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Old 12-30-2012, 03:29 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Anacortes, WA
Posts: 1,169
Stow-bin door hinge structure problem (long)

First, let me apologise for the length of the post, but it's a story of structural damage and repair that may save other GT owners some grief.

When we first bought our '02 Georgetown (used in '10), there was a slight mis-alignment of the forward top corner (hinge line) of the door of the stow-bin immediately aft of the front wheel-well (driver's side).

It has gradually become worse, up to a point where I could see inside the bin through the gap. While at our daughter's place over Chrismas, s-i-l and I took a close look at it. The damage was bad enough, and caused by a fundamental design issue, that I think it's worth alerting GT owners.

The stowbin doors are all on a common hinge mechanism. A "J"-shape piece of aluminum runs the full length of the bins between the wheel-wells. The doors are slotted into the curved bottom part of the "J". That part works fine. The problem is with the way the "J"-section is attached.

Behind it is a beam, made of very thin-gauge aluminum channel, pop-riveted to a length of plywood. This "beam" hangs from steel L-brackets spaced along the beam at about 9" intervals which are attached to the front face of the stow-bin structure, above the weather stripping. The door hinge J-section is fastened to the plywood of the beam by countersunk woodscrews. Unfortunately, the plywood is not waterproofed or sealed, and the forward 10" or so had rotted out. The woodscrews intended to hold the hinge channel had nothing to hold onto.

We took of the decorative end cap at the forward end of the stow-bin attachment and pulled out the decorative trim (very carefully) back to the middle of the second stowbin. We slid the door out forward, then sliced through the J-section between the first and second bins. We then cut through the aluminum and wood "beam' at the same location and removed it.

We made up a replacement beam using the salvaged aluminum pieces and a new piece of outdoor waterproof plywood. We reattached the new piece of beam using the existing hangers, except at the forward end. At that location, we decided to drill through the forward-most of the existing woodscrew locations all the way through the stow-bin wall. We then attached the beam with a 5/16" bolt all the way through, with a large-diameter washer and a Nyloc nut. For additional strength, we also ran screws through the steel angle that the beam sits on, tying it down in the vertical axis.

It went back together very well and the door no longer sticks out of the side of the body. I'm planning to go along the other bins during the off-season and put through bolts at two places on each door. I can't imagine what the person who designed this mess was smoking. I hope he's not still working in the industry!

I didn't take pics of the damage, but if anyone wants to see what the repair looks like, send me a private message and I'll pass on some digital images.

Frank and Eileen
No longer RVers or FR owners
F and E Damp is offline   Reply With Quote

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