If we can prevent just ONE more Avion travel trailer door from being turned into a pretzel because it flew open while tooling down the highway we will be happy!
Not a year goes by that some poor soul posts a picture of their mangled Avion trailer door where the original Bargman lock did not hold, or even worse, a ill-suited or perhaps not well seated deadbolt failed to do the trick to hold the door locked.
In truth, and in our opinion, the failure truly is in the original design fact that the hinges for these doors are “downwind” of the air flow (doors swing out and to the left) as you glide down the road. Yes, the fact the door swings out towards the back end of the trailer was no doubt to ensure that you did not impede on the view from the window in your front living room, kitchen, etc. depending on floor plan makes sense. BUT think about it…if the door swung open to the right, those hinges and the door would have the added benefit of wind sheer working to keep them closed, rather than working to rip them open.
WHY DO THESE DOORS BLOW OPEN? Fact is, our trailers are beautifully made, but they also are not living, breathing things. They are metal, they are layers of various materials and as they roll down the road, go over bumps, stop and go, they tork, they shift, the metal bends and flexes. The Bargman locks are notorious for not having a huge long throw bolt and can very easily tork and come lose enough to allow the door to pop open. Over years of use their internal latching mechanisms become worn out, stripped or even inoperable. Couple that with the wind helping to get into that slight opening and boom…you have catastrophe!
TO REPLACE, OR REPAIR A WRECKED VINTAGE AVION DOOR CAN COST $1,000.00’s of dollars! Sometimes they can be bent back into shape, other times they re a loss.
WHAT STEPS CAN YOU TAKE TO PREVENT A MANGLED AVION DOOR?
- Routinely check your door hinges. These aircraft hinges need tightening and realigning now and then to ensure the door seats into the door frame properly
- When possible, have a working Bargman lock (we consider ours a back up to the deadbolt, not the other way around). Reconditioned or new (old stock) Bargman 300L and 400L series locks do come onto Ebay now and then. Plan to pay between $350-$900 for the lock with key. Note– our ’73 and our ’87 both have the 400L series. NO…these Bargman’s are NOT made anymore! Not sure which Bargman you have? Open it up and you should find part #s. Keep your Bargman maintained, check the latching mechanism, we have had to do adjustments now and then on ours.
- Install a HIGH QUALITY deadbolt lock keyed lock. Turn knob is on interior.
- Lock, check, double check again that your deadbolt is completely turned, fully engaged and seated in its receiver. Check it again!
BELOW IS THE DEADBOLT WE JUST INSTALLED (July 2020) TO REPLACE A WORN OUT KWIKSET DEADBOLT ON OUR ’87.
NOTE: I chose to rotate the faceplate putting the rounded ends on the side. On company website it will show the faceplate with rounded sides on the top and bottom. I like the rounded to the sides (1) because it does not hide the reminder sticker -original- to “lock deadbolt in transit” and (2) the rounded sides remind me of the design of the Avion itself, rounded front and rear.
Schlage Commercial 12633626 B600 Series Square Corner Deadbolt with 5″ backset and 1 1/8″ Face Satin Chrome Finish. CAMELOT STYLE Packing Slip says: Item # B60CAM619
IMPORTANT: we had to especially request and order the 5″ backset (throw bolt i call it) because of the length of our distance to really seat that bolt inside our door jam well. We suspect most Avion owners will need to also use the 5″ backset length as well. A too short backset (bolt) risks it not holding during those torks, flexes and bends that the trailer does while being towed.
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|B60CAM619 / +Part # 12633626 Schlage B60 Camelot Style Single Cylinder Deadbolt
Finish: Satin Nickel
Backset: 5 Inch Backset – $13.43
Door Thickness: Standard 1 3/8 – 2 Inch
$69.43 x 1
Sales Tax: $0.00
Inside of our trailer with new Schlage deadbolt. We had to put the faceplate as they show to line up the screws and to have it fit in space we had.
Position of the deadbolt varies. Rule of thumb….Go with where the current hole is from an old deadbolt if already there. If not and you have to make the hole, we have seen installations where the lock is on the door and throws into the door frame jam (our 87 is that) and also where the deadbolt lock is in the body of the Avion and throws into the door (our 73 had that and Cayo’s garage in Watervliet MI installed that in the 80’s if that tells you anything — as we had the original receipt from a previous owner.) There maybe rationale for preference one way or the other and we would love to see that in comments/discussion on this blog post!
Samples of installations on other Avions we have seen posted or in person:
INSTALLATION OF OUR NEW SCHLAGE DEADBOLT, JULY 2020:
Kevin did have to do a small clean up of the hole in the strike place removing just a little bit of the foam insulation so that the bolt could fully engage. Be careful not to open up too much, you want it snug. We also did not use the round collar on the circle of the lock and against the faceplate on the exterior because the size of our already cut hole was slightly too small. If you want to, you can recut your hole opening to adjust to fit the collar and faceplate.
We did use our Avion since this installation on a trip from NY to IN over 1600 miles with no issues at all. That being said, after speaking with so many about the door issues, we did do an extra bungy cord wrap of our door to door handle just for some added piece of mind since our Bargman lock is not working at all anymore. (thats another day’s project! VBG)
Here is the end result of our new Schlage Deadbolt install onto our 1987, 32S Avion. We hope this blog post has helped you. Let us know how your project goes in the comments box below!
From Kevin and Luisa