Rear entry door 

I have too many hours invested in my camper's rear door!  I wanted something unique, and my floor plan called for the door to be mounted at the rear of the camper.  Since the lower section would be located on the angled rear surface, I built steps into it so that when open, we could climb up into the camper.  The design was also a natural for remote release.  (There's an MPEG at the bottom of this page.) 

 

Since the rear door is an integral part of the structure, construction began while building the box...

 

The door has dual rotary latches - one on each side.  These are automotive-quality, and provide positive, safe, two-stage latching to keep the door shut.  Sometimes called "bear-claw" latches, they are welded into the door and close around adjustable strike bolts with retainers welded to the frame...

 

 

Inside the lower section, you will find two solenoid latch actuators which allow remote electrical opening of the door with a key chain transmitter.  (There's also a mechanical release outside, which we use 99% of the time.)

 

  Downward movement is slowed with passive hydraulic extension dampers, and limited by quick-release cables commonly used on Ford pick-up tail gates.  In the photo below, you can also see the door jamb contacts required for the solenoids...

 

 

Only the lower door section is electrically released.  While the upper section has gas springs to raise it, I mounted them in such a way to hold the door closed when it is vertical.  The gas spring force required to automatically raise the door from a closed position would make the door very difficult to shut when open - especially for my wife.  It's also good to keep the upper section closed to retain heat when camping in the winter.  

To see a short 600K MPEG of the rear door in action, click the photo below.  

 

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