Sunday, July 28, 2013

Always Something To Fix

It seems like there is something always breaking and needs to be fixed on the RV.  Nothing major, but items that just break under normal wear and tear.

One common item that falls into this category is the Cabinet Drawer Catch with Keeper or drawer latch which is used to latch the drawer and keep them closed during travel.  

It is made out of plastic or something that looks like plastic and the hook portion always breaks after a while.  Last time we had it in the shop, four of them were replaced and now it seems one breaks every month or so.
Original drawer latch installed on the RV.
Hook latch on drawer that came with the RV.
Drawer latch hook catch that is attached to cabinet face.

I guess that the drawer latch hook is the weakest part of the entire system because that is always what breaks.  Sometimes it may be due to shutting the drawer with some type of obstruction in the latch that breaks it, but also just plain old wear and tear weakens it to the point of breaking.
Broken drawer latch hook.
Last time we had the RV in for service they gave me a couple extra drawer latches to replace any more that may break, but I used them up in just a couple of months.

So after looking for a while, I found some at Lowe's that were a good replacement and for only $0.99 each rather than the $5.57 each for the original plastic ones I could order from the manufacture.

Slightly different from the hook type latch, this Double Roller Catch holds just as well as the original latches and hopefully last much longer since the hook or catch on the drawer is made out of metal and not plastic.
Replacement drawer latch I found at Lowe's.
After taking the drawer out of the cabinet and off of its slide arms, I had to remove the screws to get the busted latch hook off the drawer. 
Latch hook removed from drawer.
Then I had to do the same for the latch hook catch attached to the face of the cabinet.  The old screw holes made nice alignment guides for the new latch hardware. I could not use the existing screw holes, so had to drill or punch new ones, but the old holes helped me line up the replacement drawer latch.
Removed latch hook catch from cabinet frame.
I then attached the new latch so that the catch rollers were flush with the front of the cabinet face.  This is the trickiest part since the drawer catch and rollers need to meet perfectly to get a good grip.
Latch rollers installed flush with cabinet face.
Below is how the latch roller should look after being installed flush and centered on the drawer.  This is where the original latch screw holes helped me align everything on the face of the cabinet and drawer.
New latch rollers installed centered and flush by using original screw holes as a guide.
I then centered the roller catch between the old screw holes from the original latch hook and made sure it was the same height as the rollers.
Drawer catch installed to align with rollers.
So that is how I'm replacing any of the original drawer latches that have broken or will break in the future.  It is a lot cheaper than buying original parts and I'm sure they will last longer.  They do just as good of a job holding the drawers shut while driving down the road also.

Another item that seems to break easily from normal wear and tear is our sleeper sofa.  It has a coil spring mattress with an air bladder and pillow top,  The air mattress had a built in fan that made inflating and deflating very quick.  We have been through two of the air bladders within the past two years.  They always seem to develop a hole right in a seam, where it can not be patched.

The first time it busted, we happened to be at the sofa manufacture in Elkhart, IN and they gave us a new bladder for free.  The second time, was while we were here in Durham, NC and so rather than messing with the sofa manufacture about buying a replacement, I bought a Coleman air mattress to replace it for $40.00.  So far it is working fine and is just as easy to inflate and deflate with the battery powered pump that came with it.

 Our sleeper sofa with blow up mattress.

Luckily, the Coleman replacement mattress' air nozzle is at the bottom middle of the mattress where the mattress cover zips up, so is in a convenient location to use the air pump to blow it up.
 Coleman air mattress nozzle at the foot of the bed.

Another issue we had with the sleeper sofa is that one of the screws that holds the expanding frame together broke off.  This caused the left side of the  bed to not fold up properly and also let that side of the couch sit lower than the right side, which was starting to wear out the cushion.

 Busted side of sleeper sofa.

So I drilled two holes through the frame and put 1/4 inch bolts there to hold it in place.  I had to have my nine year old daughter, Courtney, to feed the bolts through from the left because my hands were way too big.  I probably did not have to use two bolts, but did anyway.  There is more than enough frame to support the two holes without weakening it.

The screw sticking out on the left between the two bolt heads is the one that broke off in the first place.  There were already holes in the inner frame, so I just had to drill through the outer frame to insert the bolts into.  I'm sure I will be doing this again to the right side of the sofa someday too.
Repair job with two bolts through the sleeper sofa fold out frame.
 It seems there is always something to be done to the RV to maintain or fix.  I'm just happy that I can fix the simple things without having to always take it to the shop.

The next major maintenance item for the RV is having the transmission serviced, which I will leave to the professionals.  I was told it will be around $1200.00 to have done, but is a requirement to ensure that we have no major issues with the transmission later on.

I'm also happy that God has given me the knowledge to be mechanical and handy around the RV.  It is a mental battle at times, but usually once I put my mind to it and do some research, I can fix it myself and save a bunch of money.

There are plenty of times I would have loved to pay someone else to do the work and have at times taken that route, but usually I will do the research and then attempt it by myself or seek the help of an expert, who can help guide me.

So next time a drawer latch breaks on you, or you need to fix your sofa sleeper, you may be able to do what I have done and save yourself some money.  I will not vouch for saving your sanity though.

Until next time, God bless you and your loved ones!

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Don, Misty, and Kids...


  1. Hi Donald, we are a full time family of 5 traveling in a 2012 40G as well and have experienced some of the same issues you have. As for the sleeper sofa, we had the same issues and had the frame and bladder replaced at the factory a few months back then 2 weeks ago the bladder stopped holding air so I called Fleetwood and they suggested I call the manufacture of the bed. The manufacture was great, I told them the issue and they sent me 1 via UPS and without any hassle. Now for the frame, I see you have yours out with the arm rests still attached in the picture, when we went to Fleetwood they told us that was the reason it the frame busted, they need to be removed first before pulling out the bed. I did not even know they could be removed but you have to pull up on them pretty hard and they come out, getting them back in is another story. This has resolved all our frame issues and everything is working fine.

    Safe travels to you and your family,

    Scott Peddle

    1. Scott,

      That is news to me also. When we took delivery of the RV it was a Friday afternoon and they rushed through the walk through of how everything works and did not cover that one.

      I appreciate the info!