How To Fix A Failing Cabinet Latch

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We’ve had our Winnebago Travato for about 3 years now.  In that time, some things have started to show normal wear and tear.  (This is in addition to the things I’ve torn up on purpose!)

One of those things that has started to wear down are some of the cabinet latches, which can lead to some annoying/funny moments as you’ll see in this video.  This drawer opened every. single. time. we. turned. right.


Basically, this kind of thing happens when plastic parts start to wear on each other.  Winnebago has since moved to metal latches in their Travato cabinetry, and I suppose I could have ordered some of those latches.  But this kind of foolishness never happens when you’re sitting at home and it’s convenient to wait for a package.  It happens on the road.  So I wanted to show you what you can do to fix the issue from the road.  The parts for this cost no more than a couple bucks (assuming you already have a short Philips head screwdriver).

Basically, I shimmed the catch part of the mechanism.  There’s nothing glorious or fantastic about what I did.  But I did want to show that – no matter where you are – you don’t have to live with this kind of annoyance, nor do you have to make an appointment at an RV service center for around 13 weeks from now.  Just a couple dollars at any home improvement center and 10 minutes with a screwdriver will get you a completely satisfactory repair.  Nearly anyone can do this!

I know RV service wait times are a sore spot with many.  I hope this helps you avoid one more trip.

See you on the road! (… which now includes right turns again.)

James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    13 thoughts on “How To Fix A Failing Cabinet Latch

    1. Jon Barton

      Ours on The Funmobile needed shimming within a month or so. I wasn’t on the road, so I cut strips from an old bank card and drilled pilot holes with a drill using the latch receiver as a template. That allowed me to shim in 1/32″ steps.

      1. James - Post author

        I’ve used credit cards in the past as shims. Actually not credit cards, but old hotel room keys. I keep a stack of them in the shop for exactly that purpose!
        (And I *love* the name “Funmobile”.)

    2. mike wolf

      Great quick fix James,another example of Winnebago using lower quality parts designed to fail.Our coach is 1 year old and had the same problem in 2 places.

      1. James - Post author

        I used some of the same push button drawer catches when I rebuilt Das Bus some years ago. They were pretty expensive back then – even the plastic ones.
        I think that as these kinds of latches have taken hold, there are more (metal) options available. Winnebago has now switched to the metal ones, so this kind of problem will go away for new Winnebago owners.

    3. cr0ft

      Closing a drawer is not nearly important enough for her to unbuckle the seat belt and start wandering around in the van, though, guys. If there was an accident, she’d be a Steph-shaped missile going through the windshield, worst case scenario. Not really worth it just because there is a drawer open… Personally, if the latches failed I’d buy better latches.

      1. James - Post author

        Not defending getting up while driving, but let’s face it – it happens.
        Stopping after every right turn isn’t really a viable option either though…

      2. Jon Barton

        Counterpoint and thoughtful discussion:

        Good risk management mitigates almost all of that risk, though.

        Straight road, good visibility, daylight, heavy vehicle, Minimal (or no) traffic…

        The risk is non-zero, but it’s also…pretty close to zero given the conditions.

    4. D. J. Heaton

      Jim, we’ve n early ’17 59’K’. Well done on your repair piece. However, I’ve had to do the opposite, and thin down the latch catch as well as shim up as you did. The former where the knob wouldn’t release. Also, some slight adjustment inof latch catch has also been required. I, too, had to make such a repair on the road (middle of nowhere – created shim from cardboard; still serving!). Later @ home, my 90 deg. Dewalt flex. drill drive n=made job a lot easier.

      My wife found it interesting, as did I, that WBO has gone to all metal drawer lock/knob assemblies.

      1. James - Post author

        It’s *always* on the road in the middle of nowhere that this stuff happens… isn’t it?
        The metal latch assemblies should hold up better over time. I’m glad they went that way.

    5. John L

      As I always taught my kids in shop class, “reinsert the screw from below” as opposed to “screw up”. Details…

    6. John Stapsy

      Hi James – I have had the same problem with my 2015 Pleasureway – different latches however. My solution was less elegant because the latches won’t do better with a shim.Tried WD-40 and then after the 2nd latch failure I bought several replacement latches and change them as needed.


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