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Bman Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:11 pm

Now that I have an 89 Bluestar Wolfsburg, I am entering unknown but knowable territory:

Power windows and doors. Are the power sliding door lock mechanism the same on a power and manual sliding door? When I say sliding door lock mechanism I am referring to this:

On my Bluestar the lock mechanism is all loose and wiggly, often times I have to manually hold up the interior locking knob to open the door. It seems that the mechanism is a self contained unit and will defy tampering with, so I assume I have to replace the whole part to fix this problem. The power door actuator has a short rod that attaches to an extra leverage arm on the lock mechanism, this seems to be absent on my manual door lock mechanism. Am I right in assuming that the above lock mechanism is a different part for manual and power windows?

Anyone know how to fix the sloppiness of the mechanism?


Bman Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:24 am

Well to answer my own question and to post for others trolling the wilderness of information on this site; I do believe that the locking mechanism is the same, but not the same. The ETKA (part number catalog) lists the right hand sliding door lock mechanism as part number: 251 843 654 D, and then lists a "Clip for vehicles with central locking systems" (fancy for power locks) part number as: 171 837 199. Although the ETKA does not show it, I believe it is talking about the arm mechanism with the eye in the picture below:

See how it differs from the photo above? The non-power one above is just upside down from mounting position, while the red one is showing the side facing outward from the interior in mounting position (that make sense why the housing looks different?); but of course you can either search for a lock mechanism for or without the eyelet arm on it, but never just the clip. So far as I have seen there generally tends to be a $30 difference between the power and non-power lock mechanism. Of course the short grey rod on the end of the arm attaches to the lock actuator.

Happy Hunting.

singler3360 Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:31 pm

Bman, you probably want to source a power-lock mechanism, but if you don't or can't find one, here is how I hacked the stock non-power latch in a '91. So far so good.

from this thread;start=20

Bman Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:17 pm


Thanks for your input, you know, not until I read your posts did I realize that I could just weld a salvage or homemade lever onto an existing lock mechanism; thanks for getting me to think outside my box.

However, the problem is that my existing power lock mechanism is all wobbly and so I need to replace it with a tighter unit, which now can include either a power or non-power unit.

singler3360 Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:36 am

Bman wrote: Singler3360,

Thanks for your input, you know, not until I read your posts did I realize that I could just weld a salvage or homemade lever onto an existing lock mechanism; thanks for getting me to think outside my box.

However, the problem is that my existing power lock mechanism is all wobbly and so I need to replace it with a tighter unit, which now can include either a power or non-power unit.

Welding would be much easier for sure. I look periodically in the classifieds for a power version but have seen just one so far. Also the rear hatch assembly.

derekdrew Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:36 pm

When you go to order a new door lock you will find that the old door locks are all superceded to 7D0 959 781A (or 7DO 959 781A). But to use the new door lock, you are supposed to use wiring harness adapter 701 972 390 (for the front two doors) or 701 972 390A (for the slider or hatch). But the harness is expensive and may not be available when you are reading this. And truth be told, you really don't need the external add-on harness if you understand the pin-outs of the new door lock motor. I made the following diagram of the wire colors coming out of the motor and they are in a row like this: Brown, Red, Yellow, and White. These then connect to the corresponding color wires in the vehicle harness as follows: The red goes to a single conductor wire that goes to a red wire, and the Brown Yellow and White wire go to a tri-connector wire housing that connects to a tri-connector wire housing that should already be in your vehicle with those three color wires in it. Just connect the three wires so the colors correspond. With that information, you would be able to make up your own little wiring harness if you were so inclined. Note that Red is not used in the sliding door or the rear hatch, only the front two doors. Below is my drawing of this.[/img]

If you are really smart you will ask which side of the door lock the brown wire is on. It looks like I felt you could figure it out by looking at the text that says "door lock side" but better test it just to be sure.

randiego Sat May 18, 2013 7:08 pm

Dude - I don't know who you are, but you saved my ass today with that wiring diagram for the 7D0 959 781A actuator :!: 8)

I bought the 'superceded' part a couple months ago brand new for $77... figured I was getting a deal... until I saw the old part, which didn't have a connector on the side! :shock:

I took the old actuator apart and used the harness from that one, soldered some blade connectors on, and installed it. It's not waterproof, but it will work until I can find the harness adapter.

Best news: My wayward locking issues are gone. :lol: :lol:

singler3360 Sun May 19, 2013 8:32 am

singler3360 wrote: Bman, you probably want to source a power-lock mechanism, but if you don't or can't find one, here is how I hacked the stock non-power latch in a '91. So far so good.

from this thread;start=20

Probably not cool to quote yourself but I thought a follow up to this post is warranted. I recently replaced this hacked manual lock with a power lock, complete with extension bar because the manual one started to experience the same problem described by the OP, the inside knob had to be lifted up while pressing on the handle, otherwise it wouldn't open. I thought it was because of my hack job but maybe not?

mbj Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:23 am

Hereís an attempt to consolidate and write down power front door lock repair steps for a Vanagon GL T3. (Mine is a 1991 Westfalia). Itís a little long, but Iíve tried to keep it to the point.

The problem(s) will either be the power lock actuator (motor) or a break in one of the lock wires. In my case, it was both. Google and read ďGoWesty Power Door Locks 101Ē for a good overview.

Remove the Door Panel: Itís held on by a combination of screws and panel clips. There are two Philips screws in the black plastic piece at the bottom rear of the door, one under the lever used to open the door (thereís a little plastic cover that forms the well under the handle that pops out from the front to expose the screw), and two under each end of the pull handle (the covers pry up from the inner edge Ė try using your thumbnail rather than a blade or screwdriver as the plastic is soft and is easily nicked). Once the screws are removed, carefully use a panel remover (e.g. TEKTON 5873), small pry bar or a flat-head screwdriver to pop the panel clips. Youíll need to disconnect a number of wire connectors for the speakers and power windows. I used a Sharpie permanent marker to number the power window connectors to make putting them back together easier.

Note: if the plastic bezels that hold your power window switches in place have a broken tab and the switches donít sit right in the door, this is a good opportunity to replace them. The driver side Power Window Switch Double Bezel - Left part # is 191919550A and the passenger side Power Window Switch Bezel - Right part # is 191919550.

Actuator: The power lock actuator (motor) is under the lock button. Carefully peal back the top moisture barrier from the rear. Donít cut it, you will need to put this back in place. Itís important to have an intact moisture barrier. The actuator is held on by 2 Philips screws (one is under the center foam pad - just tear through it with the screwdriver tip). There are 4 wires going into it via 2 plug-together connectors. The lock button connects via a simple J hook. If you want, you can take apart the actuator and try to clean and lube the inside. After removing the screws that hold the housing together along with the rubber cap, I used a thin-blade putty knife to work the side joint open. Mine was quite corroded inside and the little servo motor was in really bad shape, so I just bought a new one. The new replacement Power Door Lock Actuator is part # 7D0959781A. It has a different connector from the original and requires a wiring adapter part # 701972390. Because of the pin placement on the actuator, you really need to buy the adapter (rather than trying to jury-rig a connection). Swap-out is straight forward. Be sure to replace any tiewraps you cut, pulling the connectors tight to the inside frame so they donít interfere with the power window operation, then put the moisture barrier back properly.

If youíve got a lot of corrosion from moisture inside the door, itís a sign that your Front Door Window Weatherstrip (scraper seals) may need replacing. Examine them to see if theyíre dry and cracked and may be letting water inside the door. Each door uses two. Theyíre mirrors of each other (i.e. the driver door outer seal is the same as the passenger inner seal and vice versa). The part #s are 251837703 and 251837704. However, thatís another project. Weíre talking about power door locks.

Broken Wire: Wires usually break within the rubber protective sleeve between the door and main body, where they are flexed every time the door opens and closes. I understand breaks are most common on the driver side. Breaks can manifest as total failure or funky symptoms like the door locking, then immediately cycling to unlock (my case). Repair is a pain, but cheap (the cost of some wire and crimps).

Itís probably a good idea to disconnect the negative battery cable at this point so thereís no way you can accidentally short anything out as you probe the wiring.

Diagnosis - With the door panel off, carefully pull back the front portion of the top moisture barrier, being careful not to damage it. Remove the cover to the fuse panel, then remove the two screws at the bottom that hold the panel in place so you can pull the whole panel out about 6 inches and access the wires behind. Next, pull out the ends of the rubber wire guard tube that goes between the door and the main body so you can see the wires. It has a molded groove on each end that pops into place, so you just need to carefully pinch, push and pull to work the ends out. Look at the colors of the 4 wires that plug into the actuator. (Mine were red, white, yellow, and brown), then look for a wire bundle of the same color combination coming out of the rubber tube behind the fuse panel. About an inch out of the tube, they should run into a flat plastic connector (which proved convenient, though it is a bit of a pain to access). Pull the connector apart. There are 4 pins and itís fairly easy to see which wire goes to which pin. Now that youíve got everything open, take a multimeter and set it to the continuity test function. The icon looks kind of like a little speaker. When you touch the meter probes together it should beep. Clip one of the multimeter leads to the first connector pin on the fuse panel end. (I used a ĎAmico 10 Pcs Meter Colored Insulating Alligator Clip Test Lead Cable 10.8í. I also find ĎGardner Bender RTL-107 Accessory Alligator Clips for Leadsí useful for this sort of thing). Touch the needle end of the other probe to the wire connector end of the same color wire by the lock actuator and listen for the beep. Work your way down each pin / each colored wire. If you get a beep, you have continuity and the wire is good. If thereís no beep, the wire is broken. If you donít get a beep on any of the wires, youíre probably doing something wrong. Once you know which wire is broken, tug it from the fuse panel side. Itís probable that about a 6 inch piece will pull out from rubber tube (i.e. the break is mid tube at the max flex point).

Repair - Go to an auto parts store and buy some replacement wire of the same color. (If youíre going through all this trouble, do the job right and use the right color.) The gauge is 18, though 16 GA will also work. Youíll also need some ĎButt Connectorsí (22 - 16 gauge range) and a crimper. Cut open a coat hanger to use as a fish. Wrap some electrical tape over the end so itís not sharp and is less likely to damage the other wires, then push it through the rubber tube, starting at the fuse panel end. Youíll have to put a bend into it and work it quite a bit (carefully) to get it through. Once you do, use some electrical tape to attach your new wire along with a piece of nylon string and pull them both back through. (The string is a pull cord youíre leaving yourself in case you ever need to replace another wire in the future.) Trim the broken end by the fuse panel down to about 4 inches from the connector. You want to leave yourself enough wire to easily work with and have room for errors, but not so much that itís cumbersome. Strip about 1/4 inch off the ends of both it and your new wire and use the butt connector and a wire crimper to connect the two. Do not pull the crimp back into the rubber tube. Just leave a little loop with the crimp behind the fuse panel. Next pull the other end of your new wire through the door to the lock actuator end, following the path of the existing wire harness. If you have a lot of wire and need to cut it for the run, give yourself two or three feet to spare. Once your wire is run, go to the lock actuator end and carefully cut about a 4 inch slit in the protective sleeve of the wire harness to expose the wires. Cut your bad wire 2 - 3 inches from the connector. Size out and cut your new wire, giving it about the same slack as the wire harness plus an extra inch and use another butt connector to crimp the two wires together. Use your multimeter to do another continuity test and make sure itís good. Plug any connectors back together, re-connect the battery if you disconnected it, and test the lock both manually from the inside and with the key. (Remember, the door has to be closed for it to work ;-) ).

Finally, reconnect / re-insert the ends of rubber guard tube by pushing, pinching, pulling, and working them with your fingers. I didnít find the fuse panel side that hard to get back in, but the door side took some work. A little silicone grease helped. (You can use Vaseline, but itís generally not a good idea to use petroleum jelly on rubber.) Make sure it pops in properly and the groove seats ALL the way around. Finally, use some electrical tape to wrap / repair the slit you made in the wire harness cover, tie-wrap the lock connectors, harness and new wire back to the inside door frame neatly and securely (remembering that thereís a window that slides up and down in there) and put your fuse panel and door back together. Run your thumb along the edge of the door feeling for each panel clip and push them down individually. Remember there are a couple mid-panel too. Test both lock and power window operation. Enjoy the feeling of having done the work yourself.

I hope this helps. I want to thank everyone on The Samba for so many great tips. The amount of information available is wonderful. Thanks also to Ken from Vanagain dot com for the tips on dropping the fuse panel and pulling the rubber guard tube out to gain access to the wires.

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