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Old 11-19-2005, 05:18 PM   #1
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Rives Junction , Michigan
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 12
Help with 345 door lock

First entry and first Motorhome!

Just returned from picking up a '86 345, and qiute an experience. I flew in to RI, and drove back to Michigan via Ontario, 800 miles in two days.

Started out in blue skies and mid 50's temperatures. Everything was fine for the first couple of hours, then reality set in.

Turns out there was no coach power, and nothing inside worked. In addition, the dash ventilation fans did not work so no heat to the cab and windshield, and it was starting to get cold... make that snow was falling. Luckily the wipers worked, but not the washers.

Only 75k on the engine, and she just purrred along with all engine systems working fine. Heavy snow outside of Albany, so just slowed down and continued until the wiper blades and windshield started to ice up (also was starting to get a little cool inside = 52F).

Next day snow still falling, but with engine warming up for 20 minutes, the inside warmed up to a steady 50F, and the windsheild manged to stay clean. Snow was stopping so figured I was home free, just needed extra clothing. Stoped for fuel at Buffalo and filled up before heading for Ontario.

After filling found the coach door locked! The door would not open with either key (normal and dead bolt)!!! Rembered that the drives sliding window was not latching, so borrowed a stool and screw driver and manged to climb in the side window. Alll attemps to open the door from the inside failed (the handle was hangling down and acted as if it was not connected to anything.

Still hungery and needing to make a toilet run (unit was winterized before I started out), so decided to use the only reasonable exit available = rear emergency window. Wasn't to bad, but did generate a few looks. I made sure not to let the window slam shut, just in case it would re-latch and lock me out of the one access point.

Managed to travel the last 400 miles with out any stops or need for fuel, really gald the unit has an 80 gal tank and was averaging 8 mpg. There was one point of interest when the USA Imigration was making noise about wanting to inspect the inside, until I mentioned the locked door problem and that they were invited to crawl in the rear window.

OK, when I returned home today, I found a broken cable lead at the back of the solinoid terminal, which was readliy reparied, and now all coach lights, heating and ventilation fans working!!! Windshield fluid tank cracked so need replacement, but should not be abig deal.

Still no solution for the locked door. Tired to unscrew the latch cover from the inside, but the screen door will not allow the plate to be removed for access to the internals. Any thoughts??? I am considering having to remove from the exterior (hinges at the frame) and see if it can be rewoked.

No snow forcasted for tomorrow, so should be do-able, unless someone has an easy solution to this problem???

thanks,

Greg
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Old 11-19-2005, 06:39 PM   #2
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
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Is there a hole in the latch cover plate, or a small rod sticking out of it? Some have an access that will let you manipulate the tumbler from outside.
It might be the problem some of us have had where the tumbler cracks into two parts and will not unlock or lock. On mine when it happened it was inlocked and would not lock. These tumblers can be replaced if thats the problem.
You might be able to drill out the bolts that hold the plate on and uncover the innards so you can unlatch it.
Not sure if your lock is the same as my 82, though.
Welcome to the Forums, your trip home was better than some and worse than others, but you will always remember it that's for sure. I was so lucky on my 600 mile ride home with mine, knowing little about what I was getting into, I made it with no prblems all the way thru the Smokies in the rain at night.
Check out the adventure that Brett had driving cross country after he bought his Argosy MH and went from Washington State to Florida!
http://www.airforums.com/forum...ight=adventure
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Old 11-19-2005, 09:07 PM   #3
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Rives Junction , Michigan
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Alan:

There is a hole with a rod on the inside mechanism. Prior to the failure, moving the rod up would lock the inside handle from opening the door. Now the rod does not move, and the inside handle kind of flops down as if it is no longer connected to anything.

Wil try to dismantle tomorrow. Any suggestions on replacement parts if it is a broken tumbler??
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Old 11-19-2005, 10:51 PM   #4
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Well done on your trip home and excellent choice in the model and year of your "new" Airstream Motorhome! As Alan pointed out they can be a bit tricky. I'll be visiting my 345 tomorrow and will try to remember to look at my lock mechanism for you. Parts are still available from AS, might even be something you can get at Camping World.
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Old 11-20-2005, 09:28 AM   #5
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I used a Keeler L400 tumbler which cost about 15 bucks, and is available thru many RV and Camping dealers. It fits the older Bargman lock exactly. However once again I am not sure if your lock and mine are the same model.
I removed the lock and took it apart carefully , then inserted the new tumbler. Its been fine over the past 4 years now. I keep it lubed inside.
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Old 11-20-2005, 09:50 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forums and to classic ownership. We bought Chummy in NH and drove him home to Wisconsin. You can read about it on our web page. There have been several threads dealing with the locks on our coaches. If you do a search you will find them. Our previous owner replaced ours with a household deadbolt which works great.
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Old 11-21-2005, 11:13 AM   #7
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Rives Junction , Michigan
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Managed to remove the door/lock, but I did have to cut the bolt in half. Once the bolt was cut the door could be pulled away from the frame (already remove the hinges), and you are automatically hit in the shin by the stairs while trying not to drop the door.

Inside the door mechanism there is a slide plate that is connected to the spring loaded bolt (read spring loaded to close). Turning the handle pushes the interior plate toward the front of the coach, pulls the bolt (against the spring), and when in the retracted position clears the strike plate.

It appears that the retracting plate and bolt separated company, so nothing was attached that could compress the bolt close spring.

Now any thoughs on a parts list or source for replacing the bolt?
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