Jeld-Wen french casement window lock broken


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Old 08-01-23, 12:13 PM
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Jeld-Wen french casement window lock broken

See attached photo of an identical window that works. How do I access bolt (B) when handle doesn't operate that bolt and windows are stuck closed? (This is different to a previous thread which has a similar mechanism in a different (sash) configuration. That solution is not possible on a french casement window.) Can I remove lower wooden plate (see two screws)? Removing those screws doesn't appear to release it and I can see no other access since everything is rebated. Jeld-Wen have sent me parts but their only instruction is for a window that's already open.

 

Last edited by fearless6; 08-01-23 at 12:18 PM. Reason: question did not appear
  #2  
Old 08-01-23, 12:48 PM
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Looks like there is a small setscrew in the body at the end of handle A. Is it tight? If tight then it may have carved a groove in the bolt. If you loosen or remove the setscrew, handle A should come off and you may be able to turn bolt B with a pair of pliers or a screwdriver.

The two screws probably just hold the mechanism in place. Removing them and the handles should allow you to remove the entire mechanism but the window has to be open to do that.
 
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Old 08-01-23, 02:25 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion, but no, that's not a setscrew. I've tried that hole with every type of allan key available, metric and imperial and they just turn ad infinitum because it's not actually a screw. I think the answer must be in removing that base plate but with the window closed it seems impossible.
 
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Old 08-01-23, 02:42 PM
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This is a close-up of the small hole in the handle (enhanced) – but it really isn't a set screw, just a one-inch deep hole which seems to serve no mechanical purpose.

 
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Old 08-01-23, 07:34 PM
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See if you can find an exploded view of the window parts. It might give you some idea of how the parts are assembled and how you might go about disassembling.
 
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Old 08-01-23, 08:12 PM
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The "lower wooden plate" (sill cover) is typically a removable piece on most casement windows, and it is usually nailed on with finish nails, which are then puttied over and concealed. The paint also acts to seal it to the rest of the trim, AND it is a very tight fit, so it doesn't just pop off easily. You have to cut the paint and caulk with a utility knife. Then pry very gently, at various points across the entire still cover.

To add to this, those pieces often break about 50% of the time no matter how careful you are when you try to remove them. It's because of the tight fit and the thin profile of the piece, which is hollowed out since it's sole purpose is to cover the hardware and maybe to provide a place for a bulb seal weatherstrip.

As for the 2 screws, my guess is that they probably partially help secure the latching handle. Once the "wooden plate" is removed it will expose the screws that hold the operator crank and the rest of the screws that hold the latching handle.

I'd suggest you remove the crank handle from the operator and pop off the plastic cover that is behind the handle. Then you can get a better look at the edges of that "wooden plate" plateis currently concealed behind the handle cover.

See page 7 of this document for instructions on Jeld-wen casement sill cover (Your "lower wooden plate") removal under the heading "operator replacement".
 

Last edited by XSleeper; 08-01-23 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 08-02-23, 08:31 AM
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I agree with XSleeper. I have Andersen windows that are the way he describes. Try what he describes first. Since the window is closed you will not have access to pry from outside as described in the document. If you remove the operator handle (the one on the left in your photo) and pop off the cover you will have some access to the bottom of the sill cover to pry it up.

Before I saw that reply I had some waking thoughts this morning...

I had assumed that handle A was rotating on its shaft but since there is no setscrew maybe the hole is to release the handle from the shaft by inserting an Allen wrench, stiff wire, nail or ice pick and pressing to release the handle.

I see that part B has a forked end that engages with the handle shaft or mechanism. Perhaps one side has broken off and the shaft or mechanism can't engage. If that is the case, can you force the window enough to get a small screwdriver into the fork to turn it?

Can you force the window enough at C-D to insert a putty knife or thin pry bar in to force part C up or down to disengage? Or perhaps bend part D and have to replace it?

Unfortunately all of these suggestions are likely to damage the window at least cosmetically if not more.
 
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Old 08-02-23, 09:00 AM
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Thanks XSleeper – I'd already seen that document (P.7 of JPG009 0223 pdf) and it clearly indicates removal of the sill cover while the window is open... which of course is the crux of my problem. And yes, I do see evidence of a couple of puttied finish nails in the same section as the screws. The winding operator handle does not have the set screw shown in their diagram, but their alternative suggestion of removal with "a slight tug" does work. However, removing that handle serves no purpose in aiding removal of the sill cover since the rest of that mechanism below the handle is still firmly attached, with sole access being from the hollow space inside. I fear any attempt to prise the sill cover from indoors because, as you rightly say, it will unavoidably cause irreversible damage. I also fear that what's in their diagram may not exactly match the structure of my older model sill cover. Suddenly it's not a DIY job that can be completed satisfactorily and what angers me is that still Jeld-Wen (now contacted directly 4 times) are silent. My windows supposedly have a lifetime guarantee for parts (which they've supplied) but not labor, and from what I've read elsewhere online it's a common design fault which they fail to acknowledge, let alone remedy. If I damage the sill cover my obvious tampering will breach their limited guarantee and probably put an end to any liability they may still have. I really appreciate your thoughtful suggestions but without a much more detailed anatomy of that sill cover with the operator handle and lock lever configuration that I have, it seems we've exhausted potential DIY solutions.
 
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Old 08-02-23, 09:10 AM
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And thanks 2john02458. More good suggestions but I really can't force enough of a gap to get anything down to connect with Part (B). That was my first try, and I've subsequently attempted the same thing several times but to no avail. You're right in that the handle shaft appears not to engage. Short of chiseling out a section of the sill cover immediately above the handle shaft I won't be able to turn it. But that may be the only remaining solution!
 
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Old 08-02-23, 10:27 AM
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What about forcing at C-D. If you can lever in an L shape piece of metal you may be able to tap part C to the unlocked position.

This website looks useful. Send an email and see if they can help.
 
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Old 08-02-23, 11:10 AM
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2john02458: In my photo of the open window above it looks like that's a good idea, but because the bolt (C) is on the far side of the locking plate (D) when the window is closed (unlike its position in the photo), this makes getting to that bolt, even if it would move with tapping, nigh on impossible. It would have to be a very contorted, triple-bent piece of flat metal which because of all the bends required (left, right, and up) would have little or no strength for a very stiff bolt – which I can't even budge by tapping on the open window. Excellent thought though!
 
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Old 08-02-23, 03:13 PM
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Please post a head-on picture of handle A with the handle pointing straight up. I want to see if there is any possibility of removing it and the block that its shaft protrudes through. It may be a destructive removal that can be satisfactorily repaired (for instance if there are screws behind the handle or new ones could go there to put it back in place.)
 
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Old 08-03-23, 07:45 AM
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Old 08-03-23, 08:11 AM
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I guess you're suggesting I attempt to drill through the metal block either side of the handle at the points where the screws are, and destroy the screws from their tips back to the heads. Depends how tough the metal is, but that ought to work. JW didn't supply replacement screws but I can probably buy them separately. That would then assume the screw heads actually come off (not guaranteed) and I can also maneuver the forked bolt through the vacant square aperture somehow.
Meantime, on a duplicate casement that does open, that same handle now won't turn to lock... however I guess that's better than not unlocking. So that's a new problem for another day... one thing at a time! It seems this temperamental mechanism leaves a lot be desired.
 
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Old 08-03-23, 08:11 AM
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Is that the lock handle from the window that works? Are the 2 screws accessible from inside the open window? The nub between the screws looks smaller than the shaft of the handle. Is that one that broke before?

For a destructive removal you could drill into the housing at the screw locations to release them and then remove the handle and housing. Then insert a screwdriver or piece of flat metal to turn part B. You will need a new part A handle and housing assembly.
 
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Old 08-03-23, 08:16 AM
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Yes, drill out the screw area. Be careful not to drill into the window frame where the screws heads are. Another alternative would be to cut the housing on either side of the handle to make the shaft area removable and then remove the screws and two side pieces of the housing after the window is opened.
 
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Old 08-03-23, 08:19 AM
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On the one the does not lock, check the mechanism where B intersects with the rod or bar leading to C and the intersection at the base of C to see if something (gears, levers, cams) is out of alignment or binding. Also check where C engages D to see if an adjustment is needed there to loosen it up.
 
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Old 08-03-23, 08:33 AM
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Really the only reason for opening the faulty casement is to maintain the mechanism and clean the glass outside, though the latter has alternative options. But at the price JW charge they really shouldn't be failing after just 12 years. Of the 40-50 windows and doors they fitted here at that time most have a problem of some sort or other, whether it's plastic seals breaking apart, door bolts becoming misaligned, sash mechanisms failing, or one entire window spontaneously shattering after about 6 yrs... etc. - though up to this point I've been able to remedy most of these problems to different degrees myself. I'm not looking for a response here but it makes me wonder if all windows/doors are this bad.
 
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Old 08-03-23, 08:41 AM
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The photographs of the unaffixed handle are of the replacement handle JW sent. The photo showing the screw heads on the inside are of a duplicate window that still opens - for now! I'm concerned when I drill through the metal into the screws that the heads won't readily drop off (since I've not attempted this before), so it's a toss-up whether I try this option or cause more destruction by chiselling out the wood above the forked bolt.
 
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Old 08-03-23, 10:35 AM
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shouldn't be failing after just 12 years
Have you pursued warranty claims?

concerned when I drill through the metal into the screws that the heads won't readily drop off
You have the replacement part to figure out dimensions. Start by drilling a small hole and work up to a larger size. The final size should be just slightly larger than the hole that the screw goes into. Measure how deep that hole is and put a piece of tape on the final drill bit that is the same length with a small amount more to account for the thickness on the housing. That will tell you when to stop. Technically with a smaller bit you could drill right through the head but that is not necessary. When you get to the largest bit you will be drilling enough to weaken or remove the screw the length to the head and the head will just fall off when you pull the housing out. Because of the direction of the threads the screw may even begin to twist its way out.

​​​​​​​chiselling out the wood above the forked bolt.
​​​​​​​I would not consider that even as a last resort. It would be impossible to repair. Think beyond the problem to get a good result.
 

Last edited by 2john02458; 08-03-23 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 08-03-23, 01:32 PM
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I've drilled the screws and successfully removed the handle fitting. I can just about see, though not photograph, that the right side of the forked bolt has completely sheared off, which explains why the handle was turning freely with no effect. Inserting a large screwdriver to turn it therefore doesn't work. I would need pliers, or some other gripping mechanism that inserts the full 2.25" to grip and turn anti-clockwise the remaining left hand side of the fork – and hope that side doesn't snap off too. But since the hole diameter is just 0.25" I'm unlikely to find pliers that would reach that far in and open/close to grip that remaining fork. If I widen the hole, to get in whatever is the thinnest pair of pliers available, that means the replacement fitting would probably be loose when I put everything back together – though maybe I could fill the holes and do away with a handle altogether since it's the 2nd floor and probably doesn't need to lock. Those forked bolts are very stiff so it would require a tight grip if I'm to turn it in this state. Any ideas for a plan B?
 
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Old 08-03-23, 01:41 PM
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I don't believe the sill base removes completely (even if it would detach in one piece) without somehow first detaching the pair of winders, which must be screwed in from the inside. To answer your earlier question about warranty, the only time I got through on the phone they told me I'd have to hire a certified JW engineer and pay for that since warranty only covers parts. But what an engineer can do we can do, right?! Still hoping.
 
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Old 08-03-23, 02:13 PM
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I had suspected what you found about broken part B. Now that you have successfully drilled metal, I think that is the next step to take on the broken part. Use a long thin drill bit to drill into the broken part and screw in a long self tapping screw that you can grip to turn the part. Use some permanent Loctite on the screw threads so it will grip the part and not just back out. I don’t recall which Loctite is the permanent one—red or blue.

If unlocking is a clockwise turn the Loctite will not be necessary as the screw tightens in that direction.

have to hire a certified JW engineer and pay for that since warranty only covers parts
Crappy loophole 🤮
 
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Old 08-04-23, 12:43 PM
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Problem solved

Problem solved. I had a callback from Jeld-Wen, since my 4th inquiry, and a fitter explained the probable anatomy of the sill. Itís a defunct design so their online paperwork is wrong. Armed with that info I was able, relatively easily and without little more than a repairable scratch, to pull off the winder handles, snap off the winder housing covers, score the correct lines around the removable sill and prise it off to reveal the broken forked bolt and all the lower mechanism. I was then able to use a wrench to force-turn the remains of that bolt to a point where the four vertical locking bolts on the side of the window slid upwards just enough to allow me finally to force them open. (Your idea of inserting a self-tapping screw, although ingenious, would not have worked simply because it took all my strength, with the leverage of a long wrench, to turn the broken bolt which had been hidden under the sill. Any screw head would certainly have disintegrated.)



Once open I could see the topmost of the four side bolts had also become permanently misaligned and would not tap sufficiently beyond its locking plate for me to re-close the windows. So I moved the badly positioned locking plate to a lower position. Finally I hacksawed off the remaining fork of the sill handle bolt in case it ever gets in the way again. The new lock handle, when attached, will be non-functioning; as I said previously itís the 2nd floor and not a security issue, although I could have ordered a new one from JW. However I donít trust that a new one wonít also snap off, since it appears to be a common problem. In fact Iím going to render the lock on an adjacent casement pair permanently redundant for that very reason.



So many thanks for getting me started. I donít envision any problems in putting everything back together, cleaned and oiled, so I consider this a job well done at absolutely no expense. Perfect. I really appreciate your time and hope this solution will help others with a similar problem. Hereís a photo of the removed hollow sill, in case others need to see how/where to score this old model.

 
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Old 08-04-23, 01:10 PM
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Good to see how it worked out. The solution was pretty much what XSleeper described in an early post but the specific Jeld-Wen instructions obviously helped.

One possible problem with not locking the windows is that they might not close tightly enough to completely seal against heat gain/loss. You may notice drafts in winter if you are in a cold climate area.
 
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