Intro: Inexpensive Door Latch Linkage Repair
LOCKED OUT ! ACK ! That's what happened the other day when I came out of the store, the door handle wouldn't work. Luckily the back window was open and I was able to use a pole to open the door from the inside. I drive a 27 year old 1985 ford ranger 4x4 that I paid $500 for 2 years ago, other than a tuneup, oil changes and a brake job the truck has not required any maintenance so while this was inconvenient it's not that big a deal.
Step 1: Disassembly
I had a pretty good idea what had happened but of course it's hidden behind the door panel. I'm fairly certain the panel has been removed in the past, at least I'm assuming that's why there were 3 different fasteners holding the pieces I needed to remove on. The window crank needed a star driver, the door handle surround had a phillips head screw and the arm rest had hex head screws. They sell a tool for popping the panel fasteners but I didn't have one and will be replacing the panel so I just carefully pulled them out
Step 2: The Repair That Wasn't
The pieces of the linkage were held together with a plastic clip that over the years had degraded. Local chain autoparts stores didn't have the parts, local dealers didn't have the parts but they could order them, of course that was an expensive option I declined. The LMC truck catalog had the part for $1.25 but shipping is $9 and takes 3-4 days.
The local autoparts store did have pix-nuts that are generally used on carburetor linkage for .49 cents but when I tried it, it snapped.
Did I mention I was working blind inside a door with almost no room for my fat hand?
I tried a piece of copper wire with an eye bent on one end but there was no room to move the stiff wire and wrap it tightly around the linkage shaft.
Did I mention it's 95degrees in the shade and 95% humidity? Time for a cold drink and a rethink.......
Step 3: EUREKA !
Sitting in the AC, sipping a tall Iced tea I spied my craft box with the floral wires right on top. I took about 8inches of the thin green wire, doubled it and twisted it until I had a eye on one end, it's not very strong but I only needed it to hold the linkage in the latch actuator arm while I wrapped the thicker (and hopefully strong enough) gold wire around the rod. Sorry for the lack of pics, there is really NO room inside a door, see the next step for slightly better pics of the wrapping
Step 4: Supplimentary Explanation of Attachment
I'm using a screwdriver and small pocket knife to try and show the "clip" the actual linkage had a small "L" shape that slipped in a hole with the shaft rising above it. Form a loop in the wire and slip it over the protruding piece of the linkage, wrap the wire around the actuator arm (knife)and a couple of wraps around the linkage shaft.