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Door Locks

doorlock.jpg (41655 bytes)

     Last year at the Bus Bash in Ohio, the older coaches were the most interesting. One old Flex, a Custom Coach conversion had a great REAL door lock, no RV junk, no hardware store cheap O, but a steel pin about an inch in diameter and a lock set that grabbed real hard around the pin for a secure lock.

     Questioning the builder, he claimed that Ford and Peterbuilt used the locks and Ford was cheaper. Perhaps it is but the Ford heavy truck dealer in New Haven CT couldn’t "do" anything without da part number, and was too lazy or stupid to go look in Da ‘Book.


     The Peterbuilt parts man whipped two out of a bin to compare [L&R] and then printed the drawing for me. Here is the break down of the Peterbuilt parts:

Name Part Number Price
Basis for the setup and latch 20-08229L $17.10
Door plate-holds the striker plate 20-10611 $9.34
Striker pin-is what gets grabbed 20-12972 $13.73
Striker plate-holds the pin 20-07542 $3.37
Door shim-lets you adjust how far the pin stick out 20.08233    $.97

     OK that’s the latching stuff, but now it would be nice to have an inside and outside release to unlock and open the door. A trip to my friendly Freightliner dealer and here are the Freightliner parts:

Name Part Number Price
Outside door handle/lock FTL A18-35381-000 $47.48
Inside door release PAC K294-195 $37.40
Cylinder kit BRS 702511 $22.00



     The cylinders were a set of FOUR!! Cylinders all keyed alike and a bunch of keys. The Freightliner cylinder was put into the outside lock set and then it was just a matter if where to carve the coach so the holding plate behind the striker plate could be put in, and making sure the door latch would have room inside the door in the same place. On my 06 it fell together, first I drilled a hole in the door frame and used the hole to locate the SAME place on the door edge. Then the size holes were sketched on and I used the old trick of a row of many small holes in {cheap drill bits} and smoothed everything with the trusty rotary file.

     This worked for the door edge, door frame and holes cut inside and outside for the door handles. An access hole was cut to allow the striker backing plate to be slipped in. The inside door covering had to be removed to access the inside of the door to install the latch, after the hole was cut. The hardest part was finding 5/32 rod to bend so the parts could work together. I would have much preferred drill rod, but finding none locally, I use the material in the hardware rack at the local hardware store which was stiff.

     Below is a photo of the "guts" of the lock installed with all the 5/32 rods connected. The measurements given are for a GM and will no douby be different for most other coaches.

     The center of the Pin is 31 " from the bottom step, which also is 3" from the flat spot where the hand rail mounts. The leading edge of the outside handle that has the key lock, is 6" back from the trailing [non hinge] door edge, measured on the outside and 42 " up from the door bottom.

     The key hole is foward in the opening handle. You can insert the lock cylinder either so the key rotates up to lock or down to lock. Inside, the opening handle faces so your hand comes down from the top and pulls in and down on the unlocking portion. The lower edge of the unlocking mechanism is 33 " up from the door bottom edge and 7" from the opening edge of the door. As all measurements are to the edge of the pieces, all the hole measurements will be in a slightly different location. The inside security door lock (equavilent to the "button") in a car door is another rod, this time bent 90 deg and with a elastic stop nut that sticks out a slot in the door.

     Slot is located 42" up from the bottom of the door and 23" from the opening edge. All the inside rods will become easy to understand if you will close the bolt grabber and trigger it open, a few times to see what it "needs".

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     There is no question this baby locks! It sounds like a bankster’s vault closing. Hope this is enough info to begin making your conversion as safe as you want. I left intact the inside drivers handle to close the door so to open the door I release the drivers handle then pull on the inside handle to unlatch and open. Removing the drivers handle is possible if you wish. Slamming the door from outside does not lock the drivers handle, making the old outside door push button an ideal place to trigger a burglar alarm.


Hope this will get you folks started on having a safe secure coach.


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Chris Christensen, from Dixon California is installing this door latch from Fred's article. Below is some additional information. I would like to again thank Fred and Chris. If I can get Chris to bring by the parts, I will add some photos with my digital camera.

The parts list was pretty right on except minor price changes (which will probably be different from vendor to vendor - I actually got it for less than Fred said) and there was one part which was listed as a Freightliner part and it is actually a Kenworth part.

All of the items listed in among the Peterbuilt parts were correct part numbers and I was able to obtain everything from the local Peterbuilt dealer (F.B Hart on Richard Blvd., Sacto). All items were in stock and no waiting necessary.

The Freightliner parts I got from Delta Truck Center in W. Sac on Evergreen Ave. They had both parts (the outside door handle & cylinder kit) in stock.

The only correction which needs to be made is the inside door release, P/N: PAC K294-195, is not a Freightliner part but is actually a Kenworth part. I got it at the Kenworth dealer in W. Sac, right across the street from the Freightliner parts store.

I would make one suggestion, addition, or modification to Fred’s "menu". While at the Freightliner parts store getting the cylinder kit (BRS 702511), the counter man suggested that if instead I got cylinder kit BRS 702013 ($26.19), which is the outside door lock and also a cylinder lock for an ignition switch. So I got that BRS 702013 kit and also bought a new ignition switch, P/N: POL-31-152 ($13.86). I then put the one new cylinders in the new door latch, and the other new cylinder in the new ignition switch. Now, not only do I have an ignition switch which the bus never had, I also have an ignition switch that uses a key which matches the front door lock.

So the parts were readily available, reasonably price, and within an hour of starting the search I had all the necessary parts. And Fred is right, these are very heavy duty, but still "presentable" for a bus conversion.

The only problem now is trying to figure out how the linkage assemblies of all these items fit together. It is sort of like trying to solve a Chinese puzzle. The more you look at all the linkage receivers the more confusing it gets. Like Fred said he had to make his own linkage, which I have no problem with, if I could just figure out where the linkage assemblies are needed so I know how to make them.

I emailed Fast Fred and asked him if he could send me a diagram for the linkage. He said he would try to make a supplement to his post.