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Old 06-06-2021, 05:07 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
Huntsville , Alabama
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Question 72 Door Latch/Lock

TL,DR: Looking for a good solution for the front door latch/lock on my '72 Sovereign Land Yacht. Photos attached.

Background: I recently purchased a 1972 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht. The previous owner gutted it and put in new electrical, plumbing, appliances, etc. However, the door latch appears to be original, and the lock has been removed. I would like to replace the latch and add a keyed lock. What are my best options? Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-06-2021, 06:19 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
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Welcome to the Forums!

You have several options options:

1) Buy a very expensive new or refurbished KT latch assembly (which is what you currently have). This will cost you upwards of $600 last I checked, and you will still have a flimsy latch that needs the addition of a deadbolt to be really secure.

2) If you don't mind the ugly, barely functional latch that you have, then just install a deadbolt, and you will not only have a means of locking the door, but greater security that the door isn't going to come flying open going down the road. Vintage Trailer Supply sells a deadbolt that has been modified specifically for use with these trailers.

3) Replace the KT latch with a brand new, more standard style of RV latch with both a locking striker and a locking deadbolt built in. You can find these on Amazon for around $35 last I looked. It will not be a drop-in replacement, so you will also have to buy some aluminum to patch the existing hole, and some Olympic rivets to make it all look a bit nicer (though still patched). Kits are available from inlandrv.com and possibly others as well, if you don't mind paying for the convenience of having all the parts in one place.

4) Reskin your door, and install one of the modern, aftermarket latches in the new door skin. Not for the faint of heart, but you may realize that your door is already "sprung," or the frame is broken, and it needs major surgery anyway, in which case this isn't as extreme as it sounds.

good luck!
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Old 06-06-2021, 09:01 PM   #3
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Wow! Thanks for the fantastic answer!

As an Airstream newbie, I think I'd better avoid any skin/patch/rivet work at this point. The deadlock sounds like the way to go for now. I guess I can always add an updated latch/lock at a later time.

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Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
2) If you don't mind the ugly, barely functional latch that you have, then just install a deadbolt, and you will not only have a means of locking the door, but greater security that the door isn't going to come flying open going down the road. Vintage Trailer Supply sells a deadbolt that has been modified specifically for use with these trailers.
Is this the deadbolt you're talking about? Vintage Trailer Supply also has a Custom Deadbolt that looks like it installs in the wall next to the door? What would be the benefit there?
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:55 AM   #4
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Just a heads up... those KT handle sets can go for $1000 on ebay. That means they're expensive to replace, but also highly desirable. They are all aluminum, so they clean up quite well (you can make that latch look brand new).
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3 Dawg Night View Post
Wow! Thanks for the fantastic answer!

As an Airstream newbie, I think I'd better avoid any skin/patch/rivet work at this point. The deadlock sounds like the way to go for now. I guess I can always add an updated latch/lock at a later time.



Is this the deadbolt you're talking about? Vintage Trailer Supply also has a Custom Deadbolt that looks like it installs in the wall next to the door? What would be the benefit there?

You want the custom deadbolt. The idea is that you only have to drill a very small hole through the door jamb and the door frame for the modified deadbolt to go through. If you used a standard household deadbolt, then you have to hog out a lot of meat from your door frame and jamb, which will weaken it significantly. See the attached pic and note how small the "bolt" is in the blue circle.
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:26 PM   #6
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Incidentally, I tried to salvage my KT latch, as the silver colored plating had mostly peeled off, much like yours. My guess is that the latch is made of some kind of crappy "pot metal" and your only avenue to make it look good again would be to remove all the corrosion and paint it, or to have it replated. Tried sanding and buffing mine, and it didn't go well. Check with InlandRV.com and outofdoorsmart.com, and they may have rebuild kits, or at least some piece parts that would restore yours to greater functionality.

good luck!
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:45 PM   #7
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Custom Deadbolt

So, the installation of the Custom Deadbolt looks pretty involved. I'd have to remove the interior wall. How would I even go about that? Here's what the interior wall next to the door looks like:
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:34 AM   #8
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Fair enough--yes the downside of this customized deadbolt is that the bolt assembly itself cannot be pushed into the locking assembly from the edge of the door/or jamb as you would install on a normal door.

Removing that interior skin isn't rocket science, though, and only requires a 1/8" drill bit and drill, a box of 1/8" x 1/4" grip aluminum mandrel pop rivets, and a rivet tool ($5-10 depending on where yo buy it).

Before removing anything, you want to get your holes cut for the deadbolt lock assembly.

For the interior skin assembly removal, you will start by removing the interior "trim" piece that surrounds the door. It is held in place by a hidden piece of aluminum that is rivetted to the door jamb. Open the door from the outside and look at the jamb. Right next to the bit that the door seats against, you should see pop rivets that fit right into the corner and go all the way around the door jamb. These need to be drilled out, and the remaining mandrels pushed in.

At this point, the interior trim can be pried out with a fat screwdriver. Be patient so that you don't bend it up.

Next, just drill out the rivets that hold the interior skin in place that you want to remove. Reinstallation is the reverse of disassembly.

good luck!
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