Many rolling backpacks and suitcases have the annoying tendency for the handle to get stuck. This is how to repair a n L.L.Bean Kid's Rolling backpack with a single shaft, but this probably applies well to other retractable handle luggage.

  1. This is L.L.Bean's Rolling Deluxe Book Pack. Erm, sorry for the low rez picture.
    • This is L.L.Bean's Rolling Deluxe Book Pack. Erm, sorry for the low rez picture.

    • I could go into the features of the thing, but really what can I say?

    • It has wheels and a retractable handle. With time, the handle gets harder to retract. Sometimes pressing the button on the handle gets hard, and usually the handle goes down only halfway. This might be due to contaminates getting in along the shafts or past the button.

    Add Comment

  2. Let's separate the handle assembly from the rest of the backpack.
    • Let's separate the handle assembly from the rest of the backpack.

    • At the bottom, the handle is held in by just one screw. Unzip the zipper at on the inner liner at the bottom inside of the backpack, then unscrew the one screw you find back there.

    • Hey, look. You can also get to the other side of the wheel shafts here too.

    Add Comment

    • There are more screws holding the top of the handle assembly to the backpack.

    • Open the hook and loop fastener at the top inside of the backpack. You will find five screws- two facing the back side of the backpack, and three facing up. Remove them.

    • Remove the inner plastic piece.

    Add Comment

    • Push the backpack fabric so it clears the plastic screw bosses and pull the handle assembly straight up and out of the backpack.

    • Yes, this is the assembly.

    Add Comment

    • This is the hardest part. The long rivet is preventing you from pulling the inner shaft pieces out of the assembly, so you have to remove it.

    • In this case, I've added regular tape around the rivet so that I don't scratch up the paint. Not that it matters since this piece is hidden behind the zippered cover inside the backpack.

    Add Comment

    • You're going to have to pull that rivet out somehow. Me, I used locking pliers to pinch together the flared part of the rivet.

    • Note that I used locking pliers because they were the closest tool that worked. You can use regular pliers, a hammer and chisel, or even a flat rock.

    • Now pull the rivet out. Again, note that the rivet isn't absolutely necessary- it's to hold the inner shafts in and prevent them from going down too far, but in normal operation, the inner shafts really shouldn't be hitting that rivet.

    Add Comment

    • Use a 2.5mm hex key to remove the two screws holding the handle on and remove the handle. You may need to wiggle it a bit to remove it.

    • There will be a metal shaft that you can also pull free. Besides the kink in it to clear the screws, the shaft should h=not be otherwise bent. If it is, then straighten it.

    Add Comment

  3. Spread Fixmas Cheer
    Get $12 off your purchase of $50 or more with code FIXMAS12
    Spread Fixmas Cheer
    Get $12 off your purchase of $50 or more with code FIXMAS12
    • Now, push the upper shaft all the way down. You will need to push the side pins into the shafts to be able to completely collapse the shafts.

    Add Comment

    • Keep pushing the inner shafts down and push them so they come out the bottom of the outer shaft

    Add Comment

    • Remove the bushings from the middle shaft (the one you just removed from the outer shaft), and pull the bottom cap off.

    • This bottom cap is probably what has been causing your problems with retraction, but we'll get to that later.

    Add Comment

    • Press the innermost shaft through the bottom of the middle shaft and remove the bottom cap from that.

    Add Comment

    • You now have the two bottom caps with spring loaded pins.

    • Pressing on the plastic plunger on top of the cap should push the pin in, but excess friction may make this difficult, so you will need to add lubrication.

    Add Comment

    • Remove the plungers by pressing on the sides of them with something like a small screwdriver. This squeezes them together enough for the bump on the side to fit up out through the hole the plunger is in.

    • The metal pins will then come out. Be careful not to lose the springs behind those pins.

    • Now you get to lubricate the metal pins. Mine were originally covered with a dry lubricant. I can tell by how black my hands were afterwards. Oh, did I forget to tell you to wear rubber gloves?

    • Since I had no dry lubricant on hand, I just applied some grease to the angled flats, and the bottoms of the pins.

    Add Comment

    • Don't you hate it when they say "reassembly is the reverse of assembly?" Well, I'll have pity on you this time.

    • First put the pins back in the appropriate caps and then press the plungers in (sorry, no pictures).

    • Put the smaller cap on the inner shaft an put the bushings on.

    Add Comment

    • This is were it gets slightly complicated. Put the inner shaft into the middle shaft, making sure that the pin side is aligned with the hole near the bottom of the middle shaft

    • If yo want, you can also lubricate the bushings.

    • The finicky part is trying to get the inner shaft past the upper bushing. The inner pieces of the upper bushing are a bit flexible. They should be flat against the walls of the middle shaft, but you can always push your finger in there to press them out.

    Add Comment

    • If you were able to get the inner shaft past the upper bushing, at some point the spring loaded pin popped out through the hole in the middle shaft. Press on the pin and push the inner shaft in a bit farther, then you can put on the other cap and bushings.

    Add Comment

    • Insert the middle shaft into the bottom of the outer shaft, making sure that the pin is sticking out opposite the lower hole in the outer shaft.

    • No matter, the pin from the inner shaft is going to pop out through that hole.

    • Press that pin in so the middle shaft sticks out the top of the outer shaft. Heck, also get the inner shaft to stick out the middle shaft. Luckily, getting the middle shaft through the upper bushing was easy.

    • You may need to put the wire plunger into the inner shaft and press it down while pulling up on the inner shaft. Hey, did you notice how easy it was to press that plunger down now that you've lubricated things?

    Add Comment

    • Now things are pretty much the reverse of assembly.

    • Put the wire plunger into the tophandle, then push the handle into the inner shaft and screw it in with your two screws and the 2.5mm hex driver.

    Add Comment

    • Now you can test how well the handle retracts. Does it easily retract all the way? How about extending? When retracting, you only need to press on the button when the handle is fully retracted. At the halfway point, you mere need to push down on the top of the handle to get the middle shaft to retract.

    • Hmmm.. things weren't too smooth for me, so I'll lubricate the pin that's sticking out of the outer shaft. It looks like there's a bit of deformation of the hole. i guess someone was trying to force it.

    Add Comment

    • If there's enough of the rivet left, reinsert it and try to flare the end as best as possible. I don't think it's strictly needed, but I may be missing something, so you may as well put it back just to be on the safe side.

    • You can take this time to remove the protective tape, but I also put down another piece on top of the rivet on both sides to keep the sharp edges from scratching things, and to help hold the rivet in.

    Add Comment

    • Put the shaft assembly into the backpack, making sure to press it fully into the bottom hole.

    • Fit the upper mount so the bosses fit into the holes in the backpack, and screw the inner mounting plastic part into place. Screw in the three upward facing screws first, that way they pull the plastic part up and get the back facing screw holes lined up better.

    • Install lower screw, zip up, press hook and loop together, and you're done.

    Add Comment


To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

2 other people completed this guide.

Mark H

Member since: 08/20/2012

305 Reputation

2 Guides authored


Amazed that this is posted online. Kudos!

nengim - Reply

Wow. Great guide. I stopped after removing the screws and accessing the whole shaft—was sure I’d never get it back together again if I continued. I used some silicone in all the openings of the shaft I could find and the handle is now telescoping all the way down. It was a wrestling match to get the screws back in (rivets prevent fully opening the velcroed top) but I did, and now with blackened hands, I have a fully working backpack that I picked up for $10 at Goodwill. (And I only lost one screw!) Thank you!

Lindy Lou - Reply

Wow. Great guide. I stopped after removing the screws cause I knew I’d never be able to put it all back together. I just sprayed silicone in every opening in the now-accessible shaft I could find. It was a wrestling match to get to those screws and line all the parts back up to screw it back together. I lost a screw, but the handle now goes all the way down. A lot of effort and maybe an hour to make a $10 purchase at Goodwill a great deal! Thanks!

Lindy Lou - Reply

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 4

Past 7 Days: 13

Past 30 Days: 85

All Time: 2,443