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Old 12-22-2015, 10:13 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
2001 30' Excella
San Diego , California
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 94
HELP!!!! We got locked inside our Airstream

We are camping in the middle of a California desert at a wonderful campsite called Agua Caliente in our 2001 30' Excella.

Woke up this morning and the door wouldn't open, which locked up inside.

If you look at the attached photo, you will see the handle is at 2:00 o'clock, instead of 3:00 o'clock and moving it toward 12:00 o'clock, counter clockwise, does nothing.

I had to utilize the emergency exit (that's a story on it's own) to get out and still couldn't get the door open from outside.

Finally we did get it open, but we have another week here camping and want to fix the door if we can and not destroy our trip.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!!
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2001 Excella 30' (Beauty)
2014 Ram 2500 Diesel 4x4 (The Beast)
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:20 AM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 19,581
Looks like you're really in hot water...
Remove the inside lock plate, and bend the catch for it on the main part of the lock toward the inside of the trailer slightly. Then move the inner handle back to its normal 3 o'clock position, and re-attach the inner handle assembly.

Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:26 AM   #3
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1999 30' Excella 1000
Brookeville , Maryland
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 424
Time to exercise the rear escape window. Make sure you bring the keys. Hopefully this works. Overlander knows what he's writing about
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Old 12-22-2015, 02:09 PM   #4
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1996 34' Excella
Elberta , Alabama
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 665
Jim, of all the Airstreams I've owned, I've never had this problem. I think what Overlander is telling you is your best shot. I've had locks that were hard to lock and unlock, and usually, a shot of WD 40 or a good silicone solves that problem....

Good luck

Old age is coming at a really bad time!

1996 34' Excella 1000, interior totally redone, 2003 Dodge/Cummins HO, Diablo tuner, 115 gallon aux fuel, Bedslide, Airsafe/Reese Dual Cam, and a bunch of other stuff
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Old 12-22-2015, 02:24 PM   #5
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 5,678
A frequent culprit causing hard to open doors is having your stabilizers too firmly cranked up. Airstream jacks are to stop the trailer from being bouncy - not to bear the whole weight of the trailer. You actually flex the frame if you crank the crap out of the jacks and the door lock jams. Desert fluctuations in temperature can't help either. One last thing - if you don't close the door firmly enough the lock can stick. Luckily I was outside when it happened to me and my key didn't want to turn until I gave the door a firm bump and it shut tightly.

Can't hurt to back the jacks off a turn or two and try again. Of course lubricating the lock can help too. And Overlander63 - his advice is almost always right on (don't tell him I said it's because he's "gotten so many tee shirts" from his own ... experiments, yeah, that's it. As many kind parents say to a caboose baby, "honey there is a difference between a mistake and a surprise."

Happier trails, Paula
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:04 PM   #6
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 2,856
What was the overnight temperature? Any chance the lock mechanism parts had condensation on them and froze together during the night? I have had this happen in certain residential locks, only to find that all was well in a couple of hours after things thawed out. . . . just a thawt . . .

If so, the next time this happens to anyone, a hot wash cloth held on the inside of the lock will usually transfer enough heat into the lock mechanism to free things up, with a minimum of dis-assembly to test the theory.

Not sure why the handle was at the 2 o'clock position if the catch was stuck the problem . . . ?

PS -- a hair dryer can help rid the lock mechanism of condensation if needed, followed by some careful lubrication inside, with Lock Ease (my personal choice, because the only residue it leaves behind is powdered graphite IMO).
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Old 12-22-2015, 04:40 PM   #7
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
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Originally Posted by JBBeaubeaux View Post
I had to utilize the emergency exit (that's a story on it's own) to get out and still couldn't get the door open from outside.
I agree, this story might be interesting to hear. I always wondered how an adult of any size would get out one, without help from the outside. I am larger than normal . . .

PS -- any relation to Bobo the Belgian cartoon strip?
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:17 AM   #8
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2013 31' Classic
billings , Montana
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Can't use the door , keep using the excape window, fix the door when you get home..
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:30 AM   #9
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1999 30' Excella 1000
Brookeville , Maryland
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 424
Maybe the locked door was on purpose. aaahhh.. To be in love.
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:43 AM   #10
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2005 25' International CCD
Newport , Arkansas
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 48
had this happen a coupla times when my 2005 ccd 25' wasn't level. did manage to get it open without using emergency exit cause I was outside the trailer at the time! 😅 now when the locks are difficult I just adjust the jack a little.
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:44 AM   #11
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1967 26' Overlander
Spartanburg , South Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 272
I had the same thing happen in our '67 but the cause was different. Our lock is a Bargman L100-6 with a slide 6" long shaped kind of like a tuning fork. Each leg of the "fork" has a tang on the inner end that a steel cam pushes against. The outside knob causes a cam to push against one tang to slide the bolt back to open the door and the inside knob does the same with another cam acting on the other tang. Springs keep the slide pushed out to engage the pocket in the door frame so the cams are working against the springs each time a knob is turned. The original slide appears to have been made from some kind of pot metal that lasted 45 years but the inside tang broke off one evening and turning the inside knob did no good. The rear window in the bathroom is the escape hatch on this trailer and fortunately the outside knob opened the door with no problem. The problem then became finding the part. A three day search on the internet and many phone calls failed to yield a part or used lock. I had a local machine shop make a new slide using mild steel which cost a little over a hundred bucks, but the door lock is better than new now.
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:47 AM   #12
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2003 25' Safari
weyers cave , Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
We had a similar situation this summer when overnight several tires lost a significant amount of air pressure, warping the frame and making the door and locks very hard to open and impossible to close. Re-inflating them cured the problem. All four valve stems failed within a couple of days which made for two visits from a mobile tire service. So, check your tire pressures as well!
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:57 AM   #13
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2015 25' Flying Cloud
GILBERT , Arizona
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Old 12-23-2015, 11:10 AM   #14
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2014 25' FB Flying Cloud
Mattituck , New York
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 25
We have had the same problem with our 2014 25'
We keep a spare key in the truck and another one secreted.
I am under the impression it's not uncommon.
Comical is a story from another owner that he had to open the rear compartment crawl in and push up the bed from the inside.

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