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Old 07-08-2003, 02:24 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
, Ontario
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Posts: 6
Broken Exterior Door Lock

The lock on our exterior door appears to have been broken and we are unable to enter our 1978 Sovereign . The key just spins in the lock. Anyone have any ideas on how to remove the lock assembly from the outside without to much damage? Or how we can enter the trailer without breaking a window?

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Old 07-08-2003, 03:31 PM   #2
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1994 36' Classic 36
North Charleston , South Carolina
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bed location

Where is your bed?

If it is twins in the middle you can acces from storage bin door.
It is a tight squeeze but possible.

If you have rear bed you can send small child through storage bin door through the tambour door below bed.

The rear window is an emergency exit but I dont know that you can open it from the outside.

At the sacrifice of a screen, you can slide thin metel wire or strip between gasket and window frame and roll the window latch to the unlock position. Most of the trailers that are this old will have loose window latches that can easily be rotated with a thin piece of metal.

Good luck,

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Old 07-08-2003, 06:43 PM   #3
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Broken Exterior Door Lock

Greetings Fmzjwill!

Welcome to the Forum and the world of Vintage Airstreaming!

Another option, especially if you have roadside assistance coverage through your coach insurance provider or a separate motor-club-type coverage on your coach, is to obtain the assistance of a professional locksmith. A competent locksmith should be able to get the door open without damage utilizing the tools of the trade - - in a worse case scenario, the lock cylinder might need to be drilled out, but the locksmith that I deal with only does that as a last resort and only if he knows that he can obtain a complete replacement cylinder. Even without insurance, if the locksmith knows that it isn't an emergency situation the charge isn't likely to be great - - when I had to have a lock with defective cylinder repaired on one of my outbuildings, the charge was only $60.00 for the call and repair as it was done at the locksmith's convenience.

Good luck in solving your lock issue!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 07-08-2003, 08:16 PM   #4
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1977 31' Sovereign
, Ontario
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Posts: 6
Thanks for your info. Since we have the center twin beds, we will give the hatch a try first and then go the locksmith route if necessary. Our trailor is parked on Lake Superior 300 miles from us so it will be awhile before I can let you know the outcome. Thanks again for your help.
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Old 07-08-2003, 09:11 PM   #5
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Questions from a locksmith...

Which style of lock do you have? A 5/8" lock in a paddle handle style or a seperate doorknob/deadbolt like on a house? This sounds like a broken tailpiece/activator just behine the lock cylinder, but the attack varies with the style. Any pictures?
I might be able to advise a bypass by PM.
Bruce Campbell
Dillon, CO
'70 Globe Trotter 21'
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Old 07-08-2003, 09:13 PM   #6
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1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
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My '77 Excella developed a stubborn habit of not always unlocking no matter which way I turned the key. I ordered a new tumbler from Inland RV and followed the directions which entailed drilling out the tumbler, picking out the pieces and slipping the new one in (it just pops in). It was somewhere in the neighborhood of $54 or so.

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Old 07-10-2003, 07:16 PM   #7
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1977 31' Sovereign
, Ontario
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Our Airstream has the paddle handle style lock. The handle is attached to the bolt with a sheer pin. We leave the keys with relatives in the area so they can use the place once in a while. They have trouble figuring out when the door is locked and when it is unlocked. Last year they forced the handle and sheered off the pin. I suspect that they've done the same thing this year. I got in through an unlocked window last year and was able to open the door from the inside latch. This year all the windows are locked. Any good ideas?? Thanks, Fiona & Mike
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Old 07-11-2003, 12:13 AM   #8
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Talking Get the keys and send a bill....

Get the keys form the relatives, and send them the repair bill....that is a fair idea in my opinion.
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:17 PM   #9
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Now we have this problem

We now have this problem. Dont know how, we winterized the trailer this last weekend and left it in Buena Vista like always. My husband decided to go back today to install a bypass on the hot water heater and lo and behold THE LOCK WAS BROKEN. Vandels, kids... dont know, but now we can't get in to it. It is exactly what Bruce was talking about on the earlier thread.

We have the 5/8" paddle lock with broken tailpiece/activator. Can you help us anyone? Please, as there is also a dead mouse inside that we set a trap for. I'm hoping Bruce sees this or the PM I sent him since he indicated a possible bypass. Leigh
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:03 PM   #10
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1974 31' Sovereign
Howell , Michigan
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We just used our AS over the Labor Day weekend and had a similar problem. The lock cylinder has always been loose, but still worked. On the outbound journey, we had to stop as my wife needed to get something out of the trailer. I gave her the keys and watched in my mirror as she unlocked the door. She was obviously having a problem and when I saw her yanking on the door, I jumped out to stop her - I had just repaired the pin on the lock about a week before and could see that she was doing her best to break it again! After a bit of fiddling around, the door opened, she got her stuff out of the trailer and off we went again. I took the opportunity to lecture her on the delicate nature of the door lock and that finesse rather than brute force usually prevails. We arived at our destination - a friend of my wife's who has an up-north cottage - set up the camper and then did the sitting around the campfire drinking beer till late routine. I was awoken the next morning to my wife again having a problem with the door - this time from the inside! We were locked in and had to call her friend on the phone to come and let us out! The door was opened from the outside with no problem except for the laughter of our rescuers and our embarrassment!
I removed the lock and checked it out and all appeared to be OK.
Next stop was the family reunion in Rose City, Michigan. We set up the trailer outside the hall where the reunion is held as we do every year, so that the mothers with babies can use the trailer for feeding, changing and generally use it as a nursery. Me and the missus took off for a walk to look at an Excella that we had seen on the way in. On the way back we were tracked down by Anne's brother, who informed us that various mothers and babies were locked in the trailer and were panicking! I rushed back and found that someone had closed the door - it was open when I had left and I never thought that anyone would close it as it was a warm day. Found out that one of the kids had closed it and dropped the catch on the inside - fairly simple to talk one of the less panicked moms through the simple unlocking process!
What I have now, is a door that sticks shut, even when it is not locked! When I got back home, I tried to find the problem.
My conclusion is:-
When the wife was yanking on the door, I think that she moved the striker out by a couple of thou of an inch.
The lock 'bolt' has very small grooves on the straight edge and this is causing the bolt to hang up on the frame under the striker.
If I put pressure on the door at the same time as I pull the flap, then the door opens OK - likewise when opening from the inside, I have to pull the door at the same time as I work the handle.
If I don't put pressure on the door (from outside) and just pull the flap, it appears to be broken as it pulls all the way out.
Conclusion - make sure that this is not the problem with your door locks before taking any drastic measures like buying a new lock or drilling out your cylinders.
In my case, the solution is to remove the 2 rivets that hold the striker and re-mount it back a few thou of an inch - probably a simple 5 minute job!
'If you always do, what you've always done.'
'You'll always get, what you've always got!'
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Old 09-18-2003, 07:41 AM   #11
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Hi - thanks for your reply, but no, the paddle handle is broken. It just flops now instead of engaging the activator. Someone yanked way to hard on it and broke some part inside. The main problem is the mouse that we need to get out. Everything is winterized, so we could take our time to fix the lock, BUT that mouse is going to start stinking!!!! HELP!!!! Leigh
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Old 09-18-2003, 08:05 AM   #12
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Without destroying the lock assembly there is only one other way to get in. Thru a window. Check to see if all of the window latches are closed and latched. If they are pick one window and see if a slim jim or other tool can be worked into the bottom of the window to pop the latches. Then you can open the window, pop the screen and climb in. This may damage the weather strip on the window, so try to stay on the bottom.

I would pick a window that you have verified you can get a replacement for, just in case you break it

The latcjhing emchanism will not allow the bolt to be pushed in to open the door, so there is no way to get it open from the outside unless you destroy the door latch IMO.

Good Luck
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 09-18-2003, 08:19 AM   #13
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I put one vent in with rivnuts and screws for the time when this happens. It is not a large opening and you would have to let a small adult or child go through and rivet it back on, but it beats breaking glass.

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Old 09-18-2003, 08:52 AM   #14
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Hello again - got Price calmed down about the dead mouse and on the phone to Charlie in Boise (parts dept). We are going to try removing the hinge pins from door, as Charlie suggested. The whole lock mechanism is quite expensive ($600+) if we can find one and apparently just removing the lock cylinder won't work cause the activator? whatever to open door is several inches below the cylinder hole and can't be reached. Thought i would post all that Charlie told us in case this comes up for others with a like trailer. Our windows are tight and don't think that would be the way to go. If worse comes to worse, we were planning some floor repair and might wait till next Spring to drop bellypan and go up thru floor. Will keep posting on progress. LEigh

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