Door Knob Broke


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Old 11-28-23, 11:51 AM
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Door Knob Broke

Greetings All,

My door knob broke today when I was getting ready for errands, specifically to put flowers on a loved ones grave for the holiday, while I was in the garage. It struck while I was out in the garage, but managed to get it open one last time to get back in. But it would not open again for me. I took the knob off and tried to turn it with a screw driver but it seems that's what is broken and wobbly so it won't work. The I tried to slide a credit card down to open but that did not work either. Any ideas how to get the door open so I can go access the garage to get the car out and go buy a new door knob? Here are some pics.


 
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Old 11-28-23, 11:52 AM
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I'd try a stiff putty knife to try and walk the plunger back in. Using the putty knife like you would the credit card - between the door and the casing.

Removing the hinge pins would also be an option.
 
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Old 11-28-23, 12:03 PM
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Removing the hinge pins and removing the door is simple and straightforward... if your tools aren't trapped on the other side of the door.

On some locks the big, gold colored rectangular bit can slide back and forth giving it a loose and wobbly feel. But, try sticking a screwdriver into the square hole and turning. You can also try moving the gold colored rectangular bit to the left, hold it there and try turning the square hole.

If that doesn't work I'd pick in the round bit on the left. You are trying to snag the bolt/plunger and pull it back.
 
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Old 11-28-23, 12:04 PM
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You could also try a wire coat hanger. Straighten out the hanger, and loop it into the gap above the strike plate behind the latch then back out below the strike plate. Then bring the 2 ends of the coat hanger together and pull.

You could also try straightening the part that is left inside the bore... it looks to me like a Weiser latch, and that long part on the right is supposed to be clipped to the round left part that is still inside the hole. So if you could straighten that out... then shove it to the left... then wedge something behind the right side of that long piece so that it pushes it all the way to the left (so that it stays tight to the round piece on the left) then when you insert the square spindle it might actually retract the latch one more time.
 
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Old 11-28-23, 12:43 PM
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Thanks for the quick replies! I've tried a screwdriver to turn it like the knob would, but that seems to be what broken and it won't turn. That horizontal part that has the hole is actually wobbly and separating into two pieces. I've tried sliding a plastic card, but can't seem to wedge it in there enough to push back the "plunger?". I'll try a coat hanger next. Luckily I keep all my tools inside the house, but I've never taken a full size door off the hinges. The small one I did was very hard to get level again. This is not looking good for me so who should I call tomorrow to fix it a lock smith or a carpenter?
 
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Old 11-28-23, 01:14 PM
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No luck with the coat hanger either unfortunately.
 
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Old 11-28-23, 02:52 PM
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deltagirl voted this post useful.
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Old 11-28-23, 06:56 PM
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I had tried that. I think the horizontal piece has broken off from the latch. Any manipulation of the horizontal piece no longer has any effect on the latch. This garage door knob gets daily heavy usage from the way the house is configured, almost 20 yrs worth all totaled, along with exposure to extreme heat and cold on it's garage side and it probably had some sort of mechanical catastrophic failure.
 
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Old 11-29-23, 12:26 AM
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I've had a similar issue before, and what worked for me was using a flathead screwdriver to carefully pry the latch back while turning the handle. It might take a bit of finesse, but it's worth a shot. Just be gentle to avoid damaging the door or frame.
 
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Old 11-29-23, 02:47 AM
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This is not looking good for me so who should I call tomorrow to fix it a lock smith or a carpenter?
Most any handyman ought to be able to handle the job and should be the least expensive option.
 
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Old 11-29-23, 11:05 PM
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If this is a key lock (not passage set) it will probably have a deadlatch which, if properly installed, will resist efforts to pry it back with a tool or wire inserted between the door and frame. But it's effectiveness depends on a close fit between door and frame, so if the gap can be widened sufficiently, the latch can be pried back. You already appear to have 1/4" gap so you only need another 1/8 to1/4". By tapping out the hinge pins, and using a pry bar or similar, the door can be shifted 1/8" over, and that, in combination with the tendency of the pry bar to flex the door frame into the jamb should give you the clearance you need. If not, at that point you have the pins removed, and with the help of an assistant (probably a solid core door, therefore heavy) the door can be removed. When replacing the door, first loosen the screws on the top and middle hinge about a one turn so the hinges will line up easier. Then, with the pins in and the door open, support the door with a wedge or similar and re-tighten the screws.
 
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Old 11-30-23, 06:51 AM
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Thanks all! After struggling with trying to move that latch for hours, there was no way I was mentally ready to chance any more frustrations should something have gone wrong with a door removal (that hallway is very narrow), so I just went on ahead and paid my Stupid Tax to a locksmith that also did the new door knob as part of it.

I squandered my last knob turn allowing me to get back in the house, and rectify things the most easiest & cheapest way, by STUPIDLY shutting the door instead of thinking to rig it to pull close instead of shut to grab my coat & purse for the errands - and trip to Lowe's. But things could have been worse that day, I guess. The knob turns could have fallen so I was stuck out in the garage at 11pm at night after taking out the garbage before bed with or without my house coat that I use more like a blanket on our coldest day of the year so far. Then I would have had to ring some neighbor's bell in the dead of night and hope they'd help me out and not shoot me.
 
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Old 11-30-23, 10:08 AM
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So how did the smithy deal with the problem? Bigger hammer?
 
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Old 11-30-23, 12:32 PM
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"So how did the smithy deal with the problem? Bigger hammer?"

He did it by wedging in 4 small pressure bags along the edge of the door. Then once inflated he did stick a "bigger screwdriver" in the space to leverage the latch enough for the door to pop right open. Sadly while I was trying to get it open I was thinking to myself, if I could shift this door just a small tad this would work better because the latch did not go too far in the hole, but I could not think of or was not in the right frame of mind to think of anything to MacGyver up, and since this door access impacted my car (in case of emergency; I have several elderly relatives that might need me for something) I did not have the luxury of days of time to come up with a bright idea, or settle down enough to want to tackle taking the door of the hinges.

Although those pressure bags worked on a house door okay, after reading up on them because they seemed like a good thing to have around ( a "who knew?" for me), I did read a review from a person that used them to get their car door open. They said it all seemed fine until they took the car through the car wash and it leaked. But generally people did say they find lots of uses for them.
 
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Old 11-30-23, 03:15 PM
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Back in "the old days" (70's, 80's) when I was doing car lock-outs, they hadn't invented those air bags specifically for locksmiths yet, we had to either pick the lock, impression a key, use a "Slim-Jim" or coat hanger. Nowadays they're probably the first go-to method for cars despite the risk of damage, as the first 3 methods require more skill.

I would never have thought of using them for residential doors.......old dog, new tricks!
 
 

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