I have an exterior French door that, in addition to the normal door latch, also has bars that extend both upward and downward as part of the latch mechanism. The door handle is used to extend these bars up and down into the door frame to lock the door. The door handle is also used to retract the bars to unlock the door.

However, after seven or eight years of reliable service, this mechanism in the primary door has suddenly failed with the latch pins extended. The net result of this failure is that I can no longer open either side of the French door. Aside from the obvious inconvenience of a door that can't be opened, this also appears to block the access to the latch mechanism I would use to repair it.

I've tried removing the inside and outside door handles, but that didn't appear to provide useful access. I've also put lubricant in the door latch mechanism, but that doesn't appear to have freed anything up. Because of the structure of the hinges, there is also no good way to take the door off the hinges. I can get the hinge pins out, but the door can't get past the hinge.

Aside from drastic measures to pull the whole assembly out of the wall, are there any good techniques for dealing with this situation? Thanks in advance.

This is an overview photo of the door. Both doors have latch pins extending upward and downward into the door frame. These are extended and retracted by the latch mechanism and this is what is failing:

Photo of door

This shows the latch pin extending upward into the door frame.

Photo of latch pin extending upward into the door frame

This is the main latch mechanism. Not much to see here. Anything more interesting is on the edge of the door, which is what I cannot get to.

Photo of main latch mechanism

  • 1
    Fairly sure Jeld-Wen. Installed new in 2012. Will confirm and post pictures.
    – mschaef
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 21:55
  • A photo of the hardware and the edge of the door may be helpful.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 22:02
  • @AlaskaMan just added a few photos that hopefully show a bit more of the problem.
    – mschaef
    Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 0:41
  • 1
    Try grab the pins with a pair of scissors, real tight, and move the pin to the open direction. Needle nose pliers would be better if you had space
    – Chris
    Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 13:52
  • Thanks, @Chris, this worked.
    – mschaef
    Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


I had a similar problem with a Sierra Pacific door. On mine you raise the handle (clockwise) to lock and lower the handle (counter clockwise) to unlock.

I lowered the handle as far as it would go and then with a small screw driver pry the pins up / down to fully retract the locking mechanism. That would be your pin in picture #2 and the one that goes into the floor.

I was not able to find a replacement that would fit, but was able to fix the broken piece.

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