REFRIGERATOR LATCH FIX

I probably should first indicate that our coach is an 05 Discovery, model 39J. I had noticed that one of the two little plastic fastener type gadgets that was supposed to be holding the exterior panel of our refrigerator in place had broken, and was not performing it's intended function at all. I was fearful that if the other fastener would break that we would very likely loose the panel somewhere along the highway. Knowing how expensive most of these RV parts are, I knew that it would quite costly to replace and then we would have to spend even more to have it painted to match the exiting two colors. I had heard horror stories from several other folks about how they had lost their identical panels, and how costly they were to replace. Some people said that they had found where they could buy these plastic fasteners and that they bought them in large numbers, just to have spares available.

In my opinion this type of a fastener really seemed to be a rather poor design by the manufacturer. The only thing good about it is that you can normally twist it the 1/4 turn necessary to open it with your fingers or with a flat tip screwdriver or the back of a key, if a screwdriver is not handy. So I decided that I wanted to come up with a better solution and one that was not quite as likely to break and risk us loosing the panel.

I went to the old hardware store and bought some of those little threaded hidden nut like gadgets ( I am sure that they have an appropriate name, but I don't know what it is) that have 3 little barbs on them. I also bought a couple of 1/4" X 2 inch stainless steel bolts with rounded phillips head, and some flat washers and some star type lock washers. You will likely notice in the pictures that the lock washers are actually a size or two larger than they really should be.

I took a piece of 3/4" plywood and cut a small wedge shaped piece that fit directly in back of the plastic framework that holds the panel in place. Then I drilled holes in the plywood just large enough that the hidden nut like gadgets would fit snugly inside. Then I pounded the gadgets into the wood driving the barbs firmly into the wood.

Then I used some Gorilla glue and glued the plywood pieces in place and clamped them down for 3 or 4 hours. Then I put it all together and put the bolt through the washers and through the bracket and screwed them into the nut like gadgets. I tightened them down tight enough that I know that they will not just shake loose. This way I can access the area very easily when necessary with a phillip's screw driver and they look very nice from the exterior.

Hopefully this should resolve the previous problem and eliminate my concern over losing the panel. This might prove to be beneficial for other folks to consider.

Click for larger image Plastic Fastener

Click for larger image Panel

Click for larger image This shows the piece of plywood with the hidden nut inserted, that has been glued in place.

Click for larger image Shows the new bolt in place and tightened down.

Submitted by Larry Steeves