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I'm going to share this question and answer it myself because someone else may have had this problem.

I have several Pella doors in my home with the 3 point locks (top and bottom "shootbolts" and a dead bolt near the handle). They have been problematic. The locking mechanism on a couple of rarely used doors would hardly work anymore (very stiff and wouldn't lock anymore). So I disassembled them, cleaned up the runners and other parts, applied a good lube, reassembled and they worked again. They are a pain to take apart, re-adjust and reassemble.

Recently they started doing the same thing. I though oh no, not again. I didn't initially consider there might have been a new cause. What could that cause be?

OK, that's the teaser, I'll answer my own question straight away (as our British friends would say). I hope that's the right approach for SE, I think I saw somewhere you could answer your own questions.

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So I starting looking into the failure of my 3 point door locks and heard a clanking when trying to put them into the locked position. I realized that the "shootbolts" were slamming against the side of the door. Why? Was there an internal jam? A broken parts.

Turns out there is a small bottom plate with a hole that receives the shootbolt (pic attached) It was full of debris! I cleaned it out and the locks worked fine again. Easy as that. But I almost overlooked it because I had a previous mind-set about what was wrong and what the fix was. Sometimes I just make it too hard. Lesson learned: Look for the easy/simple stuff first.

I hope someone else benefits from the post and that I did it properly.

pic of bottom locking plate

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