How to Install a Water Heater Door Latch On an RV (Atwood)

Things will break as you own your RV. Some breaks are major needing a lot of money and talent to repair or replace the broken items. And some are simple and inexpensive to repair or replace. All it takes is a little patience to get the repair completed.

This is not a task where you need a technician to do it for you. All you have to do is buy the replacement part and fit the spring section through the hole in the locking mechanism. Once through, you just re-attached the cam and lock your door.

To learn more about this easy repair, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can save money and make the repair yourself. The hardest part may be in removing the cam to get the part ready for installation.

Finding An RV Water Heater Door Latch Replacement


This is not a rare part nor is it one that lasts forever. Those two facts mean that you can find a replacement part just about anywhere. Your local RV parts and supplies store should have them in stock. If not, they should be able to order one for you.

Or you can go to Amazon and buy your replacement there. The price for a single door latch is under $5 and you will save if you buy a multi-pack. This outlet is selling locks made by different brands so a generic fit should work for you.

Then there are other online outlets that have this part in stock. You just need to pick the one with the best price and the fastest shipping time. The good thing about this lock is that no matter which brand of RV you own, the same design seems to fit all of them.

In all the images we saw, not one had a different design so that lets you pick up any latch made by any brand and have it work on your Atwood water heater door.

Atwood RV Water Heater Door Latch


This brand is no different from the ones we have already described. The design is exactly the same as all other brands and the biggest decision you will have to make in this situation is whether you will want plastic or metal.

The plastic is not guaranteed to last a long time and it has been said that if you do not want to make this repair anytime soon, get the metal option. In some cases, the metal option is cheaper than the plastic version.

The other problem you may come across is that the hole for the locking mechanism may not be universal. By that, we mean that the replacement options may be too large to fit through the holding hole.

You may have to take a drill bit and widen the hole a little bit to make sure you get a proper fit. You won’t need to widen the hole that much. Just a little bit should solve this problem.

Just one word of caution. If you purchase a single Atwood branded replacement lock, expect to pay double or triple of the prices the other brands are selling at. Amazon had their Atwood model selling for about $16 for one.

You can get 4 from another brand for half the price. Camco brands are about $2 cheaper than the Atwood so the choice is yours on how much you want to pay. All options discussed here were the metal version.

Suburban RV Hot Water Heater Door Latch


One top 10 list, this brand came in at #9, not that positioning makes much difference as some people may rate it higher or lower depending on their experience with the door latch.

The one we looked at was the plastic model and it sold for $8.43 on Amazon for one. Out of 163 reviews, 84% of the reviewers gave this product 5 stars. Their experience was good while others did not have such a great time or they did not like the plastic version.

What you have to watch out for is how you handle it. Plastic is not as strong as metal and as some reviewers reported, the item broke as they were installing it. Those giving this locking mechanism a good rating said that the spring is very powerful so that is a good aspect when looking to replace your broken latch.

How to Install a Water Heater Door Latch On an RV


The first step in the installation is to separate the cam from the holding mechanism and the spring. The latter two go in through the hole at the top of the door from the rear. Once through that hole, you re-attach the cam. It should take less than 10 seconds to actually do this repair.

The place where you will have the most difficulty will be the diameter of the hole. If you buy an off-brand of latch, then you may have to drill the hole out a little bit. One owner used a 5/16th drill bit to make that hole large enough to handle the replacement latch.

That is all there is to this repair. It may be one of the easier ones you have to do on your RV. We recommend that you go with the metal version so that you do not have to make this repair very often.

Some Final Words

This is not going to be a difficult project to take on. You should be able to make the repair even if you have no handyman skills. That is how simple it is to do. If you need help, there are plenty of videos on YouTube showing how this repair should be done.

The key is to buy metal and to save money buy an off-brand latch. They are as sturdy and reliable as the branded options, in most cases.

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