90's Schlage deadbolt very difficult to turn

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Old 01-16-21, 10:32 AM
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90's Schlage deadbolt very difficult to turn

I've got the original Schlage locks on my 1994-built house and since they're all keyed the same I'd like to continue to use them. I've got the same deadbolt on front and back door, which have grown increasingly difficult to operate, both to open and close. It's roughly the final 10-degrees of movement (when opening) where the pressure loads-up before finally throwing the dead-bolt open. For the front door in particular, it's feeling like I'm about to break it before it finally opens. I don't even dare trying it with the key at this point.

I've read on here about alignment being a possible issue, but it wasn't too clear what exactly needed to be aligned and how.

Appreciate any input.

Brad
 
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Old 01-16-21, 11:15 AM
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Just to rule out binding, open the door and work the knob and key. Does it act the same way? If so, try WD-40 Specialist (pfte). You could also take it apart, remove it from the door and latch mechanism, and try it without the latch. Could be the latch is getting sticky as well, so try lubing the bolt.

Until you try those things, its hard telling if its just a simple dry lock or not.
 
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Old 01-16-21, 11:28 AM
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If your the original owner just contact Schlege and they will replace.

I just had all my 13 year old exterior handles, and electronic dead bolts replaced due to loss of finish. Then for a few dollars have local lock smith key them alike, or buy the kit to do yourself and new lock sets!
 
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Old 01-17-21, 12:28 PM
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Most common cause is door settling or other misalignment with frame problems, but if you have the same difficulty with door open, then it's obviously a lock problem. Despite Schlage being a premium brand, sometimes they will hang at that last 10 degree movement. Remove the cylinder & T-turn, (or inside cylinder) being careful to not loose the little flat actuator bars ("tailpieces"), and, using a flat-blade screwdriver, operate the bolt in and out to see if you get the same binding effect.....usually this is where the binding occurs. Lubricate with a penetrating oil (not regular WD40), especially where the rotating cam acts on the sliding portion of the bolt. Also, if you've never lubricated the key cylinder(s), and you know them to be dry of petroleum lubricants, few shots of powdered graphite will give smoother key operation, altho your particular "10-degree" difficulty is most likely a bolt issue, not a cylinder issue.

When re-assembling, place the bolt (with the screwdriver) in the locked (extended) position, then align the inside and outside portions carefully, to avoid binding, and attach the screws. They don't need to be super tight. If the lock binds after the screws are tight, loosen them a bit and re-position or shift the cylinder/T-turn to get a better alignment. The hole in the door is usually much bigger than necessary, (or sometimes mis-drilled).

If none of that works, the lock may be worn out, which may be the case if it got unusually high use during it's lifetime.
 
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Old 01-17-21, 02:57 PM
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My 25 y/o Schlage deadbolt was very hard to operate but only when the door was closed. The door jambs were just slightly out of square and were causing the deadbolt to drag on the striker plate. I chose the easiest fix and just moved the striker plate down about 1/16".
 
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Old 01-17-21, 06:55 PM
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Thanks for all the input. It's NOT a frame alignment problem - the binding issue occurs about the same whether the door is open or closed.

I disassembled everything and found that getting some 3in1oil directly on the latch/bolt assembly did help. At least now I don't feel like I'm going to break the key or handle when I turn it.

For now it's good enough to get me through the cold season. I found it's not real popular leaving the door open on a Winter day.

And thanks for the heads-up on Schlage's lifetime warranty...
https://www.schlage.com/blog/categor...-warranty.html

 
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Old 01-19-21, 01:08 PM
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I dont think anyone mentioned this so far, but is it the key that's binding? If so, are you using original keys or duplicated copies?

Often duplicates will be slightly out in spacing and sometimes depth too. If the keys youre using are the issue, you might need to have new keys made that are shallower.
 
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Old 01-21-21, 09:02 AM
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Given that the issue is the same whether the key is used or the lever from the inside, I can't imagine that it's a key issue.

 
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