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Old 05-04-2010, 12:42 PM   #1
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1973 29' Ambassador
Athens , Tennessee
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 8
Need new cylinders for compartment doors.

Bought our 1973 Ambassador on Ebay and the nice folk delivered it to us, letting us know after payment that they while they had the title, they did not have the keys. It was dark out, and we didn't think it was any big deal, being totally inexperienced and not planning to go on the road for quite awhile, only to discover the next morning about all the compartment doors and the need to open them. After reading of the difficulty in getting key blanks even if a locksmith was obtained, I broke down and drilled them open. Now I'd like to put new cylinders in, but apparently you can't get the old ones out without a special key? And I haven't found anyplace selling just the keyed insert piece which could be fitted into the main locking piece with the spring on it and squared off screw. Any advice out there? Too late to tell me not to be so darned hasty!
Greg
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:17 AM   #2
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1971 27' Overlander
Central , Ohio
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Did you get the latch to open or do you just have the cylinder bored out. Presuming you have twin beds you should have been able to remove the curbside access door latch by removing the mattress and removing or folding back the mattress support. Either two rivets or screws hold the latch body to the door and the latch pawl is held to the cylinder by a nut. That could have been removed and taken to a locksmith to see if you could get lucky with a key (sorry I know what you said about it being too late now). Can you post a picture of where you are at this point.

Maybe someone else has better advise but I'm lost as to what "key" you are looking for. I'm looking at the diagrams for 71 and 72...
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:04 PM   #3
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1973 29' Ambassador
Athens , Tennessee
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Hard to believe, but we live in an area where there appear to be no locksmiths that you can go to - only ones that will charge you to come out but tell you they may not be able to do anything once they get there. We are a 30-mile round trip. But, anyway, we did get that one open right away for some reason - but could still get no help and were unable to get to where the refrigerator needs to be plugged in or where the tank flush lever is - so we went for it - Duh. We're no longer looking for a key for opening the compartments. Would like to be able to replace the cylinder that fits inside the latching mechanism, as that whole thing can come out of its "socket" with a spring inside - but we cannot get just the inside cylinder that the key goes into out of that cylinder piece. The whole mechanism bolts into the door - when the nut is removed, you can pull out the outside part. Then you can push something on the side and get out the cylinder that has the locking mechanism in it. The locking mechanism cylinder is yet another thing inside that and I think it can only be removed if a special key is inserted. I should have taken a picture - perhaps I will, if this is still not clear.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg-the-New View Post
Hard to believe, but we live in an area where there appear to be no locksmiths that you can go to - only ones that will charge you to come out but tell you they may not be able to do anything once they get there. We are a 30-mile round trip. But, anyway, we did get that one open right away for some reason - but could still get no help and were unable to get to where the refrigerator needs to be plugged in or where the tank flush lever is - so we went for it - Duh. We're no longer looking for a key for opening the compartments. Would like to be able to replace the cylinder that fits inside the latching mechanism, as that whole thing can come out of its "socket" with a spring inside - but we cannot get just the inside cylinder that the key goes into out of that cylinder piece. The whole mechanism bolts into the door - when the nut is removed, you can pull out the outside part. Then you can push something on the side and get out the cylinder that has the locking mechanism in it. The locking mechanism cylinder is yet another thing inside that and I think it can only be removed if a special key is inserted. I should have taken a picture - perhaps I will, if this is still not clear.
Airstream has never had tumblers available for the original telescoping compartment door locks.

However, new locks are available, but pricey.

Andy
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:14 PM   #5
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
Boulder Creek , California
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Some of these have a "special key", but most pop out using a pin inserted into a hole on the side of the cylinder. In the long run it may be easier to get new locks. I would look at vintage trailer supply or inland rv websites and see whats available.

Good luck, and put that darn drill away! It's a hazard.

Rich the Viking
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