Thursday, September 27, 2012

Give Me Your Tired, Your Broken, Your Floppy Door Handles

    Coming home from my last trip (Hershey RV Show) I needed to stop for fuel. Seemed like a no-brainer, right? Yeah, I thought so too. After unlocking my Driver's side door as usual and pulling on the "paddle" instead of opening, the paddle snapped off in my hand! Before you ask, I am NOT some kind of mega strong gorilla, just a regular guy. It was incredibly frustrating! Now I couldn't open the door at all, making backing up in a tight space, in the dark, a much more daunting task. Obviously, I made it back, or I wouldn't be in a position to fix anything.....

Just to Be "Extra Weird" The Door Handle Is Upside Down!
After doing a bit of investigative work, the manufacturer of my door mechanisms was Tri-Mark. They make an awful lot of these (other things too) and I figured I'd just replace the inside paddle and be done with it. Nope. That would be far too easy. It seems that the paddle lever is not sold as a separate piece at all. Instead, you have to buy the entire inside plate with the red plastic levers and all. Seemed like a waste to me, but who am I to argue with the manufacturer. They just needed the model number of my latch assembly. problem...except it isn't listed ANYPLACE on the thing at all! I went to the Aero Cruiser forum and asked what the stock handles were. I was pointed to an article (very informative) that told me what to replace the originals with, but not what they were to begin with!

Why is everything so ridiculously difficult to get done. The simplest things are the most time consuming and frustrating!

Brand New Assembly, All Inclusive
OK, so now I knew what the replacement was. If I wanted to replace the entire lock assembly, inside and out. I really didn't want to do that if I could help it. New keys (or special ordered lock cylinders.) Bleh. Then a random thought struck me! Of all the photos I had seen, the inside plate (the one with the paddle) all looked the same. Yes, I know looks can be deceiving...but worth a shot. I looked up all the part numbers for the "deadbolt" style mechanisms and called Tri-Mark to confirm what I had found. All of them use the same inside plate!!! two plastic levers and a big paddle to open the door. All the screw holes and lever inserts were the same. That's a REALLY useful piece of information. I asked how much the piece was and was quoted a price. Ouch! On to ebay, where I found the part WITH the striker plate AND the outside plate AND the lock itself for $11 dollars LESS than what I had been quoted. All for a NEW unit! Score! Before it vanished I bought it now.

New Assembly Installed
I opened the driver's side door from the outside, unscrewed the 3 TORX style fasteners and removed the broken plate. After a bit of fiddling with the alignment of the "D" shape holes in the floppy red levers (and extra pair of hands would have been really nice!) I managed to get it to slide on. Tightened up the 3 fasteners and crossed my fingers. Closed the door and locked it. Unlocked it from the outside and made sure I could still open it from there. Then repeated that on the inside. MUCH easier to open and the paddle stayed in one piece! Wow, that was too easy!

New Outside Assembly Installed In Main Door
Not one to ever leave well enough alone, I decided I would finally tackle the "floppy" outside handle on the main door. I repeated the dis-assembly procedure on this one (since it uses the same lock assembly and took a look inside. I couldn't see ANY reason why the outside lever would stay tight up against the mechanism. Just flopped about listlessly. A bit lazy if you ask me. Then another random thought! (Wow, two in one day!) I had a spare outside latch assembly including all new keys and the internal mechanism. Maybe it would fit. To be honest, the club's website did say that fiberglass modifications would be needed to getthe new style lock assembly to fit in the old space. Undeterred I slid the old one out. Quite easily...what a nice surprise. I compared the two of them, old and new. I couldn't find any differences at all, except for normal wear and tear. I cautiously slid the new assembly in the FIT! Someone MUST have already done the fiberglass work.

Usually I am not at all happy about previous owner's "modifications....but this one was great! I took the old interior handle and red lever plate and slid it on the new outside assembly. Fit like a glove. Tightened the screws and help my breath. Closed the door. Not only did the handle stay tight, it opened INCREDIBLY easily compared to the old one.I may need to file the end of the deadbolt down a little to make it easier to turn the key all the way (still works, I'm just a perfectionist!) But I am one happy camper, literally!
Total cost for the whole job? $67 including shipping. Fixed both doors and locks. I shudder to think what it would have cost to have someone else do it. Especially since it was so easy.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

1 comment:

  1. This is why it is important to have the number of a qualified emergency locksmith service available to you.

    You may need lock picking for a lost key in the middle of the night, require a security lock for your commercial property because it has been broken into, need a key replacement for your ignition key or simply need a locksmith to open truck for you and fetch your car keys from inside. flatratelocknkey-denver

    An emergency locksmith will be able to do all of this for you, at any time of night and should be able to come to your location.


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