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Thread: Door latching

  1. #1
    Orbiting Earth Flight Levels Smithy's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Werribee, Victoria, Australia

    Door latching

    A further minor niggle on the A23-24...Mine only has the door on the
    left which doesn't close all that well. There is a pin at the top of
    the fuselage at the front that locates into a small hole in the door
    which I imagine is supposed to ensure accurate closing of the top
    front of the door. This pin keeps moving as the door closes
    consequently not going into its hole and forcing the top of the door
    out a good 1.5cm (3/4inch) When I manage to get it lined up and the
    door closed its a much more streamlined fit. I also have to give the
    door a good slam to get it to close which leads to the above problem.
    The question is has anyone else had this problem and how did you solve
    it...I was thinking of machining a bigger pin but the material on the
    door frame on the fuz it attaches to is quite flimsy and easily bent...
    Interestingly I can't find any reference to this pin in the parts cat.
    or the service book....
    Thanks again for any help....
    Mark smith
    Last edited by Clinderman; 07-13-2011 at 10:38 AM. Reason: correct typos

  2. #2

    door latching

    I have an A23 which only has a door on the right. It has no such pin. Maybe it is a previous owner's invention?

  3. #3
    I have an A23-24, and there is no such pin. The door is on a simple hinge, and latches only at the handle. What you are describing sounds like a Piper door. Also, did you mean it when you said the single door was on the left?

  4. #4
    The 1970-up airframes have a forward door jamb pin, PN 169-420036-97 (Guide Pin). It has a tapered cone on the outside, with a screwdriver slot across the tip. It screws into an anchor nut in the door frame, and mates with a hole in the fuselage door jamb. The hole has a tapered ramp leading into it. You adjust the engagement by adding or removing washers under the guide pin. Too few and it won't hold the door tightly; too many and the pin will hang up on the door jamb before reaching the hole.

    To my knowledge, the 1969 and earlier planes had no door pin on the forward top corner; neither on the jamb nor on the door frame. This sounds like a homegrown effort to me. The early doors had more of a boxed-frame design, mostly (or all) metal, and were pretty rigid. Unless the pin is temporarily hiding a problem with a bad hinge, bad seal, or something similar, I'd get rid of it.

  5. #5
    I was talking to Smithy this morning, and the pin is described as the conical guide (169-420036-97) that is fitted to the door jamb of later airframes. He has also had both the hinge and the doorseal replaced by a prevoius owner. He is going to check the alignment of the door and the seal next.

  6. #6

    door latching

    The answer is not a bigger pin. Same thing happened to my plane with the previous owner who was an A&P. The problem started when he installed new windows. Unfortunately for him he installed them wrong causing this same problem. After much searching around he found window installation instructions which informed him he install the windows wrong. Once he reinstalled the windows correctly the pin lined up correctly. It seems that pin is what holds the top of the door closed during flight.
    Don't know if this is your problem but in my case he said the window is what holds the shape of the door. If done wrong the shape changes and you have all sorts of problems with how the doors fit.

  7. #7

    door latching

    Mine seems to be an odd duck, or somewhat modified by who knows whom. Its a '66 A23-24 2 door. I also have the upper door pins, and like Mike says, too much engagement and the door hangs, or too little it doesn't work. Mine is a bolt from the inside of the door with a jamb nut on both the inside and outside of the frame, the threads are rounded off into a pin shape. It looks like it engages a rivnut in the fuselage door frame. Does this sound homemade? Oh well, it isn't hurting anything.
    I chewed through my restraints for this?

  8. #8
    I have exactly the same thing as Joe. Bolt, with the end ground off round going into a rivnut in the jamb. Bolt is head inside the door and double nutted. I originally thought it was homemade too, but doesn't seem like both of us would wind up with the exact same setup if it wasn't from the factory.

    Mine is a 71 A24R MC-42. According to parts book sub MC-152 Sierras did not have the 169-420036-97 guide pin or fwd striker plate. I don't have any holes for a striker plate in the jamb so I don't think it ever did have anything but this version.

    Unfortunately it doesn't work very well. After replacing the door seal with the right one, with some trial and error I got it adjusted so it was as far out as it could go without hanging. It engaged solidly - I couldn't push that corner out from the inside....until first flight, then the fwd corner sucked open and now it does not engage on the ground either. Ugh.

    From memory I think the hole the bolt goes through in the door was fairly sloppy. Maybe the force in flight was enough to shift the bolt in the hole so it doesn't work any more. Or maybe my hinge pins are worn and the whole door shifted. Not sure. I think I will start with a bushing in the hole and see if that helps.


  9. #9
    I have a 1975, and the tapered stem with a slotted head, as described by Rellihan above. there is no striker plate on the Jamb, just a hole with 2 screws, one above and one below. The plate is a piece of aluminum that fastens from the inside of the jamb, which means that you have to remove the interior finish strip. I have managed to get to it by removing the screws to about halfway across the windshield and moving the strip out of the way. the strip was pretty worn so I turned it around to us the unused edge. It took about 3 hours of trying to get it to fit correctly. I even ground a thick washer into a wedge to use under the stud to try for a better and more intimate fit. Closing the door from the outside didn't seem to help. There is just to much flex in the door and it is responding to the pressures applied. I finally realized that I needed to be sitting in the pilot chair, and closing the door as I normally would for flight, pulling the door closed by the interior handle. Once I started to do this adjustment became easier, and I finally found the right combination.

    Good luck,

    Rick Spann

  10. #10
    Thanks Rick that's what I meant by striker, the plate on the inside. Anyway, don't have it. I was going to call Beech and see what those parts would cost, to retrofit but I'm guessing it will be way too much.

    Any case looks like more hours of fiddling required. I think the hinge is foobared as well, I put on the new seal at this last annual and was pretty disappointed in the results - it doesn't even contact the jamb the whole length of the top of the door, but pinches outside of the door on the bottom. Basically the door seems to be ~1/4" low (or sagging).

    So I was looking at that yesterday and noticed the leaves of the hinge don't even line up all the way down the door. There is still wire sticking out of both ends, but I wonder if the pin is broken in half. I don't see how anything straight could fit all the way down the piano hinge through every leaf as it is. I guess that's the first thing to investigate and fix up.


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