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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I know this has come up before, but couldn't find anything in the search about it. My driver's door latch freezes up in cold weather. It froze up Sunday and when it does, the central locking system won't let the other doors unlock. The locks come up, then go right back down again. I played with the locking mechanism until I was able to get in through the front passenger door, take off the upper inner door panel (with the door closed) on the driver's door and push the latch lever down to open the driver's door. This is at least the third time I have had to do this and wonder if anyone has a permanent solution to this problem. Last time I had the problem I lubricated the lock mechanism with lithium grease, but now with the cold weather, the problem has returned. One other thing, is I washed the car Saturday, then we had freezing weather overnight. I don't know if there is something that is actually freezing in there, but would appreciate any suggestions.


Joseph
92 164L
 

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> take off the upper inner door panel (with the door closed)

how did you manage this (door closed) ??


Over many years i have problems opening the doors in winter:

1) door handle is frozen and can not be operated (without brutal force...).
2) lock is frozen: you can not turn the key in the lock.
3) locking mechanism is frozen: as you described.
4) some time the door itself is frozen and can only opened by force.

Washing the car causes all above mentioned problems, also snowfall over night on the driven car.
 

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In most cases, a different lube should be used, one which does not include grease of some kind. Better to use a silicone or Teflon spray, or a light oil (Three in One?) which won't turn sludgy or solid in very cold weather. Also, treat the door seals to the spray or wipe on silicone/Teflon stuff. This will help keep the door seals from sticking.

Also, of course washing the car will cause this as well. Better to not wash the car, yada, yada,, yada, unless you have to drive the car on salty roads in the winter. You end up being between a rock and a hard place, ie, doors being frozen shut, or the car rusting away before your very eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
> take off the upper inner door panel (with the door closed)

how did you manage this (door closed) ??

I took out the two large screws that are on the bottom of the armrest, angled upwards. Then pull the inner door release back to take out the third large screw and another small one. Then you can lift the upper door panel up and the armrest will come out also. The front of it is being held in place with a spring clip it slips into.


Joseph
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Discussion Starter #5
"Also, of course washing the car will cause this as well. Better to not wash the car, yada, yada,, yada, unless you have to drive the car on salty roads in the winter"

Del,
Yeah, I know I shouldn't have washed it...but yes, I do have to drive it on salty roads. I'm just trying to figure out exactly what is freezing up. I didn't have a problem with the door seals, just the latch. I'm going to take the one out of my parts car and examine it closely to see if I can see just what is happening. Is there maybe a rubber boot that covers the latch to keep water from getting in and it has disintegrated?

Joseph
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I'm not sure that water can be kept out 100%, nor do the manufacturers expect it, as you will notice that car doors have drain slots in the bottom, and usually there is a plastic sheet sealing the door cavity from the inside decorative panel.

I think that proper lubrication is the key, unless a part is seriously worn, meaning that grease shouldn't be used, as that can get stiff in very cold temperatures. I use "Three in One" oil in the mechanisms when I go in there, and silicone spray on the seals and window channels (very important for this to avoid breaking the window raising/lowering mechanisms). I also use the Three in One for the hood and door hinges, and the exposed bushing for the hvac blower motor, behind the false firewall.

Too bad you have to drive the car in the winter on salty roads. Many try to avoid doing that and the resulting rust, as seen in many BB photos of the drive train and body structure.

When I drove my 75 Alfetta in DC for several years, it rusted before my very eyes, whereas out here, that didn't happen to our 78 sedan in 180k miles. We have no salt worth talking about in the winter, and the continual rain washes it away anyway, lol. Granted, the newer cars are much better protected, but still, the pictures show the resulting rust.

Don't you have a wintertime beater, lol?
 

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NEVER wash a car in freezing weather. And I do mean never.

Water cannot be kept out of the doors except by draining out of the bottom. All car doors have a series of drain slots or holes in the bottom edge, often at the weld seam between the outer door skin and the inner door frame. Check with something plastic like heavy duty string trimmer string to allow you to vigorously clean the slots from below without scratching the paint. Take any paint off there and rust will soon follow.

I owned a Jaguar X Type with blocked door drain slots and you could hear sloshing of water as you drove! String trimmer string cleaned those out nicely as the water flushed the crud out as soon as the slots were opened up.

The plastic sheeting inside the door is so affixed as to deflect water infiltrating the top window "seal" (actually just a water scraper) towards the back side of the outer door skin and away from all the interior components of the door especially the door cards.

If you wash the car and it freezes your doors will freeze shut. Sometimes the rubber door seals freeze to the metal frame and tear as you open the door. The lock cylinders often freeze up.

Just don't do it.
 

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Alas, for those who either have to or insist on driving their Alfas on salty roads, it is a huge problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Don't you have a wintertime beater, lol?

Not really a beater, but a 2005 Chevy 4x4 pickup with a plow, so I will be driving that a lot of the time this winter.

Joseph
 

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That will work.

Warren, Maine, eh. Know that area well, as my father's grandparents came from north of there in Belfast and the Monroe/Dixmont area, originally up from Kittery, where they settled from England/Scotland in the late 1700's. Gouldsboro further north was founded by one of my ancestors.

They eventually resettled to western North Dakota after the turn of the century. Ask me if I'm glad they moved from there, although the land all the Bakken oil is coming from was their land, alas. I coulda been rich!!

We used to drive up along the Maine coast every fall, eating nothing but lobster, yum (I know, you are probably tired of it, lol).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Del,
Yes, lobster is easier to get here than about anywhere else, and I do love eating it. We're right next to Rockland, which bills itself as Lobster Capital of The World.

Just about every time we have it, I think, we really should do this more often.

Joseph
 

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Alas, for those who either have to or insist on driving their Alfas on salty roads, it is a huge problem.
In damp climates you are in a quandary. Where I am you just keep the car dry and cold and the salt causes no problems.

If you garage the car in winter then either don't heat the garage or heat it to at least 10C to keep the inside of the garage as dry as possible.

It's not the salt but the water in the salt. So, as long as temperatures stay well below freezing and relative humidity stays fairly low the salt causes no rusting.

Where I am this is not a big problem. In the Pacific NorthWest I'd be looking for heated parking within a few blocks of the car wash!
 

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In PNW, it's not a problem...very little snow, very little salt and above freezing 95% of the winter. Doors don't freeze, bodies don't rust. Just no sun:)
 

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No 5 foot drifts of snow either, luckily.
 

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Here is my door latch story, since adjusting the striker post on body 2 years ago, I have not had a recurrence...

My drivers door was locked and wouldn't open - the inner and outer latches inoperative.
The lock post would not travel high enough to the unlock position when I attempted to unlock with the key or the lock/unlock button on the console.

If you play with an open door you will see that the jaws on the lock that clamp over the door stiker have 3 positions marked by clicks and definative travel positions. Fully open, 3/4 closed and fully closed. When the jaws are fully closed they completely surround the door striker. When the jaws are fully open the door is free to open. When the jaws are 3/4 closed (door ajar? position) the door latches are inoperative, the lock post will not travel normally and feels spongy. Door lock will not travel to the unlock position. My door was closed with the jaws stuck in the 3/4 closed position.

First, following someones advice, I applied pressure to the outside of the door pushing the door inwards and trying to operate the outside latch and after a few tries the door opened. Then I took the doors apart and sprayed WD40 and lithium grease all over the place - all of this was UNNECESSARY. Then I played with the doors and determined the 3 stage action described above. It is possible to see all the possible operations of the locks by operating the jaws and the locking post without taking the door apart.

I had noticed earlier that the door was closing past flush with the post between the front and rear doors. Adjusting the door striker outwards and applying a bit of grease to the lock jaws ensures the fully closed position is achieved. After 1000's of openings and closings the door striker had been bumped inwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sbarham,
Interesting problem yours developed. I think mine has been caused by water getting in and freezing the lock assembly. I took another look at the lock assembly today and can see the remains of a very thin rubber boot that had disintegrated. I was considering packing it with brake system grease, but didn't look like it would get in where it needed to be. So I I took Del 's advice and used 3-in- 1 oil. I'll see if I get through the winter without it locking up again.

Joseph
 
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