The oustside sliding door handle latch is broken i think. it just seems like nothing is clinging to it on the inside. I took the door of and the inside covers off but to get to the latch seems like i have to take the whole door locking mechanism off so that it will drop down? any easier way?
Yes. It is a difficult job, but not impossible. The hardest part is actually removing the interior door handle. Here are the steps.
remove the interior door handle by pressing the door panel in and prying out the C-ring retainer clip
remove the lock slide switch bezel with 1 screw, then insert a blade on the bottom left of the slider between the slider and bezel, and release the clip, the slide the bezel toward the rear of the vehicle and pull out
carefully unclip the door panel around the lower edge and sides and lift the door panel UP and off
remove the interior lock slide switch with 2 screws
pull back the plastic vapor shield part way to expose the mechanism
there is a cable that runs from the mechanism to the exterior handle, unclip it from the door frame
there is a rod that drops down from the door handle to the mechanism, release the rod from the plastic clip
locate a large (likely black phillips) screw next to the door handle on the EDGE of the door, remove it
locate a 10mm screw on the inside behind the door handle, remove it
locate the final 10mm screw behind the handle through an access hole, remove it (careful not to let it fall inside the door)
the door handle will push out through the door part way- there is another C-clip securing the lock cylinder that will need to be removed, and the lock cylinder can be pushed into the door cavity
pull the door handle through the outside of the door skin- the door handle assembly is still attached inside the door by the latch cable- the cable can be easily removed from the handle assembly to remove it completely
you will likely find that the end of the door handle itself is broken off- don’t buy a new handle! Email me and I will show you my free and possibly better solution that will likely last the life of the vehicle dbonnell1972 at yahoo dot com
Dbonnell1972 provided the best "how to" that I could find. Permit me to share some "tweaks" that I had to deal with:
1. Removing the inside handle takes about 10 seconds once you figure out the technique. I had absolutely no luck with the metal pick idea. Here is what I did. First, remove the door lock bezel. Then pull the door panel off - you cannot remove it until the door handle is off. Then use a sturdy towel (warning: it will be destroyed in the process) slipped into the crack between the door panel and the handle. With the towel in the crack, and both ends of the towel pointed in the direction of the windshield, work the towel back and forth in a sawing motion until the clip pops off. Think in terms of flossing a tooth except both ends of the floss come out the same side of the tooth. Don't lose the clip. Here is the IMPORTANT DETAIL -- there is a nylon ring behind the handle. You have to get the towel between the handle and the nylon ring.
2. The Phillips screws that hold on the outside handle are VERY tight. Expect to destroy the head getting them out. Get replacements in anticipation. I used vice grips to get 2 of them out. For the 3rd, I used a dremel tool to cut off the old handle and used vice grips from the outside to remove it. You will see why when you get to that stage. In the process, I destroyed the gasket between the outside handle and the van door. Get a replacement in anticipation.
3. While you have the door ripped apart, I recommend replacing the rear sliding hinge (that roller that is located chest-high on the back of the door). If your slider has not started making that scraping sound yet, it will soon.
4. For me, half of the plastic door clips broke. Get replacements in anticipation.
5. Heads up on a re-assembly mistake I made. I forgot to screw the lock slide on before installing the door panel. So I had to disassemble everything again. It is impossible to screw on the lock slide with the door panel installed.
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It would seem there is nothing else to do other than remove the door panel with the door closed. Removing the seat is likely to be necessary.
Not always possible to remove the door card without damage.
The linkage system, from the door handle to the door latch, is disconnected somewhere, or broken. The door panel has to be removed, the linkage system have to be inspected, any the faulty part has to be replaced, and riconnect the linkage to the door handle and the door latch.
There is two bolts that hold the window slider thing in place. One just below one of the door handle nuts inside the door and the other is on the outside of the door (on the inside of the car). Once these are removed it enables you to move that mech out of the way to get to the other bolt.
I undone the 3 latch screws to give me a bit more movement in the rod that connects to the handle too.
This should give you enough room to get to that other nut and clip the rod into the handle once installed.
Once handle is installed simply just slide the window mech back up into position and bolt back in.