Instructables

Panic Bar Door Repair

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Picture of Panic Bar Door Repair
The photo shows the 40 year old panic bar door hardware on our church doors. We had a problem that left us wondering for a bit if we would need to buy new door hardware for $600, but solved the problem inexpensively.
 
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Step 1: How it is supposed to work

Picture of How it is supposed to work
Sunday mornings we "lock" this door open by pushing the bar toward the door and turning a hex key clockwise in the hole shown. That causes the knuckle in the panic bar to remain pulled inward in the direction of the door, as you can see just above my hand. Someone had turned the hex key counterclockwise. When the door did not "unlock," he got a big pliers and began to force the hex key. The internal parts were bound so tightly that he cracked a part inside. This Instructable will show how to make a replacement part.

The first step was to remove the cover over the mechanism. You can see two screws on top of the cover. There are two more on the bottom of the cover, too.
rimar20002 years ago
WOW, Phil, you are always doing impossible repairs. How many persons would make it? I think almost everyone would have said "this is hopeless" and bought the whole mechanism.
Phil B (author)  rimar20002 years ago
Thank you, Osvaldo. It did seem impossible at the start, but as we thought about the problem, the solution became simple.
hitachi8 Phil B2 years ago
i am a repair-man myself, and the worst thing about the job is the tool. if you dont have the right tool you're going to have a very bad day...
hitachi8, "if you dont have the right tool you're going to have a very bad day" ... or make it.
Phil B (author)  hitachi82 years ago
Oh, yes! It seems I often find myself in situations where someone needs to use a piece of equipment very soon, but it does not work, people are coming who will be depending on that piece of equipment, and all I have available is my Leatherman Tool.
pfred22 years ago
When I read that it would have cost $600 for replacement hardware I have to admit I was taken aback some. It paid you to be handy Phil! It sounds like your fix was faster than replacing the door hardware would have been on top of being a lot cheaper. Great job.
Phil B (author)  pfred22 years ago
Thank you, Pfred. We were a little shocked at $600, and that was for one door (if I remember correctly). Naturally, the new hardware would not match in appearance, so we would need to do the other side, too. And, there are two more doors with the same hardware only a few feet away that go out the backside. So, we would likely be stuck with 4 x $600. I did not think of how to make this part until several days later, though. By that time, the mechanism was back together. We have talked about putting the new part in just to make certain it works. But, we just have not gotten it done yet.
pfred2 Phil B2 years ago
4 times $600 is some pretty strong incentive to come up with a more cost effective solution. The part you made looks good to me. It should work fine but good luck to you when you try it out anyways. No one should get stuck with that kind of a bill over such a little thing.
Phil B (author)  pfred22 years ago
My car's alternator needed new bearings. I could get to the larger front bearing, but the smaller roller bearings at the rear required removing the stator coil. I needed to disconnect wiring from the windings, but the way it was connected did not allow the home mechanic disconnect and make new connections later. There was no way to get new grease into the old roller bearing. I had to buy a new alternator because I could not get a dab of grease into a bearing. The price differential was not as great, but I was a little "bummed."
pfred2 Phil B2 years ago
There are two kinds of computer fans, one kind you can pull the fan hub off and lubricate both support bearings, the other kind you can't. The fully serviceable one is extremely rare. There ought to be a law, if no one can service and maintain your product you shouldn't be allowed to sell it! I mean one puny little drop of oil is all these fans need, but you have to chuck them when they dry out. Industry obviously regulates itself improperly in this regard and needs to be corrected.

If you haven't seen this already it is pretty good:

http://dotsub.com/view/aed3b8b2-1889-4df5-ae63-ad85f5572f27
yoyology2 years ago
Great work!

In your searches, keep in mind that the process that you call "locking the door open" is termed "dogging". I learned this a few years ago, when I wanted a dogging key of my own. Though some manufacturers use their own sizes, the most common hex key size for dogging mechanisms is 5/32". I bought a cheap folding set of SAE wrenches, put the 5/32" on my keychain, and kept the rest in my toolbox. Cost me <$3 for the set, whereas I would have had to spend upward of $5 for one dogging key at a locksmith's. :-)
Phil B (author)  yoyology2 years ago
Thanks. The fellow who had helped me had an extra Allen Wrench I cut and welded to resemble a screwdriver. The idea was to make a tool that would not provide more than the necessary leverage so someone cannot over-torque it again.