Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

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Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby Danomite » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:45 pm

Hi, I'm building a canned ham from scratch. I bought an RV door with screen door from a surplus supplier and it is 72 inches tall, which is about 10-12 inches taller than what would be ideal for my side profile that I have already built. I am planning to remove the excess height from the bottom of the door.
Has anyone here shortened one of these?
Where my problem lies is that I bought a wider axle to have my tires outboard of the frame for the sake of stability, but my floor is 65 inches long & I would like to have some balance to the looks of it as well as having acceptable tongue weight. As it stands with the current height door, I will have to have the axle placed at the extreme rear of the frame rails and clearing the fender with the door is going to be an issue.
I am also planning to skin over the fiberglass door with polished aluminum diamond plate as well, but if anyone has prior experience in shortening a door I am very interested to hear what you have to say about it.
Thanks,
Danomite
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Re: Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby Woodbutcher » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:10 pm

I did it with my last build. It was not that bad, took about 2 hours. I cut off 3" from both. Just pay attention and work slow. The only part that was difficult was getting the aluminum channel off the bottom of the main door. There is a sealant that you have to break loose without damaging the thin fiberglass on the outsides. The core is just Styrofoam. I just the door panel with a saber saw. If you do the same, be sure you have a blade that is long enough, and put masking tape on both sides of the area to be cut.
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Re: Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby Danomite » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:40 pm

Thank you Woodbutcher. That is what I was wanting to know. I'll let you know how it turns out. :)
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Re: Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby Woodbutcher » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:10 am

Good luck, just take your time before making any cuts. Remember the aluminum frame has to be left long after your cut, because the bottom trim fits in between the sides.
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Re: Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby troubleScottie » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:46 am

Why so short ie 65"?

Assuming you center the wheel (not the typical 60/40 ), you have very little space on other side for a door let alone a full size -- nearly top to bottom door.

What drove this design decision? Inquiring minds.
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Re: Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby Danomite » Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:24 am

Hi, yes, well I am shooting for as lightweight of standy as I can. My build journal is "Central Michigan Canned Ham". My tow vehicle is a Kia Soul with the 1.6 liter and 6-speed manual trans. My egg shape I ended up with for a side profile was strongly influenced by my crude homemade tubing roller actually breaking in the process of rolling the arc. I had built it from steel I had taken from the scrap metal dumpster at the shop where I work. I figured why dump money into buying a tubing roller and the correct dies when, quite likely, I would never use it again. I had never used a tubing roller before and all I knew of them was what I had read online. My original idea was an 8 foot diameter circular segment 6.5 feet tall with a chord length of 6.25 feet, so my floor ended up being 10 inches shorter than originally planned, but I'm ok with the end result. Basically I achieved what I was trying to do, but it wound up more egg-shaped than my original plan.
The trailer will be just big enough to have 2 bunks laying crossways in the back, the bottom being a dinette that converts to the lower bunk, while the top will be piano hinged to the rear curve of the body to attach the front edge to the ceiling to make headroom when the dinette is being used. There will be a small seperate room to hold a porta-potty in the front corner opposite of the door. The space below the seats will be storage for food, possibly a cooler, but if that doesn't pan out I can always put the cooler in the car.
Btw, Woodbutcher, I shortened the door this evening & you were about dead on at 2 hours to complete.
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Re: Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby Danomite » Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:38 am

Here is my homemade tubing roller built from scrap metal. I didn't use any bearings so there was a lot of metal-to-metal friction, especially in the drive roller, which is what ultimately broke. If I ever feel the need to use it again I'll make another drive roller.
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Re: Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby Danomite » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:22 am

Here's a pic of door once it was cut down to 60 inches high. It will allow for getting the axle placement as best I can to get my tongue weight in the 15-20% range.
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Re: Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby Woodbutcher » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:36 am

Well done! You are on the way to a nice trailer. :applause:
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Re: Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby Xanthoman » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:04 am

In my days of cutting various plastics that need to be straight I only use circular saws as they produce straighter lines than saber/jig saws. If anybody needs to cut plastic like this (or foams), just reverse the blade of a regular framing blade so it cuts with the back of the teeth and it works great to cut cleanly through every plastic I have tried. I used to use tape on the top side (as the bottom is only cut into the material there is no bed for it there), but I typically don’t even use tape anymore as the pulling of the tape has more propensity to flake thin layers off more than cutting. Take it slow and it cuts great. A cabinet maker method is to score the top side with a razor so that it is really free from chipout as they will break along the score line instead of randomly; this is particularly useful for cutting hollow core doors or thin wood plywood that likes to have fibers that flake randomly at the edge causing an undesirable last 1/4”. Also, if you want cleaner cutting plywood tearout on a table saw or circular saw, it is a bit more dangerous finger wise, but increase the depth of the blade so the cutting angle is more perpendicular rather than barely protruding; it makes the saw take smaller bites and reduces the saw-side tearout. Typically only one side needs to be super pretty (except situations like in interior doors where both sides matter), so just put the desirable side away from the saw plate (up for table saw, down for circular saw, up for down cut routers or jig/saber saws, and down for up cut saws).
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Re: Has anyone shortened an RV entry door & screen door?

Postby Danomite » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:13 pm

Well, it's been 5 months since I began my build (Central Michigan Canned Ham in the build journals), and I am happy to say I just returned on Sunday 6-30-19 from a 9 day maiden voyage. Of course there is more to do, but it is useable and it is legal. :D
I invested 4.5 months, approx $2750 in materials and about 400 actual hours of work into this project. I joined up with the Tin Can Tourists and entered it in their show/open house at Interlochen State Park on 6-22. About 200-250 people took a look at it and I received many compliments.
The TCT is an all-years-inclusive organization and a great friendly bunch of folks to be around. I'm so glad I joined up with them. :)
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