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87 Vanagon sliding door wont latch.
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yggdrasil
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:38 pm    Post subject: 87 Vanagon sliding door wont latch. Reply with quote

I recently bought an 87 vanagon. The sliding door will not close. I have checked the latch mechanism and I can manually make it latch (while the doors open) and actuating the outside handle unlatches it.
It refuses to latch to the bolt when I slide it closed.
I am noticing that the small electronic contacts appear to be slightly lower on the door than on the van, also looking at the latch bolt and latch the bolt appears to be just slightly lower than the latch. I think this is why it wont latch.
Has anyone else experienced this ?

I'll try and take some pics of the situation. Hopefully I'll have some time this weekend to get involved.
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Tom Powell
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

try sliding the door forward gently and pushing the rear of the door in with your hand
that technique works for my door
if I close it too hard it won't latch

Aloha
tp
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yggdrasil
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:25 pm    Post subject: Nope, Tried it :( Reply with quote

Thank you for your suggestion.

Tried that and no go. I did it using varios methods of slow fast pushing on the back right around the area of the latch.
any other suggestions ?
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RCWesty
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

when mine would not close, it was the latch that needed replacement. I seem to recall it was a spring load locking mechanism was broken. no warnings, just wouldn't close.
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Andrew A. Libby
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The usual fault is a fairly common problem with the later door design and both a PITA and fairly easily fixed. It starts to show up when the door will bounce back if you shut it too hard. Eventually it gets to the point where the door won't latch at all. The problem is caused by a very small spring in the rear latch mechanism that gradually loses it's tension. When working properly, that spring causes the rear latch to "catch". Without it being strong enough, the door just bounces back off the pin without catching (even tho it seems to work manually when you push the latch like you did). Pull the interior handle and door panel off being careful to pull from the plastic tabs with a putty knife or better yet a door panel removal tool. Once the panel is removed, remove the little circlip from the cable that runs from the front mechanism to the rear mechanism and pull the cable off the front mechanism. Then go to the back and use a 90 screwdriver (or a bit in a 1/4" wrench) to remove the two screws holding on the rear mechanism. Pull it out far enough to undo the circlip that holds the other end of the cable in place. You can then see the little spring that I'm talking about that pushes against the lever part that holds the latch in place. Remove it and use two pairs of pliers to really bend it out so that it is exerting a whole lot more force. Reassemble everything and give it a go.

I've actually been planning on doing a pictorial on it the next time I had to fix one. If you have a digital camera, you might take some pics and post them up for the next person who has that issue.
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yggdrasil
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:14 am    Post subject: thanks andrew a libby Reply with quote

Hopefully the family let's me work on it a bit today. Ill take pics when I do.
Thanks a lot.
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sc-surfer
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew,

Mine is doing the bounce back thing! Thanks for the write-up, I'll give that a try!!
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Home Team Van
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew- when the spring that holds up the screw that acts as the lock/unlock on the slider breaks will you get the same problem, ie: slider won't shut because screw is down in the locked position?
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yggdrasil
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:32 pm    Post subject: Failure. Reply with quote

Well I did the described fix and it seems that my latch mechanism is just shot.
After I tightened up the spring It wouldnt close. As an experiment I held the door closed and tried to push the latch together with a screwdriver.
It latched but then immediately popped out. The "teeth" that hold the latch down are worn away. So its just new latch time for me.
Here are the photos of the procedure:

Removal of the door panel (tricky even with the right tool) this is the rear of the panel:


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Panel Removed:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Removal of mechanism :
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Front E clip:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Delivery of mechanism:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

It is the lower spring on the right:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Hope this helps someone out and I'll let you know when I find a replacement part and how it all worked out.
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Andrew A. Libby
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have re-shaped the teeth before using a dremel with a fiber-reinforced cutoff wheel. That might be worth a shot as well.
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yggdrasil
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:31 pm    Post subject: Parts help. Reply with quote

Anyone know where I can buy one of these at ?
Cant seem to find it anywhere onlline looks like its junkyard time.

EDIT:
Does this look legit?
http://www.ecstuning.com/Search_VW/251843604b[/url]
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vela123321
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew A. Libby wrote:
The usual fault is a fairly common problem with the later door design and both a PITA and fairly easily fixed. It starts to show up when the door will bounce back if you shut it too hard. Eventually it gets to the point where the door won't latch at all. The problem is caused by a very small spring in the rear latch mechanism that gradually loses it's tension. When working properly, that spring causes the rear latch to "catch". Without it being strong enough, the door just bounces back off the pin without catching (even tho it seems to work manually when you push the latch like you did). Pull the interior handle and door panel off being careful to pull from the plastic tabs with a putty knife or better yet a door panel removal tool. Once the panel is removed, remove the little circlip from the cable that runs from the front mechanism to the rear mechanism and pull the cable off the front mechanism. Then go to the back and use a 90 screwdriver (or a bit in a 1/4" wrench) to remove the two screws holding on the rear mechanism. Pull it out far enough to undo the circlip that holds the other end of the cable in place. You can then see the little spring that I'm talking about that pushes against the lever part that holds the latch in place. Remove it and use two pairs of pliers to really bend it out so that it is exerting a whole lot more force. Reassemble everything and give it a go.

I've actually been planning on doing a pictorial on it the next time I had to fix one. If you have a digital camera, you might take some pics and post them up for the next person who has that issue.


The Samba comes through again. This problem just showed up for me and I did a quick Samba search and your excellent and detailed post came up... Thanks!
Scott
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this seems to be a bigger issue in the winter too, not sure why though.
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guzyk
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:00 pm    Post subject: Try adjusting rear bolt/pin first with 15mm wrench Reply with quote

I have an 86 Vanagon sliding door that has always had trouble closing/staying closed. All sliding doors 85 and up use the same rear mechanism.

Easiest adjustment is the big bolt on the rear frame (center area of door) that the latch mates with when door is closed. On first glance it looks like a fixed frame pin but it is easily adjustable...and much easier to get to than the parts inside the door or under the sliding track.

Before loosening note the bolts current position by marking it with fine tip Sharpie or comparing position to the circles etched into the mounting plate, so you can see how much it moves when you adjust it.

Loosen bolt/pin with 15mm wrench, move it out/up a bit, tighten, try door. (since years of slamming the door probably have moved it forward/in a bit)

My door works much better now after this 5 minute adjustment...maybe now it won't open itself when I hit a bump.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just lubed mine and it started working fine.
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BillWYellowstone
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Try adjusting rear bolt/pin first with 15mm wrench Reply with quote

guzyk wrote:
I have an 86 Vanagon sliding door that has always had trouble closing/staying closed. All sliding doors 85 and up use the same rear mechanism.

Easiest adjustment is the big bolt on the rear frame (center area of door) that the latch mates with when door is closed. On first glance it looks like a fixed frame pin but it is easily adjustable...and much easier to get to than the parts inside the door or under the sliding track.

Before loosening note the bolts current position by marking it with fine tip Sharpie or comparing position to the circles etched into the mounting plate, so you can see how much it moves when you adjust it.

Loosen bolt/pin with 15mm wrench, move it out/up a bit, tighten, try door. (since years of slamming the door probably have moved it forward/in a bit)

My door works much better now after this 5 minute adjustment...maybe now it won't open itself when I hit a bump.


Thank!!!!! You!!!!!

I am on the road, in UT, this just started happening and progressively has gotten worse, I had tried a lithium grease and then it would bounce. With this adjustment it closes each time now.

Funny thing, I used the search and found this. Albeit among 132 other hits that had nothing to do with my issue. But, it was here.
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BillWYellowstone
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, not so fast... Yesterday the dang door not only popped, but rolled back to fully latched open. Back to bungie until a new latch is found I guess.

I am assuming the pawls which keep it closed are not catching properly. It will latch and release fine while open and a screwdriver shaft inserted, does not seem to want to release in any way.

Any chance these are available as a new part? Anyone in Tucson area know of a good place to maybe find a wrecker yard with one?
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, HElp?

Bus Depot says slider door latch NLA. Any surce for a new one? Concerned a replacement from junk yard may be 3 closes away from what I have now.
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BillWYellowstone
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awaiting deliver of a newer latch to replace, did a dry run today to see how easy or difficult, pretty easy. The second part of the latch shows wear, about 1 1mm burr, but dremel is not with me. Almost seems like the bulb seal around door is too hard to compress! Pushing really hard, and adjusting striker bolt out, it doesn't seem to want engage far enough. Hope the new part arrives soon. Bungee time still.
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yggdrasil
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:37 pm    Post subject: Deja Vu Reply with quote

As the op, this was the first repair i had to make to my van.
It recently went south, after 4 years ish..
I pulled the rear latch out yesterday to see if i could repair it somehow and I saw that one of the springs had snapped. I was able to rebend it and get it fixed but it failed after about 6 closes.
I've been looking for a latch with limited success.
good luck with yours.
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