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Old 11-24-2015, 06:57 AM   #1
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Entry doors and latch assemblies

The issue with Sonia's latch assembly brings up interesting problem.

Most of the Classics and some Argosies came with Keeler latches with some of those having been replaced when they broke with a Bargman L300 latch assembly (modifications to door required). The earliest Argosy motorhomes came with Hartwell latch assemblies. Currently in my stash I have an Argosy door with a Hartwell latch, an Argosy door with a Keeler latch and a 310 door that has had the Keeler latch replaced with a Bargman L300 latch.

The only one of the three that is frequently found on ebay is the Bargman latch. In the past three years or so that I've been monitoring ebay for these latches and only the Bargman shows up on a daily basis.

As for the Keeler and Hartwell I've seen two Hartwell latches (I bought one of them) and four Keeler (bought two of them). Peter and Tony bought the other Keeler latches and the other Hartwell went unsold at $130.

Also available from time to time are the lock cylinders for the Keeler and Bargman latches. Currently there is a seller on ebay selling the Keeler lock cylinders. Pricey but available. At one time you could buy the Keeler lock cylinders from Vintage Trailer Supply but their supply seems to have dried up.

A couple of vendors from time to time offer latch replacement kits generally based on the Bargman L300 but I think I saw a different version a year or so ago from Out of Doors Mart.

One thing I do know, the bore where the lock cylinder goes on the Keeler latch does wear causing the cylinder to become loose in the bore making more difficult to lock or unlock the latch. This problem will likely exist with the other brands as well. One possible fix for the over sized bore issue would be to have a machine shop over bore the hole and press a sleeve in. Should work but I haven't tried it.

Sonia's problem started me thinking about what would I have to do to get a broken latch to work so I could get the door open to repair or replace it. I think sometime this winter I'll look at each latch assembly and see what it would take from the outside to get the latch open again if something broke.

Should be an interesting project

Brad
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Old 11-24-2015, 07:25 AM   #2
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Glad to be of help


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Old 11-24-2015, 12:07 PM   #3
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I had my Keeler apart recently to replace the handle and to clean and lube. Once I saw how the mechanism work with the lobes on the handle, the weak link in the lock operation was apparent. The "tabs" on the sliding piece of stamped steel that interface with the lobes on the handle break off. In fact, the two tabs on mine were misalligned and I left it that way for fear of them breaking if I tried to straighten them out. I believe those tabs are the most common failure in that lock. Ill try to find some pics. But, it seems to me that the sliding piece of stamped steel could be duplicated pretty easily for a machine shop or someone with those skills and tools. A template could be made and reproduced I would think for a reasonable price.

I dont use the Keeler to lock up my rig, I use the dadbolt. (Which Ive also removed and taken to a locksmith for keys) bit of a pain to remove.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:25 PM   #4
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I know this doesnt address the locking portion of the Keeler but I believe its a common failure.
Click image for larger version

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In this picture he is working on the sliding piece of steel. The tabs are the small pieces turned down on either side of his work surface.
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Here is the slider still installed in the lock and the two tabs are turned towards the camera so they are hard to see. They are formed by the rectangular cutout, cut on three sides and then turned up here.
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Here is how the lobes on the back of the handle interface with the tabs. When you pull on the handle the lobes push on the tabs of the slider and it retracts the plunger. The tab on the right is broken and laying flat I believe.


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Old 11-24-2015, 12:32 PM   #5
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Mike,

I ran across Singleton's RV a while back while looking for Keeler parts.

I totally agree with your assessment of weak areas of the Keeler latch. Before I found this place I repaired the tabs on the Keeler lock on my old 310 by welding the bend points and grinding the surfaces down flush. The repair seemed to have worked, at least for the last couple of years! If I had found Singletons first I probably would have just bought a replacement part.

Singleton's appear to be reproducing the slide.


And they seem to have reproduced the handle as well.


I have not tried to order parts so I can't say that these parts actually exist or not.

Brad
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayco View Post
I dont use the Keeler to lock up my rig, I use the dadbolt. (Which Ive also removed and taken to a locksmith for keys) bit of a pain to remove.
That's exactly what I advised the owner of the 310, use the dead bolt only. You're right, getting that dead bolt out is a royal pain, especially on a 310 where the fridge wall covers part of the work area.

Brad
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:49 PM   #7
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HOLY MOLY BRAD!!! You are a sleuth detective no doubt. Thats an amazing find. Well Ill contact them and see if indeed they have the part. Between that and the handle itself I think that a good deal if those locks could be put back into service. You. Are. The. Man.
Thank you, Ill feel a good deal better about my entry lock if I have that sitting in stock.

Mike.
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:01 PM   #8
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Mike, lets just say when you're desperate for a part you tend to look longer and harder until you find it

For wear items like these latches, etc I tend to try to find spares because without them you're kinda stuck.

Brad
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Old 11-24-2015, 03:33 PM   #9
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I called their number and didnt get through but then saw they have limited hours so Ill try again. That would be so great to have that spare.
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:14 PM   #10
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With luck they will eventually answer their phone and actually have the parts available.

I hope I didn't give you a bum steer
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:25 PM   #11
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Regardless, if they did it then it can be done. Great info Brad.
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:27 PM   #12
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Ive also never ran across that supplier so they very well may have other parts, new or salvage.
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:34 PM   #13
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"are hard to see. They are formed by the rectangular cutout, cut on three sides and then turned up here."

This statement below picture two above is wrong, the tabs arent visible in the picture I posted there. Post #4. Dont want to mislead
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Old 11-24-2015, 07:54 PM   #14
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To those that would have nefariousideas of taking a vacation to Canada and dropping by Hillsburgh to absconed with my bit of unobtanium Keeler lock. Please be advised that it is hidden in a room under an invisibility cloak, guarded by a three headed Mastiff. The key to the lock of the hidden room resided around the neck of well paid troll.

Castle Doctrine is in force.

Cheers
Tony

PS I really wish that Ebay guy hadn't bought up the last of Vintage Airstream Supplies lock cylinders. The surprising thing is, the last time I looked he only had three of them with one sold; now he has five?????
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