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Old 03-01-2009, 06:42 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Mount Pleasant SC
Posts: 56
Door latch removal in 123s

Just went through this and decided to share the experience. Incident to a splayed window bottom channel, which stuck on the locking mechanism and wouldn't go; the exterior door handle wouldn't budge, but finally yielded to BFI (brute force and ignorance). But then it wouldn't lock. So it had to come out. Therein lies the tale.

The factory service manual and Haynes alike say to disconnect and remove the exterior handle. They don't say that the lock plunger (a 3" rod with ears on it) goes in at about 315/145deg to vertical, and that to get that out you need to turn the key in the lock until you find the sweet spot so it will come out. The handle assembly slides forward (and disconnects from the opening lever), then use the key to jiggle that rod back and forth until it comes free.

The manual then sez, "remove the latch assembly by taking it down to the bottom of the door." Doesn't work, at least in a straight-forward way. There is a horizontal bar in the door (side protection) about 1/3 of the way up, the rear window channel also projects upward in that area, and it just won't go straight down. Intead (a bit like getting the starter out), the latch assembly must go toward the outside of the door up high, behind the window channel, twist and them it will slide down to the bottom of the door (window up and out of the way, regulator removed of course). It will only come out one way (I tried them all), and it will only go back in the same way (when YOU do it, write down the orientation that worked to get it out--I didn't).

While I had it out, I took off the plastic cover, cleaned and lubed everything in sight. Then finally got it back in, and it all works. Of course, I also discovered that a piece of the potmetal interior handle base was broken, so I've ordered that part and will drive it with a pair of visegrips on the floor in case the other hinge breaks on that part.

Not impossible, but it took four or five hours to get it out and in. Kept me out of trouble, of course.

John Bonds '82 240D, 4sp, 200k, daily driver (hence the Sunday work!)
Charleston SC
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:16 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for posting this information. My driver interior door handle has a broken potmetal hinge too, hanging on by the bottom hinge. I will be ordering one soon, and I can refer to this thread for info. Thanks again!!
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