Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

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Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby joshwhite » Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:54 am

Hi, I started my own small camper build back last January when I got a good deal on this 4x8 HF trailer:
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Here a handful of photos to show the progress so far:
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So... my question. I probably should have thought this through more earlier but it's a little too late for that now.

I've found a handful of different galley hatch calculated drawings that base the strut sizes on overall hatch length and the position of them from other calculations such as this drawing:
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I placed a post on a body weight digital scale to get the dead weight and it came back at only 35lbs. I still need to add some insulation and interior walls to the hatch door so I'm guessing the overall weight won't exceed 50lbs.

My question is, based on the diagram above, should that work in my case as well although my door is not a typical teardrop door?
Here a are a few close up photos of the hatch and the frame it rests in:
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The total depth of my galley kitchen area is just less than 24" inches and when the hatch is closed, it's very tight fitting without much room for struts to collapse.
I may just have to go with some sort of custom drop down rods that come down from the hatch and lock into position on top of the upper cabinet. The door is not that heavy so it wouldn't be that big of a deal in my opinion but I'd love the option of using struts here.

Really appreciate any suggestions anyone may have!
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby squire » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:42 am

Very nice build. Are you concerned about the total weight placed on the HP trailer?
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby edgeau » Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:48 pm

Might be a case of trial and error. But struts work for the tailgate on SUV so you should be able to get it done.

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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby tony.latham » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:14 pm

I would suggest you do a side-profile diagram and try to figure out how they'll fit.

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:thinking:

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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby joshwhite » Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:24 pm

Squire: thanks! I'm not worried about the weight... the camper is very light and won't be much heavier... we did some initial welding to reinforce the frame and may do some more later on after the build is complete.

I appreciate the other responses as well. I will get back to this at some point but I'm horrible with geometry among other things but mostly geometry.
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby Tomterrific » Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:44 pm

I have a similar hatch and used legs off a broken pop-up canopy for supports. The legs go from hatch to floor. The buttons click to hold the hatch up securely.

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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby Squigie » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:06 am

Thought I posted here a few days ago. ...Guess the internet ate my homework.

Long post summarized:
I would put one end of the strut near the top of your upper cabinet; and the lower end of the strut on the hatch, as low as possible (probably just clearing the counter top), but as far outboard as possible.

I *think* that'll get your where you need to be, with plenty of 'closing' force (cammed-over and pulling closed, instead of the hatch trying to push open constantly). You just need to see what that works out to as far as weight and length (break out the scale and tape measure again...). (...and consider modifying the cabinets and/or doors to clear a strut.)



I don't mean to be a downer, or speak ill of the guys that say "Just build! It'll work itself out!" ... but this is why I plan everything for big projects before I make the first cut.
I still screw up. I still make mistakes. I still have to improvise. But the big mistakes (like 'oh, crap; where do my struts go?') are generally avoided.
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby joshwhite » Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:12 pm

Tomterrific-- thanks for the suggestion. Do you have any photos of yours? I'd love to see how you did it.

Squigie-- thanks as well!
I like your suggestion. The door will not weigh more than 50lbs when complete, right now its at about 35lbs. What length and strength is suggested?

I was thinking. I can use some scrap would to clamp down on my cabinet so that I can make as many holes as needed to get them aligned correctly before doing the final install.


Separate question: How do you keep the hurricane hinge from sliding back and forth?
I mean, its all screwed down but while I was opening/closing the hatch, the door shifted the the left at one point. The hinge attached to the door slide to the left and when I came to close it, it obviously wouldn't because it off track. I figure the struts will keep it from sliding around but is there another way to make sure it doesn't shift around?
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby Squigie » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:22 pm

What length and strength is suggested?

You'll need to figure out where you want to mount the ends, then take open and closed measurements to see where that takes you.
I would get the weight in the same manner. -In the spot you'll be mounting the strut, not some percentage based on a general equation that was designed for a different style of hatch.

My gut says 36-40 lb (each).

Separate question: How do you keep the hurricane hinge from sliding back and forth?

The two most common methods seem to be:
1. Cutting the inner portion a bit short and using screws at each end as stops.
2. Slotting the inner portion so a screw or pin through the outer portion will keep the hatch from sliding. (Single pin, or one on each side.)
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby Wellcraft290 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:58 am

nice looking build. Saw you made the water heater box out of wood.

I am in teh process of planning and isn't that a concern with the heat(flame) getting too hot and causing a fire?
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby joshwhite » Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:37 pm

I plan on adding venting on top of the box, we'll see how it goes!
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby slowcowboy » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:43 pm

I used a broom handle and round rubber closet rod hangers..slow.
Plans. there was supposed to be plans to be followed when I built this thing. Opps! AH, gee, tum,tee tum. I think I forgot about the plans 2 years ago. ------Tow vehicles, 1995 ford explore, 1994 ford ranger, 1993 ford F-150, 2009 4x9 Off road teardrop, on harbor freight greatly modified frame.
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby joshwhite » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:22 pm

Oh yeah, I forgot to update you all. This is what I decided to build until I decide to figure out gas struts, if I ever go that route.
This pivots down and 45dg cut outs allow this to rest securely on the upper cabinet. When I want to close the hatch, I lift the hatch a bit and rest this support on top of the cabinet. As I manually close the hatch, the support folds into place. I'll eventually add magnets to it so I can secure it to the inside of the hatch once I get my interior hatch walls installed. This turned out to be pretty nice actually. The dowels can be used to hang things on to dry or whatnot.

If you look carefully at the 1st photo you can see the rack / support tucked up inside the hatch. You can see the pivot points where it comes down to rest on the cabinet.
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby drhill » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:44 pm

That hatch support/towel rack will work great. No need to spend money on struts.

One suggestion I would make though, is consider adding some sort of safety pin to stop the hatch from being lifted (and then dropped) when there is a gust of wind from behind with the hatch open. I added some safety pins to mine and have only used them on a couple occasions be they are nice to have when camping in the open in Moab or next to the ocean where wind can be a problem.
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Re: Suggestions for my galley hatch struts?

Postby joshwhite » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:47 pm

That's a great idea and I will set that up for sure. Hadn't really thought about that and happy you brought it up!
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