Popup Camper Stepper Door Fix

So, on our last camping trip our stepper door latch failed and the door popped open while we were driving down the highway. Surprising to say the least! Paula and I grabbed the Gorilla Tape and made some hasty repairs and we made it home without further incident. However, after further inspection we determined that it was time to replace the door latch that the previous owners had installed. It was a garage door t-handle and it really was not working out. To make matters worse it would not lock and it would spin all the way around which is what caused the failure. If you moved the handle to far then the latch bars which are supposed to stick out of the door and engage the body of the camper can fall into the door.

So, after checking out my new favorite site The Popup Princess to see how they did it and then heading on over to Coleman Popup Parts I purchased a new locking handle and the spreader bars. I also picked up a new rivet gun and 3/16″ rivets from Amazon.com.

First I used a 3/16″ drill bit to drill out the original rivets all the way around the door.

This would allow the door skin to separate from the door and grant me access to the latch.

I had to remove the top plate on the door as well. That gave me better access to the interior so I could slide my hand inside and install the new hardware.

With the old handle out it was time to install the new one and the new spreader bars. The handle is secured on by two screws through the door skin and there was a small metal plate on the back as well to help add some strength. Unfortunately I forgot to get some pictures of it while I was working. This is the picture after the new handle and bars were already installed.

Now, when you are putting in the new spreader bar there are two things to make sure you do correctly. First make sure that the bar is lined up correctly with the square post on the handle so that when you turn the handle the bar swings the correct way and either extends or retracts the spreader bars. So how I did it was to turn the handle flat (as if it was closed) and then made sure the spreader bar was fully extended. The second thing to watch out for (I messed this one up!) is that the ends of the spreader bar are bent slightly to allow them to catch the slots on the body. If you put the bar on backwards so those bends are facing down toward the ground then they will never catch the slots when you close the door.
Instead make sure they point up so they are angled correctly when the door closes. See the picture below for the correct installation.

Once the handle is working correctly, you start by putting the top plate back on. This holds the flooring down on the step, and the skin fits into a slot on the top as well. I used a clamp to hold everything in place while I installed the rivets.

Once all the rivets were installed, the door was tested and it worked perfectly! I am so happy with how it came out!

I purchased all the hardware from Coleman Popup Parts they shipped quickly and everything fit perfectly.