PDA

View Full Version : Door won't open



Spit1500
11-29-2008, 06:55 PM
New to the forum here.... I just inherited a 1980 spitfire, and am unable to open the driver sider (left) door. It is not locked and I have tried using a slim jim to pull the door bar. Neither the inside door handle or outside door handle have any resistence to them. Do you have any thoughts, or other ways to get this door open am sure something is broken inside....

Thanks.

TR6BILL
11-29-2008, 07:00 PM
Park it near my son's house in the hood in the Irish Channel in New Orleans. Any of his neighbors could get it open in seconds. Slim Jims are for sissies.

On a serious note, I have no idea how to open a Spit door. How about doing it from the inside, and take the door lock down afterwards?

DougF
11-29-2008, 07:24 PM
You may have to remove the door panel and work directly with the mechanism. Once open, fix what's broken.

Spit1500
11-29-2008, 07:32 PM
Thanks, but the door stuck closed the interior panel won't come off, unable to pry off the bottom clips....

11-29-2008, 08:08 PM
If you can remove the outside door handle and look down inside the resulting hole, you will see a small tab of metal at about the 8 O'clock position. This is a release for the latch. Pull it toward you from the top of the tab. My '78 has no outside handles, so when working inside, I must pull this tab to gain entry. After the paint job is finished the handles will go back on.

If that doesn't open it, then slide the driver's seat back and try to remove as much of the interior panel as possible. The access holes are large, and you can see the latch and lock rods that go diagonally from the inside handle to the latch. One of these may be broken, or disconnected. I have managed to open the door on a similar Spit by using vise grips on the latching rod. I'd try it first on the locking rod, that may solve your egress problem.

Let's us know how you make out.

John

71MKIV
11-29-2008, 09:45 PM
It sounds to me like you are faced with the dreaded

both handles are broken

syndrome. You can't open the door, and you have to open the door to get the interior panel off, etc etc.

Here's what I did when faced with that problem.

You have to wind the window all the way down, and peel back the window seal as far as you can,

I used a peice of drill rod that was stiff enough to push the latch actuator where the outside door handle would push on it.

The only other choice you have is to trash the door panel.

guzzul
11-30-2008, 01:09 PM
Neither the inside door handle or outside door handle have any resistence to them. Could definitely be something broken or one of the control rods disconnected somehow. Could also be the latch mechanism itself in the side of the door is broken, in which case you are really snookered.

As you already know, you can't get the outer lock mechanism out without getting the inner door panel off to get at it. It bolts from the inside. You may be able to get at the lock control rods, however, by removing the inner door handle. Take the chrome bezel off and pull out the foam padding that may be underneath it and you should be able to see the workings of the latch and the control rods attached to it. If you can get at the the control rods you may be able to pull them out of their handle mounting holes and move them laterally using some vice grips. The upper rod actuates the lock/unlock mechanism and the lower rod works the door latch. You may be able to pull the rod sideways enough to unlatch the door.

The locking mechanisms on these are pretty crude design and rely on connecting links that are very fiddley. It could easily be that the latch mechanism is still 'locked' even though you turned the key or pulled the inner handle to unlock it. When locked, there is no resistance when you pull the outside handle. When you pull the inside handle it is supposed to trip both the unlock mechanism and also open the latch. If one of the inner handle rods is disconnected, or doesn't move far enough then maybe that's not happening. Unfortunately, nearly all of the mechanical bits that make this system work are either part of the outer door handle assembly or part of the latch mechanism in the side of the door.

The other non-desctructive alternative, as suggested by Steve, is to go top-down via the window opening and look for the lever that actuates the door latch in the side of the door. See if you can use something to push on it to open the latch. You probably have to remove the inner window seal to get at it.

Spit1500
11-30-2008, 01:43 PM
Thanks for all the advice... here is an update was able to remove the inner door handle to get at the rods connecting the latch :yesnod: and can work the rods but still no entry :wall: was able to pull the interior panel away a bit and also see the door latch is broken, some white plastic part is broken by the spring clip looks like there is a tab that can be pushed to hopefully open the door latch.. remove the passenger side interior panel to get a better ideal on how the lock works, am able open that door by both the rods and pushing on the white plastic tab.

Will work on this later today I hope....

Thanks again for the advice

Spit1500
12-02-2008, 12:13 AM
The locking mechanisms on these are pretty crude design and rely on connecting links that are very fiddley. It could easily be that the latch mechanism is still 'locked' even though you turned the key or pulled the inner handle to unlock it. When locked, there is no resistance when you pull the outside handle. When you pull the inside handle it is supposed to trip both the unlock mechanism and also open the latch. If one of the inner handle rods is disconnected, or doesn't move far enough then maybe that's not happening. Unfortunately, nearly all of the mechanical bits that make this system work are either part of the outer door handle assembly or part of the latch mechanism in the side of the door.



Success !!! looks like the locking mechanism was the culprit, after "breaking" the springclip on the outside door handle, I was able to move the locking mechanism fully forward with the help of a pair of curved locking pliers, I was then able to move the rod of the remote handle ... and it opened.... :yesnod: now I have to replace the parts that where broken, looking at Victoria British looks like I have to buy the entire outside handle to get the plunger and spring that actived the lock and opened the door from the outside? is there a cheaper way ?

I also have to buy the connecting parts to the rods on the inside handle but that is cheap compared to the outside door handle.

Thanks for the help

bluemiata90
12-02-2008, 07:55 AM
Congratulations on finding the problem, now to the solution of keeping the fix reasonably priced. As with all my older cars, I try to find a good used parts source. Unless it's a part that should only be bought new (starters, alt. brakes, etc.), try used parts. Contact your local car club and see if any members have a door laying around, go to ebay, check the british car used parts dealers. When dealing with older cars, you can save hundreds of dollars finding a good used parts source. If you have british car swap meets in your area, who knows, you might find a used complete door for less then a new handle. If all else fails, you can always buy it from one of the big three, but it will cost you. Good luck

12-02-2008, 03:18 PM
Here are two leads for you.......

Check out item #14027505000 in the British Masters Ebay store.

Also search at: Englishparts.com

That is Atlanta Imported Auto Parts, and I've found items there that I could find nowhere else. They used to have a plethora of good used Spit parts.

Good Luck
John

guzzul
12-02-2008, 06:20 PM
... looks like I have to buy the entire outside handle to get the plunger and spring that actived the lock and opened the door from the outside? is there a cheaper way ? First off, congrats on getting the door open.

As for the outer handle, I doubt you can find internal parts from major providers. As suggested in another post, I would look for spares at a local wrecker or alternately on ebay. There's someone selling a couple of handles right now for a reasonable price (so far at least). Check out ebay item number: 140285891588

As it turns out, I have actually bought from this seller.

While you wait - why bother with the lock at all if the outer handle works otherwise?

bobh
12-02-2008, 07:13 PM
The door on my car wouldn't open this morning. The last few days of rain left enough moisture on the seals that it froze last night.