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Airstream Entry Door TriMark Deadbolt Tweak

Add shim to deadbolt channel to improve locking function

We have a 2020 23′ Globetrotter with a factory included TriMark deadbolt entry lock. This lock has often been difficult to engage and lock. A simple tweak can make it easier to lock.

TriMark RV entry door deadbolt difficult to close tweak to improve function.

TriMark deadbolt and strike box alignment issues when locking

The problem I’m having with locking the deadbolt seems to be poor alignment of the bolt and strike box.

When turning the deadbolt to engage the door bolt with the doorframe mounted strike box, the bolt moves out of alignment (toward the exterior) as it moves toward the strike box. The channel through which the bolt slides as it moves toward the doorframe strike plate does not provide much of a guide for the bolt and allows the bolt to move laterally as well as front and back.

With the door open, and the bolt extended, you can easily move the bolt side to side and appreciate the amount of play the bolt has when moving toward the strike box to lock.

Thinking about the problem, my first inclination was to Dremel the box opening to create a bigger target or bevel the leading edge of the lock bolt. But, after thinking about it, it made more sense to try and improve the tracking of the bolt and limit the ability of the bolt to move out of alignment while locking.

After a bit of trial and error, I found and tried using a segment of  a plastic door and window shim, which worked perfectly to provide a guide and outside wall of the bolt channel, which seemed to keep the bolt from moving laterally and stay in better alignment with the strike box. Here’s what I did:

Overview | TriMark deadbolt tweak

Project Goal: Improve the locking function of the Airstream entry door TriMark deadbolt.
Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 30 Minutes
TriMark deadbolt tweak Cost: $5

Supplies List | TriMark deadbolt tweak

Tools List | TriMark deadbolt tweak

Steps | TriMark deadbolt tweak

  1. Open RV entry door and observe function of deadbolt extension.
  2. Open your RV entry door. Using your deadbolt key, turn the lock to extend the deadbolt with the door open so you can observe the motion of the bolt while locking.

    Depending on your door and lock design, you may notice that the bolt will move laterally (toward the exterior or door seal while it is extending. This lateral movement may take the bolt out of alignment with the strike box and prevent you from locking the door.

    With our Airstream, there is little to limit the lateral movement of the bolt while it is engaging and ours moves toward the outside with locking and bolt extension. Unfortunately, with this lateral movement the bolt tends to strike the outer portion of the strike box and miss the cup, preventing the bolt from entering the strike box and locking.

  3. Create a shim using a plastic door & window shim to limit the lateral motion of the bolt when extending.
  4. Use a plastic shim to create a guide wall for the bolt and limit lateral motion while locking. Trim a plastic shim to the width of the opening between the mounting posts of the lock frame.

    Insert the trimmed shim to determine the correct depth for the proper thickness to hold the shim firmly and serve as a lateral guide for the extending bolt.

    Now cut the shim to the proper length for the above noted fit. Either cut the shim in place using a sharp utility knife, or remove the shim, trim and replace.

    When placing the shim, orient the shim so the smooth side of the shim is facing the bolt, providing a smooth surface to guide the bolt. The opposite side of the shim will often be corrugated, which may help keep the shim in place.

    With the shim in place, close the door and try locking the deadbolt. The deadblock should engage and lock. For our deadbolt, the shim tweak now makes it easier to lock the deadbolt, but we still need to apply pressure on the door while engaging the deadbolt to get it to lock.

    I did add an additional piece of shim to fill the slight gap between the original shim and the deadbolt. I left this shim a bit longer to hopefully provide a bit more guidance for the lock bolt.

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