Thursday, July 19, 2012

Drawers Will Not Lock

A common problem with the drawers in our LD's is that over time they get to the point where they will not stay closed when you're underway.

There seem to be two problems, either of which results in this problem.

In the first case, there is a problem with the tapered stop on the underside of the drawer. If the drawer goes as far back as you can push it, but is still able to rock from side to side, then that conical latch is not engaging.

Shorten it just a little as described, and the drawer should latch. Use a Dremel or similar tool with a cutoff wheel to remove a 2mm sliver from the large end of the tapered cone. Doing this lets it go past and then drop down over the retainer tab on the cabinet-mounted slide.

Another possible problem is that  over time the drawer slides can get bent and prevent the drawer catch from working properly. Heavily loaded drawers are more prone to this. So when drawers start popping open too easily, pull the drawer out and check the slide parts for straightness.
 The inner slide part that mounts on the bottom of the drawer is not as rigid as the outer slide part that mounts in the cabinet, and thus tends to be the part that gets bent. In the picture at left, the inner track should be nearly flush with the outer track, but now has a fairly pronounced bow.

In the past, straightening the slide would allow the drawer to lock again. During our last major trip, one of the kitchen drawers completely refused to lock anymore.

On inspection, I could see that the metal tab in the outer slide part that the inner slide catches on to lock had a groove worn in it from several years of use (new slide on left, old on right).   


The combination of the groove and the bow of a bent slide, meant that the lock wasn't close to catching.

We recently had a trip that allowed us to swing by the factory, where I picked up new slides for our kitchen drawers. Since I've gotten home and replaced those slides, I've looked up the parts to see that they are available MUCH CHEAPER online. So if anyone has reason to replace slides themselves, they are an Accuride 1029 Center Mount Slide. Just measure your old slide and order the correct length.

 Of course, it would be nice to prevent the slides from bending in the first place. For upper drawers, that can be accomplished by screwing a length of  1"x2" fir to the bottom side of the track. For the bottom drawer, you can insert a small brace between the floor and the bottom of the slide. Here is how Larry did it:

In the left picture you can see the small brace under the lower slide.

Contributors: Andy Baird, Art, Larry Wade

Revised: 23 Aug 2014