Ranger Tug R23 Door Hinge Mod

Category: Boat Stuff

We have only had our boat for a couple of weeks now (more to come about that in a future post), but already have been making some modifications.

Space can be tight on a boat of this size, and the berth/head door can't fully open & close when all of the cushions are in place. You have to remove the cushion each time you want to close the door, and even after you remove the cushion, you have to crawl up on to the bed in order to get out of the way.

I saw a post on Tugnuts where Jim Gizzi shared a brilliant solution (he said he got the idea from someone else who got it from someone else, so I dont know who to give the original credit to). Essentially, you cut the door in half and make it a bi-fold door so that the door can bend around the cushions.

Jim wrote up his process on his blog, but sadly it is offline now. You can view an archived copy via the Wayback Machine but I wanted to document it as well in case anybody was looking for info.

Here are the high-level steps:

  1. Remove the door - unscrew the hinges on the door side and leave them attached to the boat
  2. Remove the hardward from the door - for my 2018 model, that involved:
    • the magnetic catch at the bottom
    • the shower head hook
    • the canvas snaps
    • the velcro strip
    • the hinge nuts
    • the locking latch (see below)
  3. Measure and mark the cut line - always measure from the hinge side since the door is not square
  4. Cut the door - use tape along the cut line to reduce tear out
  5. Add the hinges - make sure to account for the width of the saw kerf when reasembling so the door ends up the same exact size
  6. Reinstall the hardware
  7. Put the door back in the boat and enjoy your new functional door

Removing the latch was a bit tricky. There are no visible screws or fasteners holding the latch in place. Turns out the latch is a Mobella latch and it is held in place with some spring-loaded tabs. Here is a video that talks about how to remove these types of latches, but the gist is that you have to use the little gear teeth to compress the springs to release the tabs. Here is a close up the of the latch, the internal mechanism, and the cut-out in the door so you have an idea.

Before cutting, I made an outline of the door so that after it was cut, I could line it all back up before installing the hinges. On my boat, 11 3/4" from the hinge side was the perfect place to make the cut since I needed to avoid the middle snap.

After making the cut, I used a level to line up the hinges. I used the same Rockler hinges that Jim recommended since they have a locking mechanism that keeps the door stiff when it is not folded. DONT use the screws that come with the hinges though, they are too long (I used 1/2" screws instead).

Aligning the hinges

After the hinges were installed, it is just a matter of reinstalling the rest of the hardware. Note that the shower head hook needed to be relocated to avoid the hinge - this is where it is for new boats as well.

Ready to go back in the boat

Then it was back in the boat to test it out. You can see that it fits exactly like before, but now it is extra functional.

View of the back side of the door

View of the outside When closed against the head

View of the outside when closed against the berth

You can also check out the video below to see the door in use and the extra functionality that it adds. If you make this modification, drop me a line to let me know how it goes.




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