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Old 11-13-2018, 03:35 PM   #1
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Interstate Sliding Door / Side Door Lock Jammed

Hi everyone! I've enjoyed traveling with my mom in her 2012 Interstate. While on a 2 month caravan this summer, I experienced the sliding door / side door lock jamming. I pushed on the button and could not open the door. This happened a number of times, and my mom as well as another lady with an Interstate, said this is a problem. We are not sure why it happens, but it appears to jam when the vehicle is not level. My mother noticed that the front of the door appears to be closed but the back side sticks out slightly (when viewed from outside.) I'm concerned because this is a safety issue and I'm worried that my mom may not be able to exit the vehicle quickly if there is an emergency. Has anyone else experienced this problem, and if so, how did you remedy it? Thank you for your time!
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Old 11-13-2018, 03:51 PM   #2
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The sliding door and the rear doors lock when the vehicle is driven. The two front doors can be opened from inside anytime, but you must either pull up the sliding door lock button or click the remote to get out through the sliding door. Since the lock button for the sliding door is covered by the curtain, it isn't apparent that this door is locked.

After driving, I learned to click the open button on the key fob whenever I turn off the engine.
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Old 11-13-2018, 03:55 PM   #3
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Thank you for the response. This happens when the vehicle is parked. We enter and exit the vehicle numerous times without locking the door. Occasionally, the door shuts and we cannot open it by pushing on the door handle with normal pressure.
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Old 11-13-2018, 04:24 PM   #4
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It may be, too, that the lock is wearing from use.

On my 06, with 193,000 miles, that lock was replaced at least once, and the lock on the driverís side door twice.

Both got a bit fritzy ahead of time, then just went out, bam.

With a 7 year old rig, might be good to have the lock looked at and possibly preemptively replaced.

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Old 11-13-2018, 05:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pondiki View Post
Hi everyone! I've enjoyed traveling with my mom in her 2012 Interstate. While on a 2 month caravan this summer, I experienced the sliding door / side door lock jamming. I pushed on the button and could not open the door. This happened a number of times, and my mom as well as another lady with an Interstate, said this is a problem. We are not sure why it happens, but it appears to jam when the vehicle is not level. My mother noticed that the front of the door appears to be closed but the back side sticks out slightly (when viewed from outside.) I'm concerned because this is a safety issue and I'm worried that my mom may not be able to exit the vehicle quickly if there is an emergency. Has anyone else experienced this problem, and if so, how did you remedy it? Thank you for your time!
This is a common problem. Here are some threads that discuss related issues.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...or-181817.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...ce-178210.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...en-165207.html
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Old 11-13-2018, 06:28 PM   #6
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Thank you for posting these threads! I will read them more closely to see how folks remedied the issue. Neither Airstream nor Mercedes will acknowledge that this is an issue with the Interstate / Sprinter. This needs to be addressed because it is a safety issue.
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Old 11-13-2018, 07:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pondiki View Post
Hi everyone! I've enjoyed traveling with my mom in her 2012 Interstate. While on a 2 month caravan this summer, I experienced the sliding door / side door lock jamming. I pushed on the button and could not open the door. This happened a number of times, and my mom as well as another lady with an Interstate, said this is a problem. We are not sure why it happens, but it appears to jam when the vehicle is not level. My mother noticed that the front of the door appears to be closed but the back side sticks out slightly (when viewed from outside.) I'm concerned because this is a safety issue and I'm worried that my mom may not be able to exit the vehicle quickly if there is an emergency. Has anyone else experienced this problem, and if so, how did you remedy it? Thank you for your time!
PONDIKI - The answer is "it depends" on how un-level it is. If it is a simple slope, i.e. road evenly slopes forward or evenly slopes sideways, where both front or rear wheels, or both left or both right wheels are resting on an identical sloping plane, typically you will not see a problem. BTW, this aint unique to a Sprinter. I have had this happen on Ford Econolines, VW Vanagons, Chrysler Town&Country, Ford Windstar, Nissan Quest, Toyota Sienna & Previa, and GMC Safari. The common denominator is the van is parked on a complex slope where the frame is essentially being twisted like a pretzel. With todays modern automotive frames being made as a monocoque chassis (or commonly called structural skin), the entire chassis/skin/shell is so torsionally rigid (i.e. read very sound construction) that even if the left wheel is down, right wheel is up, and both rears wheel are on level ground, the entire structure stays 'square' using woodworker lingo. A van, especially a long (or worse the EXT) and tall (or worse Sprinter high roof) still has major torsional issues to deal with regardless of whether they are monocoque or not. Laws of physics (think a 747 taking off and see many parts bending and hear many panels creaking). That's one issue. The other is most sliders are not attached to the structure on 4 corners. At most they have 3 attachment points, some only 2. And they are not attached optimally at the extreme corners. The bigger & longer the door, the easier this could happen. Sprinters are on the extreme end of door height & door length & door weight.

Sooo, having said all that, MB might be able to tweak it but can not prevent it in all scenarios. My current Town & Country has no problems with unlatching/latching in extreme complex slopes BUT sometimes its power slider which has a safety auto retract mechanism will trigger it to retract 3/4 of the way thinking it has an obstruction. Same with the oversized massive 1-piece liftgate.

I suggest getting MB to adjust if still on warranty or if the problem manifests itself at the slightest angles. But also be conscious of how van is tilted when parking. I see this too, especially on steep camp sites. Try being level at every chance, especially long term parking. Besides it is good practice to do so for the sake of the frame, chassis, and all house furnitures/cabinets.

EDIT , I have never been unable to open door from inside when this happens in the extremist of situations. Its always been being unable to open from outside. Not sure if that matters in how to adjust it.
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Old 11-14-2018, 08:30 AM   #8
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I have increased the clearance on the sliding door by removing the frame around the lower cubby and replacing the lower back part of the mouse hair panel with a piece of sheet aluminum (credit given to a suggestion by somebody on this forum). The door still closes hard, just not as hard. I am in the habit of placing my left hand on the back (when closing from the outside) and pushing in/forward with that hand while my right hand is on the handle moving it forward. From the inside we just whip it forward as fast as we can. Not easy to do under any orientation but especially hard to do if the van is facing uphill. I don't know that we have ever locked the door when the door has not closed all the way (back sticking out a bit) so cannot say if it would have jammed. Several times we have started to drive away with the sliding door not all the way closed. But I think the dashboard light has alerted us to that before we reached the 10 mph speed where the doors automatically lock.

BTW, we found it extremely difficult to get enough grip on the inside lock/unlock rod to pull it up. So I took an old-fashioned faucet washer (~1/2" diameter, ~1/8" thick) and forced it down over the rod until it sat in the intent about 1/4" down from the top. I gripped the bottom of rod with a pair of needle nose pliers while pushing the washer onto it so that I did not put too much force on whatever mechanism is on the other end of the rod. It has stayed in place for a year now and makes it much easier to unlock.
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Old 11-14-2018, 11:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Titus View Post
BTW, we found it extremely difficult to get enough grip on the inside lock/unlock rod to pull it up. So I took an old-fashioned faucet washer (~1/2" diameter, ~1/8" thick) and forced it down over the rod until it sat in the intent about 1/4" down from the top. I gripped the bottom of rod with a pair of needle nose pliers while pushing the washer onto it so that I did not put too much force on whatever mechanism is on the other end of the rod. It has stayed in place for a year now and makes it much easier to unlock.
TITUS - is the door lock/unlock rod smaller (diameter) than mine? The one in mine is huge, definitely not the size of the typical plunger. It about size of a soda bottle cap. I have small fingers and generally do not have strong grip because they tend to slip in tight spaces, but I been good pulling them up. In fact MB set the 'cap' high on the plunger head so I can slip finger underneath to flip up, rather than pull.
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Old 11-14-2018, 12:01 PM   #10
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sliding door problem

I had a similar problem. I found that if I pushed out on the door as I pulled on the handle, it would then slide open.
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Old 11-14-2018, 07:09 PM   #11
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Alex:
The wire rod is about 1/8" diameter if I remember correctly from when I had the mouse-hair panel off. The plastic that is molded over the end of the rod is about 1/4" diameter. And when in the locked position it sticks out less than 1". Guess they improved the design since my 2012 MB chassis.
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Old 11-14-2018, 09:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
Alex:
The wire rod is about 1/8" diameter if I remember correctly from when I had the mouse-hair panel off. The plastic that is molded over the end of the rod is about 1/4" diameter. And when in the locked position it sticks out less than 1". Guess they improved the design since my 2012 MB chassis.
TITUS - Did not understand how your plunger looked like BUT when I did search of prior models, this is what I found. 1st pic below is of stock RVTrader photo from a 2016. The plunger looks from pic that it resides inside the mouse fur panel? Is yours same?


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2nd pic below is a stock RVTrader pic of a 2018. Notice, the 2016 does not have that oblong slot under glass window. The 2018 does. That is where the new plunger resides.


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3rd photo is a blowup from my own rig. It is kinda hard to see, set your monitor to full bright and click my pic to open full-res version, you should see easily how HUGE that plunger head is. Mystery solved.

Click image for larger version

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Old 11-14-2018, 10:40 PM   #13
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The plunger in my 2014 Sprinter chassis is like the first photo above. It is quite small and high up on the mouse fur panel. Even with the curtain tied back, it is covered by the curtain so that it is hard to find and hard to pull up. I usually depend on the remote to unlock the door.
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Old 11-15-2018, 11:54 AM   #14
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Titus is in storage so cannot check for sure, I believe it sticks up through the section of sheet metal between the mouse hair panel and sliding door window frame. It is not between the mouse hair panel and sheet metal, like the picture suggests. But, yes, it is much more like the first picture than the third. Not sure why they would see the need to re-position it instead of just giving us something to easily grip - like I did.
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Old 11-15-2018, 12:15 PM   #15
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Titus is in storage so cannot check for sure, I believe it sticks up through the section of sheet metal between the mouse hair panel and sliding door window frame. It is not between the mouse hair panel and sheet metal, like the picture suggests. But, yes, it is much more like the first picture than the third. Not sure why they would see the need to re-position it instead of just giving us something to easily grip - like I did.
TITUS - Yeah, seems like lots more work to cutout the mouse fur panel. The location of plunger is the same stock MB. What AS did is just go down lower to put the larger head. They could've just extended the head and made it larger? Here's a thought - I read the old design of the slider included a flip out window. That was susceptible to break in. AS eliminated the flip out on slider, I assume due to break in issue and also damage when door is slammed while flip outs are open. So maybe as a continuation of that improvement, they felt the plunger being further down and not visible is a better design, harder to reach from outside? I know it's a reach (haha, no pun intended) but it's the only thing I can think of for the change.
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