Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ladder Repair Part 2

Click here for part 1

Last week in part 1,  I discussed the parts for RV ladder repair, in particular the "Star Fangled Nut".

With the parts in hand, I began by disassembling the ladder.  

The at the top of my motorhome the ladder is firmly connected, well sealed and in great shape, so I decided to leave it as-is. I began by disassembling all the standoffs connected to the side of my motorhome.

Many of the bolts were rusted in place and I had to cut them off.

 Here is a standoff with the rusted star nut inside and the bolt rusted in place.

I drilled out the bolts.  In a few cases the only way I could get the star fangled nut out was to hammer it through to the opposite end.

Here are all the parts laid out, with one reassembled standoff. (P.S. Note the longer bolts are not stainless steel: later on I had to replace these as they started to rust.  Make sure ALL bolts are stainless steel.)

It is tricky to get the star fangled nut into the tube.  I slowly tapped it into place, watching to keep it aligned.

Before attaching each standoff to the sidewall, I put a generous amount of butyl putty on the end of the standoff. Butyl putty comes in a roll, and is called "putty tape".

I trimmed off the excess putty.

The bottom of the ladder was a challenge because it joins to the sidewall with no standoffs.

The star fangled nut must be assembled to the mounting bracket.  I braced the bracket against the sidewall with a piece of wood and used my hands to hammer the ladder onto the mounting bracket.

The nut would not go all the way into the tube.  I used a right angle screwdriver to get in behind the mounting bracket and loosen the bolt. Then I pounded the ladder again into the bracket to force the nut in a little further. I repeated this several times to get the nut about 3/8" into the ladder end.

Right-angle screwdriver

I applied putty, and attached the bracket to the sidewall.  A long screwdriver was very handy for this job.

I attached the rest of the standoffs to the ladder.  The job is complete!


DearMissMermaid said...

I thought the star fangled nut was your own cute term until I read through your article and did a quick search on Amazon. They had them from 85 cents and up. I buy lots of parts from Amazon, saves me oodles of RV gas running around looking. Love your pictures and in depth explanations. If you run out of things to photograph and fix, then by all means, come see me. My RV can provide you plenty of opportunities!

Alphonse Daigle said...

Whoa, that rusty bolt! Luckily, you were able fix it in time and do some maintenance work on your ladder. Doing that surely has prevented serious damages from happening. Kudos to you for doing such an excellent job! You really know your way around your motor home, eh? :]

shoe said...

Thanks for the info. It made my project on a used 5th wheel that I just purchased easier. My 70 year old hands wouldn't work on the bottom of the ladder; so I used a dead blow hammer on it. A couple of strikes on it with a 4X6 block of wood behind it got it started and then I backed the screw out about 3/4 of an inch and and set it the rest of the way in and tightened the screw. I had to repair the first support up the ladder also. I got the self drilling/self tapping screws with hex heads from local hardware with the plate screw offset about a 1/4 inch from the originals. Now stronger than it was from factory. Thanks for the info.

shoe said...

Also, those so called star nuts are readily available withe the long screws and anything else you would need for this project from RV Surplus Parts in Elkhart, Indiana.