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Kwikset latch stuck - help?!

Having read the FAQ's you are still unfulfilled and seek more enlightenment, so post your general questions here.

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Kwikset latch stuck - help?!

Postby pcorps » Sun Jun 12, 2005 9:18 pm

Hi. My back is closed and I can't open it because the door lock isn't working. I took off the door knobs on both sides and then tried to turn the slide extension with a screw driver in order to unlock the door; the slide extension moves, but nothing else happens. I also tried using lots of WD-40 to losen up the lock or anything else that might be stuck, but nothing has worked.

Any ideas? Thanks!
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Postby Buggs41 » Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:38 pm

Sounds like the bolt is stuck. This could be due to the fact that the door is wedging it against the frame. Try to move the door up, down, push in, pull out on it while trying to work the bolt back. Having both sides of the knobs off, will allow you to grab the door via the hole that is now visible.

If that does not work, try to manually push the bolt back. Keep in mind that the bolt might not go due to the deadlocking part of the bolt.
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Postby Shrub » Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:18 am

I dont know the lock myself but is it possable that the bolt is retracted but the latch is keeping it locked,

If the latch can be reversed it may have come loose and now doesnt move with the handle, try carding it if this is the cause.
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Postby MrB » Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:44 am

Usually if you take off the knobs and insert a screwdriver into the latch mechanism, you can tell very clearly whether the latch is retracting when you turn the screwdriver. If you retract the latch with a screwdriver and the door won't open, I'd say the door is probably jammed.

It's possible the latch mechanism has separated from the latch bolt, though I've never heard of that happening. Was the knob forced ever, or was the lock stiff and hard to operate before?

Just to clarify, are we talking about a knob latch or a deadbolt?
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Postby fixer » Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:53 am

Please keep the terminology correct,, it really does matter when trying to help someone.

A kwikset deadbolt almost always has a tunnel shaped hole in the mechanism that needs to be turned in order to retract the deadbolt. One thing that can mess this up is the adjustable backset. if this is partially operated, the bolt won't work. To check this, look in the hole and make sure the two through holes for the screws are still lined up. You can't card a deadbolt.

A kwikset latch used on the door knobs/levers usually just has a semi-circular hole and you just have to push the internal slide away from the door edge.

Both of these can be a bit tough to do if the door is binding. As previously mentioned, try pushing/pulling the door while working the latch/bolt mechanism.
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Postby Shrub » Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:57 pm

MrB,
It happens quite often on upvc doors with euro cylinders over here, (to me anyway) the latch is held on with a 3-4mm countersunk set screw and this seems to come loose on a regulary slammed door, either the screw comes loose and jams the latch open or it comes out completely and then the latch quite often gets stuck in between the door and frame,
That was why i had a guess in that direction,

I good hard session of wiggleing, useing a bit of carding and an air wedge will get the door open in a few mins, (in upvc cases)
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Postby MrB » Mon Jun 13, 2005 11:43 pm

Hi Shrub, thanks for that info. Unfortunately in this case I don't know that pcorps has been clear enough in the information provided to really understand what is going on.

In a typical US-style knob set, the spindle through the knobs goes through a sliding mechanism that retracts the latch when the knob is turned. If you remove the knobs you can rotate a screwdriver in the mechanism to retract the latch in the same way. Typically when you do this it is very clear whether the latch is moving or is stuck in between the door and frame. Also, you can look in the gap between door and frame to see if the latchbolt is actually withdrawing or not. If the latch got really stuck due to a heavily warped door or something, I did wonder if the retracting mechanism could have come free and left the latchbolt jammed in the closed position...
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kwikset latch

Postby pcorps » Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:02 am

Hi everyone. Thanks for your responses! To clarify things a bit, I'm dealing with a US style Kwikset latch with door knobs, not a deadbolt system.

let's see if I can derive some terminology from your responses. I removed the knobs and I can see a metal semi-circular piece of metal with a hole. Inserting a screw driver enables me to slide this piece of metal back and forth, but the latch bolt doesn't move at all. Therefore, i think the latch mechanism is seperated from the latch bolt.

As many of you suggested, I tried, to no avail, shaking the door while attempting to move the latch bolt with a plastic card. Any suggestions on card technique?

Any ideas would be appreciated. What if I were to break off the latch mechanism stuff; would this enable me to somehow reach into the hole (where the door knobs would be) and grab onto something to retract the latch bolt?

Thanks!
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Postby MrB » Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:47 am

Depending on what hinges the door has, you could remove the hinge pins and then remove the door from the frame. After that, you unscrew and remove the remnants of the broken latch and rehang the door. Then you can fit a new knob set.
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Postby MrB » Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:52 am

PS: If the door doesn't already have a deadbolt as well as the knobs, fit a deadbolt!

PPS: Make it a good deadbolt, front door and back. The cheapest Kwiksets will let someone in with a few blows from a hammer.
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Postby fixer » Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:01 am

A piece of plastic may not have the strength to retract the latch. Try using a piece of flat spring steel or an awl/ice-pick if there is enough room.

The warning however is that there may be a deadlatch working if the strike was installed correctly. The deadlatch is a semi-circular piece of metal running along the flat side if the latch.

Unless the deadlatch is extented, you will have problems trying to retract the latch itself.

Let us know what happens and I will look into the mechanics of a kwikset latch and see if there is any other way to help you considering the latch is possibly broken anyway.
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Postby Varjeal » Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:19 pm

let's see if I can derive some terminology from your responses. I removed the knobs and I can see a metal semi-circular piece of metal with a hole. Inserting a screw driver enables me to slide this piece of metal back and forth, but the latch bolt doesn't move at all. Therefore, i think the latch mechanism is seperated from the latch bolt.


The latch retracting cam your speaking of slides back and forth to allow for backset changes. What you need to do is put it into the position nearest the door edge and actually turn it towards the hinge side of the door. If you can turn but it does not withdraw the latch, then the latch itself has seperated from the rest of the mechanism.

To get the door open, if it's an outswinging door, take a flat screwdriver and insert it in the gap between the frame and the doors edge in line with the latch, and lever the latch bolt into the door and then pull the door open.

For a door that swings inward you'll need a hook shaped tool to go over top of it, but the process is still the same.

If that is not possible, and the pulling, etc on the door itself doesn't work, you'll have to destroy the latch from in the cross-bore (the hole the lock goes through) and pull the innards out until you can use a pair of needle-nose pliers to withdraw the latch.
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kwikset

Postby pcorps » Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:36 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm going to play with the door this weekend; I'll be sure to post a response about what happens.

Thanks,
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fixed the door

Postby pcorps » Fri Jun 24, 2005 10:08 pm

Hi. Sorry for taking over a week to respond. I finally fixed the door by simply breaking the latch in the cross bore and pulling out all of the pieces. This was easier than i suspected it would be, and the door opened right up afterwards.

Thanks for all of the suggestions and for your time. I really appreciate your help. This is a great sight!

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