By Russ and Tiña De Maris
If you’re the proud owner of a well-loved older RV, you’ll have run across the old “orphan parts” issue. Either the company doesn’t stock your part anymore, or the company doesn’t exist. Either way, when repair issues appear, sometimes you’re left getting creative.
Here’s a recent issue for us. At day’s end, we’d open the trailer door to find our favorite beverage cans rolling around on the floor. Evidently the weight of the cans in the refrigerator door, coupled with the force exerted by making corners, would cause the fridge door to pop open, and the pop to pop out. Not only did it present us with dented cola cans, but too often the door wouldn’t be kind enough to close itself, and the interior of the cooler would be anything but cool.
Somewhere in a past owner’s life, the door latching system broke on the refrigerator compartment and was never replaced. Several years too late for getting the part, we were left with a door security issue. After a lot of head scratching and improbable plans, a quick and dirty solution came up. And surprisingly, it met with approval by the Kitchen Goddess and the pocket book.
Yep, two-dollars and change bought a brass barrel bolt. We pre-drilled through the metal trim under the door, and ensured that the screws were short enough not to cause trouble by running into anything vital. Now when we hit the road we simply shoot the bolt through the latch and head off. No more rolling cola.
Not into blasting holes for mounting screws? Some RVers report they’ve been able to use “hook and loop” tape to adequately hold their doors closed. And we’ve seen commercially produced products marketed to keep young children from opening refrigerators. Dubbed “Safety 1st Fridge Locks” and sold by Walmart, these devices use double-stick tape to mount a plastic locking tab that secures the doors. Problem is, many customers report that after a few tugs by recalcitrant children, the double-stick tape just pops loose. This may not be a problem for an RVer without reefer marauders, but we haven’t personally tested the fix.