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Old 12-12-2009, 07:48 PM   #1
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1981 31' Excella Limited
Anchorage , Alaska
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Help save marriage and door problems

We have a 81 excella. In October the door latch broke and my beautiful wife was locked inside the camper and had to be rescued by the deputies. A local RV service store ordered a new lock from Airstream and replaced it. We were heartbroken that the new lock had to have a cover plate and no longer looks original. Worse, the door lock does not function properly and we are getting locked in or out on nearly a daily basis. I filed off a slot on the door latch that seemed like it was getting caught on the receiving side of the door. It worked fine until we later traveled that day and are now back to having locking problems. We can use the deadbolt to keep the door shut. But opening the door is very troublesome. Has anyone replaced their original locks with the new style locks and what did they have to do to make it fit right?
We have the original latch and does anyone have suggestions on rebuilding it? we have seen rebuild kits but not for this latch.

not so funny story about getting locked in the airstream is on our blog, Airstreaming Adventures

thanks beforehand for any advice.
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:12 PM   #2
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1988 34' Excella
Troy , Texas
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Solution for door lock and handle

My wife and I were both in the trailer when our door handle broke...luckily I had a pair of pliers inside the trailer and was able to escape...what I did was I ordered the same kit you put on your trailer...but, when I received it ...didn't like the way it looked...so I took my handle and lock to a machinist...he drilled through the center of the round part of the handle that was left attached to the lock...he made a nice handle out of aluminum ...he put two pins in the handle and a set screw was the center attachment...this sounds difficult but, my old hardware is still in tack...and the door works great...if you need pictures message me.
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:07 PM   #3
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We have a 81 excella. In October the door latch broke and my beautiful wife was locked inside the camper and had to be rescued by the deputies. A local RV service store ordered a new lock from Airstream and replaced it. We were heartbroken that the new lock had to have a cover plate and no longer looks original. Worse, the door lock does not function properly and we are getting locked in or out on nearly a daily basis. I filed off a slot on the door latch that seemed like it was getting caught on the receiving side of the door. It worked fine until we later traveled that day and are now back to having locking problems. We can use the deadbolt to keep the door shut. But opening the door is very troublesome. Has anyone replaced their original locks with the new style locks and what did they have to do to make it fit right?
We have the original latch and does anyone have suggestions on rebuilding it? we have seen rebuild kits but not for this latch.

not so funny story about getting locked in the airstream is on our blog, Airstreaming Adventures

thanks beforehand for any advice.
Your original lock and it's parts are no longer available.

Post a photo of what you now have and perhaps there may be some help for it.

When your original lock becaome obsolete, Airstream did come out with a replacement, but it did require a plate.

Newer style locks, that are available, are superior to those used almost 30 years ago.

If your wife insists, you can have the exterior top part of the entrance door replaced, to eliminate the "plate".

If you do that, you may also need to replace the "striker pocket".

Andy
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:13 PM   #4
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Check with Andy at Inland RV he has the correct $$$ replacement
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:51 AM   #5
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We have had a couple of the parts for the original locks made at a local machine shop. It depends what part has broken on it. Do you still have the original lock and do you know what part is broken?

Andrew T
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:39 AM   #6
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1981 31' Excella Limited
Anchorage , Alaska
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thanks for the responses-unfortunately we dont have the parts that broke-but it was a bolt and spring that came out in pieces...we have found a spare lock that seems to be the same type but is giving us the same 'lock out' issue...at this point it doesnt really matter what the outside looks like as the most important thing is to be able to get in and out safely...we did replace the lock with the newer style so it is now the 2nd lock that is still locking us out...also the deadbolt, which we are relying heavily on at this point, doesnt seem to be as easy to use as it was two months ago...has anyone replaced the deadbolt with a standard replacement?
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:07 AM   #7
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thanks for the responses-unfortunately we dont have the parts that broke-but it was a bolt and spring that came out in pieces...we have found a spare lock that seems to be the same type but is giving us the same 'lock out' issue...at this point it doesnt really matter what the outside looks like as the most important thing is to be able to get in and out safely...we did replace the lock with the newer style so it is now the 2nd lock that is still locking us out...also the deadbolt, which we are relying heavily on at this point, doesnt seem to be as easy to use as it was two months ago...has anyone replaced the deadbolt with a standard replacement?
Posting a photo of what lock you now have, will make it easier to try to help you.

Otherwise, it's a guessing game, that rarely helps.

Andy
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:53 AM   #8
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Is this the lock having problems?

I see from these posts that folks have had problems with the locks on Excella's.
I have not had problems with mine, but would hate to get caught out somewhere and go through what others have had to deal with. Is this the lock that is giving problems and what would the cost be to replace?
The inside handle has a lot of play in it but is seems to work fine.
Any advice doing it now or waiting until a problem come up?
Thanks,
Joe
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:18 PM   #9
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I see from these posts that folks have had problems with the locks on Excella's.
I have not had problems with mine, but would hate to get caught out somewhere and go through what others have had to deal with. Is this the lock that is giving problems and what would the cost be to replace?
The inside handle has a lot of play in it but is seems to work fine.
Any advice doing it now or waiting until a problem come up?
Thanks,
Joe
Joe.

From 70 to 77 the lock was made by KT.

From 78 to 87 the lock was made by Keeler Brass.

From 88 t0 91 the lock was made by GM (not general motors)

From 92 on up the lock was made by Trimark.

Then, the GM lock replaced the Keeler Brass, with a kit, since KB went out of business.

It gets even better.

Then, after a flood wiped out GM, Trimark became the replacement lock for 1978 to 1991, in kit form, and then became the entrance door lock in production.

There are no repair parts for Keeler Brass or GM locks. There is an after market tumbler available for the keeler Brass lock.

Andy
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Old 12-14-2009, 02:33 PM   #10
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Is KT still in business? I see that ODMRV sells them as locks for '70 to '77, but for a stupefying price.
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:54 PM   #11
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Is KT still in business? I see that ODMRV sells them as locks for '70 to '77, but for a stupefying price.
Aage.

KT has been out of business for a long time.

Airstream assembles the locks now in Jackson Center.

The Airstream price of the new KT lock????

Crazy, at best.

The retail price of the lock, in 1976, was $ 22.50, yes twenty-two fifty.

Some Airstream price increases, over time, depends on how many trips it had on the "space shuttle", I think, or something like that.

We found that a very good reason to do otherwise.

Andy
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:56 PM   #12
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1980 31' Excella II
Drummond Island , Michigan
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Sounds like the same problem we had in all places Roswell, NM after a long day. The actual bolt itself broke in half in the door and we had to disassemble the lock from the inside to get it open. We got a replacement lock from Andy at Inland. The new replacement lock with the cover plates was no snap to get working properly. It installed in the door just fine but we had the same striker plate/bolt jamming you have. Basically what I did to solve the problem was to chalk the front of the bolt of the new lock, close the door and attempt to lock it. Then opened the door to see where the chalk left marks, then filed the striker to fit using the chalk marks as a guidelines. File, close door and attempt to lock, open, file some more, close door try to lock, etc. until it fit and worked smoothly. In talking with others and seeing A/S of similar vintage as ours with the new locks installed it looks like any A/S from the 70's or 80's are prone to this type of failure. The problem is that when it happens you will either be locked inside or outside. We were locked out and the only way to get in was to push out the screen from the front window and crawl in. Fortunately for us we had not locked that window completely and the locksmith we called for help was able to use a slim jim to jimmie the window open so we could push in the screen. Last week we met the original owner of a '77 A/S Excella 31' that was traveling again with the trailer after a 15 year haitus. We talked about this lock problem and he said he had the same problem when they took the trailer to Alaska and proceeded to show me a brand new bolt that he bought years ago to carry as insurance against another failure.
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