Did you know that 60 percent of all storage compartments found in today’s RVs have the same CH751 locks and keys? No, that isn’t a typo—60 percent! Done solely to reduce costs, the generic CH751 lock and key system works well for RV manufacturers and for those who are in RV sales, but not so great for RV owners as the system offers very little security for valuables. I’ve yet to suffer a break-in in any of the RVs I’ve owned. Still, the thought that any thief with a commonly found key could easily break-in and steal my tools and equipment was a bit unnerving. It was time to do something about it.
How do you know if your RV has these near worthless locks? Take a look at the key bow of your storage compartment key. If you see “CH751” inscribed on the key bow, you have them. Fortunately, replacing each lock was pretty easy thanks to the good folks at Industrial Lock and Hardware (ILH). The company manufactures and sells a wide variety of high-quality locks, including tubular RV cam locks which are much better than the garbage you typically find in the big box and RV parts stores. ILH’s website provides an easy to use form that makes it a snap to identify the correct size lock, correct size cam (also known as the locking arm), and correct size cam offset (or bend) needed. Simply remove the old lock and match it with the correct size images on the form. It’s so easy, a caveman can do it.
Industrial Lock and Hardware’s shipment came in a standard USPS Priority Mail box. I have to say that I was impressed with company’s packaging. All of the hardware came professionally sealed in a compartmentalized plastic, see-through bag. This effort shows attention to detail with the order and is something you don’t typically see today. It’s pretty refreshing. Aside from the lock hardware, the order came with four tubular keys and one service key, the latter of which is used if a lock ever “jumps” out of alignment. The installation instructions ILH provided were very detailed and easy to follow.
Replacing the old CH751 locks was extremely easy, meaning I didn’t need to possess locksmith-level skills to change out the old locks (the Caveman reference applies here, too). Removing the old lock is a quick, two-step process that requires just two tools: a crescent wrench and a Phillips screw driver. To remove the old lock, first remove the cam, which is held in place with a large screw. Once the cam is removed, the wrench is used to remove the large, thin nut that holds the lock into place. That’s it! The whole process of removing the old lock took about three minutes.
Installing your new cam locks is just as easy, except the installation steps are reversed. When installing them you’ll need to be careful not to lose the governor that came with your new locks (I had one fall during the installation of one lock and had a dickens of a time trying to find it). The first thing you’ll notice with the new ILH locks is that they use a small nut rather than a screw to attach the cam to the lock, so only a crescent wrench was needed to install the new locks. Make sure you don’t over-tighten this small nut; otherwise, you may bind the lock. Before closing the storage compartment door after installing the new lock, you’ll want to check the cam rotation for correct location and placement. Once this is done the install is complete. The whole process of removing the old lock and installing the new one took about 10 minutes.
As you can see from the photographs, the new tubular style cam locks look great. What you don’t see is a quality lock from Industrial Lock and Hardware that is much more stout and harder to pick than the CH751 cam locks that came with your RV. Mark Silver, the owner of Industrial Lock and Hardware, tells me that his locks are costume assembled here in the good ole’ USA using mushroom tumblers designed to stop would-be lock pickers. The so-called Bic pen trick won’t work on these, they don’t even fit. Now, I realize that if somebody really wants to break into my camper they will, but having an extra layer of security is always a good thing when minutes or even seconds count.
Disclaimer: I’m an independent reviewer. I do NOT get paid to review products on this website. I will only recommend products which I use and believe in and which I think will benefit my audience. The views expressed are my personal views and are written without any influence, whatsoever. That said, I reserve the right to engage in paid affiliate marketing and promotion with brands, companies and individuals whose products I review.
Click here to read my article on the installation of Industrial Lock and Hardware’s new tubular lock dust cover.