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Old 01-13-2018, 05:25 PM   #1
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1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 208
Inside main door handle

Hi All,
We just got our new to us 1970 Ambassador, and now I am into the first stages of sorting it out.
One task is to get the door re-keyed, along with the storage hatch locks (no keys came with the trailer at all).
I cannot quite believe that I need to ask this question, but removing the inside handle from the main door has been impossible so far.
I know that the handle once had a set screw to hold it onto the shaft. I have checked multiple times now to confirm that the set screw is in fact gone. It is...
The handle will not come off -- at least so far. I have resorted to driving a very thin and flat pryer into the gap between the handle and the cylindrical portion of the shaft. So far, it has only moved about 1/4 inch. It acts as if the set screw is still in place, leading to repeated checks (even with a flashlight during the day) to confirm yet again that it is gone...I can turn the handle independent of the shaft, but not far enough to give it any further "play".
My assumption all along is that the set screw holds the handle on the shaft. Am I missing something? I could not find any references to this inside handle removal, which tells me that it is super simple. My experience, though, has been anything but...
Any guidance (especially if there is a tool solution that is more effective) will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
David
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:41 AM   #2
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1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 208
Inside door handle will not come off

Hi,
81 views, no replies. Can someone even just say if the inside door handle shaft is round and the set screw is the only thing that secures it? That would help me a lot. If it is squared off or if there are splines it will change my strategy for removal.


Thanks,
David
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Old 01-14-2018, 10:52 AM   #3
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1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 208
Post Inside door handle stuck

Hi All,
141 views, still no replies... I am writing this to document what I try in case someone else runs into this situation...
My options as I see them now are:

1. Grind a slot in a pry bar that is wide enough to slip past the narrower part of the handle shaft but narrow enough to rest upon the wider "cylinder part" of the shaft... Then try to coax the handle away from the rest of the mechanism using brute force.

2. Use the grinder to narrow the jaws of a set of needle-nose locking pliers enough to get in and grab the door handle shaft (currently around 1/4 inch is available. Clamp as strongly as I can and try to whole the handle in a circular (or back and forth, as there is a small amount of play now) to see if I can get the handle to spin off.

The problem with the first method is that with brute force may come damage. The problem with the second method is that is the shaft is splined, I will really be buggering it up if I am using force to turn the handle relative to the shaft.

Again, ANY information (is there additional hardware securing the handle? Is the shaft splined?) will help tremendously.


Thanks,
David
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Old 01-14-2018, 12:37 PM   #4
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1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 208
Inside door handle stuck

Hi All,
UPDATE -- Still crickets, response-wise... I spoke with a friend who suggested that the set screw may have deformed the shaft, creating a ridge on the door handle shaft that prevents the handle from slipping past, even with the set screw removed. He had two suggestions:

1. Carefully drill the set screw hole (I have a tap and die set in case I make the hole too big) to remove the burr on the shaft (if there is one), and/or

2. Heat the handle and hope that it expands more quickly than the shaft, allowing the handle to clear whatever is in its way.

Both of these ideas assume that the handle shaft is smooth and that there is no other fastener or splines... I am still hoping someone will confirm this.


Thanks,
David
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:09 PM   #5
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I don't think AS ever used a splined handle. Ridge caused by set screw sounds feasable or maybe some type of corrosion on shaft. I would try to work some penetrating oil in set screw hole then then wiggle in and out, pulls out a little do same. Do this over several days to penetrate work. Out side compartment keys all same readily avble. from several sources, fresh water key is dif. but same on other AS I think? Also I think outside reefer door dif. but avble. also. door key dif every AS and other uses. If no another 70s AS owner or some one close you can make copies of keys. may be 80s yrs. also same. If you PM me I will check to see if shaft is round or sq. as I have some 70s lock parts maybe this part. Bill [featherbedder]
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:13 PM   #6
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1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
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Inside door handle stuck

Hi Bill,
Thanks very much! I felt like I was going crazy, because I could not find any reference of a stuck inside door handle -- all of the descriptions simply said "remove set screw and pull handle off" -- or close to that. The only solace I had was that the process must normally be so simple that there was typically no need for further explanation.
We recently purchased this "time capsule" 1970 29' Ambassador. Many original details are still there, but no keys are present for any storage compartment or the the main door.
I will send you a PM shortly. Thanks so much for responding!!!


David
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:02 PM   #7
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1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 208
Inside door handle stuck

Hi All,
Just to complete the story, the handle is off. It was stuck because the edge of the hole for the set screw was jagged, and would catch when I tried to pull the handle from the shaft. I ended up tapping the handle counter-clockwise and coaxing it to turn on the shaft. Eventually it became loose enough to pull off.
I was concerned that the metal would be too soft (or brittle) to handle the "persuasion" of the hammer, but I wasn't exactly wailing on it, either.
Along the way, I had run a drill bit into the hole where the set screw goes, in hopes of de-burring the hole. Tomorrow the handle will be tapped with a slightly larger set screw, and all will be good...
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:06 PM   #8
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Any competent locksmith can make a key for you , easiest way is to take the rv to the locksmith. If you trust the PO then it would not need to be rekeyed, and it sounds like he didn't have a key since he didn't give you one. All my outside compartments are on the same key so its a simple matter to make a new one. Check the Santa Rosa area for a locksmith with an established shop, preferably a member of ALOA.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:30 AM   #9
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1970 29' Ambassador
Santa Rosa , California
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Inside door handle stuck

Hi Ter,
Thanks for your post. You are correct in your assumption that I was trying to remove the handle in order to remove the door lock in order two have it re-keyed.
The previous owner did not have any keys. I removed the latch "innards" from all of the storage compartments and took those and the door latch to a local locksmith who did indeed re-key them all. A quick reassembly, and "Retha" was starting to feel a bit more secure -- at least from critters ...


Thanks,
David
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