(This is another in a series of posts to help people fix the same thing I had to fix, where I couldn't find the instructions or found incomplete instructions on the web. Last week I had two things I needed to fix where the fix was given by emailing or talking to the manufacturers' customer support, but not provided on their web sites.)
We have a Kwikset Commonwealth entry lock on our front door. The exterior handle came off. Looking at it, there's a small hole in the lever, and your first thought is that the set screw used to hold the lever in place came loose and fell off. This would be confirmed by looking at the interior lever, where there is a set screw that is screwed out from the shaft to hold the lever using the hole in the lever. A 3/32" hex wrench is used to turn the screw (Kwikset provides one with the lock). For whatever reason, the screw has left-handed threads (that is righty-loosy, lefty-tighty).
|Interior post of lock showing head of set screw that is screwed out to hold handle|
|Interior post of lock with hex wrench in set screw. Due to left-handed threads, screw clockwise to screw out. Of course, you'd really do this with the lever on the post with the wrench passing through the hole in the lever.|
However, the exterior lever's set screw has its head inside the post and is screwed by a hex wrench passing through holes in the lever and post. The set screw pokes out the other side to be screwed out into the inside of lever to hold it fast. And this set crew is right-handed. I have no explanation why the inside set screw is left-handed and the outside one is right-handed.
Here's a photo of the exterior post and the base of the set screw sticking out of the post (pointed to by red arrow):
A photo of the other side of the exterior post, showing the hole the hex wrench passes through to reach the set screw in the inside of the shaft:
Here's a photo with the exterior level on, and the hex wrench passing through the holes in the lever and post. As the set screw is turned clockwise inside the post, it pokes out from the post to secure the lever:
The instructions for reattaching the exterior lever:
- Things to note before you start:
- The exterior set screw has its head inside the post, and is screwed out of the post to secure the lever.
- The exterior set screw you think is missing is just no longer sticking out far enough to secure the lever.
- Put the lever back on the exterior post so the small hole in the lever lines up with the hole in the post.
- Take a 3/32" hex wrench (Kwikset provides one with the lock), stick it through the hole in the lever to the inside of the lock.
- Move the hex wrench around until it connects with the hex head of the set screw that has to be screwed out of the opposite side of the post to connect to the inside of the lever to hold it securely.
- Turn the wrench clockwise (from the point of view of looking at the hole in the lever), to get the set screw to screw out of the post.
- Continue turning the screw until it's firmly pressed against the inside of the lever and securing it to the post.
And because I like recording the process I used to do things, and similar to my previous post on Why It Took Me a Minimum of 74 Steps to Build a Simple TV Stand, here are the steps it took me to resecure the lock's exterior lever:
- Look at exterior of lock and exterior lever - it appears a set screw is missing.
- Have no luck searching for set screw on ground.
- Look at interior lever - see set screw that is screwed out from post to hold lever.
- Head to Home Depot to get replacement set screw.
- Home Depot guy opens up the same lock package, and determines that the set screw is a left-handed thread screw that they don't carry. Suggest to get the screw at Tacoma Screw Products.
- Pull out interior set screw and take to nearby Tacoma Screw Products. They don't have a replacement and scratch their heads wondering why Kwikset would decided to put a left-handed thread screw where it doesn't need to be left-handed.
- Call Kwikset customer service, and told that the exterior set screw is different from the interior set screw, and that 98% of the time when they get a customer call about a missing exterior set screw, it isn't missing. The hex wrench just needs to be stuck in the lock post until the set screw is found, and screwing it outward will hold the lever in place.
- Confirm that's the problem, the screw isn't missing, use it to reattach the lever.
- Wonder why Kwikset did two seemingly unnecessary things with the design of their lock:
- Why do the interior and exterior levers have different means of being secured?
- Why the choice to use both left-hand and right-hand threaded set screws?