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Motorhome advice: How to replace a habitation door lock spring


Words and photos by Graham and Tina Smith


One of the springs on our habitation door had broken some time ago. Although the door was functional, it certainly wasn’t reliable and so the problem needed to be fixed one way or another.

A Dethleffs dealer had assessed the dilemma and reported to us that a complete new lock was required.

It quoted us over £400 to replace the whole of the door lock mechanism. Obviously, the time to fit the new lock would be in addition to this figure. 

We wrote to MMM for advice and a number of readers were able to point us in the right direction to rectify this problem. Importantly, we joined the Dethleffs Owners’ Club (at a cost of £15) who gave invaluable advice and provided a new spring at no cost.

All we had to do was wait for warm weather to start the repair. That could be a problem, as we live in Orkney, 59 degrees north! 

However, a happy combination of warm weather and national lockdown provided the opportunity we had been waiting for.

We are much indebted to MMM and the Dethleffs Owners’ Club for saving us a small fortune.


The tools you need to replace a habitation door lock spring

Warm room or conservatory to do the work in

A large dining room table

An old duvet, to protect the table

A selection of screwdrivers, electric drill, packers, Stanley


Step-by-step guide to replacing a habitation door lock spring

Step 1

Remove the habitation door from the motorhome and place it flat on a dining table. Next, remove the bin, indoor handle, door alarm attachment and cover plate. Then unscrew the screws from around the inner door handle.

Step 2

Begin to wedge out the inner skin of the door by inserting a narrow-bladed screwdriver between the plastic skin and the metal trim.

Step 3

Use plastic packers and screwdrivers/scraper to open up and then maintain the gap. This was – by far – the trickiest part of the whole process.

Step 4

I used a Stanley knife to trim away some of the door skin nearest to the door lock, which enabled freer movement.

Step 5

Gently work your way around the perimeter of the door frame in the same fashion until the inner skin is dislodged.

Step 6

You will now be able to see the lock mechanism.

Step 7

The repair requires a new pigtail spring to be attached to the lock mechanism. This was relatively easy to do, even with a bloody finger!

Step 8

Prior to reinstating the door skin, file some of the plastic off the outer edges where it is at its tightest.  This will help the skin to slide back into the groove.

Next time, I would mark the plastic in situ with a permanent marker before removing it from the frame in order to estimate better the area for filing back

Step 9

Grease all the moving parts of the lock mechanism.

Step 10

To make life easier, smear a small amount of washing-up liquid all around the edge of the door skin to lubricate the plastic ready for reinsertion into the door

Step 11

Finally, fit all the remaining parts back together again. Result – job done!

The habitation door lock has been fixed



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20/11/2020 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

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