Most of us already know our vans are pretty much laughable as far as security goes, their factory door locks so easily defeated even by a crook-in-training. Having already once been vandalized and losing expensive tools/property the steps I've taken so far have been “successful” in that I've not yet
been hit again. (First time was my fault---didn't take necessary steps to at least obscure property left inside over night.)
Despite the rather apparent presence of an on-board alarm system I'm still not convinced I'm immune even in my relatively safe neighborhood. Crooks seem to find our theft-proofing attempts more challenging, love to hone their skills on fat, easy targets late at night. Sadly the smash and grab thing happens during the day too---many a contractor has lost stuff in a Lowe's parking lot. We need to slow those fools down even if for a few seconds.
Externally mounted hidden shackle or “puck locks” have been with us for years--we've all seen those ugly bulges hanging off the side of many vans. I've always hated them; they're ugly, advertise high value cargo on-board, require drilling holes in otherwise perfectly sound doors and isn't easily reversed in the future.
The company Slick Locks has a great solution I think, here's their site: http://www.slicklocks.com
After talking with them I bought a full kit. Their site is well done, very informative with installation videos included. I thought I'd add my bit here on SMB, the real-life hands on experience for those like me always a bit skeptical of an installation videos that make it all seem too easy to do.
(Please know I am NOT in any way affiliated with or receiving any sort of compensation for this contribution! I'm simply sharing my experience with other van owners, aimed towards us who keep so many expensive and important things inside in our parked vans.)
This kit contains everything needed for the rear and side hinged or swinging doors: hasp brackets, hardened steel puck locks, spinner and flexible plastic weather tight lock covers:
First step is partial removal of the weather stripping using the proper tool:
I found loosening at least three clips best, allowing the hasp/bracket to slide into position without fear of scratching the paint. (This isn't a huge concern but I like to err on the safe side.)
Removing the latch screws: (I use a 1/4” impact driver and NEW #27 Torx bit; experience allows me to do this safely. These screws are very soft, the head recesses easily stripped without a bit of caution---please be advised!)
The latch isn't completely removed thanks to a clearance hole in the bracket, allowing one bolt to stay in place during installation---nice touch!
The strike or catch is next:
(^^New or near-new #40 Torx socket, hardened versions are best.)
If your strike has never been removed these bolts will resist removal. They have a Loc-Tite type product along a part of their threads. Lubrication doesn't help much; slowly backing them out is best:
Unlike some door latch/lock components Ford's strike lock plate is captured as shown here. Some are merely held in place by the strike bolts, removing them allows the plate to fall inside a door shell, pillar or otherwise inaccessible place. On higher trim level vans like Club Wagons or converted models its not necessary to have access inside the door due this feature.
The website shows a method to pre-align the brackets/hasps before final tightening of the fasteners---it gets you very close. A few trial fits with the actual lock fine tunes the fit, making for very easy on and off as well as engaging the lock bolt too.
Aligning the strike isn't difficult either. When installing it over the Slick Lock bracket don't run the bolts all the way in, leave them just loose enough the strike will move with a bit effort, not dangling or flopping around. As the opposite door is opened and closed it will somewhat self adjust. Once you're satisfied with the door operation (and the Slick Lock brackets are aligned) slowly complete tightening the strike bolts. This might take a few times re-positioning the strike, no more complicated than that though.
After final alignment this is the result, pucks not yet installed:
The locks themselves have a feature called The Spinner which is an aluminum case surrounding the puck lock, the idea to prevent something like a huge pipe wrench from twisting them off. (Crooks can be so creative when very motivated.) These are held onto the lock case with an easily removed clip:
The look when finished:
The biggest attraction for me with Slick Locks is they're almost invisible when not in use. I've considered having the lock cases powered coated a similar body color which would further lessen their visibility.
Along with the no-drill and easily removed feature as far as puck locks go this is light years ahead of the typical installation I've ever seen.
There are kits for other makes and sliding doors too---check the website.
So that's it----hope this was interesting or helpful!