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Old 03-31-2009, 11:54 AM   #1
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Remote Entry Door Latch

The entry door is getting harder for my wife to open with her rheumatoid arthritis and its long term damage to her hands.

I am aware of remote keyless entry systems, as discussed on another thread. What I would like to know is if anybody has installed or knows of an installation where a remotely activated solenoid (or similar) was installed on the entry latch mechanism, to release the latch.

I have taken the back plate off the door and adjusted and lubed the latch, but with the pressure needed on the door seal, it's still a fairly strong pull for her to open the latch. She ends up using a plastic tool to pry the handle open.

So, any thoughts on this from somebody who might have tried it?

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Old 03-31-2009, 12:17 PM   #2
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You might try reducing the closing pressure. I am such a non-slammer person I backed off my door latch-pin several notches - much to the dismay of several service folks - and found 1) it now closes completely with a push from just my pinky (previously requiring a hefty push or slam) and 2) the door frame seals did NOT whistle or leak while in motion. My result is I can't understand why they are set so darn tight when the may not have to be. It is a joy not having to slam the door to fully close it and in your case, the opening force required on the door latch is substantially reduced.

Might be worth some tinkering to see firstly if you can get the opening force reduced enough to help and then secondly how much tighter you have to go to prevent leaks.

As far as a Star Trek door actuator, I, in my little world, have not heard of any but don't see why a solenoid could not be fitted to the mechanism though it would have to be externally mounted on the inside of the door due to size I suppose.

2007 and 7/8ths Newmar Essex 4502
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:21 AM   #3
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Check my reply on this post.

Door Lock/latch
Dale Gerstel
2007 Limited SE 40fdts
Las Vegas, NV
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Old 04-01-2009, 01:18 PM   #4
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Besides being hard to open, my door was hard to close. There was a definite drag the last few inches. Turned out the arms on top of the door that serve as opening limit and hold open were dragging on the door frame as it closed. I disconnected the arm to the coach and bent both arms to eliminate this rubbing and improved the situation greatly. I also disabled the hold-open by disconnecting the cable and tying the finger back. Not sure if this is a good idea but the hold-open is a big pain.

Moving the door frame latch bolt outwards eases things but if too loose the door will rattle and allow wind noise. Make sure it is vertically centered in the door latch mechanism. A little oil on the bolt and claws helps.
Rick J Fisher, BW is Judy
2007 Alpine 34FDDS Limited SE
2003 Jeep Rubicon or a 1995 Toyota Tacoma
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:16 PM   #5
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You might also read Dale777's comments on the same post as Dale's (above) on how to more easily open the door.

Has anyone found the cure for the door popping open from the second "catch" to the first, while traveling? I adjusted my lug, but it still opens occasionally. I know it's not dangerous, except for the part where I have a coronary from the loud BANG!
2003 Alpine 40FDTS (400HP)
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:48 PM   #6
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Thanks for the information, and Dale for your link. The mid door assembly we have looks a little different to me than the front door, but I may be wrong. I have tried the adjustment to shorten the length of pull and also lubed the latch mechanism with silicone and it improved, but not as much as we need.

With my wife's artificial knuckles (most of which are broken from years of use), she has very little strength in her fingers. I need to have the latch so it's nearly effortless, or find a way to electronically pop it open.
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:08 PM   #7
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Old Forester,

I tried Googling 'electronic automotive door latch' and one of the Hits was to A1 Electric for a kit for (I'll call them hot rodders or customizers) people who have removed the exterior door handles from their custom cars. The key words seem to be Pop Door Kits or Shaved Door Handle Kit. You might try Googling those terms but here is one link to get you started:

http://www.a1electric.com/ and their page with 3 different kits is:
http://www.a1electric.com/popdoor.htm Try clicking on many of the eleven links on that page (the Part Numbers) and take a look at some of the parts and pieces and see what may work for you.

The company logo on the middle kit is Spal. Their website is:
http://www.spalusa.com/store/main.aspx and they have a link on their home page for 3 Shaved Door Kits. They've got a dealer locator thingy on the bottom of their home page to find somebody near you.

Once you get the "lingo" figured out, from looking at some of the kits, you might be able to come up with better Google search terms. Or, if you find some dealers, maybe their names will give you an idea of what type of shops to try contacting (i.e. auto customizing.)

I did another search with "auto modified disabled" and came up with this site:
Some of those companies may also be able to help you and this page is specific to RV's.

Another link is to: http://www.infinitec.org/live/driving/carmods.htm
and on their page they mention Adaptive Equiment Dealers as the last link on their page which takes you to NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association): http://www.nmeda.org/

I hope some of these links are a help to you.

Mike and Mike (Michele)

2004 Alpine 34 FDDS
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:35 AM   #8
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Old....pick up a copy of "Rod and Custom" magazine and/or "Street Rodder" and you will probably find several outfits that sell those kinds of openers and can give you some insight to installation. Mike and Mike's post jogged my memory about that. You'd think an old hot rodder would have remembered!
Rick Coleman
'05 Alpine 36MDDS
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:17 PM   #9
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Thought I would provide a short update on this issue. I talked to Dale Gerstel and he recommended shortening the adjustable rod that connects the handle and the latch, and lubricating all components with KwiK Lube "Grease Gun In a Can". I had not used this product before.

I had previously shortened the adjustable rod but found I had one more turn available in the shortening mechanism, which reduced the opening angle of the latch to 30 to 40 degrees or so. I applied the Kwik Lube everywhere I could, and found over a few hours as it turned from a solvent-like consistency to more of a grease-like consistency, the latch got easier and easier to open.

Shortening the mechanism got rid of the "pop" we experienced at the end of the handle's throw and the lubrication helped a lot. Overall I would say the latch takes about 1/3 to 1/4 the force it used to take. My wife can open it without extra assistance and is a lot happier.

I think I will eventually need to put one of the remote opening kits on it, but for now, this was a big help.

So, thanks Dale for your advice, and thanks to the rest for the ideas on the remote systems. I now know where to look.

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