RangeRovers.net Forum banner

1 - 20 of 83 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The definitive fix for stiff P38A door handles. And, fixing why the handles don‘t retract fully.

My wife finally complained loudly enough that I had to dig into the door latch mechanism to find out why the driver’s side door handle was so much more difficult to pull than the other doors. I know this has been discussed many times, but I haven’t yet seen an explanation for why the handles become stiff. Well, here is the explanation and also a definitive fix that will guarantee that you will never have this problem again.

In a nutshell, a combination of wear of a plastic part (normal wear and tear) and close tolerances allows the key pivot arm in the mechanism to contact a metal arm that is cast as part of the door handle frame. The resistance in pulling the handle comes as this contact is made and the pivot arm is pulled over the metal arm. In addition, my door handle had a confounding problem. The roll pin that is the hinge for the pivot arm had worked its way out. I actually found it in the bottom of the door. Although the pivot arm stayed in place, it shifted downward, and the interference with the metal arm became worse. Both my wife and I thought the handle had recently gotten worse. The roll pin finally falling out may have been the cause of the worsening problem. The fix is simple: remove the offending metal arm so that it won‘t interfere with the movement of the swing arm. Oh, and reinstalling the hinge pin is also important.

Here is a pictorial of the problem and the fix.

Below is a shot of the door handle mechanism. When you pull the handle, the indicated thick bar pulls outward with the handle moving the pivot arm downward in a rotary motion. Notice the missing roll pin in my handle. I fished it out of the bottom of the door with a magnetic pick up tool.

010


And, here is the root cause of the stiff door handle. As the pivot arm rotates, it hits the metal arm. You can see how the missing roll pin makes the problem worse.

020


Even with the roll pin back in place, the pivot arm made contact with the metal arm. This is simply because of wear around the hole in the pivot arm where the roll pin fits. As the hole gets bigger, the pivot arm is able to contact the metal arm. The two are so close together to begin with that it doesn’t take much wear for the problem contact to start. That’s what I meant by close tolerances. I would say that this pivot arm should be made of metal rather than plastic.

Here is a pic of the polished contact patch on the metal arm. It’s been doing this for a while. Some grease will help the problem, but not solve it.

030


And, here is the solution. Get out your Dremel tool with a metal cut-off wheel.

040


The other option is to grind off some of the plastic from the pivot arm, but there is no need to weaken the plastic. Just cut off this metal arm. It’s not needed, at least in the driver’s side. If you look closely at the metal frame, you‘ll notice that it is symmetrical. The arm that I cut off is identical to the arm that the pivot arm is attached to. The part is designed to fit either the left or right door. To be used on the right side door, the door handle has to be flipped over, and the arm that I cut off would now be the arm that the pivot arm is hinged onto. Just cut off the unnecessary arm. No harm done.

Your P38A’s door handle will never become stiff again.

A brief word of warning if you’re trying to remove you door handle. You must unhook the linkage from the door handle’s lock tumbler to the door latch. This is not easy to do (at least it wasn’t on my Range Rover). The linkage is held to the lock tumbler by a clip that the pointed arm is pushed through. The pointed arm has a barb on it that catches on the clip and prevents the linkage from becoming disconnected on its own. As I used a screwdriver to try to pry the linkage out of the tumbler arm, I broke off the tumbler arm rendering the door handle useless. Actually, the handle will still open the door, but the key lock is useless. I’m going to see if someone can weld it back on. If that doesn’t work, I’m guessing this will be an expensive lesson.

Here is a blurry shot of the linkage arm in question. It is disconnected in this pic since I took it after I broke off the tumbler arm

044


Here are a couple pics of the broken tumbler. Bummer.

045

046


Brett
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Fixing the non-retracting door handles.

Now, on to why the door handles often don’t retract all the way. Basically, this is an unavoidable wear problem because the important parts are plastic.

Here is a pic of what I mean. The door handle stays proud of the rest of the assembly by a couple of millimeters. You have push it back in against noticeable resistance.

050


Here is the problem. The contact surface on the pivot arm simply wears away leaving a lip that the door handle part must slide over in order for the handle to fully retract. This lip creates the resistance.

060


Here is the possible fix. The first couple of images show the dip that is worn in the pivot arm. The third is my attempt at fixing it. I got out the Dremel again and used a small grinding wheel to try to flatten out the surface all the way across the contact area. You’ve got to take the dip completely out of the surface.

070


Here is another problem. The peg on the door handle arm is supposed to be round, but it also wears away and develops a sharp edge. I took a file to the peg to try to round it off again.

080


I put it back together with a good shot of white lithium grease on all the contact areas, and the handle does retract much better, but it‘s not perfect. The problem with grinding and filing away some of the plastic, is that you introduce some play into the mechanism so the handle is just a slight bit looser that it used to be, and it’s impossible to take up the slack. The only true fix, of course, is to buy a new handle that isn’t worn. I didn’t try it but greasing the mechanism without trying to grind away the lip may work for this problem.

Brett
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
523 Posts
Excellent post - really informative. I think this should be made part of the main site. My passenger side door handle has always been stiff, so much so that I too have had complaints form the 'other half'. In addition the handle sticks out sometimes - now I know why squirting WD40 into it has never made any difference.

One thing though - now that you have snapped off the arm from the driver's side key-operated lock does the EKA still work?

Cheers,
Chrisall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
This is indeed a very well illustrated and informative post. Thank you very
much. Superb job.

And of course, now that I KNOW what causes the problem, I am somewhat
back to where I was before -just ignore it. :( Too hard to fix!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
chrisall said:
Excellent post - really informative. I think this should be made part of the main site. My passenger side door handle has always been stiff, so much so that I too have had complaints form the 'other half'. In addition the handle sticks out sometimes - now I know why squirting WD40 into it has never made any difference.

One thing though - now that you have snapped off the arm from the driver's side key-operated lock does the EKA still work?

Cheers,
Chrisall.
I'm not sure what EKA refers to. All the locking works as normal. It's just that you can no longer unlock (or lock) with the key. I've had a couple of instances where the key fob remote stopped working, and I had to use the key in the door to restablish communication. If that happened now, I'd be screwed. So I'm avoiding locking the Range Rover for the time being.

Brett
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
vsolrac said:
And of course, now that I KNOW what causes the problem, I am somewhat
back to where I was before -just ignore it. :( Too hard to fix!
haha. "Too hard to fix?" Nah... that just means it's a worthy challenge. I am a little bummed about breaking the lock mechanism, but I'm confident it can be fixed.

We ignored it for a long time, too, but it got really bad. And as I said, that may have been because something else happened (the roll pin falling out). It's possible that without the roll pin in place, the mechanism will eventually completely bind, or the pivot arm will fall out of place rendering the door handle non-functional. I didn't play with it enough to see if I could cause that to happen.

Brett
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
ah hah!

another thing to add to the list of things to do :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,855 Posts
Brett San Diego said:
A brief word of warning if you’re trying to remove you door handle. You must unhook the linkage from the door handle’s lock tumbler to the door latch. This is not easy to do (at least it wasn’t on my Range Rover). The linkage is held to the lock tumbler by a clip that the pointed arm is pushed through. The pointed arm has a barb on it that catches on the clip and prevents the linkage from becoming disconnected on its own. As I used a screwdriver to try to pry the linkage out of the tumbler arm, I broke off the tumbler arm rendering the door handle useless. Actually, the handle will still open the door, but the key lock is useless. I’m going to see if someone can weld it back on. If that doesn’t work, I’m guessing this will be an expensive lesson.

Here is a blurry shot of the linkage arm in question. It is disconnected in this pic since I took it after I broke off the tumbler arm

044


Here are a couple pics of the broken tumbler. Bummer.

045

046


Brett
Regarding snapping the tumbler crank, then unfortunately you are not alone. I also managed to snap the crank on my own drivers door a few years ago. Here's an extract of my posting last year (http://rangerovers.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=74665#74665):-
NOTE: One thing I will say about stripping the old lock out of the door, be VERY CAREFUL when it comes to disconnecting the lock/unlock push-rod, from the 'crank' on the lock barrel (in the door handle)!! There is a tiny spring that keeps the push-rod connected to the 'crank'. It is in a pig of a position, you can't see what you're doing and you need to release the spring from both sides of the crank, whilst also releasing the push-rod from the hole. Anyway, I managed (with surprisingly little force,) to snap the thin die-cast-aluminium 'crank', with dire results. Aluminium welding wouldn't work (- die cast metal is quite im-pure). In the end I had to get a replacement door handle (- Discovery I think has the same mechanism), just to get a usable 'crank' for the back of the lock. $$ spent, lessons learned.
The one upside, being that the early Dicovery's appear to use the same handle, which should improve availability of the replacement and drop the price...

Brett, with the various components of your lock out, you aren't able to get a good picture of the retaining spring and how the: crank; spring; and push-rod, connect togethor are you? It may well help other people avoid the same fate, if they have a good idea of what they are dealing with and how to release it (- which was most of the reason why I ended up smashing mine).


chrisall said:
One thing though - now that you have snapped off the arm from the driver's side key-operated lock does the EKA still work?
Nope, it won't. The same crank and actuator rod, that is used to mechanically lock/unlock the latch, is used to drive the microswitches that are used by the central locking as well as EKA!..
 

·
FOUNDING MEMBER
Joined
·
1,322 Posts
Great solution, but losing the ability for EKA might be too big a price to pay...at least for me.

Good work, though.

Scott
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,855 Posts
skippy3k said:
Great solution, but losing the ability for EKA might be too big a price to pay...at least for me.

Good work, though.

Scott
You only loose EKA ability, if/when the crank on the lock-barrel is broken during dis-assembly. The push-rod (- connecting the lock barrel and latch assembly) needs to be connected, in order for the key to do anything (- otherwise the key is just rotating the lock-barrel). The crank and push-rod is what connects the mechanical input from the key, into the latch assembly. Once in the latch, this motion mechanically locks/unlocks the drivers door and by doing so operates the attached microswitches which are used in the central locking (- to operate the other door locks) and also used during EKA procedure.

To be fair, if you break the crank on the lock-barrel you've got bigger issues than EKA, as you have no mechanical way to get into the car, say for example if you get a flat battery....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
paul.adshead said:
You only loose EKA ability, if/when the crank on the lock-barrel is broken during dis-assembly. The push-rod (- connecting the lock barrel and latch assembly) needs to be connected, in order for the key to do anything (- otherwise the key is just rotating the lock-barrel). The crank and push-rod is what connects the mechanical input from the key, into the latch assembly. Once in the latch, this motion mechanically locks/unlocks the drivers door and by doing so operates the attached microswitches which are used in the central locking (- to operate the other door locks) and also used during EKA procedure.

To be fair, if you break the crank on the lock-barrel you've got bigger issues than EKA, as you have no mechanical way to get into the car, say for example if you get a flat battery....
Yep. If you remove the lock properly, the fix for the stiff door handle (cutting off the metal arm shown) is undetectable. No one will know except you and the next person that has the unfortunate duty of taking apart the door in the future.

Brett
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
My wife also complains, but I consider it a good strength workout for her!
Thanks for the write up.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,855 Posts
If you do unfortunately stumble into the trap of snapping the crank on the lock-barrel, then things aren't quite as bleak and expensive sounding, as your initial cursing will make out. Visions of handing over lots of notes with 100s on them, to men in LR shirts for a component keyed to your VIN number, are NOT necessary! :)

As stated earlier, I got another door handle from my local LR/RR indy shop and he told me it was off an early Disco. Now I don't know if the entire handle is shared with the Disco, or just the mechanism. Either way it didn't matter, as I just needed to transfer across the good crank from the replacement, to my handle, with the lock-barrel that is keyed to my remote/ignition.

Please excuse me Brett, but I've stolen/modified a few of your images...

In order to transfer over the crank, you need to split both halves of the lock barrel. The split that defines each half of the barrel can be seen here:

For those who don't know the location of the crank, it should be connected to the rough bit of metal at the far left of the picture above! The metal cross-section is only about 1.5mm x 11mm; it's quite brittle as it is cast; and is made of poor quality aliminium; all of which means it is weak.... :shock:

The two halves of the lock-barrel are secured togethor by teeth that engage in slots:


The teeth dis-engage (and thus the lock can be dis-assembled), when the lower casting is twisted about 30° in relation to the main handle. What stops the two castings twisting whenever they feel like it, is a roll-pin that is driven into a hole, securing the two castings togethor. The location of the hole/pin is:


You can try whatever you want to get the pin out, but I just drilled it out - start with a small drill and slowly get larger. Eventually it will come out in pieces. I advise you to start this work on the replacement handle first, then if you make mistakes, you know what to avoid on the original unit that is keyed to your remote/ignition.

Slowly twist the two components and separate - try to keep most of the barrel mechanism in the main casting (- less likelyhood of things going badly (= expensively) wrong.

To remove the crank from the lower casting, I think (- it was over two years ago), you need to turn it half a turn. However in order to do so, you need to release the self-centreing spring. Make a mental note of how the spring sits in relation to the casting and crank when correctly assembled.

Now, do the same procedure on the original handle, but this time before twisting the two castings to separate them, make sure you insert the key into the lock-barrel (- this keeps all the bits of the lock from jumping all over the kitchen table).

Re-assembly is the reverse procedure. However, now you need to get some form of pin secured in the hole that keeps each half of the lock togethor. I fortunately found some (very) small steel rod in the garage and used epoxy glue to keep it in (- touch wood, but it's still there 2 years later!).

HTH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Couldn't find a used door handle.

I threw in the towel and bought a new door handle. The first time a DIY job has backfired on me. But, I was pleasantly surprised that a new door handle with the lock mechanism was only US$80 from the dealership. I was expecting much worse

I called all around to local independent shops, and no one had one. Called a Land Rover wrecking yard, and they wanted $50 + shipping on a used one. Same on Ebay (I think the ebay ads were the same yard.). For $15 more I figured I'd get a new one.

Only problem is that the dealership says 3-4 weeks on the new handle.

Brett
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Here's another thing I found out today at the parts counter. You can buy the pivot arm separately. So you can fix most of the problems (particularly the non-retracting problem) by buying a fresh pivot arm.

I would still cut off the metal arm because it will become a problem in the future.

Brett
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,855 Posts
Brett San Diego said:
Here's another thing I found out today at the parts counter. You can buy the pivot arm separately. So you can fix most of the problems (particularly the non-retracting problem) by buying a fresh pivot arm.

I would still cut off the metal arm because it will become a problem in the future.

Brett
What's the part number? Is it the same on all doors (- front vs rear & left vs right)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
paul.adshead said:
What's the part number? Is it the same on all doors (- front vs rear & left vs right)?
That's a good question. Don't know the part number, and my guess is that it is the same on all doors, but that's just a guess.

Brett
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
My front passenger side door handle is giving my girlfriend wrist problems.

I would like to fix it but am wondering if i would be better off replacing it than fixing the old one.

1. If i buy a replacement handle, do i need to buy the latch mechanism, or is the problem only confined to the mechanism within the door handle itself?

2. Is this the part: http://www.roverparts.com/Parts/ALR8124G.cfm

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
pdxRR said:
My front passenger side door handle is giving my girlfriend wrist problems.

I would like to fix it but am wondering if i would be better off replacing it than fixing the old one.

1. If i buy a replacement handle, do i need to buy the latch mechanism, or is the problem only confined to the mechanism within the door handle itself?

2. Is this the part: http://www.roverparts.com/Parts/ALR8124G.cfm

Thanks
Yes, that is all you need. In my experience, the problem lies only in the door handle. Once, I cut off that unnecessary metal arm from my driver's door handle, opening the door was as easy as the rear doors.

Up to you whether you want to spend the $70. Like I mentioned, the stiff door handle problems develop due to wear issues. You can cut off the metal arm and work out the dip worn in the pivot arm and have a near perfect door handle, but not quite. It still has the wear from many years of use. (Actually you can buy a new pivot arm separately according to my local dealership parts counter, so cutting off the metal arm and installing a new pivot arm will practically give you a new door handle.)

The good thing about the passenger door is that you don't have to worry about breaking the **** lock mechanism. I'm still steaming over that.

Brett
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Thanks for your expertise on this issue. I'll try to buy just the pivot arm, and cut off the metal bit. Failing that i'll just try to fix what’s there. Thanks again for your write up, it should indeed be apart of the main site.
 
1 - 20 of 83 Posts
Top