Sagging door on a Boler is a common issue, there are a number of theories out there like: “the Boler fiberglass door straightens over time”, there are even detailed articles on how to reshape the door. Any work to the door itself will only provide a temporary solution because it is the Boler body sagging, the door opening, or the hinges themselves that are the source of the problem, not the door. It is impossible for a double layer fiberglass structure (like the way the Boler door is made) to straighten unless the bond between the 2 panels fails, which I have never seen happen. Those that reshape their door may find the solution works as long as the body does not sag any more, but their door issues may reappear if the body continues to sag
The primary causes for poor door fit include (in order of importance, each step below must be addressed in this order, you cannot jump to hinge alignment if the frame is bent and expect to align the door):
1) – Bent or broken frame. This causes the entire body to twist and shift, the door opening itself will change in shape and the door will never fit properly. Refer to my Boler Buyer Guide on how to check the frame.
You will notice in the pictures to the right that when the frame is the problem the door opening will shift and go out of square. It is impossible to get the door to fit properly when this is the problem, it is also a real safety concern in general, please check the condition of your frame
2) – Internal body modifications where the structural supports have been removed or have become loose. This can cause the body to sag, where the body will curve out more at the belly band. You can notice this issue when the hinges stay aligned, the center of the door between the hinges is inset and the top and bottom of the door is gaped out.
If the supports have become loose or detached then two things need to be done before attempting to align the door, first restoring the original shape of the side walls and secondly securing the supporting structures to hold the walls in the correct shape.
A Boler needs structural support on each side of the doorway, originally the closet, which is fiber-glassed to the shell next to the opening up to the top sill, then uses 2 rivets above the roof line. The closet is secured next to the dinette window with about 12 rivets, Inspect these areas and make sure the fiberglass bond and rivets are all intact, if you notice any damage or failure in these areas they must be repaired. The second doorway support is a 1″x1″ square steel tube fastened to the inside of the hinge side of the door opening. It is not uncommon for the rivets fastening this support to the fiberglass shell to be broken or loose causing the body to sag.
To repair loose or missing structural supports, the first this that needs to be done is the body realigned to the correct shape. The best way I have found to do this is to lift on the roof gently by placing an adjustable support (I purchased mine at Princess Auto) between the floor and the roof, lift slowly. Now the top question “If the body has sagged how do I get it back to the original shape?”. The answer is quite simple, use the door as your guide, since the door shape is the one constant you want to slowly lift on the roof until the body matches the curve of the door, this may require you to remove the hinge pins and hold the door in the opening while making the adjustments since the hinges themselves are probably not adjusted right at this point.
Once you have the body shape correct it needs to be held there, to do this it depands on what is loose or missing, it may only involve reattaching the metal support or replacing rivets on the closet. It may be more involved such as re-fiberglassing the closet, right through to building new supporting posts (scroll down this linked page for details on the supports I used on my Boler).
3) – Worn hinges The hinge on a Boler is called a self-aligning hinge, it allows the door to open is an arch which is needed because of the curved door. These hinges use a brass ball and a bolt with a spring to allow the hinge to move or align. It is common for the brass ball to wear, by installing new hinge pivot balls, bolt and spring can make a considerable difference. The hinges can also be adjusted or move in relation to the body, the holes through the fiberglass body and door are larger than the bolt so by loosening the hinge mounting bolts the hinges can be adjusted. Because both the body and the door are curved even a slight misalignment of the door can cause a considerable gap at the bottom of the door. Hinge rebuild kits are readily available and hinge repair is easy. the brass pivot balls should be round and in good shape, along with the hinge bolts and springs.
Due to demand I now offer the best Boler / Scamp hinge repair kit available. Using marine grade 316 stainless steel and solid brass this kit will keep looking great and working great for many years.
4) – Water in the Door – when the door fills with water which is usually caused by the seal around the door window leaking. A door filled with water becomes very heavy, the extra weight causes the brass balls in the hinges wear rapidly and can also cause the hinges themselves to move or slip causing a considerable misalignment. To drain the water drill several 1/8″ diameter holes along the bottom of the inside door panel where the inner panel joint the outer panel just above where the two panels are bonded together. Don’t drill through the door, just into the open core through the inner panel.
5) – Hinge Adjustment – either door hinge adjustment. A relatively slight misalignment of a curved door on a curved surface will create a noticeable gap or misalignment of the door. first make sure the hinges are in good shape, The hinges location on the body are adjustable, the mounting holes through the body are larger than the bolts, by loosening the hinge to body bolts the door can be adjusted. More detail on this a little later…