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ccess to the myriad
miscellaneous items and whatnots that
are in storage just behind those
temperamental exterior compart-
ments has been a major contributing
factor to countless headaches.
And unfortunately, the last 20 years has brought few advances to the standard exterior compart- ment door hardware, until now. A new retrofitted door-lift system, called Hatchlift, helps to keep compartment doors in place when accessing storage.
Our RV has a bedroom slide that had prevented the use of a baggage door catch, because the slide would not allow the compartment door to fully open. We needed a fail-proof system to keep those doors in place, and the Hatchlift was the perfect solution.
The simple design of the Hatchlift includes a gas prop (spring assembly), two brackets, a black nylon pull strap for tall doors, screws and a specialized mounting plate. Most baggage doors are made with a foam center with little or no wood to attach any type of a bracket with screws. Hatchlift’s predrilled, square-mounting plate completely solves this problem.
Installing the kit should take place when the ambient temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, to ensure a proper bond with the aggressive adhesive tape that’s used on the backside of the mounting plate. You’ll need an assistant to get started, because the door must be held in place at the recommended 130-170 degrees so that reference markings can be made 6 inches from the top and 2 inches from the edge on the inside face of the door. Once that’s done, the spring assembly with the upper and lower brackets in place is held in position to make sure it will clear any obstructions. If it doesn’t, the gas prop can be installed on the opposite side of the door. Once clearance has been established, the bottom bracket is installed on the wall (or door jam, if necessary) using the supplied screws.
The top bracket is attached to a mounting plate, which provides a very strong foundation. The leading edge of the mounting plate is attached to the face of the door, 4 inches from the top, which should cover your reference marks.
1. Measure 4 inches from the top edge of the door for the leading edge of the mounting plate.
2. With the mounting plate held into position, pencil a line around the outside edge.
3. Using the scuff pad, rough up the outlined area for the first step of prep.
4. Next, follow the instructions provided and apply the primer to the scuffed, prepped area.
5. Peel off the protective film on the mounting plate.
6. Align the plate carefully, press and hold into place.
7. Using the provided self-tapping screws, drive the screws into place but do not tighten with a drill motor; you should hand tighten with a screwdriver to avoid stripping the screws or overtightening.
8. Install the upper bracket centered 6 inches from the top of the door.
9. Remove and install the shock stud into one of four adjustment holes.
10. Install the lower bracket at the pre-determined position using the supplied self-tapping screws.
11. Remove the center screw from one of the baggage door locks and install the pull strap with the supplied screw.
The exact placement of the mounting plate is critical, as you will only have one chance for proper installation. Hold the plate firmly against the door for a full minute. The next step is to install the 1/2-inch self-tapping screws through the mounting plate’s predrilled holes. Be sure to hand tighten only. The screws help hold the plate in position while the adhesives cure over the requisite 48-72 hours. Once that’s done, it’s time to install the curved mounting bracket, predrilling the mounting plate with a 1/8-inch drill bit, which is not included. Then, attach the gas prop to the upper and lower brackets, being certain both ends are engaged firmly on the ball studs. To be sure the newly installed Hatchlift is working properly, open and close the baggage door only once or twice.
The installation of the first Hatchlift spring assembly to a baggage door takes about an hour, but once you’ve become familiar with the process, installation time will reduce by about 15 minutes. A second mounting stud is included with the kit so that the doors will operate under slideouts. Also, the aforementioned shims are now part of the kit, as are alcohol wipes for cleaning the door face.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
(303) 233-6083, www.hatchlift.com