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    Thread: The broken door latch thread. door latch stuck door wont open door won't open frozen

    1. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 09:26 AM #1
      I am posting this - as a group DIY of sorts. Recently there seems to be a rash of broken door latches (as there is every winter).

      I'll add this as a link to my DIY page since, I too got struck be the broken door latch issue last weekend. I was lucky, my latch broke in a way where the door would simply not close. So I was able to change the latch without gutting the door.

      So there's the start.

      You put the key in the door, and go to unlock it, nothing happens, lock just spins .

      Your door lock tumbler and paddle have broken. Get a new one, or go to the dealer. They carry these parts in stock. Unlock and open the car from the inside and then change the handle.

      And finally, check your remote! If the key/tumbler is frozen try your remote. Of course if your battery is dead (in the car, or in your hand), it won’t help!

      Door Handles - (GAP) - with keys and "paddle"

      http://www.germanautoparts.com.../76/2

      The door will not open from the outside, OR the inside, even though its unlocked

      1 - Before you do anything else, park the car, with the sun beating down on the passenger side. I know you said it "dry".. but still a drop of moisture in the lock will cause it to lock solid. Give it a shot before the next step.

      2 - I'd bet the catch on the release is broken. This is inside the latch, and sadly, the only way to get to it.. is from inside the door.. its ugly, very much so. You have to cut a hole in the door card to get to the latch. From there you can try to smack the latch with a hammer to free it up. If that does not work, your left with gutting the latch from inside the car. Its 100% not fun.

      Locks and Handles are another very common entry point for water to freeze. If your handles are frozen use a de-icier spray. NEVER pour boiling hot water onto any part of your car to thaw it out! You may crack glass, and worse, it will just refreeze again.

      To prevent water and ice from migrating into door locks and handles - spray a small amount of graphite lock lube into each lock cylinder and insert the key a few times. Lock and unlock the door a few cycles to make sure lube is inside the lock cylinder.

      There are actually two parts that freeze/break in the latch.

      One is the "big hook" - this part pivots and "Grabs" the body pin.

      This part will freeze, and prevent the door from being opened from the inside or outside of the car. The trick is, you have to spray the lube "up into the latch" and move the hook around to try to spread the lube around. To move the latch around, press it back with a screwdriver blade, it will click into two positions.

      The 2nd part that gets frozen is the lower part of the catch ratchet. This part is what "holds" the latch open. If this freezes or breaks, the door will not close at all. Again, spray the hell out of the pivot point, and move the latch to spread it around.

      If the latch remains frozen/refreezes the latch can be ""thawed" by pointing a small electric heater at the latch area from the outside. Do not walk away, and keep an eye on the surface temperature so as to not damage the car.

      Door Latches - (GAP)

      http://www.germanautoparts.com...dy/77

      Driver/Passenger front latches come in OBD 1 and OBDII styles (split mid 1995). They can work in each car, you'll just have to swap over a small plastic part carefully. this part is what runs the central locking on OBDI cars. OBDII cars do not have this part. (THIS IS PART 2 IN THE DIAGRAM BELOW)

      OBDII -> OBDI = direct swap
      OBDI -> OBDII = Swap over the central lock part @ the base of the latch.

      Door latches are the same Jetta/Golf.

      Anyone who has information and wishes to help is more then welcome to comment.


      Modified by Dan J Reed at 2:27 PM 3-3-2009


    2. Member brobs is back's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 09:32 AM #2
      i know this sounds retarded..

      but i tried to swap my handles from side to side.. (so the nasty worn part would face down)
      and i was unable to get the handle off.

      i removed the torx bolt.. and then tried different combinations of wiggling.. turning the key.. pulling the handle etc..
      and it seemed to be in there just as tight as with the bolt?
      i was afraid to break it.

      any tips on removing/installing the handles themselves?

      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Harley
      yo, is that a wolf?
      MODS IN THE SIG: MY MODS IS IN THE SIG!

    3. Member .yuk.'s Avatar
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      03-03-2009 09:52 AM #3
      Both sides of my jetta were frozen yesterday. Opened then wouldn't close. Closed, and then wouldn't open again after some messing with it in the snow. They thawed out and worked later on. Until I left the sixers game, then the passenger door wouldn't open again.

      Ugh. I dunno.

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    4. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 09:58 AM #4
      Welp, for the handle on the outside. You need a few things.

      The drivers side is far harder to do then the passenger side.

      And its actually easier if you have the door panel off and the vapor barrier. But its not entirely necessary.

      To remove the outer handle;

      Open the door.

      Remove the Torx screw holding the handle to the door. This is only visible with the door open. Its just above the door latch. Its in a single small recessed hole.

      Clean and wax (spray wax!! No white powder!) around the door handle gaskets. Dry the unit.

      Place blue 3m painters tape at the leading edge of the front of the door handle.

      Place it as close as you can to the gasket under the handle. If you can pull the handle "open slightly" to slip the tape under the gasket. This prevents scratches on the paint. (if your that anal).

      Insert the door key into the handle, and turn it 1/4" of the way open.

      Slide the latch to the front of the car. Wiggle it a little, but don't pull it away from the door yet.

      Slide it as far as it will go, still with the key in it 1/4 turned "unlock".

      Pull the handle out. from the rear, slightly. Make sure its released from the catch on the door latch.

      Wiggle it out carefully not to break anything.

      Should be about it.

      My guess is your gaskets were "stuck" to the door. The wash/wax helps loosen them up before removal.


    5. Member brobs is back's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 10:02 AM #5
      i think i was pulling them toward me with the door open..
      so i push them toward the front of the car?

      from pics of the handle it looks like you pull toward the lock cylinder.

      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Harley
      yo, is that a wolf?
      MODS IN THE SIG: MY MODS IS IN THE SIG!

    6. Member DukeDKT442's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 10:14 AM #6
      Excellent post, I did this very thing last Spring, when one day after unlocking my door, the lock cylinder came out with the key... easy as pie, took less than a half hour, including a learning curve.

      My passenger door always sticks, only after unlocking it though. Parts aren't broken, and I've found the way to open it every time: pulling hard and fast never works... the trick is to jiggle the handle with fingertips, and voila, door opens every time. Try that trick before ripping the door apart.


    7. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 10:16 AM #7
      Quote, originally posted by brobs is back »
      i think i was pulling them toward me with the door open..
      so i push them toward the front of the car?

      from pics of the handle it looks like you pull toward the lock cylinder.

      Yup, push to the front once the Torx bolt is undone, THEN pull out.


    8. Member .yuk.'s Avatar
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      03-03-2009 10:16 AM #8
      Slide towards the front of the car i think.
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    9. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 10:17 AM #9
      Quote, originally posted by .yuk. »
      Both sides of my jetta were frozen yesterday. Opened then wouldn't close. Closed, and then wouldn't open again after some messing with it in the snow. They thawed out and worked later on. Until I left the sixers game, then the passenger door wouldn't open again.

      Ugh. I dunno.

      Latches are frozen Yuk. Let them thaw, then spray a silicone based lube, or graphite lock lube at the two latching claws in the original post.


    10. Member .yuk.'s Avatar
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      03-03-2009 10:22 AM #10
      So not PB blaster or WD40?
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    11. Member brobs is back's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 10:24 AM #11
      http://www.triflowlubricants.com/index.html

      ^^ i'm tellin ya this **** is sick.
      it's a mixture between a penetrating oil and silicon lube.

      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Harley
      yo, is that a wolf?
      MODS IN THE SIG: MY MODS IS IN THE SIG!

    12. 03-03-2009 10:32 AM #12
      my doors would NEVER open when it was cold out,, good thing i had power windows i would dukes of hazzaard it

      hope it dont happen to me anymore manual windows ftw

      ur DIY page sir is the first place i go whenever i have work to do on my 2.0

      7 vws owned 1 bagged s10. Must be something in the water

    13. Member Kabinotar's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:00 AM #13
      Good write up, as usual Dan.

      How about a lock that doesn't even turn. Put the key in, and get absolutely no movement lock or unlock.

      -Kevin
      Quote Originally Posted by Afazz
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    14. Member vdubjettaman's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:34 AM #14
      i've had this problem for the past 2 winters on my jetta. the doors just do not open from inside or outside when the temperature is extremely cold, somewhere between freezing and frost bite. I've had to do all the tricks to open the doors. I've done the dukes of hazzard, climbed through the passenger side, opened the back and climbed through the center. it's kind of embarrassing at times, like when you are at the grocery store, and people look at you funny. oh well, i just sit in the back for a minute and then climb through after they leave. haha. god i love my mk3. haha.

      The best trick, is to let it sit in the sun for as long as possible, altho sometimes not an option, so you then just hope and pray.

      I've taken the entire door latch assembly out and regreased it and then cleaned the door handle assembly too. It has yet to freeze up on me again. (knock on wood)
      here is the diy i followed:
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3716128
      the hardest most frustrating part of removing the latch assembly is trying to get it out of the door. Once it is disconnected from everything and just resting in there (it's extremely tight, sucks for people with big hands/fat fingers, sorry) rotate the assembly away from you 180 degrees so that the brass handle looking thing is facing you. It will make a bit more sense when looking at it. Slide the assembly towards you just a bit, so that the metal of the door is now between that brass handle thing and the rest of the assembly. (looking at the picture in the link I posted will help describe what i'm talking about.) Then the assembly is practically out of the door and rotating and jiggling will get the rest of it out. To put it back in, literally go in reverse order. I'm not gonna lie, it sucked trying to get it out the first time, like 30-45 minutes trying to figure it out. but now i can take it out in about 1 minute.
      Make sure that you have the vacuum hose in the correct position when you reinsert the assembly, otherwise that brass handle thing i spoke about above wont engage the lock and release to disarm the alarm, but the door will unlock and then the alarm goes off and you cant go anywhere.

      Sorry for the long post. I hope the information I had was at least understandable. I've been there, done it, and it is a pain/hassle/frustration/bitch when you cant get in or out of your car because of the one part on the door that you need to work all the time is broken.

      -Nate

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    15. Member MPLS MK3's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 02:02 PM #15
      nice write up.

      as always


    16. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 02:35 PM #16
      Quote, originally posted by .yuk. »
      So not PB blaster or WD40?

      Not safe for plastics = no good, it also attracts dust and dirt which just makes things worse.


    17. Member brobs is back's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 02:36 PM #17
      it's safe for plastics

      it says right on the can it renews plastic/rubber.

      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Harley
      yo, is that a wolf?
      MODS IN THE SIG: MY MODS IS IN THE SIG!

    18. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 02:37 PM #18
      Quote, originally posted by vdubjettaman »

      here is the diy i followed:
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3716128


      Awesome link!!!


    19. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 02:39 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by brobs is back »
      it's safe for plastics

      it says right on the can it renews plastic/rubber.

      WD-40?

      Well, ok, its says its safe.

      But I aint using it.

      PB on the other hand..

      Spray some in a foam cup.

      Come back in a few days...


    20. Member brobs is back's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 03:03 PM #20
      i'm talking about PB..
      i spray it on my mk1 control arm bushings to keep them pliable and crack-free.
      it says right on the can that it renews rubber.
      i've never had PB degrade anything plastic/rubber.

      i dunno about wd-40.. i don't use the stuff.

      Quote Originally Posted by Paul Harley
      yo, is that a wolf?
      MODS IN THE SIG: MY MODS IS IN THE SIG!

    21. Member sun98gtiVR6's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 03:04 PM #21
      Quote, originally posted by Dan J Reed »


      Spray some in a foam cup.

      Come back in a few days...

      only takes a few seconds to eat the cup

      nothing else works better though


    22. Member MK2SnowPilot's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 03:09 PM #22
      Woohoo!! Now this is the info I have been looking for!

    23. Member Kabinotar's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 03:35 PM #23
      Quote, originally posted by sun98gtiVR6 »

      only takes a few seconds to eat the cup

      nothing else works better though

      This is because PB uses a thermal reaction to break down stuck bolts. The thermal resistance of the foam cup also activates it. While, I believe brobs, that it's not going to break down the rubber. I do believe there are better products for what he's doing.

      -Kevin
      Quote Originally Posted by Afazz
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    24. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-04-2009 11:40 AM #24
      http://mark1vws.com/_wsn/page3.html

      Added link for Mark1stvws

      This man knows keys.


    25. 03-04-2009 12:06 PM #25
      dear dan j reed,
      please make a picture assisted DIY for the cut a hole in your door card and destroy the latch IN the door option. i feel that these diy's are just getting too easy for you and i think you deserve a challenge. secondly, i just want to see the carniage that is ensued from this option.
      or option b would be a video assised diy similar to your "want to buy my cup kit?" sale
      sincerely, wannabaja

    26. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-05-2009 08:45 AM #26
      Its funny, if I had a spare door card... (GTI) and a spare latch.. (even a broken one) I would infact do just that.

      I have a spare (dented) drivers GTI door shell.

      Anyone care to donate a messed up door card and latch?

      Seriously. I'll show how to do it (cleanly)


    27. 03-05-2009 08:50 AM #27
      Quote, originally posted by Dan J Reed »
      Its funny, if I had a spare door card... (GTI) and a spare latch.. (even a broken one) I would infact do just that.

      I have a spare (dented) drivers GTI door shell.

      Anyone care to donate a messed up door card and latch?

      Seriously. I'll show how to do it (cleanly)

      if someone sends you a door card i will donate a rear latch from a 4 door. should work jsut fine since we dont need the wiring for the diy.

      seriously pm me if you run a card down and ill ship it out.


    28. Member MK2SnowPilot's Avatar
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      03-05-2009 10:15 AM #28
      Well I still need to get into the passenger side of my wife's car...

      I will try and get to it this weekend with Pics that Dan can use...


    29. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-05-2009 11:37 AM #29
      Quote, originally posted by wannabaja »

      if someone sends you a door card i will donate a rear latch from a 4 door. should work jsut fine since we dont need the wiring for the diy.

      seriously pm me if you run a card down and ill ship it out.

      Thanks for the offer but a rear latch wont work on a front door.

      MK2Snowpilot - good luck,if you snap pics, thanks!


    30. Member DREWHALL's Avatar
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      03-05-2009 11:47 AM #30
      One thing I've done several times if my lock cylinder is frozen and won't spin, heat up the key a bit with a lighter. Use common sense here, don't heat it glowing red. But yeah Triflow is great, I've used it on my bikes and paintball guns for a few years.

    31. Member Venkman's Avatar
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      03-05-2009 11:49 AM #31
      I actually have both a drivers side door card and latch from my passenger side...If I ever get around to putting my new door panel on I will donate them to you.
      COYS!!!

    32. 03-05-2009 02:39 PM #32
      Quote, originally posted by Dan J Reed »

      Thanks for the offer but a rear latch wont work on a front door.

      MK2Snowpilot - good luck,if you snap pics, thanks!

      sure will. it should bolt in to the door the same and grab the catch pin the same. the outer handle would work and i think the inner one might as well. diff is the electric and the key tumbler. but for your purposes those things wouldnt matter at all.

      what am i missing?


    33. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-07-2009 09:36 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by wannabaja »

      sure will. it should bolt in to the door the same and grab the catch pin the same. the outer handle would work and i think the inner one might as well. diff is the electric and the key tumbler. but for your purposes those things wouldnt matter at all.

      what am i missing?

      Um, the child lock latch..? Correct?


    34. Member nap83's Avatar
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      03-07-2009 11:19 PM #34
      mr. reed should be compensated by the mk3 public for retirement purposes due to contributions like these...

      thank you sir.

      For peace of mind, resign as the general manager of the universe.

    35. 03-08-2009 03:34 AM #35
      i hate door locks. after tearing apart my doors, and breaking multiple lock components, i finally figured them out, and i still never want to deal with them when something goes wrong.

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