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This photo is of the underside of a La-z-boy recliner, and shows a rotating square bar (attached to the handle on the side of the chair) with a cam that has a couple locking positions as shown. A pin rides along the outside of the cam, with springs that pull it into the resting position but can be overcome by a reasonable amount of intentional force (moving the wooden handle to rotate the bar) to change the position of the foot-rest. The photo shows one end of the pin (the other side looks the same/symmetric) and the photo shows the pin in the "out" position where the setting can be changed.

This chair gets stuck in the "foot rest out" position, and no amount of force applied to the handle can get the pin to spring out so that this can rotate (the wooden handle would break first). When I put my fingers in to manually move the pin it seems to extend the springs etc as designed, easily. When the chair is tipped over on its side, it also works. When the chair is right side up or upside down, it does not work. Stuck in the open position, it's impossible for a limited-mobility person to get out of the chair without help (and then the chair must be laid on its side to get the foot rest back in).

I think the problem may be related to the wear on the metal as shown in the slight deformations around the locking position, that may create a deeper cavity or stronger lock than what may have been an original slight slope allowing the pin to roll out of the lock positions.

Is there a fix for this?

3 Answers 3

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You may very well be right that the wear in the lock position notches is leading to the problem. With as much wear and metal deformation showing one has to wonder if the spring loaded pin is also worn severely.

One possible fix for this is to file away the metal some where the wear in the lock notch has produced an undercut. You would have to be really careful to not file away too much or create a condition where the pin would not stay in the notch as intended.

If the pin itself is worn it would need replacement as it appears to be a specialty design with the spring hook up. Although a replacement could be made if access to a metal turning lathe and tooling was possible.

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  • Thanks for your answer; I especially like the filing idea!
    – WBT
    Jul 24, 2016 at 18:20
  • The filing idea has great merit. You can see the deformation in the photo as noted in the answer, which may be causing some of the problem you are experiencing. There is also an undercut of sorts where the deformed metal begins. You may be able to get away with leveling off the ramping effect of that wear.
    – fred_dot_u
    Aug 5, 2017 at 1:58
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I had a similar problem. There was undercut wear on the cam lock notch that WBT had. The picture shows a file heading toward a spot to flatten out.

Filing Cam Wear

The arm slots had wear that I smoothed out with a file too.

Warn Arm Slots

The pin was also warn. The center pin and the locking pin were the same. So I smoothed out the warn locking pin with 1000 sandpaper and switched them.

Warn Cam Lock Pin

Back together.

Assembly Back Together

Working good now!

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  • Nice! I'm glad the Q&A was able to help, and thanks for sharing the additional example pictures.
    – WBT
    Sep 15, 2021 at 19:34
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I was stuffing more cushion material in to my 3 seat recliner sofa. In order to get to the underside, I laid the sofa on it's back. I had extended the foot rest which caused the weight of the sofa to rest on the back of the extended section. After finishing the stuffing and rightening the entire sofa to its upright position, the foot rest would not retract. To make a long story short, I found that there were 2 pins that were supposed to ride on top of a metal cam. It seems that I had been putting to much weight on that section and twisted the mechanism to where the pins slipped to underside of the piece of metal "cam". This locked the footrest into the extended position with no chance of retracting regardless of how much weight was put on. A tell tale sign was a scratch in the paint showing how the pins had twisted and had been forced past the cam they were to ride on top of and ended up on the under side. I used a screwdriver to twist the mechanism on each side to force the pins back up on to the top of the "Cam" and all was well.

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