Adjusting the cabinet latches and hinges on a Roadtrek

Written by on November 20, 2013 in Campskunk, How Tos, Videos with 19 Comments

One of the most discussed how-to threads on the blog and our Facebook Group has to do with the latches and hinges used on the cabinets on new Roadtrek Sprinter models like the RS Adventurous, the eTrek and the CS Adventurous. The same push button latches are on some of the recent Chevy-based models like the 40th Anniversary Special. They are sold by a Montreal-based speciality hardware import firm called Richelieu.

The issue is, depending on a lot of load and environmental factors, the latches and the cabinets can get stuck and, too often, as owners try to get them open, they pull too hard the wrong way and break the mechanism.

Been there done that.

Several times.

cabinets

Don’t yank open a stuck cabinet door. Use your thumbs to gently push up from the bottom as you pull from the sides.

While I was recently visiting the Roadtrek factory in Kitchener, I ran into my friend and Roadtreking Reporter Campskunk, who also happened to be at the factory that day. We got to talking, the subject of hinges came out and so we marched out to the parking lot and my eTrek to do the above video.

If you have a different hinge and locking mechanism, the same general principles should apply, though, obviously, what you adjust and where it is may be different than it was on my eTrek.

But the thing to remember is the locking mechanisms and hinges do need to be adjusted from time to time because of the load you put on the cabinet, humidity and the way the vehicle is parked, such as on an angle.

Adjusting them is a pretty simple procedure, as you can see, easily done with a small Phillips head screwdriver.  The adjust point if on the door to cabinet attachment hinge. The screw you turn is the one closest to the door. You can see the door rise or lower depending on the direction you turn.

Also, to keep those latches from breaking, don’t just yank or force those stuck cabinets open. As you see in the video, we just did some gentle pushing from the bottom to get one of my stuck cabinets open.

Hope this little video helps.


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About the Author

About the Author: Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, and Norweigian Elkhound, Tai, travels North America in a Type B motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and frustrations of RV life on the road. He is the official on-the-road reporter for the Family Motor Coach Association. a columnist with Family Motor Coaching Magazine and his Roadtreking reports appear in numerous newspapers and publications. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, video editing and all things dealing with technology. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations. .

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19 Reader Comments

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  1. Laura H P says:

    Thank you!

  2. art mandler says:

    This is good information on how to minimize the breakage of what is an inferior latch and an inferior total design. I like my RT, but gotta call a spade a spade sometimes. When I stop and do a van check like tires, oil walkaround, etc, I do not think that adjusting cabinet latches is one of the normal things that should be done. The issues are not people overloading cabinets (that makes them sag slightly, effecting the latch) or the humidity or the vibration of the road. Customers of relatively expensive vehicles like RT’s should not have to do extra work for the areas where the factory is using poorly designed parts that do not hold up to the purpose for which they were intended. This one issue is a rather close to home one for me and while Mike and CS do a nice job with this video, the bottom line is the latches and the design are crap and even I, a non engineer can come up with at least 3 different ways to solve this with other type latches. I see the fault for the issues lying with RT. C’mon Rt, you do such a good job with these rigs, cheaping out on the latches, that are an item used daily, is just bad for your customers.

    • Janet Arnold says:

      What are the other types of latches that you are referring to? Have you converted yours to the other type of latch? Just Curious.

    • Campskunk says:

      art, it’s a free country. if it’s too much trouble and you don’t want to adjust your latches, don’t. RT has said repeatedly that they chose this design to provide secure latching. secure latching is very important because people have the habit of loading their cabinets up with heavy things that roll around while driving, despite RT’s advice not to do this. secure latching allows people to do this and get away with it. the tradeoff on the secure latching is that if you slam the cabinet when it’s locked, you break the latch, which people continue to do, despite RT’s advice to the contrary.

      RT is not picking the cheapest latch. there are plenty of cheaper latches out there, and since neither you nor anyone else can point out a better securely locking latch, RT’s using the best available one. when a better one comes along, they will switch to it. if you want cabinets that don’t need adjustment and that you can lock and slam without breaking them, you need more rigid construction materials. however, you can kiss those solid wood cabinet faces goodbye, because wood will change shape and size with humidity and temperature variations. if you want metal cabinets that don’t do this, you can kiss your cargo carrying capacity goodbye as well. there’s a weight limit to what you can put in a small RV and still carry water, fuel, etc. RT is making the best they can of a delicate balancing act involving weight, ease of maintenance, and functionality. if this isn’t to your liking, buy a class A, and you can have solid metal cabinets you can lock and slam all you want.

      • Brenda says:

        Within a couple of days of purchasing my 2014 E-trek, I had problems with nearly all of the latches and that was WITHOUT putting a thing inside the cabinets. It has been extremely frustrating. There was no slamming of doors in my case either. I will be looking around this winter to see if I can’t come up with another option. I would be open to a barrel bolt latch or something similar if that was even a possibility. Mine have proven to not even provide the security of staying closed and locked. I am not so certain that Roadtrek is doing the best it can. Perhaps I don’t have as much faith in Roadtrek as Campskunk has because I was so disillusioned at spending the wad of money I did on this vehicle and in return did not even get a manual. Roadtrek obviously hasn’t done their best in that department.

    • John Clum says:

      I totally agree with this comment

  3. Janet Arnold says:

    Whoa…this helps a lot. Thank you.

  4. Maureen says:

    Great info…thx….one more fixit solution to add to my tiny repertoire.

  5. Mike Wendland says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words. The key to the latch issue truly appears to be periodic adjustment to the hinges, as shown in the video. As I research this, the issue of stuck doors is pretty common to Type B motorhomes. Engineers say that is because the load changes on the shelving as the vehicle’s position alters. I personally know RT is constantly evaluating all their parts and hardware and when they find better, that’s what they go with. Meanwhile, I will be doing more how-to videos like that. I’ll be visiting the factory almost weekly right after we get through Thanksgiving and the big RVIA industry show in Louisville the first week of December. If you have any of those how-to videos you’d like me to do, just send me an email using the Contact link on the blog.

  6. Judi Darin says:

    I spend time cleaning the inside of my Trek to keep it looking nice, and a few minutes to keep the latches functioning is not a burden. Kitchen cabinet hinges sometimes need adjusting as well, so why not the latches in a moving vehicle that help to secure your stuff as you roll down the road? Maintenance is a part of owning a house or a vehicle, and I feel lucky to have a Trek.

  7. Arl Williams says:

    In addition to periodic adjustment, I’ve found that putting a bit of cooking oil from the pantry on the plastic latches help them function smoothly. As soon as I notice a latch beginning to stick I give it a dab of olive oil — usually works! Also, this has worked with the wardrobe next to the shower in my E-trek, which does not have the adjustable hinges. Is there a secret for how to adjust that door? By the way, I did break the wardrobe latch forcing the door open before discovering the cooking-oil trick and fixed it with super glue.

  8. Larry High says:

    CS…any word of advice for a sticking armoire door with a piano hinge? I can see no way to adjust the piano hinge secured with a dozen or more screws. The latch is the same used on overhead cabinets. It will not open w/o the force of a small crowbar.
    Thanks for the help.

    • Campskunk says:

      i’d give up on moving the hinge, and try to adjust the latch end – either the striker or the button which moves the latch itself. my armoire has a striker plate that i move around by relocating the screws slightly.

  9. John Clum says:

    I have broken several latches and did a temporary repair by using industrial
    strength velcro. Too much velcro and it is hard to open and too little and it will not do the job. Try a piece about 3/4 inch square and mount on door and cabinet were latch was. I now think I will just keep this system and not replace the broken latches.

  10. Jim Langley says:

    Great tip guys. Really appreciate it. I have been shimming the latch plates to raise/lower them and am delighted to know there’s a much easier fix. Thanks so much! Jim

  11. Linda says:

    Finding this site almost made me cry because I have been so frustrated with our latches. So it is not just me (which our dealer led me to believe.) After our most recent long distance trip, I had to tie up the door so it would stop swinging back and forth. I have to agree with everyone else. When you pay this much for an RS Adventurous you expect more. I have physically injured my thumbs from constantly trying to get the cabinets opened in my road trek. Also when we purchased our vehicle a few months back there was already one broken latch that needed to be replaced. No one at our dealership seemed to know about the upper hinge adjustment. They keep adding washers under the lower mechanism that doesn’t do much of anything.
    We have a catamaran that has similar mechanisms on all of the wooden cabinetry. They work flawlessly and the conditions in a boat are a lot more humid and extreme than an RV. Road trek should take a lesson from the boating industry and use that product. We are considering replacing all of our hardware, but it is aggravating to have to do that so soon after purchasing a brand new vehicle that was so exspensive.

    • Brenda says:

      Hi Linda,
      I posted previously in this thread about my own hardware frustration and about not having great faith in Roadtrek because I purchased an E-trek that came with no manual and the vehicle is so different from any other that I have had to make my own way through figuring things out. It has been implied that it is my own fault for not using the hardware “properly” which I find offensive because 1. It isn’t rocket science; 2. I made my living for several years as a carpenter and am quite familiar with cabinetry and hardware; 3. am married to a longtime sailor who owned several boats in the course of his 60 year sailing career and never experienced ANYTHING that comes close to this hardware situation.
      I appreciate fine things but not to the extreme of “form over function.” Something may look good but if isn’t working then it needs to be redesigned. I know there are lots of other options that may not look so streamlined but will actually work in the conditions these rigs are exposed to. Let’s remember that the real cherry cabinet fronts sit side by side with exposed contact paper-covered-particle board so we are already living with a “tacky” choice in that regard. Some hardware that functions but may not look as streamlined but actually works and doesn’t frustrate us or kill our fingers in attempting to open them wouldn’t be inappropriate.

  12. Paul Reber says:

    Great video. I have a 2014 Agile and the cabinet hinges were mostly stripped. Some were very tight and some were too loose. I have some advice for the loose ones as follows. I loosened the inside plastic hinge and put shim consisting of a Starbucks stir stick under the front of the hinge then broken off at both ends. Tighten the screw and it works!

    Paul

  13. Stan Russell says:

    where can you buy replacement latches and the metal catches? Several of my catches were plastic that easily broke.

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