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injvstice 12-03-2011 08:10 PM

Front door lock gets stuck
Have a front door lock similar to this:

Basically, a thumb lever on the outside allows you to open the door. Quite often however the thumb lever gets stuck when I go out this door, and if I pull the door closed behind me, I am liable to lock myself outside. I got used to trying out the lever to see if it is in the locked position before I close the door behind.

If the lever is locked, I can reach on the inside and turn the door knobs back and forth until something snaps open and frees the lever. so it is something with the position of the inside knob.

Note that there is no lock position, this lock is not supposed to stay locked (the locking is enforced by the deadbolt). So this lever should never be locked.

How can I fix this? Worst case scenario can I replace the tumbler mechanism?

joecaption 12-04-2011 06:56 AM

Mine does the same thing, I even had to remove a screen and climb in a window to get in.
I've remove the whole thing, lubed with silicone, still did it, brought it back and got another one and it did the same thing.
Then I figured out how to get it unstuck. Instead of trying to push the lever down, push it up, it goes click and comes unstuck everytime.
I contacted the company and of course they've never heard of the problum before, wink wink.
That that and see what happens.

tcleve4911 12-04-2011 07:48 AM

Thumb latch mechanisms can be very finicky.
Over tightening the through screws and misalignment are the two major factors.
Take the unit apart and test it.
Does it work freely?
If it does, re-install and tighten screws to the point where it acts up.
That's where it's happy.
I can't emphasis the over tightening enough.
I've had to use Loctite in some to allow them to be loose enough for smooth operation but not be able to work themselves any looser after daily use.

Hope this helps

Daniel Holzman 12-04-2011 09:47 AM

I had the same problem with my Schlage front door after about ten years of use. Turns out there is a plastic piece that slips over a metal post, and the plastic piece is lifted up when you push down on the thumb mechanism. In my case, the plastic piece simply wore out, and the door would not open reliably. I tried to fix it, no go, so I replaced the front door handle with a Baldwin, which has a solid mechanism (no plastic piece). Maybe it will last a little longer, no idea.

Big Stud 12-04-2011 11:56 AM

I agree with tcleve4911, I have installed many locks in doors over the years, and can attest to the fact that if it isn't aligned squarely in the door, or if the through screws are overtightened, you will have a binding problem. Just by how many people have chimed into this thread saying they have the same problem, sounds like this particular lockset may have some issues.

TheDoorGuy 12-04-2011 09:14 PM

Very well explained Tom and Big!!

injvstice 12-05-2011 12:48 PM

So I took the lock apart and looked at it more closely. I pull it all out of the door and carefully put it back in.

I didn't see any obvious misalignment, bending, or other damage. Oiling did not help.

When I rotate the knob, a little spindle moves and turns the lock. This is a fairly good diagram:

And schlage has a FAQ entry which did not help me:

Why does the interior knob or lever on my front entry handleset sometimes cause the latch mechanism to jam and the exterior thumb press to lock in place?

If the front entry handleset is newly installed, the latch mechanism may be binding. If the exterior handleset is left sitting in the bottom of the bore hole through the door, the rectangular spindle that extends through the latch may be somewhat tilted and binding. This can be checked by loosening all screws, slightly lifting the exterior handle, and then tightening the screws before releasing the handle. This may make the spindle more level with the latch and eliminate the binding. If this does not resolve the problem, or the handleset has been installed for some time before the problem occurs, the latch mechanism may be failing and need to be replaced.

So what happens for me is that if I turn the lock clockwise, it works ok. If I turn the lock counterclockwise and release it, that spindle gets stuck about halfway back, and it doesn't spring all the way back. If I put a bit of extra force with a screwdriver, it does spring back.

I have to remember and try to see if pushing the lever upwards helps with this problem... Thanks for the suggestion, it may get me out of a bind someday.

TheDoorGuy 12-05-2011 01:05 PM

Hi there,
That handleset should still be under warranty....10 year mechanical I believe.
Contact the place you bought it and they should be able to pursue a replacement for you at no charge.
If, for some reason, you cannot go back to where you bought it you should contact Schlage Customer Service directly.
I'll bet that with a little effort you should get a nice shiny new WORKING replacement unit!!
Let us know how it goes.

Best of luck!

injvstice 12-05-2011 03:13 PM

Didn't think of that, but I also don't think I have the paperwork for it anymore. But I will give it a try. I suspect that if Schlage is one of those painful companies to deal with, they'll just blame it on an installation issue.

In my case, pushing the lever upwards does not free the jam. :(

tcleve4911 12-05-2011 03:33 PM

I have been a Schlage guy for most of my career.
Sometimes these fancy schmancy entry locks can just be finicky.
But they are one of the best out there.

Did you try to operate it when it was not installed on the door?
Does is work freely just holding it in your hand?
Try that and get back to us.

One final note and then I'll let you get back to test driving the lock when it isn't installed in the door ....

Sometimes when a lock is first installed and doesn't work correctly, the tendency is to force stuff.
There are a lot of fragile interior mechanisms that can get easily bent or bunged up if you start manhandling it.
I only suggest this because I have done it. No excuse but it happens.

Do the test drive.
If you have to, take it back and get another one.

BTW where did you purchase this one?

TheDoorGuy 12-05-2011 04:11 PM


Originally Posted by injvstice (Post 786696)
I also don't think I have the paperwork for it anymore. But I will give it a try. I suspect that if Schlage is one of those painful companies to deal with, they'll just blame it on an installation issue.


I have had surprisingly good luck with various manufacturers in this regard.
Please do give it a try either through your retailer or on phone with Schlage.


injvstice 12-05-2011 06:01 PM

I think I fixed it.

Just to help others, I think my problem was the bottom bolt (the one at the bottom end of the handle) was not positioned correctly, so it was forcing the whole handle down a bit and misaligning it. Once I enlarged the screw hole to allow the handle to slide up a little, it works much smoother. So Schlage was mostly right in their FAQ entry I quoted above. I had to file it a little, then make sure I tighten the top screws well before doing the bottom bolt. Hopefully it will stay aligned for a while (I suspect temperature changes may get it to misalign eventually)

Thanks for all your ideas!

nagshead 03-10-2012 01:56 PM

I recently bought a Schlage handset and had the exact same thing happen to me. Thanks for this thread, I fixed the issue. I just loosened all three screws and realigned the handset. Mine had to be pulled upward to work smoothly and not lock after turning the know clockwise. I did what injvstice did and tightened the top (door handle) screws first, then the bottom of the handle screw. Works great now and I won't get locked out now!!!!

craigt 03-22-2012 12:31 PM

I have a similar problem with my handleset, but it is Kwikset not Schlage:
Kwikset Gibson Handleset.

I tried injvstice's solution but it doesn't help. I took it off and put it back on but my thumblatch still sticks! Any advice?

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