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Latches, the continuing saga

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gandalf42

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Latches, the continuing saga
« on: May 30, 2018, 02:06:10 pm »
I know there have been issues with latches. I had a couple fail last summer the first few months of use of my just purchased 2017 2552. Getting ready for a trip we had another fall apart and checking all the latches we have now had 7 fail in the first 12 months. These are the much disliked BRD Supply company brand. This rate of failure compares to 3 Southco failures I had in the 10 years we had a Born Free.  >(

I called Carol at Phoenix and she is sending me out 6 new latches (I only knew of 2 failures at the time of the call) which is nice as I am a few days out of warranty.

The good news from Carol: they no longer use the BRD Supply latches and have switched to Southco latches.  2o2

Because of this, the replacement latches she is sending out are Southco latches. She said they are drop in replaceable. This may not be true as I had several Southco latches in my parts pile. The failures have all been to base of the "hook" portion of the latch not the "catch" portion. The Southco latches I had all had the same "hook" portion and while you could typically find one of the screw holes to match from the BRD to the Southco, the Southco footprint is bigger and requires the 2nd hole to be drilled.

It wasn't hard to get the new "hooks" to line up and so I have repaired all but one of the latches. I overshot one drilling hole and poked through the wood. To add insult to the gaff the drill bit then broke off in the hole!  :beg This is shared just to say be careful when drilling!  :)

I will provide an update when I receive the latches from Carol whether the "hooks" are drop in replacements or require some careful drilling.



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jatrax

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2018, 03:18:50 pm »
I have now replaced 6 latches on my rig.  The first two the factory sent me new BRD replacements.  The last four I bought Southco latches from Amazon as I was done with the BRD ones.

Oddly, all of my failures have been to the 'catch' portion not the 'hook'.  The catches are, as far as I can tell, drop in identical to the BRD ones with the holes a perfect match.  But the hooks are indeed different.  But so far I have just used the BRD hooks already in place and just put on the new catches.

Good to hear the factory is now using Southco, the failure rate on the BRD ones is much too high for a coach that costs this much.  We are heading to Elkhart next week to have some work done and I'll check and see if I can get some replacement Southco ones.

I also need to figure out a way to keep the pantry closed.  Even with double latches it pops open on a regular basis.

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swiftboot

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2018, 04:10:55 pm »
I have replaced several latches as well with southco.  In lieu of drilling a new hole, I elongated the hole in the latch in order to use the same screw hole.   This can be done with a small drill bit in the hole and placing lateral pressure on the latch to the desired point.   All my failures have been the catch part as opposed to hook. 

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ron-n-toni

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2018, 05:55:20 pm »
Just got back from a trip to southern Ohio for a wedding. Had THREE latches break. I had stopped at Phoenix enroute home from Sisters, OR for slide out seals and several broken latches. Bob gave me four extra latches. These were Southco brand. When installing the new ones, I noticed that they can be installed so the "hook" part will hit the "catch" part so the hook will push he latch without the hook going into the latch. Hope this makes sense. Anyway, I adjusted the ones I just installed and checked all others and found two that were out of adjustment and would soon break if closed hard. So check your latches.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2018, 06:11:31 pm »
Try experimenting with one latch....spray the internals with silicone spray and then do NOT touch it, or wipe it, or work the latch, or anything.  Just use a tissue to catch the drips and then let dry overnight.  I recall certain silicon sprays will melt certain plastics and recall this might happen with silicone spray and PC latches.  If you don't touch the latch after spraying it and just let it dry overnight, you will have either created a plastic blob or a well working reliable latch.  It is surely worth experimenting on one latch if you have a stash of replacements.
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2 Frazzled

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2018, 05:00:35 am »
We didn't break a single latch our first year out then they broke one after the other. I tried WD-40 - no joy. I tried powdered graphite - still no joy. Phoenix gave us a stash but we've run out of those so I'll be ordering from Amazon. All but one of them failed on the catch side. The one hook that broke seemed due to alignment being slightly off. Ours didn't break until we had camped in sea air and I wondered if the salt and humidity does them in.

What pull weight are you replacing with?

Jatrax, our pantry has a big honking steel pull pin at the top to secure the slide then I think the little latch for the door. Are the new rigs coming out with only the hook latches on the door instead? Or do you lock the slide and still have the door pop open?
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gandalf42

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2018, 08:14:02 am »
I find it interesting that most failures others are having are on the catch side while mine are all on the hook side. I did notice that the holes drilled for the hooks had caused a mound around the holes and I believe this would cause more stress on the base of the hook as it would make it more difficult to distribute the stress across the whole base vs just over the screw points, which are where the breaks are occurring.

Even with my "long term" failures of the 3 Southco's over 10 years in the Born Free I believe 2 were hooks and one was a catch. I did have several times that the catch would get closed somehow without the hook in it. Trying to close the cabinet then would just cause a collision and probably stress both parts. I would need to take a screwdriver and open the catch and everything would be OK again.

Regarding the pantry: mine has individual pull out drawers covered by a door that has 2 latches. One is currently broken (the hook part again) and gone but, so far, hasn't caused an issue with opening up while moving. I'll probably replace the broken one when I get some more latches.
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Volkemon

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2018, 08:35:11 am »
Try experimenting with one latch....spray the internals with silicone spray and then do NOT touch it, or wipe it, or work the latch, or anything.  Just use a tissue to catch the drips and then let dry overnight.  I recall certain silicon sprays will melt certain plastics and recall this might happen with silicone spray and PC latches.  If you don't touch the latch after spraying it and just let it dry overnight, you will have either created a plastic blob or a well working reliable latch.  It is surely worth experimenting on one latch if you have a stash of replacements.

 :beg  For those of us WITHOUT a pile of replacements, try this:

Using a Q-tip (or other cotton swab on a stick..) saturate the cotton end with the lubricant you wish to use. CAREFUL ABOUT DRIPS!! Apply the  saturated cotton end to somewhere on the latch. (Pick a spot that isn't obvious should dissolving occur.) With a light rubbing motion, you should quickly feel if the q-tip is sticking to the plastic (DISSOLVING!!) or stays slick and slides easily. This test can be done with the latch in place, and wont damage it if indeed the lubricant dissolves the plastic a little.

Another 'quick and dirty' check is to test spray an old styrofoam coffee cup and see how it fares.  The expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) will usually be a good indicator of how many other plastics will do. Not every time, however, so if it passes the cup test, maybe still do the swab test to be sure.

Getting a lubricant for RC planes and models will generally give a plastic-safe product. When in doubt...test.

Our 2006 had one broken latch on the door under the sink. I swapped out the one from a small door by the house stereo. Getting a replacement is on the honey-do list.  :-D

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jatrax

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2018, 10:45:47 am »
Quote
Jatrax, our pantry has a big honking steel pull pin at the top to secure the slide then I think the little latch for the door. Are the new rigs coming out with only the hook latches on the door instead? Or do you lock the slide and still have the door pop open?
I was told at some point there was a redesign of the pantry.  Not having seen any but my own it is hard to say.  But there is no pin or any other lock except the door catches.  There is no slide like you have but three separate drawers.  We had it pop open on our trip back and the factory sent us an extra catch so the door now has one at the top and one at the bottom.  But if you take a turn too quick it will still pop open and all the drawers will slide out.

I wonder if the catch side failure is not caused by the catches getting closed while the door is open.  Then when you try to close the door the hook smashes into the closed catch and breaks it.  On mine the plastic parts and springs just fell out on the floor so I can imagine that slamming the door shut on a closed catch might have caused that issue.  I've noticed several times that the catches are in the closed position while the door is open and had to pry them back open to get the door to closed.

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Two Hams in a Can

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2018, 01:15:07 pm »
FWIW, I have been using WD-40 Silicone Spray on my 2012 latches as well as the replacements that Kermit sent me.  So far, so good.  ;) The WD-40 Silicone Spray hasn't gotten sticky like the regular fish oil WD-40 Spray does over time. :)(:
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2018, 05:01:15 pm »
I find it interesting that most failures others are having are on the catch side while mine are all on the hook side. I did notice that the holes drilled for the hooks had caused a mound around the holes and I believe this would cause more stress on the base of the hook as it would make it more difficult to distribute the stress across the whole base vs just over the screw points, which are where the breaks are occurring.
You just described my experience with our 11 year old PC, a 2007 model year with SouthCo latches.  When we rarely break something, it will be the hook-side, caused when catching a shirt sleeve on it.  I think only one mechanical-side latch required replacement so far and as I recall, it was of my own doing when replacing a hook, from being misaligned.

Some time after 2007, the latches came from another supplier, their parts made in China.  Since then, the problems have greatly escalated.  I am glad to read Phoenix switched back to SouthCo, but are SouthCo latches still made in the USA or are they now made in China?  I hope SouthCo today is as good as earlier times.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2018, 06:36:17 pm by ron.dittmer »
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jatrax

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2018, 09:28:55 pm »
Quote
I hope SouthCo today is as good as earlier times.
I guess we will find out Ron.  I can say that the Southco ones I have are just slightly 'beefier" in the materials used.  The hook side especially is much heftier.  It is harder to tell on the catch side but to my eye it does appear to have just a bit more material all around.

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2018, 03:46:27 am »
I was told at some point there was a redesign of the pantry.
[/quote]
I just checked a video walkthrough and saw the new pantry. I'm jealous! Ours is one unit that glides on top and bottom tracks. That unit has the giant pin to secure the weight which works well. You leave it open in camp and secure it for travel. The door latch just has to hold the door. We have three or four open shelves with a lip at the front. The shelves are maybe four inches deep so careful selection of storage containers and cereal boxes is needed. You can fit one can of something front to back and when something spills (because you crammed it in or it rocked over on a turn), it is a bear to clean as there isn't much space to get in under the unit.

That said, I can see the problem those little door latches would have holding loaded drawers. The pin wouldn't work for them and that's a lot of weight hitting the door pin a hard turn.

Can someone with the new design please measure the outside width of the pantry unit? I now covet one and wonder if a direct swap is possible. We're preparing for our seven week trip with the granddaughter and I'm staring at a good load of dry goods that would fit so nicely in those drawers. We are hoping for a trip to the factory in the fall and a new pantry might make the list.
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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2018, 04:10:21 am »
I'm ready to order Southco C3 series latches and am wondering which model to buy.
   13N = 3 lb pull (seems too wimpy for RV)
   22N = 5 lb pull ???
   44N = 10 lb pull

I figure the 5 or 10. I want cabinets to stay shut but don't want to have to wrestle with a door just to brush my teeth. Any words of wisdom?
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keelhauler

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Re: Latches, the continuing saga
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2018, 04:18:46 am »
If PC is now using Southco latches you may find that Carol will give you a better price than anyone else. Call her.
Also 5 lb should be about right ask her what they use. She may also give you some even though your MH is 5 years old.