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Old 07-30-2011, 02:15 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2008
Location: crowley, la
Posts: 87
Getting locked out of Alpine

Hey Mes Amis (French for My Friends),
Wanted to pass along a commonsense suggestion to keep from ever being locked out. I locked a full set of duplicate keys in the hydraulic compartment. I then hid (using a magnetic key hider) a key to the hydraulic compartment door in the deep, dark recesses of the unlockable LP tank compartment. Works like a charm, and is pretty safe, it seems to me!

I know that a few Alpiners have been inadvertently locked out by the simple slamming of the door, having the force cause the lockout. It happened to me once and I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime fluke, like throwing a coin down and having it stand on edge. But when it happened a second time, I decided it was time to do something. I also tightened the locking mechanism so that it takes more force than a slamming door to accidentally lock the door.

Let me know your thoughts!
Cajun John

1999 Alpine 36' FDS

2005 Honda Pilot Toad
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:49 PM   #2
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Country Coach Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: California
Posts: 489
We locked ourselves out of our coach at Coach Glass, in Eugene, OR. We about panicked and then the guy there (Tim Lemon) produced a key that opened it! Apparently, that's the case . . . if you're at a park, odds are good that someone's door key will open yours. Not exactly reassuring from a security standpoint, but nice if you're locked out!

John & Cathy Lamb
45' Marathon XLII
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:05 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Where we park
Posts: 70
Keep in mind that the Hyd compartment door lock uses a 751 key which almost every RV owner carries, which almost guarantees that a key would be available even if the hidden one got lost.
John & Carol Randolph
2005 Alpine 34 FDDS
2006 Jeep Liberty
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:40 PM   #4
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Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 1,563
Thanks Cajun! Now I have to find a new hiding place......

BTW, it costs only $4-$5 to rekey each lock. The CH751 issue is definitely a problem, but most people that have that key are other RVers and not inclined to burgle. The biggest problem is when you leave your coach in public storage.
2003 Alpine 40FDTS (400HP)
Long Beach, CA
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:11 PM   #5
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Posts: 249
Actually, on the re-key issue, it is even cheaper and easier than you might imagine; and all for only cost of the spare keys. I went to my local locksmith with one of my spare cargo bay door latch assemblies and told him that I wanted to eliminate the generic 751 key. “No problem,” was the answer. “How many spare keys do you want?” He then proceeded to rearrange the cylinder’s wafers, made the keys, and explained what he had done as to which wafer went where. He even made me a simple drawing; he was extremely helpful. If you find your locksmith wants you to bring in all your lock assemblies for him to rearrange the wafers, find another locksmith. You only have to provide the locksmith with one of your latch assemblies. The assembly can be easily removed from any of your doors. The latches on our 2006 are of the Southco variety with the push button. I can only surmise that earlier or later latches will be equally as easy to work with.

The procedure requires a very small screwdriver or dental pick to release the tumbler from the inside of the latch assembly. You don’t even have to remove the latch assemblies from the doors. Just open the door, leave the latch open and use your screwdriver or pick to release the spring loaded wafer that is easily seen from the rear of the latch assembly. The tumbler can then be removed from the front of the latch. You will notice that there is an empty slot in the tumbler. The locksmith will have shown you how to juggle the remaining wafers into his new combination. This new combination will definitely not resemble the previous generic 751. Be careful when you push out the wafers with your small screwdriver because there are tiny springs that might fall out. You should consider doing all the wafer rearrangement on a clean white cloth so you won’t lose any parts. I’ll emphasize, “work carefully, the springs and wafers are small.”

Once you do a couple cylinders you will realize just how easy and ridiculously inexpensive this whole process is. I did all the bay doors in less than a half-hour. The job is so easy you might be tempted to rush through the process – don’t, you don’t want to lose any of the small parts.

After doing the bin doors I got real brave and decided to do the hydraulic system access and the trash receptacle doors as well. The locks are easily removed and present no problem to gain access to the interior of the cylinder and the wafers. These cylinders are slightly different as they don’t have an empty wafer slot so you will have to omit one of these wafers, the one closest to the key entry point as it turned out, so that you end up with the same wafer combination as your cargo bay door lock assemblies. Initially it took a few trial and error attempts, but once I realized how similar the cylinders were to the bay door latches the realignment of the wafers was quite simple.

Believe me; it is much easier and faster to do the procedure than to describe the process.
2006 Alpine 36' FDTS
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:51 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Ontario, CA USA
Posts: 1,240
Donna and I only use the Dead Bold on Our 2001 Alpine which is a Schlage lock. Since our home also uses Schlage locks I had the Alpine rekeyed to the house.

Whenever we leave our house or Alpine and get into any of our other vehicles we always have the house key. Donna or I will always carry our car keyes and there for the house key.

Dave Fernandez
2001, 38ft FDDS, 350 ISC, Tow 2004 Yukon
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