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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old October 29th, 2004, 08:23   #1
koolhandtdi
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

Can't perform search...Drivers side door will not open from the outside. It opens from the inside fine. The latch or catch from the outside is not engaging far enough to enable it to open. What has to be done to fix this. Last time I had issues, I lubricated the hell outta it and it worked fine. This time, no go. I guess the question is how do I fix it and if necessary to pull interior door panel, how does it come off. Tried this A.M. before work and the top will not let go, felt like something might break so I quit.

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance,

Luke
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Old October 29th, 2004, 09:05   #2
grimlock
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

Quote:
Can't perform search...Drivers side door will not open from the outside. It opens from the inside fine. The latch or catch from the outside is not engaging far enough to enable it to open. What has to be done to fix this. Last time I had issues, I lubricated the hell outta it and it worked fine. This time, no go. I guess the question is how do I fix it and if necessary to pull interior door panel, how does it come off. Tried this A.M. before work and the top will not let go, felt like something might break so I quit.

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance,

Luke
oh joy, door lock problems. I've had my share of them.

To remove the door panel -- remove six screws on the seam of the door, 3 on the handle side, and 3 near the hinge side, pry off the plastic handle cover from the bottom of inside pull handle. The handle will have the window switch wiring and power mirror wiring in there -- be gentle of course...
There are two #3 philips screws, somewhat deeply recessed. Seems obvious, but at this point, you should have eight screws in total, six black ones, and two large gold screws.

Remove the black triangle plastic peice, top of the panel, closest to the windshield. It's almost impossible to remove this peice without damaging it. Usually end up breaking the plastic clips that hold it in behind it. Be prepared to buy a new one. I've only once removed it without damaging one... RB manual gives a procedure to remove it properly, but good luck.

Pull off the panel now, starting slowly, gently from the bottom then each of the sides. The top will be pain to remove, without forcing it too hard. Be firm, but and pull from each side, eventually it will give. I must emphasize to go SLOW, or you will/can rip your panel. I don't how much a new panel costs, but I bet it's a LOT!

The door handle is probably ~$100, my passenger door handle was $110 CAN, cuz of the damn electronics tied into it. Typical VW made the part integrated with the PCB -- so you have to buy the entire unit.

Remove the big screw on the door seam nearest the door handle. Handle should be free, push it forward and pop it out, wire will be attached somewhere. When you install the new one, make sure the window is rolled up. (ask me why I know this....)

From what I recall the left side door handles use normal threaded screws (righty tighty, left loosey) DON'T quote me on that. I do know that the right side door handles use the OPPOSITE thread. (ask me how I found out!)

The last thing is removing the lock cylinder from the old handle to the new one -- my parts guy did it for me. Be careful you don't lose the circular spring -- it can fly off... (small, could be lost easily)

Hope that helps.

Richard
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Old October 29th, 2004, 09:37   #3
GMCpatrick
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

Quote:
Remove the black triangle plastic peice, top of the panel, closest to the windshield. It's almost impossible to remove this peice without damaging it. Usually end up breaking the plastic clips that hold it in behind it. Be prepared to buy a new one. I've only once removed it without damaging one... RB manual gives a procedure to remove it properly, but good luck.
It's not necessary to remove the black triangle trim. The door panel will slide right out from under it.
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Old October 29th, 2004, 09:57   #4
chippie
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

I too have had my fair share of door handle problems. I just did the front passenger door last night as I was feed up with my family giving me sh....t about it, it didn’t bother me. Reading this forum I away believe that the problem was the door handle and broke the passenger handle by trying to bend it down. I believe the problem lies with the door catch itself. The lever that is on the door handle does not hit the plate on the door catch correctly and is bent down with use.

This is my take and this is what I am going to do to all my doors:

1. Remove door handle by removing a black allen screw just above door catch (correct thread on right side but the opposite way on the passenger side - I think). The handle comes out fairly easy but you have to pull out the rear (key area) first and then pull the front, which catches under the door skin. It is fairly easy but just takes a little jiggering. Now put your fingers inside and you will feel two plates (levers) that operate the door catch and the door lock. Find these and you can operate it to open the door and lock it. Make sure you understand what these are as it will be easier later on. Check the white plastic piece on the inside of the door handle. If this is broken, the door handle is the problem.
2. Remove door catch by removing black plastic cover and two allen bolts. This is the tricky part, pull out door catch and there is a black rectangle block that is connected to the back of the door catch. This is the lever for the door locks, this pulls away from the door catch but do not let it fall inside the door or you will have to remove the inside door panel. The door catch comes out at an angle and takes a little jiggering and you may have to remove the rod at the bottom that is connected to the inside door handle.
3. You will see the two plates that are on the top inside which you had your fingers on. Bend the door catch back up as I believe it get bend down with time.
4. Replace everything after lubing and I hope it works fine

It is not that bad a job but it has taken me a lot of trail and error. Like every thing once you have done it once it is easy the second time. I believe this the main problem with these locks and not the door handle. Hopefully this will save you $100 and not fixing the problem. I hope this works out and I wish I had known this before. I had the whole door catch apart and all the locking controls. I spent a hell lot of time on it but it works great now. I put the rear passenger side handle on the front forgoing the key, this saved me $60

Now if some one can tell how to take the inside drivers door panel off on a Mercedes E320 wagon to get to the window regulator
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Old October 29th, 2004, 10:12   #5
koolhandtdi
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

Thanks for the advice. I had all but the inside door handle off this morning and had to put it all back together to get to work. Sent my sweetie off with her lovely F-350 diesel dually 4x4...she knows how to pick 'em. She's usually got the Passat and I hate it when these little things come up but I guess it's the tradeoff for the mileage. I'll try the temp fix today and if no help, I'll buy the new handle assembly and stick it on soon. I would have tried the search to find info and really appreciate the advice you guys pass on. Whatever I can do to keep her on the road and keep the little lady from biting my head off helps...

thanks again,

Luke
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Old October 29th, 2004, 21:03   #6
TribalMinds
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

What if it doesn't open from the inside either? Am I doomed?
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Old October 29th, 2004, 22:14   #7
Rammstein
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

If it doesn't open from inside, remove the black button that helps you lock/unlock the door.

Take a pair of long nose pliers and pull gently upwards on the rod the button was screwed on.

I does the trick for my front passenger side door.
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Old October 29th, 2004, 22:27   #8
TribalMinds
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

Are you talking about the lock pin that goes up and down? next to the window?
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Old October 30th, 2004, 04:15   #9
RC
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

http://tdi.natescape.com/doorfix.asp

Thanks to Nate.

The short term easy fix is to lower the window with the key then open the door from the inside.
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Old October 30th, 2004, 06:05   #10
Rammstein
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

Quote:
Are you talking about the lock pin that goes up and down? next to the window?
Yes, the lock pin that goes up and down when you lock/unlock the doors.
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Old October 30th, 2004, 18:31   #11
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

Quote:
http://tdi.natescape.com/doorfix.asp

Thanks to Nate.

The short term easy fix is to lower the window with the key then open the door from the inside.
Someone came to a recent GTG with this issue, and that post was exactly the fix which was involved. The pin slipped out. We tried tapping the thing in, but something was holding it back....there is a ring it slides through. Took me sitting on the ground guiding the ring, with the other person knocking it through.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 14:08   #12
Tom_Phillip
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Default B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t open

So did you ever get the door opened ... I assume so. I have just purchased a '96 Passat TDI and the rear drivers side door won't open from the outside or inside and the passenger side rear door only opens from the inside. Can you give me some advice as to opening the drivers side?
---
Tom --- New to this forum
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Old October 19th, 2005, 10:49   #13
jck66
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Default Re: B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t ope

Tom,
If you're lucky, the "child safety" lock is engaged on the door that won't open. If this is the case, I have read that you can flip the little switch from the inside of the car with a slim object. Then maybe you can get the door open from inside and fix the outside door handle.

If you're not lucky and it's not the child safety lock, I can be of no help whatsoever. I can tell you that you are not the first one with this problem, so there is a way...

HTH
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Old October 21st, 2005, 06:22   #14
Tom_Phillip
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Default Re: B4/97 Passat...Door handle issues....won\'t ope

I was able to open the door quite simply. I took the handle off the other side, opened the window and studied the strike lever. I then took a metal ruler and bent the last 3-4 inches with a gradual arch and was able to easily depress the strike lever (around the back side of the window slide). The ruler went in about 8" before making contact. I practiced the procedure several times and then went to the other side and opened the door on my first attempt.

The door handle came out without a struggle and I used some of my wife's less desirable finger nail polish to paint the pin into place which I repeated for all of the other door handles. I sprayed some lub on all of the working parts, reassembled and I have 4 doors that are opening prefectly.

The only thing left is I have a few calls out to see if I can get door handle gaskets as all of the gaskets crumbled when I pulled off the handles.

I adore (pun intended) my new-used '96 Passat!
---
Tom from Concordia
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Old April 24th, 2012, 11:27   #15
mdtdiguy
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Default Door lock issues 2012

Well I just fixed my broken windshield and now an old problem has recurred.

My drivers door will not open from the inside or outside. It locks and unlocks. It used to do this once in a while and I could fix it by Jiggling the key in the door.

I have read this thread. So I guess I can just Pop out the door handles just like my old b3 to get at the lock mechanism since I can't open the door?
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