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Faulty Door Latch Frustrates Owner
3/1/2012

The Andersen storm door latch assembly is a proprietary design, so generic replacements won't fit the door without major modifications.
The Andersen storm door latch assembly is a proprietary design, so generic replacements
won’t fit the door without major modifications.

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Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Perhaps Some Visibility Is Needed
Rob Spiegel   3/16/2012 3:33:18 PM
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I understand what you're saying, Jack, but it doesn't make sense for the company to not fix the problem. We see this over and over again in the Monkey blogs. There's a rule of thumb that a satisfied customer will tell a couple people, while a dissatisfied customer will tell 20. Given the Internet, a dissatisfied customer now may tell thousands.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Platinum
Re: Perhaps Some Visibility Is Needed
Jack Rupert, PE   3/11/2012 2:39:19 PM
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I agree that the problem might very well be in accounting, although I'm starting to wonder whether or not these really are overlooked as you suggest.  What if its a case of playing the odds that X% will fail during the warrenty and only Y% of the owners will actually file a valid claim and at the end of the day, the company comes out ahead.  This is sort of like companies that give rebates rather than discounts.  They know that people will look at the rebated bottom line when chosing a product, but the actual filers are at a much lower percent.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Perhaps Some Visibility Is Needed
Rob Spiegel   3/7/2012 2:54:38 PM
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That's pretty bad, Glenn. You'd think that with a well-run company, there would be some backtracking on the accounting for warranty recall costs to determine their source. Then a circle back to make sure whatever was causing the warranty costs could be corrected on the manufacturing side. Seems that would be a simple function that could save countless thousands of $$.

GlennA
User Rank
Gold
Re: Perhaps Some Visibility Is Needed
GlennA   3/7/2012 8:59:11 AM
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I have a theory = It's in the accounting.

While I was working at GM there was a recall on bolts securing part of the front wheel suspension.  The new bolts were breaking, so the recall was to replace the breaking bolts under warranty.

My theory is that an engineer proposed replacing the bolts with cheaper bolts to save about $1.00 per thousand.  Cost reduction is good, so the manufacturing cost of the car was reduced by pennies.  This cost savings is applied to the Manufacturing Costs Account.

Then the waranty replacements happen, at a cost of perhaps $50.00 per bolt in recall notices, shipping, dealer labor costs, and whatever.  These costs are applied to the Warranty Recall Costs Account.

But no-one looks to see that the penny savings in manufacturing then cost dollars in warranty.  There is a difference between making something less-expensive, and making it cheaper.  Is it possible the problem with the storm doors a result of cost reduction in manufacturing ?

Larry M
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Platinum
Fix it for good
Larry M   3/6/2012 3:58:45 PM
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I might be tempted to repair an old latch.
  • Cut two pieces of 1/8" aluminum to match the sides of the latch.
  • Bond them to the sides of the broken latch with binary epoxy (attractive) or pop-rivets (not so attractive)
  • Grind/polish the aluminum gussets flush with the original latch assembly
  • Drill for a roll pin, either through the original holes or (if the assembly will operate properly) slightly further back from the edge
  • Insert the roll pin
  • Reassemble lock to door


Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Poorly designed Anderson door latch
Dave Palmer   3/6/2012 1:01:46 PM
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@William K.: Sometimes, high iron levels in aluminum are a result of re-melting low quality scrap, as you point out.  In other cases, iron is intentionally added to aluminum in order to prevent die sticking, without a lot of thought as to its effect on mechanical properties.  Excessive iron results in the formation of aluminum-iron-silicon intermetallic compounds, also known as "sludge." Sludge reduces mechanical properties, especially ductility and fatigue strength.  It also decreases fluidity, which tends to promote porosity.  In short, it's bad stuff.

Thankfully, though, my experience has been that seriously off-spec chemistry is fairly rare, even in castings sourced from China and India.  In this case, it sounds like the problem is a design which simply doesn't leave enough material at the edge of the hole.

I think your fix of simply drilling new holes in the door so that it will accomodate another manufacturer's latch is probably the best solution.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Poorly designed Anderson door latch
William K.   3/5/2012 10:34:45 PM
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There are serious quality problems with some kinds of aluminum castings coming from some areas of China. The main cause is poor quality metal, aluminum with a lot of iron in it, and isteel that includes a lot of "non ferrous" materials. That may be part of the problem.

Unfortunately you have been causght in the nonstandard part trap, and are compelled to continue purchasing the same poorly designed pieces repeatedly. So spend the effort, drill the new holes, and purchase a good quality door latch. That will be the end of those problems.

The secret is to measure carefully and then center punch each hole to be drilled, and to drill a smaller pilot hole first.Also, use a drill lubricant and don't press  very hard. That gives fewer burrs to trim off.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Slow and steady revenue stream
Rob Spiegel   3/5/2012 12:18:29 PM
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That's funny, Uniquity. I have to start trying that. I've found that athletic socks don't last as long as they used to. In the past I got years of wear. Now I'm luck to get four months before the white socks start to pull out of shape of start tearing. I need to demand an extended warrantee.

uniquity@uniquitypsych.com
User Rank
Gold
Re: Slow and steady revenue stream
uniquity@uniquitypsych.com   3/2/2012 5:56:44 PM
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Since the low quality of many current products as spawned the stores to push extended warranties on almost everything they sell, I have devised my own plan.  I do not get the extended warranty they offer, but when I buy items like nuts and bolts, I ask for the extended warranty.  It really confuses the clerks when I want the extended warranty on socks.  I do not mean to pick on the checkout clerk, but I hope the word will get to management that something is going on.

ratkinsonjr
User Rank
Gold
Re: Slow and steady revenue stream
ratkinsonjr   3/2/2012 4:44:56 PM
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That's exactly right. When my mother called to order the latest replacement, she asked if it was made in America and the clerk said "Yes, it is." When the box arrived via FedEx a week later, printed on two sides of the box were the words: "Made in China". I guess even Andersen is feeling the cost pressure.

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