5.3.0 Door Latches

The first step is to clamp the door onto the worktable so that it doesn’t move around while working on it! You can see the factory markings (black Sharpie) which provides a guide for where the latch is to be installed as well as where the four latching rods go.

Fuselage - Door Handle Installation 1

Prepping the door for the installation of the door handle and latching mechanism.

Here’s a closeup showing the location and orientation of the latch plate. I’ve already pre-drilled a 3/4" hole, down to the outer skin, for the bearing carrier.

Fuselage - Door Handle Installation 2

The factory pre-marks the location for the mechanism.

The latch plate base needs to have three holes drilled for the rivets used to hold the bearing carrier and spring rod and pivot assembly. The factory does not provide a template for this, so I fired up my CAD program and made my own.

Fuselage - Door Handle Installation 3

Rivet location templates.

You can see the riveted spring rod and pivot assembly on the right side of the plate. The ends of the rivets actually had to be filed down a bit so that the rod and spring cleared them. The same holds true for the latch stop bracket in the middle of the plate. What you can’t see in this photo is the bearing carrier - it’s under the handle and latch crank assembly. My plan initially was to rivet that to the plate, but there wasn’t enough clearance for my rivet gun, so I ended up bolting the bearing carrier to the plate. That worked perfectly. In a way, that’s an improvement since now I can remove the bearing carrier if I ever need to replace it. The entire assembly is firmly attached to the door itself with structural epoxy and rivets. You can see two of the rivets next to the spring rod and pivot assembly - the other two are hidden under the latch crank.

Fuselage - Door Handle Installation 4

Inside door handle, now installed, in the "open" position.

Fuselage - Door Handle Installation 5

And here's the door handle in the "closed" position!

The rods and latch pins are now installed. The factory pre-drills locating holes for the latch pins which need to be enlarged for the latch pin tubes. The tubes are made out of steel and once fitted into position (making sure there is no binding of the latch pins) also need to be ground down a bit to match the contour of the outside edge of the door frame. That was pretty easy to do with my belt sander. Once everything fits perfectly, the tubes are installed with structural adhesive.

The rods and latch pins fit perfectly on one of the doors but were a bit off on the other door. I’m not sure why, but I had to fix that problem. The pin at the bottom in the photo below (closest to the handle) stuck out about a quarter inch too far when in the “open” position. After consultation with the factory, I was told to just grind down that pin to make it fit. Ok, so that’s what I did, going back to the old belt sander. I chucked the pin into my drill so that I could spin it while trying to remake the taper on the end. That worked just fine!

Fuselage - Door Handle Installation 6

Co-pilot side door showing the latching rods and pins in place.

There are locks that still need to be installed on each of the doors. That’ll have to wait for the next update to this page since I was missing some parts. In the meantime, I’m starting to work on getting the latch pin mating tubes installed in the fuselage. That’s turning out to be a bit tricky. More on that later.

ui© John Trautschold 2018