Today i would like to share something not common for me as i'm putting hands on my car.
Last week i left it parked in Milan for a few hours while visiting one of the stores i work on and found a nice surprise when i came back
Someone literally pulled it off from the car, maybe trying to open it
My car is a Y model from Lancia and the handle is one of those you have to pull to open
It's made of plastic of course and while the handle itself is thick and robust, the hook is not oversized and i guess it went off quite easily
Good thing is, it remained inside the door
Good thing #2, of course, i have been so lucky to find the handle on the floor near my car
I thought i had to bring the car to a coachbuilder, but that would cost quite a bit (>100€ for sure), so after a few days of upsetting every time i had to enter from the passsenger side, i decided toet the job done by myself
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Step 1: Know Your Enemy
First things first
How does the handle work and how the hell is it mounted inside the door?
Let's look at the pics i took: the handle pivots on the hook on the left, which is inserted in the door hole. No particular mechanism here, nor problems.
The lock is ok too, and it would be nice if i could take it off and have better access to the broken part
The is a hole in the thickness side of the door: i could see the head of an Allen screw inside it and thought i could loosen it and make the lock system pop out. I was right, but could not take it off at first, maybe i just have been too careful
I have been able to pinch the broken hook and pull it out, but the spring action of the mechanism made it very difficult
I thought i could glue it back to the handle, maybe adding some reinforcement (a small piece of threaded rod) so i drilled a hole in it and prepared some epoxy but when i decided to drill a bit further, the hook lost its support inside and fell inside the door (damn #%%##**^%#)
Step 2: Breath
Once you have the only piece you actually need to open the door, inside your door, you have just one chance: open up that door and get you piece back
This thing drove me insane so i forgot to take pics of the door being dismantled, but it's kinda easy if you keep calm
I had to unscrew the plastic panel, remove the window and mirror control panel, remove the plastic panel, cut the sound absorbing material, put inside my hand and explore until i got my hook back
As the hook is now missing from the door, i have been able to remove the lock mechanism loosening the screw i described before
This is mandatory as the hook would never get in place again with the lock mechanism still mounted
Back to the handle, i drilled another hole in it, making sure it was aligned with the one in the hook, test fitted the two pieces with the rod inside and glued everything together with epoxy
No change to get it clamped due to the curved shape of the handle so i clamped it by hand for a few minutes while watching my kids and wife having lunch (...)
Result: cold pasta...
Oh, no, pardon, result: a nice and clean fitting and a strong connection, i'm sure it stronger than original now
Step 3: Get It All Together
Last thing, i reassembled everything
Pivoting hook first, then place the othe side of the handle, try it out
I had some tech vaseline grease, i used to lubricate the hook (it had some grease on it when i took it off)
Insert the lock mechanism and tighten its screw, try everything out. That sort of needle was also lubricated before setting it back in place
Reassemble the door panels making sure you reconnect everything you took apart before (like i did, of course)
I also used some duct tape to close the cut i made in the sound absorbing material
Step 4: Enjoy
Here we go, the handle works like a charm, again
Half an hour of work, plus a couple of hours for the glue to cure and you get the job done
Hope this helps and feel free to ask anything
Suggestions are also welcome, of course