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Old 06-21-2009, 09:44 PM   #1
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New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

One of the first things I'd like to do now that the bus is finally home, is add a new front door. I went to Lowes today and they had some 32" steel doors that I'm thinking of using. Has anyone else used a regular house exterior door? If so, is it holding up? Does anyone have a "house door" with a window in it? I really liked being able to see traffic through the door as I drove home Saturday.
I was thinking of something that looked like this:

I know I've seen photos of other people with a solid (non-bifold) door on their rigs, but wasn't sure if the door was specially ordered, or if it was an RV door, or if it was just someone's incredibly skilled personal workmanship.
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Old 06-21-2009, 10:16 PM   #2
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

My only concern would be to make sure you use safety glass. Here in VA it is a class 4 misdemeanor to operate a motor vehicle with any non-safety glass used for any door or window. Other than that, I think it is a great idea.

I'd love to have a steel and glass door with double or even triple pane safety glass as my door. I agree that the visibility out that door is very important. It helps me avoid hitting curbs.

Hope this helps,
jim
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:27 AM   #3
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

several members here have used residential doors and or premium stoem doors, also check the millicent chronicals, elliot reverse engineered a door conversion as well as an extension to the top of the door.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:56 AM   #4
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

I have to admit, I originally thought of keeping the regular bi-fold door and just adding angle iron to the back side to keep it from folding. But after taking a closer look at the door last night, I don't know if that will work well for weather proofing. I'll take a second look tonight when I get out to the RV storage place. Hopefully take some pictures too since I was too busy to do that while picking it up this weekend! Gotta have more pictures!!!

If anyone would be so kind as to post links to images of their doors, I'd greatly appreciate it! Yes, I'll go through the gallery too, but there's just SO many pictures that finding a door detail is like looking for a lost bolt in long grass without a magnet.
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Old 06-22-2009, 02:06 PM   #5
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

i did some research and found door stuff on the millicent chronicale at page 29 and also found watson1 in the gallery where they converted the door to 1 piece units with the oricinal dot legal glass.
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:50 PM   #6
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

Thanks Paul for the links to the doors!

My door is regular manual control. Vanguy, I never thought about the bifolds being good, but you bring up a couple of good points. What about weather proofing, though? How leaky will that thing be in the winter time? And how much A/C will I leak in the summer? Lots with the current door as it is missing the runner on the top, which lets the fold flop around. That would definitely have to be fixed before even thinking of using it as a "regular" door. I'd also have to find a way to modify the doorway itself to allow some form of latch... even if it's just a plain padlock.

Hmm... choices, choices!
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:12 PM   #7
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

lots of options for weather striping, Austin hardware online is a supplier to the custom truck body builders. goodyear industrial makes weatherstriping if you can find an industrial dealer, caterpillar has a hardware catalog that has weatherstriping and window seal material by the roll, NAPA, check out a street rod magazine for weather proofing suppliers, go to thomas.net and see what and who they list for suppliers.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:35 AM   #8
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

Picture's worth a thousand words! I was trying to envision what you did, Vanguy... the simplicity of your system is pure genius.

Wonder if there's a way to combine both a bifold door and a traditional lockset?............. hmmm............ gotta to daydream a bit and try to envision what would have to be done to provide a positive lock without loosing the bifold ability.

This is why I love this project. There's so many possibilities and so much creativity involved! Thanks Smitty & Vanguy. I love this forum!
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:49 PM   #9
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

On mine I used a Larson "Secure Elegance" security storm door. The 32" fit the opening perfectly, and the glass is tempered safety glass with a plastic membrane in the middle (like a car windshield) and has what they call a triple locking mechanism ( I call it a double lock as the regular knob locking system ain't crap). But is does have an upper and lower "CLAW" locks, it's a very secure door...

http://www.larsondoors.com/storm_doors/products/349_17



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Old 06-24-2009, 09:30 AM   #10
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

I installed a 32" Emco storm on my bus. No cutting required. I did have to add extra latches to hold it closed when going down the road. There's quite a bit of vacuum right there and pulls quite a bit on the door. Even with an extra lock it pulled the top and bottom out while driving. I used window latches as they tighten when latched but you need have them mounted just right. This is what they look like:


I can take photos of how I mounted them if there's interest.

Here's one of the pictures where you can see the door on my:


Chad Urvig
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:11 PM   #11
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

Man, every time I see your rig, I think of Robo-Cop. What a great customization. You need a little ED-209 standing guard out front!


Pictures of how you installed the window latches would be great!
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:10 PM   #12
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

Have had no issues with the door. As for rocks & stuff, it's on the side of the bus and not likely to pick up rocks and would be in no better or worse situation than the original door as far as that goes, I'd be more worried about the front wind shield. Larson used to have a video of some guy beating on this door glass with a base ball bat, it took a few swings just to break it...then it turned into a zillion pieces but they all stayed fixed in place because of the membrane. I know that the glass is permanently attached to the door frame, so no worries about the glass jarring loose & falling out or anything like that.

One of the reasons I went with this, was the glass should meet DOT spec's should I ever get caught up in one of their roadside checks... the dual (or triple) locking mechanism also 'should' meet DOT specs...

No sound issues, I sealed it really well. I suppose there is some air leakage around the hinges, but not nearly as leaky as the original school bus door that was there. I can lock this with a key and walk away with confidence that no one is going to break into my bus!!
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Old 07-07-2009, 02:07 PM   #13
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

Ok, here's the latches I used to secure my door while driving (sorry it took so long...I almost forgot). I have one on the top and one at the bottom of the door. When latched it pulls the door snug against the door frame so there's no movement at all. These are just replacement window latches I picked up the local home improvement store. The part of the latch that's on the door had to be mounted perpendicular to the door so I had to add a couple holes for screws (2nd photo). We use a standard storm door dead-bolt style lock while stationary.




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Old 01-29-2011, 09:35 AM   #14
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

.. those latches area much more elegant solution than the bungee cords or straps I have seen to keep the doors from popping open when going down the road (or pulling into and out of a driveway or gas station) .. nicely done ..
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Old 01-29-2011, 01:26 PM   #15
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Re: New door... would 32" exterior steel or fiberglass work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneCamping
On mine I used a Larson "Secure Elegance" security storm door. The 32" fit the opening perfectly, and the glass is tempered safety glass with a plastic membrane in the middle (like a car windshield) and has what they call a triple locking mechanism ( I call it a double lock as the regular knob locking system ain't crap). But is does have an upper and lower "CLAW" locks, it's a very secure door...
thats what i wanted. my opening was only 32" though so it was too narrow. Think im gonna get a 30" exterior door this year and put that in there instead. just i have to custom order the door with a window in it. kind of a shame to waste the $$ on a 30" storm door but i needed it to close for winter.

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