How to convert a LokkLatch from Kwikset to a Schlage “C” Keyway
The primary problem is that most folks who bought their Kwikset, EZ-Set, Defiant, or Faultless locks at a big box store for $15 are not going to spend close to $200 on having a gate lock installed. If they are willing to spend that kind of cash on a gate lock, they expect quality and probably already own Baldwin, Emtek or Schlage locks and they usually want their existing key to work the gate. I do not remember ever having installed a LokkLatch using the original keyway.
Unfortunately, D&D Technologies does not have an OEM “C” keyway for this lock, so it is up to us locksmiths to solve the problem. I have been looking for a solution that is both simple and elegant!
There are a couple of mechanical issues, which need to be addressed during this modification.
- The lazy tailpiece is unusually narrow.
- The OEM tailpiece only has ¼ turn of free rotation unlike most, which have over ½ turn. Often these locks are mounted on a 2×4 that is bolted to the garage wall and there is not a lot of room for excessive key turning.
- The base of the tailpiece has a permanent washer making it unusually thick, requiring an extra thick cap on the end of the cylinder plug.
I have tried a different solution for every LokkLatch I have installed. They all worked reasonably well, but none of them were simple, none of them were elegant and they were all very time consuming!
What I wanted to do was to put the original lazy tailpiece behind the aftermarket “C” cylinder using the aftermarket cap, pin and spring. The problem was that the shorter cap hit-up against the tailpiece before it was tight enough to hold the cylinder in place. When that happens, you cannot get the key out.
I wanted to see if I could find some kind of thrust washer that would take up just enough space to hold the plug in its proper alignment without too much or too little play around the tailpiece.
I took some time to wander through my local hardware stores to see what I could find. All the standard thrust washers and bushings with ½” ID were all too thick, or the OD was so large it interfered with the cylinder going into its housing. Finally, I came across the “Snap-Ring” section. I found that an External 9/16″ Snap-Ring had the perfect inside diameter so as not to interfere with the rotation of the cylinder, and the outside was perfect except for the little ears for the Snap-Ring pliers. As long as the ears are not pointed straight up on the outside lock towards the plastic retainer, there is no problem, and because it is free to rotate, it never needs to point up.
If this works, it will be both simple and elegant.
I had GMS cylinders in stock, so I tried them first. The caps did not have enough thread. It was only on by about one revolution. It was simple, but not elegant! Next, I tried an ILCO Key-in-Knob Cylinder #15995-SC-26D-0B.
- I put the proper pins in,
- Plug went into the cylinder,
- Snap-Ring dropped over the back of the plug,
- Spring, pin and tailpiece in place,
- Screwed on the cap,
- It worked perfectly!
Now I keep two ILCO cylinders, two Snap-Rings and the LokkLatch bag, in one large freezer bag so it is all right there together as a kit. It takes about one extra second to put the lock together using the Snap-Ring. Simple, elegant and fast.
What more could you ask?