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Old 08-28-2003, 01:59 PM   #1
4 Rivet Member
startrekker2001's Avatar
1978 31' Excella 500
Palm Bay , Florida
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 269
Images: 34
1978 Excella door lock

We are on our 3 month sojourn to the northeast and were about three days out when the door wouldn't open. I would pull the handle forward but the bolt wouldn't slide. After some close scrutiny and if I must say so myself, some really fancy deducing, I determined that the problem was with the bolt sub-assembly. The ears on the sub-assembly that are contacted by the door handle were broken off. Now the delemma, how to get into the coach? I opened my trusty tool box and got a screw driver out. I was able to force the bolt back with screw driver and open the door. Darned if I wasn't proud of myself. I was sure I could get a replacement part from Airstream. No dice. They sell a kit they put together to fix the problem but charge about $80 for it and it requires modification to the outside and inside of the door. I'm not into making those kinds of mods so I suffered the ignominity and risk of being arrested as a burgler by using the screw driver method.

About 3 weeks later, we were at my sister-in-law's and her husband's where we stayed for a while. Her brother-in-law is a jack of all trades... including welding. In fact he has 30 years experience at welding. I related my problem and he said he would give it a try. He silver brazed two metal ears on to the bolt sub-assembly and I reinstalled it on the door. It fit perfectly, slid smoothly and now we are back in business. It only cost me a case of Coors Light. Rusty is a man of good taste and infinite skill.

Thank heaven for the Service Manual. It has a blow-up of the door lock assembly which made it easy to remove, fix and reinstall.
Vic Smith
Director Florida State Rally
WBCCI Florida Unit 027 Trustee
WBCCI #6782
31' 78 Airstream Excella 500
2001 Ford Excursion V-10
Reese hitch and dual cam sway control
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