I've hit upon a truly unique (to me) bit of automotive weirdness that I'm hoping someone can help me with.
After driving my '67 GTO home Sunday night, I went to exit the car and found that the driver's side door absolutely refused to open.
I had the inner door panel off as I had been going to replace the window regulator rollers, so I can see inside the door. The lock mechanism seems to be working OK with either the key ot the interior lock. Both the inner door handle and outer pushbutton seem to be working OK, but the door is as tight as if it were welded to the car - no movement at all.
I have tried moving the little levers that go into the little sheet metal box inside the door that contains the latch mechanism (thinking there might be some reason that they were not moving far enough to disengage the latch - no difference in the way things worked). No, the seatbelt is not wedged under the door, in case you're wondering!
I'm not sure if this has any bearing on the situation, but I had previously noted that the door had a slight "droop" as the rear edge did not line up exactly right with the upper body until the door was closed - as it closed, the rear lifted up a little bit - enough to line up the top of the door with the top of the body. It has been this way for several years now with no real problem, but thought I'd mention it.
Current theory is that there might be a spring inside the latch mechanism that is supposed to pull the latch up and away from the latch-post, but that spring has broken. I am considering drilling some holes through the little sheet metal box that encloses the mechanism so I can pry off the cover and disassemble the latch mechanism from inside the door, but I'd like to find a less ugly solution.
If anyone has an idea what's going on here and what I need to do, I'd love to hear from you! I'm getting too old to do the climb in through the window thing :-)
Last edited by TommyG67; 11-09-2012 at 10:14 PM.
Reason: add more description & correct spelling error
You have worn out hinges, but that's only part of the problem. I think you are correct about the latch/spring issue being a problem, just go slowly. Does the door actually lock and unlock at the pull knob?? That is a different problem if it won't unlock.
It appears that the lock works as it should from inside and also from outside with the key. I have tried the lift & push/pull approach - a friend was over so he could lift & pull while I pushed from inside. The ideal that the door's weight is bearing down enugh to jam the latch makes sense, in light of the door sagging. We'll give the lift & pull/push routine again and see if more "gusto" does the trick.
Someone suggested that I remove the door handle so I can push directly on the lever inside (the one the door button pushes) - the theory being that maybe the door pushbutton is not moving the lever far anough for some reason. Will try this as well.
Ok - got the door open!! Was able to pry the sheetmetal enclosure around the mechanism enough so I could then get in and pry on the latch. Long-suffering wife did the lift 'n pull from the outside while I pryed on the latch and eventually it popped!
The latch mechanism seems to be OK, but there were two problems that caused the door to jam shut.
(1) The vent window frame was tilted inward so that it contacted the weather strip at the top of the vent frame when the door was still ~1" from closing (as measured on the back edge of the door) . This put extra pressure on the latch, as the whole door assembly was jammed tighter than it should be.
(2) The door is sagging enough so that there is downward pressure on the latch as well - I guess the combination was just too much. The gap at the bottom front of the door is ~5/16" (eyeballing it) and there is contact at the rear.
When I bought the car 20 some years ago, there was always this weird "boink" sound as the driver's door opened or closed. It was apparent that the lower hinge pin had been bent, as the little roller was at an odd angle - evidently something had happened in that area before I bought the car. when the car was redone this past spring, one of the "fixit" items was to replace that lower hinge pin & roller and that all seemed fine, but I am suspecting that resulted in an alignment issue which I need to address. I am of the understanding that I either need to remove the fender to get at the hinge bolts or use some sort od odd-shaped wrench that can be worked around to get at those bolts (3 per hinge, I believe).
No need to remove or even move the fender. Harbor Freight has the 'S' shaped and C shaped wrenches you need. For the boom hinge, you need a 5/16 socket to hold the large phillips bit, and a 3/8 drive breaker bar (a ratchet won't clear). The reason the wing window surround is hitting the weatherstrip is because the door is "rolled" inward as well as the hinges being shot. New hinges and proper adjustment will fix all of this. Do yourself a favor and order BOTH hinges for the door. When tightening the lower phillips screws, (and loosening them), you can gently close the door on the head of the breaker bar to keep it from slipping out of and destroying the phillips heads on the lower bolts. BTDT about 2 years ago with my '67....the hard part is getting perfect alignment. Also, get help or a door jack....those things are heavy. And, finally, masking tape along the fender edge and door edge will prevent chipping during re-installing. Good luck..
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.