START HERE Hurricane Hinge, Hatch, Struts, Seals, Doors

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START HERE Hurricane Hinge, Hatch, Struts, Seals, Doors

Postby sdtripper2 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 5:02 pm

Hurricane Hinge, Hatch, Struts, Seals, Doors and More

The questions on the hatch, hinge and struts come uP so many times that maybe this post will be used for
new persons in the future as a source of information?

The threads that follow are from all pages as of 9/4/06 on the Teardrop Construction Tips & Techniques pages of T&TTT.
I haven't see as many Hurricane hinge and hatch threads in one spot and this all but complete. I know there
is much here and this should get the builder started in the right direction for sure.
Ask more specific questions and they will be answered.

This document is laid out as follows:
1) I took the most often asked questions of installation and sealing the hurricane hinge
and cut and pasted questions and responses uP front.
These threads will most likely answer the majority of questions.
Note: The quote and links at the top also point out WHAT NOT TO DO when installing the hurricane hinge.

2) Next is a picture of the Hurricane hinge and where to buy it.

3) The rest of the document hand holds the user to through a compilation of threads of the T&TTT
that one would have to search for some time to get. The value is I have
done the work of compiling these links and giving them headers.

4) At the bottom of this document is an explanation of old Vs.
New types of Hurri
cane hinges. Well worth the read for the
knowledge Grant Whipp imparts.

The most often asked question:

Hurricane hinge Installation & Sealing

Barb asked wrote:Can you share your technique for installing........meaning what are you using for the exposed strip with all the screw holes? Butyl tape, rv tape, sealant??

The short answer:
Rubber or silicone seems to be the seal of choice for Hurricane hinges.

Mike Schneider (Founder) wrote:The most common way to seal a hatch is to use a Hurricane Hinge, weather stripping where the hatch hits the sidewall, and angle to act as a sort of a protector..

Mike Schneider (Founder) wrote:Getting the hatch watertight is easy. Use Grant's hurricane hinge, and extend it over the edge an inch on each side. Then use as much foam weatherstripping on the side edges and it takes to fill the gap. And finally, build a rigid frame for the hatch, and draw it up tight with latches.

There's a lot of material in the forum on this... just do a search. If you have a problem finding a specific detail, just holler... we'll help you find it...


P.S. Here is a starting point... ... hatch#3980

Here's my hatch... ... atch#17302

And here is how Bev fixed a leaky hatch... ... hatch#7083

Dave Nathanson wrote:Have you tried calling Grant Whipp; Lil Bear in Redding, CA? That's where I got mine. I think you can ask for any length. 530-275-6728. Or web:

Oh yeah, if you look at that web page, it says any size up to 8 feet. There you go!

BE SURE TO INSTALL THE HINGE FACING THE RIGHT WAY. There is a front & a back! The front side is the solid side. (I learned that the hard way!)

Also remember to ask for your hinge material to be a tiny bit longer than the width of your trailer. Then keep the front piece longer than the back (underside) piece. So when it does rain, the front piece sticks out and the water drops off, instead of running into the lower piece of the hinge tube. Mike S has a nice rainy day photo of that posted here somewhere. Search for "hurricane hinge" and you'll find it, and my tale of woe as I found out that mine was on backwards.

Oh & BTW, I saw that some people will shorten the back (lower) hinge piece even 1.5" more & then screw a screw into the top (front) hinge piece just a 1/2" from each edge. This will keep the top hinge (attached to the galley lid) from sliding left or right. I have a photo I can post if you need to see that.
Dave Nathanson

Buy New and Improved Hurricane hinge
Picture and description courtesy of Lil Bear in Redding CA
Grant Whipp proprietor of Lil Bear for all your Teardrop parts needs:
Image ...... Click Below
(Picture by Gage) Forum testimonies of Grants excellent customer service:
Phone Grant Whipp 530-275-6728
(Parts URL from Li'l Bear USA)
"Better-Than-Hurricane" Leak proof Galley Lid Hinge

* Still 2-piece Extruded Aluminum - mill finish!
* Lower Profile Crown
* Tighter "Nesting Pocket" Within the Crown (less slop/play)
* NO Lid-to-Roof Offset!
Cost: $45.00 for 4' add $16.00 for each additional
foot up to 8' maximum length price includes S & H.

Grant Whipp explains exactly what you get with his New Hinge
How to complete the installation of the New Hinge from Li'l Bear USA ~ Clicky

See @ the bottom of this document:.....Image
For Grant Whipp's explanation
of old versus new Hurricane Hinge

UK or EU distributor
Web site Pop Brown's
A 4 ft costs �46.60
A 5ft costs �58.20
6 foot costs �68.80
Carriage is extra
Thank you for your enquiry.

Another UK supplier of original hurricane hinge

One more UK supplier of the hurricane hinge
Metal Hanging Signs website @ �47.50
Thanks "Billy Onions" for the heads uP.

Rich's list:

Load-Rated Aluminum Geared Hinges

Note: Image
Jack AKA (Madjack) talks about proper installation of Hurricane hinge:

I made my hatch 1/4" smaller than the sidewalls, so that's 1/8" space on
each side for free hatch movement.

To keep the hurricane hinge from sliding...1) cut the hinge so that it is 1"
longer overall than the width of the tear...this will act a deflector to keep
rain water from running into the galley 2) on the hatch portion of the hinge,
cut it off so that it is 1/2" shorter overall than the body portion 3) drill a
hole in the body portion of the hinge barrel 1/8th" from the ends and run a
small screw down into the hole after mounting is complete...this will keep
the hinge from sliding and from leaking.... ...also a piece of 1" x 3/16(or
1/4)" closed cell weather stripping, a couple of inches long put in-between
the closed faces of the hinge will help keep water out...we have done this
and have had no issues with the hinge...

...once again...cut the hinge AT LEAST 1" longer than than the body is
wide...this will give you 1/2" overhang on both sides to act as a rain
deflector...cut the hatch side a 1/2" shorter than the body side...this will
give you room to insert a screw into the body side barrel(both sides) to
keep the hatch hinge centered and prevent it from sliding side to side....

p.s we used insert edge molding and put an insert in it and the
should be available from your local RV dealer or online from places like

A compilation of pertinent threads:

Building the hatch instructions and Ideas

Very good threat on Hurricane hinges (Hh):

More on Hurricane hinge installation.

Steve Cox's Favorite Plastic hinge (In place of Hh) ... 123#192123
Steve Cox's plastic hinge view
Where to get Steve's hinge
McMaster-CARR products online (No direct link)
Part Number 1588A73
Harsh Environment Plastic Piano Hinge
1/8" Thickness, 2" Open Width $4.30 per Ft.
Temperature range is -40� to +180� F.

Plastic hinge UK & more thread - Monroe Plastic hinge
Albert Jagger = UK pdf ... 933#143933 ... chinge.pdf

Centaflex hinges are designed for HORIZONTAL, maintenance-free use ... hinges.pdf ... 287#193287

Another plastic "Living" hinge "Coop" (goldcoop) used
Another plastic hinge

Also do a Google search on:
Living hinge
Flexing hinges
Plastic hinges

Monroe Living Butt Hinge (Plastic Butt Hinge) = for door hinges ... -hinge.htm

TILA Continuous Hinge USA
TILA Continuous Hinges
385 Woodland Road
Goldendale, WA 98620


Pacific Time
509-773-6825 FAX

Aluminum / Elastomer membrane hinge Albert Jagger UK supplier

Hinge from Southern Teardrop geared ratchet type:
Load-Rated Aluminum geared ratchet hinges

Hinge Lubricant (One solution)
Bees wax on the door hinges ~ Bees wax isn't messy...
works in freezing weather as well... water proof too.

Hinge spar ... great view :

Hatch Info basics:

Hatch alignment as it closes

Experimental Hatch Idea

Alternative Hatch Idea

Marking notch for hatch weather stripping

Hatch insert molding exterior

Threads on seals:

Weather seal solutions:

Piano hinge sealing solutions

Sealant Aluminum ... Airstream trailers uses

Sealant & Caulking all colors advice here

What did you use to cover gap between hatch and top?

Cleaning uP silicone:

Paint off hinge

Paint & seal

Galley hatch prop stick, gas struts, springs :

Second-simplest hatch prop ... 338#329338

Allegis hatch supports
Medium Telescopic Prop (with safety pin hole 20.5" long ~ #6228 - $9.90 each)
See picture of Sam's trailer struts

Austin Locking hatch supports
Door Prop with automatic cam action, with two 90 degree angle plates,
Length extended 27 1/4", Length closed 14 3/4"

Barb's (b.bodemer) idea on poles supporting her hatch

Homemade gas gas-less struts

Water tank planning
Formulas and planning for water tanks

***Great Read***
Li'l Bear's Owner Grant Whipp's Explanation
Hurricane hinge Vs. "Better-than-Hurricane hinge"

Grant wrote this Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:24 am

(Picture by Gage)

O.K., Gang ...

... time for me to chime in here! First, let's talk about DURABILITY of the "hurricane"-type extruded aluminum hinge: it's been a PROVEN durable leak proof hinge for over 45 years! I've worked on 1960 Scad-a-bouts with the original factory-installed "hurricane" hinge that still work perfectly (although just a little worn) and remain leak proof. What more could you ask for? Whether you get the type from R.W. Johnson (some people call it the original Hurricane Hinge, and I sold it in the beginning, which has a 1/4" offset that puts the hatch plane 1/4" above the roof plane) or you get my "better-than-hurricane" hinge (which has NO offset, a lower profile "crown", and actually is one of the first versions of the extruded aluminum hinge, going all the way back to pre-1960) doesn't really matter, except in overall aesthetics. The end result is the same - if properly installed, you get a virtually leak proof galley lid hinge arrangement that you never have to worry about (at least, not for the next 45 years or so!).

Next, let's talk about bang-for-your-buck (US, Canadian, Euro, or otherwise): how much is your TIME worth? If you want to fuss around and replace the rubber/vinyl/or-other type membrane covering over/under a standard piano-type hinge every 2-5 years, by all means that's your call. If you want to experiment with unproven plastic technology (and I'll be the first to admit that plastics have come a long way in the last 50 years, and the products continue to improve), then that too is your call (and you just might be able to count yourself as a pioneer in plastics-tech applications ... ;-} ;-} ...!). But, if you want to DO-IT-ONCE-AND-FORGET-IT, I can't for the life of me understand why anyone WOULDN'T want to install a "hurricane"-type extruded aluminum hinge. And yes, I do understand that there are some folks who just have to have something to "tinker" with ... ;-} ;-} ...!

Hurricane-type hinges have been the standard in the camper-shell/truck-top industry (for over 30 years that I know of) in rear-lift, side-lift, and cargo-door applications. It wasn't until recently, with growing popularity of the totally-smooth slick-n-seamless fiberglass models, that other hinge technology has been applied there - but most of us ARE NOT building totally-smooth slick-n-seamless fiberglass teardrops or TTTs. Matter of fact, if there is a camper-shell/truck-top builder anywhere close to you, chances are pretty good that you'll be able to walk in and buy a hurricane-type hinge for a reasonable price. Or if you're reasonably clever, you can figure out a way to salvage the hinge from a damaged lift-door and adapt it to your application.

Let's be clear, though - I'm NOT saying that hurricane-type hinges are the ONLY (or even the BEST) way to go! What I AM saying is that they are the most PROVEN & RELIABLE way to go, especially if that is a particular priority in the overall scheme of your trailer and camping plans. The initial cost MIGHT seem a little steep, but you'll be thankful for your INVESTMENT in the l-o-n-g run.

One final note about "hurricane"type hinges:
1) Teardrop Fix-It Shop's hinge is NOT a "hurricane"-type - it is an extruded aluminum version of the original FORMED stainless steel hinges originally found on KIT Kamper teardrops. It is a good product, and may fit your needs perfectly.
2) R.W. Johnson's hinge is, as I said above, sometimes called the original Hurricane Hinge, has the 1/4" offset, and is an excellent product that may fit your needs perfectly. It is also available from other sources, both on the 'net and otherwise.
3) Li'l Bear's "better-than-hurricane" hinge has NO OFFSET, a lower "crown", and the design actually pre-dates the Hurricane Hinge by at least 10 years. It too is an excellent product that may fit your needs perfectly. It MAY be available from one or two sources who stock it for their own production use, but Li'l Bear (yeah, that's me) has the exclusive retail marketing rights from the mill (so sue me if I made a smart business move), must buy in quantity, and can cut the hinge to your specific needs (so much for my blatant self promotion ... ;-} ;-} ...!).

Bottom line, here, is that you should consider carefully what and why you choose for your galley lid hinge. "Hurricane"-types might NOT be what you ultimately end up with, and that's O.K.! Just please don't slam it or disregard it because you think it "costs too much", or you think it is unproven or unreliable. And as far as the "freezing up" goes, a little shot of silicon spray or WD-40 BEFORE it gets cold will solve that problem.

Good Luck, Everyone, with your projects! And, my apologies if I got a little long-winded! In the meantime ...





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Last edited by sdtripper2 on Wed May 19, 2010 9:07 pm, edited 70 times in total.
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Postby asianflava » Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:01 pm

I think we have to give you the title of "Link Meister"
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Postby b.bodemer » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:31 pm

All the info a gal needs to install her hinge!!!!!!!!!

Thanks again Steve.

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Postby 240zron » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:53 pm

Very nice job on all the info.

Take care,
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Postby bledsoe3 » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:36 am

asianflava wrote:I think we have to give you the title of "Link Meister"

I've been calling him the Search Guru. But yours fits just as well and has a better ring to it.
If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got.
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Postby mfkaplan » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:31 am

Thanx much Link Master/Search Guru! Information and answers for all my "How do I's" at my fingertips! A great service! I think most of us are working on our tears in isolation. I'ts not like we can just run over and look at another teardrop to see how it's done. Our queries are pretty specialized. I've spent a whole lot of time searching through this site looking for the best way to do something.

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Postby KA » Sun Nov 26, 2006 1:24 pm

HI Steve,
Thanks for taking the time to organize all of this great information on teardrop construction. These links of yours are extremely helpful for the first time searcher or the "needs to repeat" searcher (like me).
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Where to Buy

Postby Canuck » Thu May 24, 2007 7:04 am

Is there anyplace in Ontraio Canada to buy a hurricane hinge
i have just started to build my teardrop and need finding supplies ie: hinges doors and windows
thx for any help
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Re: Where to Buy

Postby Ken A Hood » Thu May 24, 2007 7:19 am

Canuck wrote:Is there anyplace in Ontraio Canada to buy a hurricane hinge
i have just started to build my teardrop and need finding supplies ie: hinges doors and windows
thx for any help

Drop John (Micro469) an email; he has a 6' hinge he's got for sale and he's in Toronto. ("By the way, do you need a hurricane hinge? I can get you a 6 foot piece for about $30.00.....(plus shipping)... from Toronto.")
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Re: Where to Buy

Postby Canuck » Thu May 24, 2007 4:27 pm

Ken wrote:Drop John (Micro469) an email; he has a 6' hinge he's got for sale and he's in Toronto. ("By the way, do you need a hurricane hinge? I can get you a 6 foot piece for about $30.00.....(plus shipping)... from Toronto.")

Thx Ken.. i have tried to email him
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Postby stoner1 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:28 pm

As a newbie! I want to say thanks for the info. I was looking all over fort that info. :R
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Re: START HERE Hurricane Hinge, Hatch, Struts, Seals, Doors

Postby Toyotamike » Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:30 am

Wish I would of read this back when mine was being built. The hurricane hinge being left longer would be saving me a headache right now. Just redid all the seals and replaced the silicone with Lexel. Hoping that will solve my problem.
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Re: START HERE Hurricane Hinge, Hatch, Struts, Seals, Doors

Postby IslandStorm62 » Thu May 15, 2014 11:01 pm

Hi all, here I am again. A dollar short and a couple years late. I am progressing with mt TD build using the Generic Benroy plans. What are my options for locking down the galley hatch? I would prefer a single handle center turn style latch but am not sure where to find one, or if this would be best considering how light the hatch is. I am also in need of proper struts to support the hatch. Any info is greatly appreciated.
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Where can I get the original Hurricane Hinge?

Postby optimizer » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:11 pm

I appreciate this post with hinge/hatch information in one place. However, I can't seem to figure out which of your links is for the original Hurricane Hinge (US, preferably).

I built my teardrop using the generic Benroy plans on this site and ordered the Lil'Bear hinge - which is a very nice hinge and I'm sure it's better, but I didn't realize it wasn't the right one for the plans and I've already notched out the 1/4" (or whatever) off the top of the walls in the galley. Apparently it doesn't work for notched walls and was designed for them to be in tact/normal height. I can't undo the walls now.

Can anyone point me to the original hurricane hinge that was designed for the small notch at the top of the walls?

Thank you!
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Re: START HERE Hurricane Hinge, Hatch, Struts, Seals, Doors

Postby optimizer » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:15 pm

Nevermind - i now see it's from R.W. Johnson. If anyone else is looking for this, here's the link: ... arch=hinge
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