Given time and enough use the parts on your RV will wear out. One item that likely gets a lot of use is the door holder. When the weather is nice and you want to have the exterior door open a bracket to hold the door in place is handy. Replacing the door holder on your RV is a simple task. Before you get started you need to figure out what type of door holder is currently in place. You also need to decide if you want to keep that style, or switch to a different type of door holder. Here is what you need to know if you replace the door holder on your RV.
Types of RV Door Holders
There are several options when it comes to RV door holders. Many RVs feature a hook and keeper latch, also known as a T-latch. This setup is simply two different brackets. One bracket features a moveable arm with a wider end. The end may be shaped like a capital letter ‘T,’ thus the name T-latch. The second bracket features a slot, or keeper, that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. The arm latch bracket is attached to the door or wall, and the keeper bracket is attached to the other. When the T-latch arm is placed in the notch of the second bracket the wide end catches and holds the door open.
The second RV door holder option is a clip that is the same as the baggage door holder. The clip attaches to the exterior wall of the RV. When the clip is opened it can be placed on the opened exterior door to hold the door in place.
Most door holders come be made from plastic or metal. Plastic RV door holders, especially the hook and keeper style, stretch, snap and generally wear out relatively quickly. Door holders made from metal are more durable and can withstand regular use and exposure to the elements. Metal door holders are typically more expensive, but they will last longer than plastic alternatives.
Both latch styles are easy to use and dependable, so select whichever option you prefer. I recommend using metal parts whenever possible, because you will not need to replace them as often.
Here’s what you need to replace the door holder on your RV
– Replacement bracket(s) of your choosing, either a hook and keeper or clip style
– Hardware to attach the bracket(s) to your RV
– Sealant to weatherize screw holes, either outdoor rated caulk and/or butyl tape
– Powered drill
– Paper towels or cleaning wipes
– Plastic scraper
– Mineral spirits
– Pen or marker
Step-by-Step Instructions: Hook and Keeper Door Holder
When using a hook and keeper holder either bracket can be installed on the door or the wall of your RV. Make sure the keeper bracket is right side up. Gravity holds the arm into the keeper, so if the bracket is upside down the hook arm will fall out. The arm piece usually does not have a right side up or down, but confirm this before installing. The latch arm should fold flat against the bracket and hang down when not in use, so if the arm only folds down one way that is the orientation you want to maintain. Watch this video from RVing Live the Dream to see what each step should look like. Here is what you need to do when replacing or adding new hook and keeper holders on your RV.
Prepare the Area
Using a drill remove the old brackets from the door and the wall. Using the plastic scraper, paper towels and mineral spirits clean both areas of any adhesive, sealant or residue. The new hardware should fit flush against the surface of the door and wall. Any leftover adhesive or sealant may create a gap between the bracket and the wall where the elements can seep in. You will need to apply new sealant later on, and if any old adhesive is still present it may prevent the new sealant from adhering.
Double-Check the New Hardware
Double-check that the new hardware fits your RV. If the screw holes in the new brackets line up to the existing holes you can reuse them. If the screw holes on the new brackets do not match the holes in your RV you will need to drill pilot holes. Hold the new bracket in place and using a pen mark where the screws need to go. Using your drill and a bit that can penetrate the siding material, drill holes where you marked with the pen.
The screws used to hold the bracket to the door need to be the proper length. Screws that are too long will go through the door. Hold the new screws up to the door to determine if they are the right length. You can also measure them against the old screws to confirm if they are good to use. If the new screws are too long you can reuse the old screws, as long as they are still in good condition.
Weatherize the Area
You need to ensure moisture, either from dew, rain or even washing your RV does not get into the holes created by the screws. Fill all of the holes with outdoor rated caulk or cut a piece of butyl tape to fit the back of each bracket. If you had to drill new holes, and the holes from the previous bracket are not covered by the new bracket, fill those holes with caulk or sealant.
Install the Brackets
Place the door bracket on the exterior of the door and line it up to the holes for the screws. Place the proper screws in the holes and tighten using the drill. As the screws are tightened and pull the bracket against the door this will push some of the caulk or the butyl tape out around the edges. When using butyl tape this is fine and once the bracket is secure you can move on to the next step. When using caulk clean the excess caulk, using a damp paper towel or wet wipes. The sooner you clean up the extra caulk the easier it is to remove.
After you have installed the door bracket move on to the wall bracket. Double-check that the bracket lines up to the holes for the screws and the keeper and notch match up. If everything lines up repeat the same steps you followed to install the door bracket for the wall bracket. For the wall bracket you can most likely use the included screws, since the wall is thicker and there is no risk of the screws being too long.
Step-by-Step Instructions: Clip Door Holder
If installing a clip RV door holder you will go through essentially the same process. To see the steps in action look at theses photos from Road Work Play. Here is what you need to do when replacing or adding a new clip bracket on your RV.
Prepare the Area
Remove the old clip holder. Clean the area to remove any butyl tape, sealant or adhesive that may have been used.
Double-Check the New Hardware
Hold the new holder clip in place to make sure it fits and will secure the door. When in place, the clip should open facing the door with the hinge on the opposite side from the door. Check to see if the new clip lines up to the existing screw holes. If the holes for the screws do not line up, hold the new clip in place and use a pen or marker to indicate where the screws go. Using your drill create pilot holes for the screws.
Weatherize the Area
Fill all holes with sealant, or cut a piece of butyl tape to the size of the bracket and place that between the clip and the RV exterior. If you had to drill new holes and the new bracket does not cover the existing holes fill those in with caulk or sealant, too.
Install the Bracket
At this point you can go ahead and using your drill attach the new clip door holder to your RV. Clean up any caulk that seeps out as the bracket is tightened into place.
RV door holders are simple to install and handy to use. Understanding your options and choosing the style you prefer ensures you can focus on enjoying time spent with family and friends RVing and not being frustrated by broken holders or a door that is always closed. Rounding up the correct parts and tools ahead of time and understanding the installation steps makes it quick and easy to replace a broken door holder. I hope you enjoyed these step-by-step instructions. If you did enjoy this tutorial or if you have any questions let us know in the comments. Please share this article if you liked it and think it will help others.