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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy,

My passenger side door won't open using the exterior door handle, but does open with the interior handle.

I can't find any details on this problem using the search feature, and my manual does not have any information.

Any help is appreciated.

Duke
 

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Hi Duke,

I would suggest removing your door panel to lubricate the linkages. That might be keeping the outside door handle in the locked position. You'll be surprised what a little grease job can do. Worked wonders for me on my driver's side door a couple years back.

Andre
 

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Tough to explain, but if you take everything part you'll see what I mean - there is a lever on the exterior door handle that pushes against the linkage inside the door, which in turn releases the latch. That lever, over time, gets very slightly bent in (and/or slightly worn), and it won't push the linkage far enough to actuate the latch. It has a right-angle bend, which can be slightly opened up, and that does the trick. On both my '74 and '87 Spiders this did the trick. It only happened on the driver's door, which is used maybe 20X more than the passenger door in my case, and now they open with just the slightest pull, which really feels nice (and new). Sorry I never took any pics, but hopefully you'll see what I've described when you get it apart. It's not that complicated, and with the door panel off, if you pull the door handle and watch the moving pieces, you'll understand the mechanism.
 

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Not to Hijack, but how do you get the door panel off- I know it cant be hard, but I could never find any screws etc to take it off.
Depends on the year (and trim level - i.e. Graduate, Veloce/Quad), but they all have clips around the edge of the panel, and some do have visible screws. Gently pulling the panel will pop those clips out of the door. On some, the trim panel along the top edge of the door has to be removed first. Of course, the window crank and interior door handle must be removed before the panel, and they either have hidden circlips or set screws, and the armrest (if present) will have some screws, too. There are several different panel types, and they're all a little different.
 

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sticky latch

I had the same issue and found that all it needed was a good dose of cleaning and lubrication in the door latch area inside the door, especially the big spring that makes the latch opo back. Once I was able to get the old dried grease out and a little new lithium grease in it works like new. In my case, I had the door panel off anyway so I could clean it that way, but you might try spraying something like WD-40 in the small hole above the latch mechanism on the side of the door and work the interior and exterior handles, do that over a couple of days to see if it helps. Taking the door panel off can be a real pain and you usually break some of the fasterners. There are a series of screws along the bottom of the door panel (at least on my '91), some of whcih are under the panel that covers the speaker on my car. Look carefully and you will see them. There are also two screws, one of which is supposed to be under a small plug, on the portion of the door handle that goes up the door at an angle (again, on my '91 at least). SOmeone out there should have a picture or schematic from the manual which should help.
 

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Lubrication may indeed be an (the) issue. But, if the door opens very easily from the inside handle, but just won't open at all from the outside, the adjustment I described is most likely the problem. Another possibility could be a sagging or misadjusted, door hinge, or even that little triangular rubber alignment block on the rear edge of the door. The proper diagnosis hinges (sorry, couldn't help myself) on the difference in how the door feels when opening from the inside versus outside door handle. When everything is just right, only the smallest effort (one finger) will be needed to open the door, and it will close with a crisp "snick" instead of a dull "thud".
 

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I agree with the logic "if it opens easily from the inside, it should open easily from the outside." All I can say is that in my case, the inside handle worked fine but on the outside I had to pull it all the way up and it felt like I was going to break something. After a thorough degreasing and regreasing, outside works like a charm. So I would say before bending anything do the lube route, which would have to be done in any event.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice to all!

Problem solved-

Took the door panel off, cleaned up the mechanism, lubricated, adjusted very slightly. As explained by folks on this BB- the door opens with one finger. (Index finger).

Thanks everyone!

Duke
 
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