How to Securely Fix an Enclosed Trailer Door?

Table of Contents

Restoring vintage items, like a 1990s Pace Shadow trailer, offers a unique satisfaction. If your trailer door bolts are giving way, ensuring safety and functionality becomes paramount. Repairing these bolts might be simpler than you think with the right approach. Here, we explore eight modules to guide you through the repair process.

Understanding the Problem:

Often in older trailers, “bolts” lack pointy ends, which can become problematic over time. These bolts might get loose and pull out from the sheet metal. While temporary fixes like tightening them can work, a more lasting solution is often sought after. Getting a good grasp of the root problem is the first step in the repair journey.

Delving into the Nutsert Solution:

Nutserts are threaded inserts particularly beneficial for thin materials. They’re designed to expand, providing a tight grip on the material. However, for nutserts to be effective, the material they’re being used on must be of the right thickness. If your trailer’s bolts thread into a plywood structure, you might have to consider alternative fixes.

The Power of Soft Wood Threaded Inserts:

When working with plywood or similar materials, soft wood threaded inserts can be immensely helpful. They offer a tight, durable grip, ensuring the bolt stays in place. They are especially useful if you are trying to avoid a nutsert and looking for a similar but more sturdy alternative.

Exploring the T-nuts Solution:

For those with plywood walls in their trailers, T-nuts provide a seamless solution. These nuts sit flush against the surface, ensuring stability when installed correctly. By drilling a hole, inserting the T-nut from inside, and then using a longer bolt, you establish a stronger connection, ensuring the bolt remains secure.

Getting to Know Self-Tapping Bolts:

In some trailers, the issue arises from self-tapping 3/8 bolts. Over time, these can loosen, causing the door to become unstable. The solution? After exposing the bolt’s backside, using a washer and a 3/8 nut can effectively secure the bolt once again, mitigating the issue.

Accessing the Bolt’s Backside:

A significant challenge is accessing the backside of the bolt. Trailers often have an empty channel behind the bolt with a wooden panel a few inches away. A proactive approach is to drill through this section. By doing so, you can assess the gap between layers, which will determine your subsequent steps.

Addressing Gaps and Employing Washers:

Once you’ve determined the gap size, you can proceed accordingly. With no gap, longer bolts with fender washers and nuts are ideal. However, with a substantial gap, consider using a hole saw to access the bolt’s backside more easily. This access allows you to secure the bolt with washers and nuts more effectively.

Preserving the Trailer’s Integrity:

Throughout the repair process, it’s crucial to maintain the trailer’s structural integrity. Ensure that any drilling or alterations don’t jeopardize the trailer’s strength. Also, while aesthetics might take a backseat to functionality, aim for repairs that preserve the trailer’s vintage charm.


Repairing an enclosed trailer door can be systematic when broken down into actionable steps. By understanding the problem, exploring solutions, and executing with care, you ensure both safety and preservation of your beloved trailer. Repairing isn’t just about fixing; it’s about reviving and cherishing memories. Happy restoring!


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Hey, I'm John Liu, founder of and industrial hinge expert. Over the past 22 years, we have helped 65 countries and more than 3,000 customers. We customize and manufacture industrial hinges for them for various equipment doors. We grow with our customers and continue to create value for them. Helping them to become the head company in their field, while we grow. This article refers to sharing knowledge about Industrial Hinges.
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