A screen door has always been a desire for the GMC and after 24 years of ownership it was about time to do something about it. We had looked at all the screens we had seen on the market and really did not fall in love with any of them. Also all of the commercially available screen doors did not allow us to have the rather deep valance on the door that was necessary to house our new electric shades. We liked the looks and functionality of the phantom screen doors that we had seen in a couple of GMCs but we did not have the solid wall that most of these units had on which to mount the screen and a place for a fixed panel on the other side of the door for the screen to close too. We could not even install a fixed panel because we have a dinette that needs to be able to fold down into a bed and this would not be possible if a fixed panel were installed. After much thought we came up with a rather unique solution and even though it looks a little different I think it will prove to be functional. It meets all our criteria and keeps a fairly open look to the inside of the GMC without adding solid panels. It also allows the dinette to be folded down into a bed.
Here is a picture of the installation from the outside.
The screen door slopes inward from the door threshold to a spot several inches inside the door header (top). There is a gap between the screen and the door frame that looks like it is open. This is however another screen that can be pulled back and hooked against the wall so it is out of the way. This picture shows the screen door open and the screen panel in its normal position.
The screen panel has shock cord running up the inside edge to hold the panel in contact with the screen door when it is closed.
As is probably obvious in this picture the screen door opens in the opposite direction form the Hard door, with the phantom door this is not an issue like it would be with a standard screen door.
The next picture shows where the phantom door is mounted and it is a little more evident how far the top of the door is set back from the door header to allow for the shade valance on the GMC door and how the phantom screen is on a slope. You can also see that on this side we also use a screen panel between the door frame and the screen door above the counter top. This also keeps a very open feeling.
This is how it looks from the inside. As you can see it is not very obtrusive and does not detract from the interior of the coach too much.
The following pictures show a little more detail of the screen side panel both in its normal position and in its pulled back position so the dinette can be folded down or leaned back.
This is a picture of the ceiling where the door crosses.
I am currently using a magnetic catch that attaches to the back of the dinette seat. This is not going to be very functional since even bumping the back of the dinette seat will cause the door to open. I will be adding a more positive catch in the near future.
What was the biggest challenges in this project.?
Actual cost of the project was relatively cheap, The screen door from northwest RV was about $50, the track was $10, the latch, side screen and shock cord was less the $15 making total cost of about $75. Time wise it was much more expensive since I had many false starts and much mental design effort, It took over a week to do the install and get it working.
For those of you that are really observant you may have noticed the key pad to the left of the door in several of the pictures which is the result of the keyless entry project. This is a great project and works very well. My wife really loves it since she does not need to carry a key anymore. Total cost for that project was about $35.
You also may have noticed that when we had the dinette reupholstered we had head rests installed (Porsche no less) so that we could lay back and rest a little easier.
Also some of the pictures show the partially completed kitchen which I will document in more detail when I get it done.