Dora - Door Fix

While waxing Dora in Brenda, AZ I found some disturbing cracks by the door handle. When we got back to Oregon I took the door off and pulled the latch out. There are cracks in the gel coat of little concern but four cracks at the corners were structural.

The only way it could break there is for the door to be pulled outward against the latch. But if the latch is secure it can't pull the door this way. I found the screws holding the latch slightly loose, I figure this is the main cause. I hope so, it's an easy fix.

But I repaired the cracks. I found a boat repair kit using West epoxy. The epoxy comes in several small pre-measured pouches. Easy to use. The first step in the actual work was to grind the edges of the cracks back for the new glass will have some surface to adhere to. I used a hand held belt sander with the results below.

I filled the latch area with clay covered with plastic garbage bag. The area is tight and I didn't want the resin migrating in there. The areas around the cracks was then filled with small pieces of fiberglass and filled resin. This was sanded smooth.

The areas worked on were then filled with resin. The resin was thickened with filler and a colorant, white. The filler tended to darken the white color. After curing this layer was sanded smooth.

The final result came out OK. The color is off but it's mostly hidden by the latch.

I'll be happy if it doesn't crack again. I think there's a good chance that it won't as long as I keep the latch screws tight. Fingers crossed.