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Old 05-09-2018, 12:19 PM   #1
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Yiks! We're locked in!

We had gotten up early to take some sunrise pics of Mt. Whitney while camping in Lone Pine, California. When I went to open the door in our 2006 19' Bambi, the handle just rotated without opening the door. Somehow the unlocking mechanism had broken. After a few minutes, I was able to remove the inner plate covering the door mechanism and unlock the door by moving a metal tab to the right (see pic). We got our pics of Mt. Whitney (http://wp.geoandpat.com/wp/wp-conten...rama-72-pi.jpg)

The reason for the failure was that the two screws holding the inner plate and handle to the door locking mechanism had failed. When I came in the previous night I used the door handle to close the door. The door has always been reluctant to close completely and I've done this many times. But this time the two plate screws near the door edge failed and the handle mechanism pulled away from the lock. See the attached pics.

When we got home I removed the locking mechanism and replaced the two clips and screws which hold the inner plate to the lock. This seems to have solved the problem. I also drilled two holes in the screen door so if this happens again, I'll have full access to the plate screws.
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:51 PM   #2
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Very good ingenuity and execution to this "Houston, we have a problem".

My son was locked in his 69 Globetrotter when his Bargman L100 failed. He got it apart with his jack knife. We have removed the locking tab altogether and installed a deadbolt lock. We also installed a "push out screen" on the rear window as an escape route.

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Old 05-09-2018, 08:06 PM   #3
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Escape routes

After we got out, I thought about the rear emergency exit. But with a screwdriver, one could take the front screen off and open the window to exit in that direction. I should have mentioned that getting out of the door was only possible because my "always prepared" wife had a small screwdriver in her purse!
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:19 PM   #4
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This post shows how to get out quickly in this situation, without disassembling the lock. Just a simple modification and a simple tool.
Be prepared >
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f453...od-150277.html
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghatfield View Post
We had gotten up early to take some sunrise pics of Mt. Whitney while camping in Lone Pine, California. When I went to open the door in our 2006 19' Bambi, the handle just rotated without opening the door. Somehow the unlocking mechanism had broken. After a few minutes, I was able to remove the inner plate covering the door mechanism and unlock the door by moving a metal tab to the right (see pic). We got our pics of Mt. Whitney (http://wp.geoandpat.com/wp/wp-conten...rama-72-pi.jpg)

The reason for the failure was that the two screws holding the inner plate and handle to the door locking mechanism had failed. When I came in the previous night I used the door handle to close the door. The door has always been reluctant to close completely and I've done this many times. But this time the two plate screws near the door edge failed and the handle mechanism pulled away from the lock. See the attached pics.

When we got home I removed the locking mechanism and replaced the two clips and screws which hold the inner plate to the lock. This seems to have solved the problem. I also drilled two holes in the screen door so if this happens again, I'll have full access to the plate screws.
Same thing happened to me, however I could not get access to the plate to remove because of the screen door covering the plate. I had to exit out the Emergency Window.

How did you gain enough access to the plate to remove it?

I believe this is a Safety Hazard and have ask Airstream to publish some guidance in their manuals. If you would like to contact them you can reach Justin P. Humphreys <jhumphreys@airstream.com>

Terry Hicks
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:42 AM   #6
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This question may be weird to you TT veterans but as a new owner, just what is the best way to close an AS door? Does one “slam” it like Patrick does on his Colonial videos or is there a “gentle” way to tightly close it?
I need some experienced answers.
Thank you.
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagletoo View Post
This question may be weird to you TT veterans but as a new owner, just what is the best way to close an AS door? Does one “slam” it like Patrick does on his Colonial videos or is there a “gentle” way to tightly close it?

I need some experienced answers.

Thank you.


Not weird at all!

One guy's approach - when outside, I put my palm on the lower portion of the door (below the belt line) and close it - not with a SLAM but firm enough to ensure its closed. When inside, I tend to use the handle on the screen door to pull it closed - again, not with a SLAM but firm enough.

See what others think.
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Old 05-10-2018, 04:27 PM   #8
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SteveSueMack. I will try your gentle but firm door handling ways. The thought of a slamming door in the great outdoors does not sit well with me.
Thanks
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Old 05-10-2018, 04:37 PM   #9
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Where do you keep your tools? Most of mine are in basement storage but I have basic screwdrivers and a pair of pliers in the storage under my dinette so they are nice and handy.

I also suggest, if you need repairs, to find a competent locksmith (like I was). Unless there are totally broken parts, most repairs can be done by skilled people and there probably are still some scattered around the country. My brother at Always Safe and Lock in Olympia WA is one of those.
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Old 05-10-2018, 05:04 PM   #10
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Yay for your wife. I keep my tools in the outside locker but in the trailer, keep one of those screwdrivers that has a large and small bit for philips and flat screws, where you pull the bit out and reverse it. Basically four screwdrivers in one.


I camped at Lone Pine last Friday night, boondocked in Alabama Hills. I was on a quick return trip with a new trailer so I hadn't brought my photo gear. First time there, quite a place. Was this photo an iPhone pano (resolution looks to good for that to be the case!), or what did you take it with? Great shot.
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghatfield View Post
We had gotten up early to take some sunrise pics of Mt. Whitney while camping in Lone Pine, California. When I went to open the door in our 2006 19' Bambi, the handle just rotated without opening the door. Somehow the unlocking mechanism had broken. After a few minutes, I was able to remove the inner plate covering the door mechanism and unlock the door by moving a metal tab to the right (see pic). We got our pics of Mt. Whitney (http://wp.geoandpat.com/wp/wp-conten...rama-72-pi.jpg)

The reason for the failure was that the two screws holding the inner plate and handle to the door locking mechanism had failed. When I came in the previous night I used the door handle to close the door. The door has always been reluctant to close completely and I've done this many times. But this time the two plate screws near the door edge failed and the handle mechanism pulled away from the lock. See the attached pics.

When we got home I removed the locking mechanism and replaced the two clips and screws which hold the inner plate to the lock. This seems to have solved the problem. I also drilled two holes in the screen door so if this happens again, I'll have full access to the plate screws.
I am impressed. On my first outing of more than two days, this happened to me, but although I had screwdrivers in the trailer, I could not get at the critical screws because the screen door was in the way.

I was at a Star Party, it was night, and I accidentally leaned against the patio light switch and had a mob of angry star watchers outside yelling at me to turn off the white light. Fortunately they were able to open the door from the outside, and most forgave me when they realized what happened. There were a couple who still wanted to lynch me.

I knew I could go out over the double sink, but the Kohler faucet looked menacing. I now have a Fiamma bike carry on the back, and could use those bars to stabilize an egress if necessary. Drilling out the screen door frame is a great idea. Thanks.
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagletoo View Post
This question may be weird to you TT veterans but as a new owner, just what is the best way to close an AS door? Does one “slam” it like Patrick does on his Colonial videos or is there a “gentle” way to tightly close it?
I need some experienced answers.
Thank you.
I found a suggestion on one of the threads here to level the trailer using the bottom of the door frame. This helps immensely, and it allows me to sometimes even shut the door without a loud slam (maybe a small one, but my wife always yells at me). The thing is that by pressing on the door from the outside firmly, I can completely shut the door and engage the dead bolt without slamming it. From the inside, I have to slam the door to some degree to get the deadbolt to engage. If I either don't have the door frame completely level, the dead bolt tilts and does not clear, causing me to only be able use the sliding lock, and when I wake up, I can usually see daylight from the lock up but the mosquitoes have not yet found their way in. I had the door straightened by an extremely competent tech, and he had to remove every rivet from bottom up and bend the door a little at a time to comply with Airstream instructions... but my 22 foot trailer is sensitive to the frame twisting on uneven ground, so extra care leveling often pays off.

On my last trip in early may, the door locked itself twice just shutting it. Fortunately my wife and I have developed the habit of always carrying our trailer keys with us and we didn't have to break in to our own trailer. I don't want to hide a key, but I might be forced into hiding one on the TV or something if this keeps up.
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Old 05-10-2018, 08:43 PM   #13
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Answer to questions

1. Camera... I used my Canon 5D and a Canon 100mm lens for the panorama which was handheld. I used Photoshop to combine the individual images into the panorama. Here is a shot of Mt. Whitney using a 400mm lens. Taken from downtown Lone Pine, near the hospital. What a view! http://wp.geoandpat.com/wp/wp-conten...00mm-Canon.jpg

2. I was able to get the door open from the inside by removing the right side screw (wife's screwdriver) and then I just pried the handle plate away from the lock. The plate bends fairly easily. This gave me access to the tab (see pic I posted) to open the door. Because of the screen door, there is no access to the two left screws, but I think these two had failed (cause of the problem in the first place) and this gave me more access to the interior of the lock. The two holes I put in the screen now provides access to those left screws which should preclude having to bend the plate. I was able to straighten it out with a vice.
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:51 AM   #14
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Correction... The Mt. Whitney shot was taken from Movie Road, not near the Lone Pine hospital.
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Old 05-14-2018, 10:51 AM   #15
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Access holes work to unlock door

I tried using the two access holes I created in the screen door (see pics in initial post). These allow access to the two left lock cover screws. I was able to loosen them enough to pull open the handle plate once the right screw was removed. The unlocking tab can then be pulled to unlock the door. I used a can opener to pull on the tab. A regular screwdriver with a bent tip would be ideal for this job, but that is something else to carry. So it works.
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:27 AM   #16
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Great use of a "church key".

I though they were only good for opening beer bottles and cans!
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:44 AM   #17
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Quote:
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< snip > I also drilled two holes in the screen door so if this happens again, I'll have full access to the plate screws.
Quote:
Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
This post shows how to get out quickly in this situation, without disassembling the lock. Just a simple modification and a simple tool.
Be prepared >
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f453...od-150277.html
As the guy who posted the simple "can't-get-locked-in" mod referenced above, I thought it useful if I tested to make sure that this "simple mod" will, indeed, open the door even in the little slide lock is in the "locked" position.

I'm happy to say that it does. Regardless of the position of the slide lock, the door opens surely and easily using the method shown.

No need to drill holes in your screen door frame, which could weaken it a bit and quite unnecessarily.
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:47 AM   #18
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I tried using the two access holes I created in the screen door (see pics in initial post). These allow access to the two left lock cover screws. I was able to loosen them enough to pull open the handle plate once the right screw was removed. The unlocking tab can then be pulled to unlock the door. I used a can opener to pull on the tab. A regular screwdriver with a bent tip would be ideal for this job, but that is something else to carry. So it works.
With respect, this is SO much easier: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f453...od-150277.html
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:30 AM   #19
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I was asked for a couple more photos... here's hoping these give some more clarity to the "mod" ...

I should point our that opening the door with this mod is a bit "fiddly" ... especially if you haven't practiced a few times. But, even if you have to "search" for exactly the right place to pry for a couple of minutes, it's infinitely easier than the other approaches I've seen... especially crawling in through an outside access door.... yikes!

The first photo shows where my little "tool" goes through the 0.20" hold in the door frame.

The second photo is to give an idea of how this thing works... showing the tool reaching to the little tab with the door open a bit. If the door is closed, you cannot see the tab... but you can certainly find it.

Rob
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:53 PM   #20
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Thanks for posting the additional pics. So both methods here accomplish the same thing in different ways. Since I have 2 doors on my trailer, I may try both!

The extra pictures helped me understand exactly what you are doing. Thank you!!
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