Friday, November 26, 2010

I Broke My Car

Both doors were frozen shut this morning. I eventually managed to pop the hatch, and scrambled in that way.

Then -- 'cos sometimes I am smart like that -- I tried to open the driver's door from the inside. Click! The handle flopped free. Door no open. Rolled down the window and the outside handle? Also flopping free.

The good (?) news is, the passenger door opened up on the way to work -- I'd tried it from the outside and I guess the seal warmed up. So it works.

The bad news, the driver's side door is well and truly broken.

The worse news? You can't get the panel off the door unless the door is open.

Oops.

23 comments:

Vinnie said...

Thaw the door out and open it from the outside.

DirtCrashr said...

No matter how cold it seems here, it's not - I hope you get it workin'.

Carteach0 said...

It's doable maam. Not fun, and not easy, but doable.

Roberta X said...

Vinnie: The latch mechanism inside the door is broken. It can't be opened from the outside, either.

DirtCrashr: thanks for the good wish!

Carteach, I am giving serious thought to buying a complete door at the local junk-, er, automobile recycling center, so I can learn what it is supposed to look like in addition to having a stock of parts.

Anonymous said...

Would an auto-thief's "Slim Jim" work?

Tow truck guys have them too.

Carteach0 said...

Yes, a good tech with a new version of the old 'slim jim' tool might be able to open the door without disassembling it first. That is always my first effort as well. It's harder than unlocking a door, but it's possible to do.

rickn8or said...

Cheer up Roberta; it's been said of me that I could break an anvil in a sand box and lose one of the pieces.

Wouldn't a repair manual show you more of what you need to know to get the door open than another door? At least you can read it indoors, where it's warm, rather than some windy salvage yard.

And I think slim-jim-ery is for unlocking the mechanism, not tripping the release.

Ed Skinner said...

Take it to the 'hood -- they'll get it open for ya'.

Brigid said...

Be thankful it's not a British manufactured Triumph product. You'd have to remove the transmission to fix the door.

Roberta X said...

This is an embarrassing admission (maybe) but I tend to get along well with British engineering. I did all the work other than nitty-gritty engine adjustment on my '74 MGB and electrical and small mechanical on my ex's '81 XJ-6. The way things were done always made good sense to me. --Take that as you will. ;)

Carteach0 said...

Did you just say....

Lucas electrics MAKES SENSE to you?

Data Viking said...

A similar event happened to me five years ago. Like your door, mine was required to be open for inner panel removal. Unlike you mine let me in but would not then completely open from either the inside or the outside. My local Pontiac dealer was able to open the door though. The 'fix' required a new door latch mechanism - in an otherwise stainless steel and plastic assembly the roll pin was extremely rusted carbon steel and wedged on a rust flake half-way between locked and unlocked (a tri-state lock -- what a concept !) -- what bean counter thought that was a good idea ? Acquiring a replacement door latch was an ordeal in itself - I finally obtained what was the last two (driver's side replacement, passenger side spare) remaining latches for my car in the entire GM parts system (one from the west coast and one from the far north) - not bad for a then 17 year old car.

Try your local dealer/body shop to see if they can open the door then see if cleaning and lubricating might be enough - it would have been for mine had I been able to hold it in my hot little hands before I authorized it's replacement. I accepted the dealer's judgment, which from his standpoint was the only good one and I agree, as cleaning/lubrication of a rusted and deteriorated part was simply delaying trouble. From my viewpoint it would have been an acceptable solution as I was not planing on keeping the car more than another year or two due to it's increasing age and the difficulty of obtaining specialty parts (like the door latch!) and I could always add a shot of lube to the door latch mechanism as part of my maintenance routine.

Ritchie said...

Faced with a similar situation, and limited expectations of re-sale, I might learn the location of the parts in question, then make an access hatch which could then be covered with tasteful hardwood trim, or leatherette over masonite. It wouldn't be the first time I've cut my way in.
Lucas electrics make sense from a 50s-60s British industrial viewpoint. Anyone need a Morris Minor shop manual?

D.W. Drang said...

Drangmobile is in shop for opposite reason--driver's side door will not latch shut. Though I was going to break my wrist coming home from work on Wednesday--those right turns were murder.
I was hoping it was the cold, though I was sure it wasn't--turns out it needs welding. :-(

Roberta X said...

I'll probably be talking to the dealer. :Sigh:

...And yes, Lucas automotive electrics generally do make sense to me, in part because they are often very "electric" and only barely "automotive" compared to American approaches.

CGHill said...

For a woman who works on a starship, not even Lucas, the Prince of Darkness, presents a threat.

I had this happen to my old Toyota Celica once, for pretty much exactly the same reason. The solution: force the latch with burglar's tools, pop open the door, strip the trim panel, replace the broken linkage.

Mr.B said...

silicone spray is your friend to prevent a reoccurrence. Spray some on a towel and wipe the door seals and their mating points on the door frame/door itself.

Since water doesn't stick to the silicone(or ice either), you should not have another occurrence.

YMMV

og said...

The Accent door inner is inboard of almost all the trim. it's not easy, and you might damage the panel a bit, but you can get a stanly Mini Wonderbar under neath the edge, and pry it out

http://www.stanleytools.com/default.asp?CATEGORY=HT+BARS&TYPE=PRODUCT&PARTNUMBER=55-045&SDesc=7%26%2334%3B+Wonder+Bar%26%23174%3B+II+Pry+Bar


Once out you can reach in and get to the latch assembly.

This works a Lot better if you remove the seat. I found it easiest to yank the bolts, run the passenger seat all the way forward, and lay it flat, then the drivers seat will come out. Then you can sit on the passenger seat and get at the door inner.

If the window is up, you can get at the fasteners for the outer door handle and pull the operating rod.

before you try any of it, see if you can get the inner handle off (I think on an accent it's onl;y one screw) and see if you can yank on the operating rod wiht vise grips.

Lucas electrics are easy to understand, as they all have only two states; on fire, and not yet on fire. Function is always optional.

Timmeehh said...

Having grown up in central Kanuckistan, I would have simply used a hairdryer to thaw the lock out first.

reflectoscope said...

Dow-Corning #3 for anything rubber, just a very thin matte coat. I mean, except the steering wheel unless you want your further driving experiences to be unnecessarily exciting.

Jim

PS - Why do the English drink warm beer? Because their fridges have Lucas electrics, too!

Stretch said...

I can't remember the name of the book but it was a re-write of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"

The Yankee "invented" the MG with the help of a blacksmith and wainwright. Seems the basic skill sets needed to make any pre-British Leyland vehicle. British Leyland vehicles, of course, did away with the skills.

Jennifer said...

Oh boy! Well you should be able to remove the inside handle and then pull on the workings to get the door open. Had to do that on a Bimmer once. That one just happened to be a convertible that required pliers to open the parade boot, but that's another story...
The stupid part about needed to open the door that way was that we'd recently had the panel off and had jammed the handle down while putting the panel back on. Of course we didn't realize it until shutting said door...

D.W. Drang said...

Well, it seems Government Motors makes door hinge bushings out of cheese. Soft cheese. Shop sent me to body shop, where they said "Oh, yeah, GM doors, happens all the time..."