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'90 Horizon rear doors won't open

Discussion in 'L: Horizon/Omni, Rampage, etc' started by Brian_R170, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. Brian_R170

    Brian_R170 New Member

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    My mom told me yesterday that both rear doors on her '90 Horizon won't open. One stopped working this summer and the other more recently. The car doesn't have power locks (not sure any of them did, but thought I'd mention it). Pulling either the inside or outside handle does nothing and both seem to move easier than they should. I'm assuming a linkage is broken or disconnected. I remember when they worked they opened at the very end of travel of the outer door handle and have been that way for a long time. I'll probably drive over to check it out this weekend, but I have a couple of questions.

    1. If it's a broken linkage, is it going to be repairable? I'm speculating some plastic piece is broken and sometimes that stuff isn't easy to find.

    2. How can I get the door open to work on it? Can the interior door panel be removed with the door closed?

    Thanks for any advice
     
  2. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    Do they still open from the inside handles? The inside panels can be unfastened from the inside. The rear seat cushion can be unfastened from the floor to make more room, it is just easier if you can get the door open to do this.
    Usually the latches freeze up from non-use and the linkage can pop off when trying to lift the outside handle. It may just need reattachment and lubricating if the plastic clip isn't broken.
    The cast metal outside handles themselves can break. This used to be common. Replacement handles used to be sold in the Dorman HELP! section about 20 years ago. I believe that all 4 handles are the same part#.
    http://www.autozone.com/repairguide...rior/Outside-Door-Handle/_/P-0900c15280064d68
     
  3. floridaman2013

    floridaman2013 Active Member

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    All the FWD cars back then have an adjustment slot on the latch side of the door just below the door jam latch, I think it is a 5/32" allen screw? This is for adjusting the rod linkage and make it easier to open the door without straining the linkage. Most people don't know about this and just keep pulling up on the door handle until they either stretcth the linkage or breake the handles. We sold a lot of handles in the winter time from freezing. Read this in a Factory sercive manual procedure on latch adjustment.
     
    Bob Lincoln likes this.
  4. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    The Omni/Horizon also had a lube hole in the latch ratchet. A small hole that you could stick a nozzle into and spray.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Brian_R170

    Brian_R170 New Member

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    Thanks! My Haynes repair manual says this about the latch adjustment:

    I think this implies that if the latch isn't properly adjusted, the door handle is going to sit noticeably away from the door. If that's the case, it should be easy to tell if this is the problem. I'm concerned that she said both interior and exterior handles are really easy to move compared to when they worked, which could mean the linkage isn't even attached.

    Still, the problem will be getting the rear door open to make the adjustment. I was thinking of fabricating a "slim-jim" to grab the linkage, but without knowing exactly how the linkage is routed in there, I don't want to try it for fear of making things worse. Maybe pulling the panels from the inside with ImperialCrown's advice is still the safest way to go.
     
    #5 Brian_R170, Dec 27, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014
  6. Brian_R170

    Brian_R170 New Member

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    She said no.

    OK, that makes me feel like this might be feasible, but what if the clip is broken? Are they available, or can I make something?

    Thanks! I do remember seeing them in auto parts stores before.
     
  7. ImperialCrown

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    Bob Lincoln likes this.
  8. Brian_R170

    Brian_R170 New Member

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    Awesome! The car spends all of it's time outside in the Phoenix heat. It is parked in a carport, so it's shaded most of the day, but small plastic parts tend to get brittle and break. I'm expecting those little clips will be broken and if not, it may be a good idea to replace them anyway.
     
  9. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    No, the latch adjustment does not affect how the handle sits. And it only affects the outside handle. The inside handle should still work if this adjustment is bad. I think something inside is broken or disconnected.
     
  10. ImperialCrown

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    Typically a latch that is out of adjustment or dry will usually only unlatch the door if the outside handle is lifted all the way up to its end-of-travel. A properly adjusted latch only needs a small amount of lift on the outside handle in order to unlatch the door.
    A well lubricated latch mechanism is important for both the inside and outside handle.
    It is also possible to bend the handle-to-latch links over the years from stiff mechanisms. In this case the linkage would have to be straightened to operate the latch properly.
    http://www.autozone.com/repairguide...uide/Exterior/Door-Latch/_/P-0900c15280064d5d
     
  11. Brian_R170

    Brian_R170 New Member

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    Realize this thread is almost a year old now, but I have a directly related question. I fixed the two rear doors with the help of the previous answers. Big thanks! It turned out that the exterior handles were broken and the doors could be opened using the inside handle. My mom had previously said she tried to open them from the inside and they didn't open, but she's 73 and trying to reach back at an awkward angle and I think she just didn't pull hard enough.

    Anyway, last week, she told me the front passenger door didn't open and the handle was again broken on the outside. I had previously bought all 4 handles and 4 clips that ImperialCrown pointed me to, and I replaced the two exterior rear handles and adjusted the two front handles. So, I still have 2 handles and 4 clips and thought I had it covered. Well, this time, the interior door handle doesn't work and the door doesn't open. I didn't try to pull the interior door panel yet because I remember that when I tried to pull the rear panels, I couldn't get them loose from the top of the door where they touch the window (I just left them attached at the top hinged them out about 75 degrees to work on the handles. With the front door closed, I can probably get the panel loose, but the dash blocks the front and I'm not sure I would be able to tilt it up to get access even if I remove the front seat. If I can get the panel clips loose, can I also get it loose at the top so I can pull it straight up and out of the way?
     
  12. ImperialCrown

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    When a door doesn't open from inside or outside, it can be tough getting the door trim panel off for door latch service. Remove the inside pull handle, window crank, etc. Release the clips around the door trim. With the window rolled down, try lifting the door trim panel straight up and out. Try to lift the trim panel up at the rear and then get it out from between the dash and the door.
    Shine a light into the door. You should be able to manually trip the latch to unlatch and open the door with a long, thin screwdriver prying up on the outer latch dog from inside the door.
    Replace the broken handle and make sure that all the latch linkage is connected.
    On my link in post # 4, they show the 'Latch Rachet'. You will see a small hole for a spray can nozzle to fit into. If you have a spray can of grease or lube, give it a spray into the hole and then work the mechanism repeatedly to get it freed up. Make sure that the inner and outer latch half mechanisms are well oiled.
     
  13. Brian_R170

    Brian_R170 New Member

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    Thanks again! I will try it this weekend and see what I can do. You are definitely correct about the lubrication. That was the main problem with the rears. The whole latch mechanism was gummed up with dried-out grease and dust and hardly moved even after adjustment. When I lubed everything and worked it several times, it was a night and day difference.
     
  14. 68RT

    68RT Well-Known Member

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    If you keep the lube fresh, the doors open very easy and the outer does not break.
     
  15. Brian_R170

    Brian_R170 New Member

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    Update on the front passenger door. I was able to get the panel off without opening the door. The exterior handle was broken, but nothing was broken or disconnected on the inside. I pulled all of the levers in combination with pushing on the door but nothing made any difference. I soaked the mechanism by spraying WD40 all over it and let it sit for an hour and pulling the interior handle still seemed to do nothing, but when shook and I pushed on the door while pulling the interior handle lever, it finally opened. I removed the entire latch mechanism (inside and outside) to see if I could figure out what was wrong. When I manipulated the exterior and interior levers it would never release the latch. I cleaned it really thoroughly with small brushes and bingo, it started working again. The lube in there was just really old and hard from the heat and being saturated with dust. It worked great after re-lubing, re-installing, and adjusting.

    My mom was happy that it didn't cost a bunch. I paid $70 for 4 handles and 4 plastic clips and have used 3 of the handles and none of the clips. I lubed the driver's side latch (the only door where the exterior handle didn't break), so maybe it'll last a long time, but if not, I've still got a spare handle.

    Thanks again!
     
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  16. ImperialCrown

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    I do prefer a lubricant a little heavier-bodied than WD-40. A light penetrant is great to free stuff up, but then a finishing application of a heavier aerosol grease (usually white lithium or red 'muscle' grease) is a great way towards a lasting repair.
    WD-40 (a water-displacer and not really a good lube) may only have a temporary effect.
     
  17. Brian_R170

    Brian_R170 New Member

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    Thanks, and I agree. The WD40 was just to try to dissolve the old stuff and it worked pretty well. I was afraid to try anything more harsh because of the old plastic. I don't care much for WD40 as a lubricant. I used Permatex lithium spray to lube the latch after blowing out the WD40 with compressed air.

    I now wish I had removed and cleaned the rear mechanisms too.
     
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  18. 68RT

    68RT Well-Known Member

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    If you don't keep them lubed, you will have broken handles and they are getting hard to find. There is a hole in the door frame that allows spray lube to be applied. Do it every 6 mo. or so and it will open very easily and then you don't break the handle. There is too much flex in the rods to handle dry/gummy mechanisms.
     
  19. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    There is also a 1/16" hole drilled in the latch ratchet. You'll see it in the black plastic just above the striker opening slot.
    An aerosol grease nozzle fits in the hole perfectly. Give it a good shot of grease. If you have compressed air and a blowgun, follow the grease injection with a blast of air. Have the window rolled up when doing this or grease may splatter and smear on the glass and weatherstrip inside the door.
     
  20. Brian_R170

    Brian_R170 New Member

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    Thanks, I'll lube the driver's door through the holes the next time I have a chance. The rears should be good since I lubed them with the interior panel off. Hopefully, it will last longer than 6 months.
     

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