View Full Version : MPG Compartment Locks - Difficulty to use

02-18-2012, 09:30 PM
My wife and I picked up our MPG 181 this afternoon because we plan on heading out next week. When I attempted to open one of the outside compartments, I found that the key would not open the lock. I could have tried to force the lock to open, but did not want to break off the whimpy key in the lock. I tried all of them and the same thing happened. So I stopped my my local auto parts store and picked up some graphite to see if that would help loosen things up inside the locks. That did not work, so I then tried some WD-40 (which you should not do because it attracts dirt) and that did not help either. So, I called my brother-in-law to ask him for some wise advice. He said that if the winter moisture probably locked up the cylinders and there is not much to do. He suggested using a flat blade screwdriver to force the door open, and change the locks with better ones. Forcing the doors open at the bottom will bend the retaining plate of the lock and let you open the door with minimal damage to the door. Once you get the door open, the locks can be changed. The two toward the back of the coach can be accessed from inside so I will only have to "pop" three of the compartments. I checked around the internet for better locks and there are some, but just have to measure the overall length of the lock to get the right ones for the the MPG. I am going to head over to a parts store tomorrow and see if I can find five brand new locks that are better than the ones that Heartland puts on these trailers. I will let you know how this goes and take some photos to share. Wish me luck!

02-18-2012, 10:16 PM
Although they're not the greatest, I've never had a CH751 style lock corrode up after winter storage. If you can get the key into the lock, try tapping the key gently with a hammer and you might free up the pins enough to open it. You could also try squirting some "Liquid Wrench" in it, as well.

02-18-2012, 10:20 PM
I had this problem with our 181 when we took delivery in 2011. Had to push REALLY hard against the doors to ensure there was minimal pressure on the flange or lugs or whatever you call the moveable part of the latch. I also figured I may as well force things as if the key broke, so what, I could not get them open anyway so would have to drill out the locks and replace them. Anyway the brute force worked and while the key got a little bent, pushing super hard against the doors while forcing the key worked and all came open. I then bent the latch part a little so they did not close quite so tight.

02-18-2012, 11:22 PM
I am with Kevin, push real hard on the door near the lock to compress the rubber weather stripping in order to relieve pressure on the latching arm that is rotated by the lock. I still, after two years, have to do this on the front compartment door in order to rotate the lock.

02-18-2012, 11:43 PM
I will try to work those locks free tomorrow and if it still does not work, new locks might be in order. I did try to push in hard to relieve the pressure, while attempting to turn the key, but the key was still not turning. I was afraid of breaking a key off inside the lock. I will let the liquid wrench work its magic overnight and see how they do in the morning. Thanks for all the responses and suggestions.

02-19-2012, 12:47 AM
In our SOB, I had to push really hard and force the key to turn the lock. It worked. I then tweaked the latch to loosen the door. Once I did that everything was fine. If the cylinder is frozen the auto parts store have a lock heater to unfreeze them.

02-19-2012, 09:27 AM
Since these locks are exposed to the elements 24/7, they must need some lubricant; what have you found o be the best lubricant?

02-19-2012, 09:30 AM
I had the same problem with rear driver side compartment on my MPG 183. Pushed real hard still could not turn the key, so like some said, I took the pliers to the key and turned the lock while pushing hard. Also adjusted the latch portion to reduce pressure. Now it works. By the way all of the compartment locks have the same key on all brands of RVs unless they have been changed out.

02-19-2012, 11:27 AM
One of mine stuck. i just put a flat blade screwdriver in it and turned it like it was a key. Went like butter. There's no real security with these type locks, especially when they all use the same key even among different brands of trailers. I took one of mine out and went to Home Depot and bought a new set. If you dig through the rack you can find several with a matching key code which will be different from what the trailer came with. Not a lot of security but better than nothing. I don't keep my gold and silver in my storage compartments anyway. This is an easy solution for around $3.00 each....Don

02-19-2012, 11:44 AM
Papa Mike,

I'm really glad you brought this issue up because it's really caused me a lot of frustration too on my 2011 MPG 183. Like several others mentioned here, I have to push on the door very hard and turn at the same time in order to get them open. I have had some moderate success in slightly bending the latch and applying a small amount of grease between the latch and the lip of the compartment. I've also noticed that sometimes I can free the sticking doors up by releasing the leveling jacks when I have the trailer set up.

One other thing that I have noticed is that the key will "fit" into the lock upside down or right-side up but it will only unlock if the teeths are pointed up so make sure you have the key turned the right direction.

I am going to check out the better locks mentioned in one of the posts but I suspect most of the problem is simply due to the latch being too tight against the lip of the compartment.

02-19-2012, 11:51 AM
I don't have an MPG, but from the descriptions, I'm wondering if the cam (part that rotates and locks the door to the coach) is bent wrong or is simply just the wrong cam. Some are flat, some have dog leg bends in them and they come if varying lengths. Or maybe the lock bosy is too short, causing too much friction with the cam on the inner door frame.

Here again, I don't have an MPG and the plant no longer makes them - so I'm just guessing. Having to put that much pressure on the door and the lock seems really excessive. Sorry you are having this trouble and hoping you can get the right cam or lock body to cure the ailment.


02-19-2012, 07:10 PM
Well, I spent a good part of my Sunday running to the RV parts store that was opened and picked up five brand new compartment locks. After I got home from the first trip, I found out I had purchased the 5/8" model and had to run back to the parts store to get the right ones (7/8"). I only had to "pop" one of the doors to get it opened. The two rear doors can be accessed from inside under the dining seats. One of the locks would open with some pursuasion, and the one on the front (driver's side) did finally open. But I changed all five locks with new deluxe locks made by JR Products. Four of the new locks are all on the same key, but I had to purchase one other which is keyed differently. They all work great and I immediately put graphite in all the new locks just so it would not happen again. The guy at the parts store stated that he has never heard of all the locks "freezing" up like that. Maybe someone squirted something into the locks at the dealer and caused them all to freeze up. But, the compartments and I are happy campers again and now we are ready to take off for a few days.

02-19-2012, 07:16 PM
I wish that you had replied to this message before I went and purchased new locks. I tried what you said here about possibly putting the key in upside down and darn if you weren't right. The key will go into the slot either way but only open one way. I tried this on all my old locks and putting the locks in the correct way will open the lock. Now I feel so stupid. Here I was putting the key in the lock wrong and of course, nothing was working. I should have known better. I guess I will keep all my old locks, just in case. Thanks for the heads up and the good advice.

02-19-2012, 07:57 PM
Also, on the 181 I think you could get to the inside of those front storage compartments from inside the trailer. You would have to lift up the mattress, then take out screws that hold the plywood in place, and lift up the plywood, but I think you would be in. That's the route to the hot water heater and the three valves that need to be turned when winterizing or dewinterizing.

02-19-2012, 08:46 PM
Now that it was brought up, I remember going through that exercise, and finally deciding which way was up, may have to mark my key. On another unit I switched them all out for non key thumb latches.