the elusive Bargman L-400 door latch - is it fixable? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-26-2011, 03:05 PM   #1
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the elusive Bargman L-400 door latch - is it fixable?

My Burro's door latch mechanism is getting close to giving up altogether. The outside flappy-paddle still works okay, but I'm getting ever closer to being locked inside because the inside up-down lever is not engaging.

Reading around, it seems that the lock/latch is exceedingly difficult to find. There's a repair kit that's also very difficult to find. Has anybody had any luck taking one of these apart and fixing it? Is this a job a locksmith could do?
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:11 PM   #2
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Oh, I guess my other question would be: is there another door latch on the market that would fit the same footprint as the L400?
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:41 PM   #3
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Oh, I guess my other question would be: is there another door latch on the market that would fit the same footprint as the L400?
Jen, there's an L-100 on Ebay as of today and a second Bargman lockset which is desribed as 60's vintage. I don't see a paddle handle either side. For the Escondido Burro, a Fastec #mumblemumble is an exact replacement for the original which is a latch lock and deadbolt combo with flush paddle outside. The door of the later Burros is a flat door framed up from extrusions and various plastic products and termite food internally (know cause I've had mine apart to replace perimeter wood fill). I believe yours is a SAC City and has a molded "airstair" type door which conforms to the shape of the trailer shell.

Depending on the thickness of your door and the existing mortise and the issue of setback on the latch, perhaps a new mortise could be cut for an unrelated lockset. Should you arrive at Delaware Water Gap without, I will bring my original which is, as one would expect, keyless, and you can do a bit of measuring to see if this type which is readily available could be made to function with a minimum of mechanical challenge and small probability of cosmetic disaster. See ya there.

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Old 06-26-2011, 06:10 PM   #4
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Jack, thanks for that very kind offer!

None of the stuff that's on ebay right now would be a very good fit - the L-400 is 2 3/4 high x 6 7/8 wide thereabouts - so one way or another I'm going to have to do some MacGyvering. I can't get excited about waiting for the next L400 to appear on ebay so I can pay $700 for it or whatever these super rare parts go for.

Since I think I might go and visit my folks on the holiday weekend, I may try to take advantage of having some Dad help and see if we can convince one of those Fastec Trimark latch to fit.

At least I can still lock things up from the outside, which is nice since I park the Burro in a storage lot in a semi sketchy part of town. But I think it's a matter of time before the thing stops working altogether and it might be good to surf ahead of that moment.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:20 PM   #5
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Jack, thanks for that very kind offer!

None of the stuff that's on ebay right now would be a very good fit - the L-400 is 2 3/4 high x 6 7/8 wide thereabouts - so one way or another I'm going to have to do some MacGyvering. I can't get excited about waiting for the next L400 to appear on ebay so I can pay $700 for it or whatever these super rare parts go for.

Since I think I might go and visit my folks on the holiday weekend, I may try to take advantage of having some Dad help and see if we can convince one of those Fastec Trimark latch to fit.

At least I can still lock things up from the outside, which is nice since I park the Burro in a storage lot in a semi sketchy part of town. But I think it's a matter of time before the thing stops working altogether and it might be good to surf ahead of that moment.


Yes, Trimark is the original manufacturer; couldn't think of it. Ideally a lockset with a slighter larger footprint cover plates would be preferable as easier to make mortise larger than to reduce without some sort of corncrib patch (cheater excutcheon). Good luck. I'm sure your father will go the extra mile or 1500 for you! I conjured up a pic of a SAC City which clearly shows a rectangular recess for the lockset. I do see given the molding of the door to conform to a particular product of the 80s that a Fastec isn't a plugin. Maybe a locksmith or miniature machinist could fabricate some new internal parts for you?
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Old 06-26-2011, 07:37 PM   #6
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Maybe a locksmith or miniature machinist could fabricate some new internal parts for you?
That is not a bad idea. I think I might try unscrewing the thing from the door and showing it to a locksmith in my neighborhood. It would save a whole lot of trouble if a clever person with the right tools can fix it.
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Old 06-26-2011, 09:45 PM   #7
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Our door latch on the trillium was not functioning well at all. I removed it from the door ( a few phillips screws), cleaned and greased the inner workings and it is now working very nicely.
It might be worth it to take your existing latch off the door and see if you can identify why it isn't working properly, maybe it just needs some TLC like mine did.

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:32 PM   #8
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YES! I figured out the problem!

Following advice here I went and removed the lock from the door, which was pretty easy. I brought it home and peered intently at the inner workings, trying to summon up some basic mechanical knowhow.

I realized quickly that the inside plate was bent inwards, which was not allowing the inside handle to engage with the mechanism that grabs the bolt and pulls it free from the strike plate.

I was about to take a picture of the bent plate to share here when my husband, feeling enthusiastic about being able to fix something after a crappy day, went after it with a pair of pliers and bent it back into more straight shape.

Et voila, suddenly I have a functional lock again (but no photo of the not-working plate).

Lesson to me: don't assume you have to replace something that's not working!

I think I understand how this happened: my door is slightly misaligned and was kind of leaky when I got the camper. I added some weatherstripping alongside the existing rubber gasket, and while that totally solved the leak problem, it did mean the door required an extra push to close. I guess this extra pressure ended up warping the inside lock plate.

So while I have this thing off the door I'll squirt it with a degreaser and oil it and then I'll undo enough weatherstripping around the door to make things close easily again. Now that I know how hard these locks are to find I'm going to take extra good care of this one!

Which leads me to ask: is it okay to degrease it, or should I just squirt some WD40 in there and call it a day?
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:01 PM   #9
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Jen,

there is nothing in there that'll get ruined by a good cleaning with degreaser (no sealed bearings or anything).

I would use something a bit heavier than WD 40 to lubricate it before putting it back together, it isn't exactly water or dust tight and will dry back out again after being in the weather and getting washed a few times. A bit of waterproof grease, axle grease or at least some white lithium grease sprayed in there will probably last longer between "regular maintenance" I figure my door handle needs to be looked at at least once every 35 years

WD 40 would be a good choice for the lock cylinder though (in through the key hole), or some people use graphite, something light that won't gum up or collect dirt.

Kevin
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