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Hingemergency: my living hinge is coming apart

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:26 pm
by qft
Hey all,

I'm trying to research how to temporarily, or quickly permanently fix my hinge situation but a lot of the threads are full of dead links and dead pictures. I could use a little help. Yes, I'm the jerk who should be able to find what he needs and is still asking.

I have a 5-yo 8x5 teardrop camper made by a small company (Twin Spruce, no longer exists). Looks like my rear hatch (opens vertically) uses a living hinge. Photos below. I noticed it's coming apart on one end and is leaking.
I have to take two trips with it in two weeks, and have no free weekends between now and then. I'm panic searching through the threads here to understand what the best way to fix this, either temporarily for now (some kind of tape? I worry about the whole hatch ripping off though), or easy/quick permanent (slap a new piano hinge in there? Will it hold? Can I just keep the hitch "shut" and quickly replace it?)

It's a 2" hinge, 61.5" wide. Appears to have some kind of sealant gunk on the underside which stays wet. The split in the hinge is on the right side, almost to the edge, and will probably split to the edge soon.

Any quick/easy temp options that can work for me here? I hesitate to go this route since I assume the entire hatch will rip off if I keep using it, but if you have any reliable ideas I'm all ears. The hatch is heavy and I gotta use it.

As for permanent replacement, am I correct in thinking I can do this in a couple hours?
- Purchase new living hinge (so many options... looking for quality)
- Keep hatch closed, remove screws
- Use wood filler or something in screw holes
- place new hinge, maybe put a sealant on the underside (I'm confused as to why the builder did it this way)
- Screw down new hinge (what kind of screws? The originals are corroding)

Is that it? Should I consider replacing with a different style hinge (I need something that'll go in quickly, unfortunately)?

Full album of photos:



Open, view from inside:

On the outside, the tear is nearing the outer corner and the screws are also corroded:

Inside again - soft sealant gunk and poor placement of screws. Not happy about this but whatever:

Re: Hingemergency: my piano living hinge is coming apart

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:54 pm
by QueticoBill

Re: Hingemergency: my piano living hinge is coming apart

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:32 pm
by qft
I actually have a call into that guy! I found it after another hour of research. I'm hoping he can hook me up. Sounds like I might not get a call back today. Seems like a good option and I don't really know what the best options are at this point.

Re: Hingemergency: my piano living hinge is coming apart

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:13 pm
by tony.latham
Read this:


In my two-bit opinion, the answer is a hurricane hinge with 3/8" overhang on both sides. I won't buy another living hinge.

For now? I'd toy with Gorilla tape to keep most of the water out and a cargo strap around the hatch if it looks like failure is imminent.


Re: Hingemergency: my piano living hinge is coming apart

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:28 pm
by drhill
undo all those screws and scrap off what is left of that old hinge. Put on 3 or 4 closed door hinges and cover with packing tape, duct tape or whatever tape you have laying around. Get out camping and worry about a permanent fix when the camping season ends. Which will happen soon enough.

My permanent arrangement is 3 closet door hinges covered by a bike inner tube. It is a downhill bike tube so pretty heavy duty. Fix it quick and go enjoy.

Re: Hingemergency: my piano living hinge is coming apart

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:02 pm
by woodywrkng
I reckon if I were in your shoes, I would obtain a pair of 3' stainless steel piano hinges (cut down to 61" total more or less) from a hardware or Home Depot type store (they should be in stock), unscrew and remove the aluminum strips above and below your un-living hinge, and make the metal piano hinges fit in that spot. Cover the metal hinge with flat rubber assuming you can find something flat. Sliced up bike inner tubes perhaps, although they will be kinda curved. You'll most likely be drilling holes in the new hinges to remount the screws and aluminum strips. That really shouldn't take too long. Some of the mounting screws do need to be moved as well, as they go nowhere. Try real hard not to make any holes in your roof or hatch aluminum skin that would be uncovered by trim.

As for a longer term fix, maybe buy a few more living hinges and expect to replace it every so often. I'm unsure if a standard hurricane hinge will fit in your opening.

Re: Hingemergency: my living hinge is coming apart

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:49 pm
by rkanz
Buy the hinge from Vintage Tech. It will be quick and easy to unscrew the aluminum and replace the hinge.Image

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