Inside Door Latch Repair
The inside door handle actuates the door latch via a stiff belden cable -
on one of the 944s I care for this cable snapped (possibly a vibration induced
fracture, possibly a manufacturing defect - for sure it wasn't from being
pulled too hard) - dealers have to special order the part - got prices from
about $17 to $25 depending on who I called. Since I wanted it fixed NOW, I
repaired it with piano wire - works well - here's the procedure:
- Remove inside door panel. Unhook cable from inside door handle
("J" shaped hook) and release from retainer near handle
Note the next bunch of steps are just to get at a "C" clip that
holds the other end of the cable to the door latch - maybe with a mirror and a
screw driver and some luck you could unclip it directly and avoid all these
- Disconnect the lock and door handle linkages from the outside door
handle - these are both "ball" connections - I did this by
removing the handle and reaching down through the outside of the door with
a screw driver
- Remove two screws with 5 mm Allen heads that hold the door latch
to the door - suggest using a socket mounted Allen drive.
- Remove the black plastic vent on the edge of the door so you have access
to the interior.
- If you have electric door locks, disconnect the door lock and unscrew
the solenoid to get it out of the way
- Later cars have a metal plate to prevent reaching the lock mechanism
with a "slim-jim" - remove the metal plate (3 screws with 8 mm
- Remove the door lock assembly by dropping it down and then dragging it
out of the door.
Now we can get the C clip off
- Remove "C" clip that holds the cable to the latch assembly.8.
snap the cable housing out of its retainer (push towards outside of car)
Now go where you can work in peace
- Get some piano wire that is around the same diameter as the old wire -
stainless wire would be great because it doesn't rust. Make sure the new
wire fits through the housing without binding.
- old the old wire with a vise. Heat the end with the "J" until
it is a very dull red (not orange or bright red) - I use an acetylene
torch, but a gas stove or a propane torch ought to work. The idea is to
expand and soften the "J" but not weaken the wire too much.
- Once you have the end hot, grab it with pliers and with steady force,
slowly pull it off. Don't jerk it or you will break the wire. Put the
"J" aside to cool.
- Repeat above with the "O" (the part that was attached to the
lock with the "C" clip
Note - if you break the wire, it will now be fairly soft, so you can
drill it out with a small drill and a bit of care.
Clean the wire with some fine sand paper and apply a small
amount of Cyanoacrilate glue (super glue) to one end of the wire, and slide
on the "J". note that the glue will grab almost immediately, so be
quick when you start to slide the piece into place.
Insert the wire into the housing, applying some grease as
you go (I used waterproof grease because I had it handy, wheel bearing
grease should be fine). Make sure you get the "J into the correct end
of the cable (the one without the flange that clips to the door latch
Clean the remaining end, and apply glue and affix the
- Clean up the holes in the "J" and "O" pieces with a
small drill (preferably the same size as the new wire plus half or one
thousandth) and verify that you can slide the new wire into the cleaned up
holes.14. cut the new wire to the same length as the old wire
Now, reassemble everything and declare victory. Making the cable
was really fast - faster in fact than the time it would take me to drive to
the dealer and pick up a new one, most of the time was spent messing with the
door latch trying to get it out and then back in and connected again. There is
very little clearance and it's a real pain. I found that disconnecting the
bottom of the rear window channel helped because I could push it around and
get a little more working room.
copyright W Noble 2002