Overhauled Door Latch Mechanisms

Like many planes, N46PG had challenges with smoothly operating doors that aligned perfectly and door latch mechanisms which were becoming stiff to operate. The door hinge adjustment and door realignment is available in another post.

Since the door latches are sealed from view and mounted inside the door itself, they rarely see any attention or lubrication on many planes. The chrome finish on the door handles and operable side window latch were also worn and pitted as commonly happens with time. The parts were structurally sound, but were gummed up with 35 year old grease and grit and in need of cosmetic improvement and proper lubrication.

As seen below, the various metal finishes were well worn. A precision plating firm in Hayward Ca re-plated the internal parts with the proper cadmium or zinc materials to proper thickness.
(Click on image to enlarge)

From the pictures above the pilot side door’s rotating handle bearing cup was bent in some else’s prior attempt to make the latches operate. Bush fixes like this just make both sad and angry. With the door aligned correctly, all parts are back in their happy place and now work as originally designed.

External handles and interior window latch was sent to Superior Chrome in San Jose for stripping, buffing, and filling with copper until smooth and ready for re-chroming.

One of the overhauled latch mechanisms reinstalled

Final result is amazing. Door latches operate smooth as butter and one major cosmetic squawk resolved.

Some of the 1960’s-72 Cessna door hardware were actually 1960 Ford Falcon parts. Falconparts.com out of Sacramento is a great resource. The Cessna parts and the Falcon parts are the exact same (e.g. Handle spring, escutcheons., except the black escutcheons have no Cessna roll markings on them. The 1960 Falcon interior door handle is styled differently, but operates perfectly. The Cessna part when available is $375, and the Ford part is $20 and includes the SAME retainer clip Cessna charges an extra $10 to obtain.

I believe changing the interior door handle should be a minor modification using owner produced parts rules and with proper A&P approval and sign-off.


Well worth the effort with and entire project cost of $700 including A&P labor, with most of the cost prodomently for the “one off” plating of components.

Let me know what you think.

Also see the companion Blog post on Realigning Cessna Doors: http://welch.com/n46pg/2019/07/05/realigning-cessna-doors/

One Reply to “Overhauled Door Latch Mechanisms”

  1. This is one of my peevs of the older model 182/172 line of aircraft. Cessna never envisioned we would be flying these aircraft 60 or 70 years. This modification is quite impressive. Kudos.

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