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Old 05-31-2010, 08:54 PM   #1
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Locked out of front door

No, I didn't leave the keys inside. Just shut the door and can't get the latch to open (yes, I'm sure it is unlocked). About 3 weeks ago, the same thing happened to DW, who called Coach-Net. By the time the tech arrived, DW had managed to get it open by giving the door a light kick while pulling on the handle. The tech lubricated it externally and left without further investigation.

We went on a 2500 mile trip the next day without problem but I decided the latch needed to be lubricated better, pulled the panel off and then, while "testing" my adjustments, I managed to reproduce the problem. So now I can't get in the coach at all (luckily it was parked in my driveway at the time). REALLY wish I had unlocked the driver's window before beginning the project.

Anyone got any tricks for unsticking their front door latch (DW's kicks have not been successful this time). Or breaking in with minimal damage? Looking more like I will be getting a new Driver's side window (after I bust in). That window is slightly fogged so I can somewhat justify replacing it.

But, the pesky front door latch remains. Apparently this is made by PTL (not Trimark as some might be). There has to be a better replacment latch. This one seems trouble prone from other posts I have read.
I'm also thinking about leaving the driver's window permanently unlocked so I can get in should this reoccur.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:07 PM   #2
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Take the panel off of the door and adjust the linkage so that the door unlocks at about 3/4 stroke of the handle. I did mine about 4 years ago and have had no problems since.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne R View Post
Take the panel off of the door and adjust the linkage so that the door unlocks at about 3/4 stroke of the handle. I did mine about 4 years ago and have had no problems since.
Wayne, that's exactly what I was trying to do when this happened. I took off the panel, adjusted the linkage and shut the door (from the outside instead of the inside). So that is how I got to this point. If I can get it to open, I will go back to the adjustments (but with the driver's window open and will do my tests from the inside, not outside.

As you know, when the handle is pulled, the latching mechanism moves and strikes upward from the bottom of the release. Apparently, the upward pressure is just not quite enough to trigger the release.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:12 AM   #4
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That happened to me when I was making the same adjustment, too! Fortunately, by repeatedly locking and unlocking it with the key and pulling on the handle, it finally allowed me in. (BTW I think I also held my breath and crossed the fingers on my left hand. Be sure to stare intently at the lock.)

Did you happen to leave the bathroom window unlocked, like most folks do? However, it does require the services of a ten-year-old, too.

I think drilling the lock would be cheaper than breaking the glass. You can always just use the top lock until the new parts arrive.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:15 AM   #5
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Bedroom window? Window over couch? C-4 (actually ANFO is probably easier to concoct)? If it was a 36 or 34 and you left the bed latches undone I'd suggest getting a real skinny person to crawl in thru the engine hatch and up thru the bed; gotta be strong enough to lift the bed tho. Were you thinking about a new skylight over the shower?
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EngineerMike View Post
Bedroom window? Window over couch? C-4 (actually ANFO is probably easier to concoct)? If it was a 36 or 34 and you left the bed latches undone I'd suggest getting a real skinny person to crawl in thru the engine hatch and up thru the bed; gotta be strong enough to lift the bed tho. Were you thinking about a new skylight over the shower?
Left to my own (mis)behavior, I undoubtedly would leave a window or two unlatched but DW is a stickler and all of them are firmly latched.

Is the window over the couch not a double pane window? Skylight is an interesting possibility.

Since I was working on the coach at the time of what will henceforth be called the "front door incident", the panel is removed and the deadbolt is out -- leaving about a 1 inch diameter opening in the door.

If I could get something through that opening (eg bent hanger) and see where I was going I might be able to supply enough force to the release (which must be pulled up) to open the door. If I only had a dentist's mirror (to see where the release was). I hesitate to blindly fish around as it might mess up the door latch mechanism even worse.
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takepride View Post
That happened to me when I was making the same adjustment, too! Fortunately, by repeatedly locking and unlocking it with the key and pulling on the handle, it finally allowed me in. (BTW I think I also held my breath and crossed the fingers on my left hand. Be sure to stare intently at the lock.)

Did you happen to leave the bathroom window unlocked, like most folks do? However, it does require the services of a ten-year-old, too.

I think drilling the lock would be cheaper than breaking the glass. You can always just use the top lock until the new parts arrive.
Not sure how drilling the door handle would work in freeing my door lock. Wouldn't it just mess up the mechanism even further?
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne R View Post
Take the panel off of the door and adjust the linkage so that the door unlocks at about 3/4 stroke of the handle. I did mine about 4 years ago and have had no problems since.
Problem now solved! As stated in the OP, I had the panel off the door. So, I got my ladder in front of the windshield, fashioned a tool out of a clothes hanger and from my vantage on the ladder guided DW to put the hanger through the opening for the deadbolt and fish around until she was able to snag the release mechanism and pull up, unlatching the door. It worked surprisingly well (especially considering that DW is not mechanical). Probably the best "communication" we have had in 30 years of marriage. My eyes and her hands.

The first time we got the hanger attached and pulled up we still couldn't open the door -- apparently the deadbolt had somehow gotten closed in the process of fiddling (technical term I learned from EM) around with the hanger. So we figured out how to unbolt it through the hole, then started fishing with the hanger until our ultimate success. I did get the whole assembly back together and the door does open now but this situation is still all too precarious for me. That whole latching mechanism seems sloppy and not well designed. I would replace it in a heartbeat if someone has an replacement door latch to recommend that will work with this opening. If I can't find a good replacement, I'll probably have a locksmith give it a good once over to see if performance/reliability can be improved by further adjustment/tinkering. In the meantime, the driver's window is unlocked "just in case."

It did get me to thinking about why we only have 1 point of entry in these RV's. You could just as easily be locked inside as locked outside. If you are locked inside you could, by removing some screws and the panel, work your way out but that would still take approx 5 mins to do that -- which is a nonstarter in an emergency situation (e.g. fire). Yes, windows are an option too.

I know in some of the commercial shuttle busses at airports they have hatch covers on the roof of the vehicle for emergency uses (when the vehicle is overturned). Anyone ever seen a similar product for an RV? Ideally, the roof hatch would have an exterior keyed lock (for security) that would allow you to get in via roof when the front door wasn't working or get out of the coach in an emergency if the front door was inaccessible or damaged. Probably a 20 x 20 inch roof hatch opening would do the trick.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:06 AM   #9
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I thought about an ejection seat, but all the designs I penciled up eject the passenger seat and are operated from the driver's. That probably doesn't address this situation.
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:36 PM   #10
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Don't you have an emergency exit window in your bedroom like we do, or did WRV stop doing that in later coaches?
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:54 AM   #11
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About three years ago at Texas CG my deadbolt jammed as i was unlocking the the door to leave in the morning. only tool i had inside the RV (plenty of tools in the tool box) was a swiss army knife. Takes a while to remove the lock that way but worked. Since that time i keep approriate tools in a drawer just in case. BTW i replaced the dead bolt
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:05 AM   #12
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Some years back we had our door get caught in the wind and the mechanism bent slightly at the top of the door. Luckily I had not latched the sliding window above the couch and was able to get in and take apart the door latch, etc. After this happened a second time, I just disabled the mechanism that holds the door open. We spend a lot of time in windy places and I just did not want to deal with it again.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I thought about an ejection seat, but all the designs I penciled up eject the passenger seat and are operated from the driver's. That probably doesn't address this situation.
Was watching a re-run of the old show Knight Rider the other day when a bad dude was riding in Kitt's "Shot Gun" seat and Michael hit the proper button and suddenly he was no longer a problem Very funny.

On my Tri-mark lock the blang striker bolt broke (I have had several of them break (the basement is all Tri-Mark strikers as well) I had one fun time getting that thing open I'll tell you...

Alas, I did not fix that one the right way.. (I replaced the lock) Now I know how to do 'em proper.. I have a machinist carve new ones out of STEEL instead of that crap Tri-Mark used.
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