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Old 01-02-2009, 11:48 PM   #1
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1973 31' Excella 500
Morristown , Tennessee
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Locked Out but Blessed with Pure Luck

I recently took my trailer fron Tennessee to Florida and back - 730 Miles each way. My truck ran great and the AS performed magnificently. It couldn't have been smoother and averaged 11.6 mpg averaging 60 mph meaning 70 mph downed with the gas stops and other things.

When I arived home, the lock would not open the door and I could not gain access. It was late, cold and raining, so I decided to wait until morning to get in. The trailer has been fairly gutted in a start of restoration and was taken to pack things that had to be moved. It had been packed to balance the trailer. The rear bed had been removed along with the self-rewinding reels for the shore water and electric as is installed in the Excella. These had not been installed after repair.

In the morning, my eight year old son climbed in through this opening, climbed over the packed things to arive at the door. He was unable to move the small lock lever to release the lock. Fortunately, there was a can of Blaster with the attached spray straw near the door. He doused it good and worked it gently up and down and finally got it to move enough to release the lock. The door was opened and I congratulated him on a job well done. That sure saved me some grief just by the fact that the treailer is apart, my son is small enough to fit in the small hole, he could navigate the instruction to unlatch the lock and it wasn't some broken piece jamming the lock. It was truly my lucky day.

I will post pictures of the inner working of the lock so other may benefit. I am also convinced that there should be some trap door to gain entrance into the trailer if this happens again after the trailer is reassembled - perhaps just above the spare tire in front of the salon. I'll figure is out and post those as well.

Any suggestion would be appreciated.
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Old 01-03-2009, 12:17 AM   #2
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Great things can come in small packages..

Glad you were able to get in!

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Old 01-03-2009, 07:00 AM   #3
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Andy will give you a tip about the lock, I betcha.
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Old 01-03-2009, 07:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumin8 View Post
I recently took my trailer fron Tennessee to Florida and back - 730 Miles each way. My truck ran great and the AS performed magnificently. It couldn't have been smoother and averaged 11.6 mpg averaging 60 mph meaning 70 mph downed with the gas stops and other things.

When I arived home, the lock would not open the door and I could not gain access. It was late, cold and raining, so I decided to wait until morning to get in. The trailer has been fairly gutted in a start of restoration and was taken to pack things that had to be moved. It had been packed to balance the trailer. The rear bed had been removed along with the self-rewinding reels for the shore water and electric as is installed in the Excella. These had not been installed after repair.

In the morning, my eight year old son climbed in through this opening, climbed over the packed things to arive at the door. He was unable to move the small lock lever to release the lock. Fortunately, there was a can of Blaster with the attached spray straw near the door. He doused it good and worked it gently up and down and finally got it to move enough to release the lock. The door was opened and I congratulated him on a job well done. That sure saved me some grief just by the fact that the treailer is apart, my son is small enough to fit in the small hole, he could navigate the instruction to unlatch the lock and it wasn't some broken piece jamming the lock. It was truly my lucky day.

I will post pictures of the inner working of the lock so other may benefit. I am also convinced that there should be some trap door to gain entrance into the trailer if this happens again after the trailer is reassembled - perhaps just above the spare tire in front of the salon. I'll figure is out and post those as well.

Any suggestion would be appreciated.
There is a very easy way to get into any Airstream, from the 1969 models on up.

Takes maybe 30 seconds to do so.

Thieves prevent posting how.

But, a phone call to us will tell you how, after we are convinced who you are.

Andy
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:13 AM   #5
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1978 31' Excella 500
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locked out as well

We did the same thing on our second trip out - locked ourselves out of the airstream with our dogs in it. We had all of the access doors locked as well and the only point of entry was the kitchen window because the handles were broken and we were waiting for the replacements to come in the mail. To make it even better our dogs were barking and barking in happiness that we were back and wouldn't stop until they got to say "hello" to us.

Since I am little, I told my hubby to boost me up and I would go through the kitchen window - well I did - head first (not a good idea) and the metal edges of the skin and inner liner just about cut me in half! As I inched my way in every time I stopped left another huge line of bruises on both legs. I got in, but had enormous rows of bruises all over my legs for weeks; I don't recommend this method of getting in - that's for sure.

And of course, the kicker is that my husband finally found the keys about 10 minutes after I went through the window.
Naturally.
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Old 01-03-2009, 12:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
There is a very easy way to get into any Airstream, from the 1969 models on up.

Andy
Does this apply to Motor Homes as well?
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Old 01-03-2009, 12:27 PM   #7
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Does this apply to Motor Homes as well?
Yes.

Andy
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:40 PM   #8
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I've learned that going through windows is a feet first proposition - don't ask me how I know. Now, I am a pretty ingenious guy and know my trailer pretty well and I do know Andy's secret. I forgot to mention that all of my tools were also locked inside the trailer. Worst of all, my laptop was inside the trailer and there was no way to reach this forum

In any case, seeing my son climb through the hatch, crawl over what was packed inside, get the spray can of lube and free the lock was worth a cheeseburger and a large bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce. Hershey now has a special dark sauce and it is really good.

An E-mail is worth the secret.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:02 PM   #9
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We were locked out of our 69 Overlander

One night we went out to dinner and returned to find that we could not open the door....In desperation, I finally pushed the door in a bit while turning the key in the lock and voila the door released and we were able to open the door. On our trailer sometimes how level the ground was had an impact on how straight the trailer sat......and that impacted how well the old Bargman door lock worked or didn't work. pj
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
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One night we went out to dinner and returned to find that we could not open the door....In desperation, I finally pushed the door in a bit while turning the key in the lock and voila the door released and we were able to open the door. On our trailer sometimes how level the ground was had an impact on how straight the trailer sat......and that impacted how well the old Bargman door lock worked or didn't work. pj
It's not the lock, but a part of the lock.

Look at the striker "bolt."

If it has a groove in it, there's your answer.

Usually, if the striker bolt has a groove, the striker pocket will also show wear.

But that can only happen if someone replaced the original "nylon" pocket, with a metal type.

The Bargman locks are semi-famous for that.

On the other hand, the KT locks used from 1970 to 1977, are very famous for grooved striker bolts.

Vibration causes the problem, either from lack of proper running gear balance, and/or excessive rated hitch bars.

Andy

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Old 01-03-2009, 11:17 PM   #11
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Can't check on the groove

Thanks Andy, but our trailer was broadsided in Baker, CA last December and is now in insurance salvage heaven.......I was just passing on one solution to the stuck lock problem that I found...because mostly the lock worked just fine....unless it didn't........pj
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:52 AM   #12
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Joe - I learned feet first is the way to go as well - but did it the hard way!
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