Back to the Technical Articles main page
Back to Interior & Fittings section

Door locks & catches

Author: Dave Mann

Many years ago, in 1962, I fitted a locking door handle to my first RN by the simple process of removing the original door handle and replacing it with the locking one after chopping the tube off the door catch assembly. This involved drilling two holes in the door skin for the screws to secure the eustachian plate to the door. This worked well for many years until the inevitable happened, the screws came loose in the door and I ended up holding a locked door handle. A little patience with a screwdriver and I gained entry to my motor.

Twenty years later and we had another RN requiring a door lock and remembering the previous experience I worked out that the locking handle spindle could be turned down to fit the door catch tube, after removing the lock mechanism. Now the lock locks the handle to the eustachian plate, however my cunning plan meant the eustachian plate had no future and the lock was going to lock the handle to the door catch tube. This involved cutting a square hole in the door catch tube the correct distance from its end and in the locked position. Once that was achieved the square portion of the locking handle could be shortened leaving enough material to turn it down to 1/4" diameter for a 1/4" BSW thread for the handle retaining nut. The chrome on the second hand locking handle had seen better days so it was attacked with a variety of files to make it look more like the original handle before being polished and chrome plated. Finally the locking bar will need shortening so it will enter the tube but not too much or it won't lock. See attached photos. For the purists keep the original handle for fitting at rallies.

The first RN also eventually had this modification done and while I had the door frame removed from the skin to make a new frame the holes for the locking door handle eustachian plate were welded up. Oh and I had to get a replacement door catch complete with tube as the original had lost its tube.

That's the driver's lock done for the passenger door the catch and its housing are drilled for a 2" nail which is simply pushed into the hole to stop the catch moving.

Finally as all my door catches were worn I bought some 5/8" square bar and made new ones, the old one being removed by drilling out the peg which prevents the catch coming out.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.

Door locks and catches Door locks and catches Door locks and catches Door locks and catches

Download the article