Reinforcing the Center Latch Mounting

I had a problem with the center latch on one side of my Trailmanor. It had come loose during transport before I received it. Because it was loose and the weight of the shell was moving it around, it tore the holes out of the bar it attaches to, and I had the choice of reinforcing the bar, or replacing it entirely. This is my first try at a reinforcement, using 1/16 thick 2 inch wide bar stock.

The latch reinforcement
The latch reinforcement

It works, but I will probably drill one that’s neater. I used a fiber saw to cut this piece out of a longer bar, and then drilled it in a drill press.

I think that next time I’ll try to install the latch between the original part and the reinforcing bar, rather than on top of the reinforcing bar. If it’s on top, the latch does not center properly on the bar it captures, and I had to push the shell a bit to get the latch to catch properly.

There’s a dangerous part here. The 4 large bolts hold the torsion bar that helps to raise the shell. You must only remove those bolts when the shell is raised, and this may even be risky then. It worked for me, once so far, without any problem. If you remove the bolts when the shell is lowered, there will be a lot of force on the torsion bar, and it may tear its way out suddenly, and parts may go flying. The force could hurt you badly and you will find it difficult to raise the shell in order to put things back together.
If you’re in doubt about whether you can handle the safety issues, have your RV repair shop handle this.