 2015 10:26 am

I have now removed the stay and it seems, as previously suggested, there is a problem at both ends of it! What a very "un-German" piece of engineering design this is.

At the door frame a M5 countersunk screw fits into a nylon insert in the frame. As there is only 5mm of thread through the nylon, this in not too strong; mine shows signs of having some green thread-locking solution being applied but, as thread-lock does not work well on plastic type fittings, the screw was already a couple of turns loose. The simplest solution to this seems to be to fit a longer screw and apply some thread-lock to the tapped hole in the nylon insert before putting the countersunk screw in; hopefully this will leave a "dollup" of thread lock above the nylon insert on the exposed part of the screw thread. This is still not a perfect solution, as the attachment is only as good as the fit of the nylon insert into the door frame but at least the screw will not fall out.

The pin through the nylon slider, as previously mentioned, seems to have been a "click-fit" into the circlip groove but the exact method of attachment is unclear- I'm assuming that something has fallen out, I cannot imagine what the function of the square hole is.
My plan of attack is to make a version of the nylon slider out of alluminium (I was a precision tool-maker in a former life) this will be attached to the pin using a C-clip into the existing groove.
I take the point that this strut is a sacrificial element in the door design but the best that can be said that is that it is a p*ss-poor one, having two elements in shear and relying upon the pin to pop out when forces at 90 degrees overwhelm the click-fit. With the Taylor-Made Mk1 version, in extremis, the circlip will pop off and I'll at least have a spare one on board; I may have to "spring" the C-clip slightly to make it the weakest link in the chain.
Given the huge number of failures in service reported on the web, it would be so simple for Hartal to redesign this assembly using proper Engineering principles and more appropriate materials (for retro-fit?); I can only assume that they are content to charge an eye-watering amount for replacement parts. Thank goodness they do not manufacture aircraft door components!

Pictures to follow, if I have time to make up the pieces before we set off for France next week.

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