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mightyart Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:42 am

The sliding door handle on the outside of a Vanagon has a nasty habit of breaking over time.
If your handle is flopping around, it is more then likely cracked or even in a couple of pieces.

The handle is easy to remove, once the door panel is taken off.
A philips headed screw is holding it in (the one kind of centered in the photo).

Once you get the handle out, make sure you save all the parts, the trim ring is NLA.
You can still get a new handle, but a used one will work to.
If you want to still use your existing key for it then your going to have to change out the lock.
It is held in by a small set screw on the side of the handle, you may have to dig paint or other stuff out of the hole to get to the screw, it is also wise to put a bit of penitrating oil on the screw and let it set for awhile, this is just to ensure that you don't strip out the screw and cause more work.

BE VERY CAREFUL for the next steps!!!
If the locks are like mine were, they are old and gunked up so when you extract them they should stay together, but be wary and take your time.

You want the little brass key things in the lock to stay exactly the way they are, there are also tiny springs holding the the key things in and they can go flying.
If your new handle came with a lock you're not going to use you may want to take this one out first to see how it works, or you could take both handles to a locksmith and tell them what you need, it's a simple job for a decent locksmith.
I cleaned the gunk out of my old lock and re-lubed it then set it aside, then I cleaned out the hole in the handle where the lock goes with some carb cleaner.

Then when everything was clean and dry I reassembled it, making sure the lock bar lined up correctly with the lock, then tighted the set screw, and reinstalled the new handle.
I tested the lock and the handle, and went inside for a nap.

?Waldo? Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:27 pm

Great writeup. Here's a couple of comments. If you have the key that fits the lock cylinder, then insert it in the cylinder. That way there is no chance of having the tumblers or tumbler springs fall out. It is also a nice handle for the lock cylinder. If you don't have the key to that particular lock cylinder but would like to re-key it, then you can insert the key you would like to use in the cylinder. With the key inserted, if it doesn't match the cylinder, there will be some tumblers above and some below the surface of the cylinder. You can swap tumblers around in order to get them all close to the surface of the cylinder and then use a dremel or similar tool to grind down any tumblers that still protrude above the surface. After de-burring the tumblers with mild sandpaper, assemble and voila, the key will now work in the lock. You can use the same procedure to re-key all of the locks in a particular vehicle to match any particular key. I currently have three vanagons and have seriously considered keying them all the same so as to only have one key for all three.

Andrew

wbx Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:30 pm

Hey MightyArt,

If you haven't put everything together, yet, could you take a couple measurements? I'd like to same some effort and not pull the inner panel. I was thinking it would be easier to drill a small hole in the panel where the screw goes and then re-plug with one of those pretty little panel clips.

Although it is late, and that is possibly not the best idea...

wbx Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:56 pm

Well i went and did my panel drill thing (which actually was pretty easy, and all i think i need to do is nip the end off one of the panel clip things and it'll look fine). I got the handle out, although i did note that most of the play seems to have been from the screw being slightly loose. I took the handle out anyway just to see what kind of shape it is in and noticed that the steel insert is indeed wobbling around ever so slightly.

Could i change my favor request?

Could you instead measure the length of the steel insert? I want to see if there is enough room to drill a hole and run a dowel pin to tighten everything up. I can probably get a rough guess going by measure how deep that screw hole is, but a real number would be nice.

Thanks,
-Damon

singlewc Sun Apr 29, 2007 2:41 pm

wbx wrote: Well i went and did my panel drill thing (which actually was pretty easy, and all i think i need to do is nip the end off one of the panel clip things and it'll look fine). I got the handle out, although i did note that most of the play seems to have been from the screw being slightly loose. I took the handle out anyway just to see what kind of shape it is in and noticed that the steel insert is indeed wobbling around ever so slightly.



A very interested observer is curious to know how you decided where to drill the hole. Seems like a good idea, and a chance to at least see if the screw is loose, is probably worth the hole, and some kind of plug/cover, since if that is not it, the panel has to come off anyway.....

I am just not excited to remove the door panel, as I am not real sure how to get a good angle across the bottom, and the rear side, to pop those clips off.

Thanks to mightyart for the pictures.

wbx Sun Apr 29, 2007 9:31 pm

singlewc wrote: A very interested observer is curious to know how you decided where to drill the hole.

The panel isn't really supported around where that screw is hiding, so i just kind of lifted up with a screw driver to see if i could see the screw (mighty's pics gave me confidence that i was looking at the right thing). I then marked how far in by marking how far in the screwdriver went, and how far up/down by eyeballing the centerline of the door handle. I was probably within 1/32 of an inch... basically i surprised myself how close i got.

And a correction to something you said - the panel does not need to be removed to take off the handle. Just loosen the screw and slide the handle out the outside. I was concerned about the screw falling down behind the panel, but it seems suficiently trapped behind the panel. That is if you drill the hole the same size as the other panel holes. I'll try and get some of the dimensions for you...

Make no mistake, i think fully removing the panel is a better solution as it gets you access to all those bits that could probably use a squirt of lube or two. Also, i don't know how all this applied to non-'84 westies.

-Damon

mightyart Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:32 am

wbx wrote:
Could you instead measure the length of the steel insert? I want to see if there is enough room to drill a hole and run a dowel pin to tighten everything up. I can probably get a rough guess going by measure how deep that screw hole is, but a real number would be nice.


7/16ths or just shy of a 1/4 inch, that is the lenth of the peg inside the handle part.
The whole sqaure peg is 1 1/16"

Karl Mon Apr 30, 2007 7:39 am

Didn't I send you that NLA trim ring with the handle?

mightyart Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:03 am

Karl wrote: Didn't I send you that NLA trim ring with the handle?

Yes you did, and it's hidden away with all my other NLA stuff, Thanks for the quick shipping and good price , your check is in the mail, (no really it is, I sent it out late Sat. :lol: )

wbx Mon Apr 30, 2007 9:20 am

mightyart wrote:
The whole sqaure peg is 1 1/16"

Awesome... thanks. I see a drill press and a couple dowel pins in my handle's future. I'll take a couple pictures to add an alternate method to this thread.

-Damon

singlewc Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:42 am

wbx wrote: mightyart wrote:
The whole sqaure peg is 1 1/16"

Awesome... thanks. I see a drill press and a couple dowel pins in my handle's future. I'll take a couple pictures to add an alternate method to this thread.

-Damon

I know at least one person who will be interested in the outcome of your adventure. <g>

Mine is an 81, and when I peeked behind the panel, to see if I could locate the screw for the outer handle, I was met with a piece of sheet metal that covers that whole area where the handle/lock is attached...... <confused emoticon goes here>

Guess the panel has to go, to get a good look at all of this, but I will wait and see how you make out, continuing to reach in from the passenger door, to limit the stress on the handle....

John

psych-illogical Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:41 pm

mightyart wrote: 7/16ths or just shy of a 1/4 inch, that is the lenth of the peg inside the handle part.
The whole sqaure peg is 1 1/16"

The Math Police are in tha house.

7/16ths is just shy of 1/2". 7/32" woulc be just shy of 1/4".

wbx Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:13 pm

singlewc wrote:
I know at least one person who will be interested in the outcome of your adventure. <g>

Not sure what to say about the difference in sheetmetal (although it is surprising...).

Here is what i did to my handle over lunch:

1) the handle is still intact with no cracks, but the metal (square bit) is definitely very slightly wobbly and it is pulling away from the aluminum.


2) all i used was a drill press, grinder, and a hammer. I did go a little more in-depth than i needed to, but only because there is a machine shop here at work.


3) I counterbored where the handle transitions from thick to thin, and also used an 1/8" hardened steel pin (i think that was a mistake). I also pressed in a 1/16 roll pin (which i think i'll swap out to a straight pin after work) for good measure.



The insert is definitely solid now, and i just hope i didn't cause more harm than good. I'm imagining installing it and it snapping off in my hand after the first use. :roll: I'm sure it'll be fine, though.

singlewc Mon Apr 30, 2007 5:25 pm

wbx wrote:

Here is what i did to my handle over lunch:

The insert is definitely solid now, and i just hope i didn't cause more harm than good. I'm imagining installing it and it snapping off in my hand after the first use. :roll: I'm sure it'll be fine, though.

wbx,

That is great stuff, good pics. I am encouraged, and it looks like my door panel will be coming off sooner than later. I actually park my air cooled van for the three hottest summer months, and that is when the CV boots will get replaced, and now the handle is gonna get a look. I am excited to think I may be able to salvage it, and get back to where I don't freak when my kids mistreat it :-) Of course, maybe not, but it sure looks like I need to pop mine out, and find out what is really going on.

Until this thread, and yours and mightyarts pics, I thought the entire mechanism pretty well always had to be replaced once the handle started drooping, so its an eye opener to see that maybe that is not always the case.

Mucho obliged for that good stuff.

John

haggardrob Wed May 09, 2007 6:57 pm

my handle got broken off a few months ago, and ive had a helluva time looking for a replacement one. :evil: and im hoping that I can still use my old lock in the new handle. This post with the pictures will defenatly be a help when i finally get that handle...

thanks mightyart

singlewc Wed May 09, 2007 7:26 pm

haggardrob wrote: my handle got broken off a few months ago, and ive had a helluva time looking for a replacement one. :evil: and im hoping that I can still use my old lock in the new handle. This post with the pictures will defenatly be a help when i finally get that handle...

thanks mightyart

Busdepot has 80-85 model handles, with keys, at the moment, and a note that there will be no more..... $80..... ouch.

haggardrob Wed May 09, 2007 8:42 pm

yahh one local shop (bunny and bugs in Chiliwack B.C.) they wanted $130!!! and that was for a used handle+no lock (I think :P ) and they had like 5-8 vanagons sitting out front.jeez. One place in northvan wants $20 but thats a long drive...

Moonunit Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:02 pm

mightyart wrote: The sliding door handle on the outside of a Vanagon has a nasty habit of breaking over time.
If your handle is flopping around, it is more then likely cracked or even in a couple of pieces.

The handle is easy to remove, once the door panel is taken off.
A philips headed screw is holding it in (the one kind of centered in the photo).

Once you get the handle out, make sure you save all the parts, the trim ring is NLA.
You can still get a new handle, but a used one will work to.
If you want to still use your existing key for it then your going to have to change out the lock.
It is held in by a small set screw on the side of the handle, you may have to dig paint or other stuff out of the hole to get to the screw, it is also wise to put a bit of penitrating oil on the screw and let it set for awhile, this is just to ensure that you don't strip out the screw and cause more work.

BE VERY CAREFUL for the next steps!!!
If the locks are like mine were, they are old and gunked up so when you extract them they should stay together, but be wary and take your time.

You want the little brass key things in the lock to stay exactly the way they are, there are also tiny springs holding the the key things in and they can go flying.
If your new handle came with a lock you're not going to use you may want to take this one out first to see how it works, or you could take both handles to a locksmith and tell them what you need, it's a simple job for a decent locksmith.
I cleaned the gunk out of my old lock and re-lubed it then set it aside, then I cleaned out the hole in the handle where the lock goes with some carb cleaner.

Then when everything was clean and dry I reassembled it, making sure the lock bar lined up correctly with the lock, then tighted the set screw, and reinstalled the new handle.
I tested the lock and the handle, and went inside for a nap.

OK I got the lock cylinder out of the wasted old handle, of course the spring had probably fallen down into the door or something and I never knew there was one until I took apart the new used handle and the spring came off the cylinder.

I spent some time trying to figurer out how it went back in. Only after finding this post was I able to confirm that I had it right, however, when I insert the cylinder back into the new old handle it doesn't rotate all the way around as it should, and of course there is no way it can! The cylinder stops rotating when it hits the end of the spring.

What am I missing here? Thanks for any suggestions.

Moonunit Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:26 pm

Bimp

Moonunit Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:48 am

Would it help if I posted a pic? Maybe someone could tell me what exactly is the purpose of that spring :?



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