Locked When Loaded - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Locked When Loaded

by | Apr 4, 2022 | Pro Tip, RVEXPERT

Installing a new entry-door lock can take advantage of keyless

There are two locking features for just about all RV entry doors: one that locks the handle and the other that engages a deadbolt for maximum security. However, not all RVers know that many of these handle locks are stamped with an “M” — which means dealer personnel (and others) can use a master key to open them. At first blush, this seems like a sound idea; it allows dealership employees to quickly open and close inventory for potential buyers without handling separate keys for each model. Unfortunately, master keys aren’t all that difficult to obtain. Literally thousands of sales and service departments have them — heck, so do most transport companies, for that matter. They are really a necessity for many people to get their jobs done. That said, their prevalence is just one more reason why owners should always use the deadbolt along with the handle lock when securing their RVs; master keys — which also are compatible with some aftermarket door locks — will not open the deadbolt portion of the lockset.

A better solution, though, is to replace the entry-door lock with a keyless version.

Fortunately, there are a number of quality replacement locks available for RV applications. RVLock (rvlock.com) is a keyless entry lock with an integrated keypad and fob; the company’s latest iteration, V4, carries a solid 4.8 rating on Amazon. Bauer Products (bauerproducts.com) is another company that has made RV security a focus. Its newest lock, the Bauer NE Bluetooth, is an entrance door handle with “close field technology” — meaning it allows the lock to be activated by having a paired device (smartphone) in close proximity. It also keeps track of locking/unlocking history and, according to the company, offers “bank-grade” encryption. And there are others.

Another choice is rvlocksandmore.com, the retail segment for Global Link, which produces locks for RVs under the Creative Products Group (CPG) branding and offers a variety of locks for RV manufacturers and consumers via aftermarket distribution. What got our attention was the ability to key alike the entryway and all compartment locks among its keyless options.

taking out the screws from the backside of the old handle
Removing the original entry-door lockset starts from the inside, where the screws that hold the housing are removed.
removing the handling from the front
Two screws must be removed from the faceplate on the edge of door before the lockset can be pushed out. Once the screws are removed from inside the door and faceplate, the lockset can be pushed out. You’ll have to hold on to the parts on both side of the door to prevent dropping parts on the ground.
setting up the new lock/handle
Components of the new Ultra E Pro Electronic Lock are assembled before being pre-fit into the hole vacated by the factory lockset.

The company’s Ultra E Pro Electronic Lock ($185) keyless lockset for entry doors (installed here) uses a four-digit code so owners can rest assured that the deadbolt will always be engaged and not accessible to master keys. Dealers can still use a master key or set their own code for use on sales lots with units so equipped, but once the owners change the code, access by unauthorized individuals is no longer possible. The deadbolt works differently than the standard lockset used by the majority of RV manufacturers in that it doesn’t throw a metal rod or square “bolt” into a strike plate; the GPC model uses a mechanism that locks the door internally. Personal codes are entered on the LED keyboard built into the lockset housing and the mechanism is powered by a single C123 lithium battery.

Entry-way locksets from the company are also available without the keyless option, and for both products the handle has a unique mechanism that allows the user to pull the door at the same time as releasing the latch bolt, providing a more secure grip when opening the door. This configuration works well, once the user gets the knack of how it works — only one side of the handle pulls out at an angle. Acclimation does come quickly, but you’ll have to instruct visitors not familiar with the mechanism on how to use it to prevent adverse strain on the lockset.

Installing the lockset should be an easy project by anyone using basic hand tools, especially since the chances are good that the opening (once the old lockset is removed) will be compatible without modifications. In our case, the opening was a little tight to allow the mechanism to operate freely, so we simply employed a razor knife to cut away some of the polystyrene insulation and increase the opening tolerances, which only took a few minutes.

finalizing the installation
The new lockset is pre-fit into the door to make sure clearances are OK. The clearance in the door opening was a little tight to allow the Ultra E Pro lockset to function smoothly, so a razor knife was used to cut away a small amount of polystyrene insulation.
connecting the wires
The outside and inside sections of the new lockset are connected by two wires, which sends the signals from the passcode entered via the LED keypad. After ensuring the fit was right and the wires connected, the lockset screws were tightened from the inside. If using a screw gun, be careful not to overtighten — this can damage the door by sinking the housing edges into the fiberglass.
close-up of the unit
The locking mechanism can be engaged from the inside using the big red lever on the lower part of the lockset. An emergency provision is included should the handle get locked from the outside with someone inside the RV — a discrete small button on the inside of the lock will, when pushed, disengage the deadbolt.
Get Updates
Subscribe today and never miss an issue!
Get all the latest tips and news to keep you moving on that open road!
May 2022 issue mockup of magazine and digital issue on a computer
Current Issue
May 2022
It’s spring travel season and it’s time to hitch up. The May issue covers top-to-bottom tech upgrades, introduces Lippert's latest opportunity for owners, reveals 2022's top products, plus so much MORE. Check it out!
Already a Subscriber? Click here for Access to the Full Issues.
Share This