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Old 09-12-2006, 05:47 PM   #1
MackZ24
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Default Door Latch Problem (Won't Close)


Hello All,

I am having a problem with my '97 Saturn SL1. Yesterday I went down to my car, unlocked the door, got in and when I attempted to close the door, it basically just bounced back open and would not close.

Having experienced a similar problem on other older vehicles in the past, I immediately checked the latch to see if it was stuck down in a closed position, but it is not.

The latch itself will move as it normally should when being pushed against the post, but when it is supposed to get "stuck" into the closed position, it does not, and just springs back up.

Does anyone know if there's a possible solution to this, or should I just order a new latch assembly and replace? If it's the latter of the two options, is there anywhere I can find a detailed description of what I have to do? I'm assuming it will be a real pain to do.

As my doors are currently tied together with rope, any help would definitely be appreciated!

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Old 09-12-2006, 07:34 PM   #2
Killer Kopec
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Well at least its stuck open. Last time my door didn’t work, it was stuck closed. Taking the panels off to fix it sucked. Then my brothers car did the same thing. Again stuck closed. Maybe on your car, one of the levers or springs on the inside popped out. Take off the panel and look around. Its not hard to take the door off, but to put it back on its much easier to take the outer panel off to put the inner panel on. Then finish it up by putting the outer panel back on.
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Old 09-13-2006, 02:57 AM   #3
Ssicarman
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How do the door release/opening handles feel? Seem like they are going back to the non open the door positions with no binding. The return springs moves then properly? Feel any binding while using the handles?
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Old 09-13-2006, 04:02 AM   #4
PurdueGuy
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sounds like you're going to need my guide on "how to remove the outer door panel"

click here for DIY guide
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Old 05-04-2015, 06:44 PM   #5
gman5657
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I have same situation on '96 SL1
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Old 05-04-2015, 06:47 PM   #6
gman5657
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What is outer panel vs. inner panel?
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:33 AM   #7
derfderf
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outer panel = painted plastic exterior of door (panel)
inner panel= panel on the inside of the door that you see while sitting in the driver's seat with the door closed; has pull handle, locks, etc
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Old 05-05-2015, 06:02 PM   #8
gman5657
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Default Door lock mechanism was not moving freely

I was able to fix my issue. I removed the outer panel and the door closing mechanism (three screws) and sprayed it liberally with WD-40. You also need to disengage the door lock and opening linkages by carefully pulling them out of their locating holes before removing the mechanism. I was able to get it working properly by "playing" with it but when I reinstalled, it was not closing properly again. I loosened the three attaching screws just a little bit and voila! It seems by tightening it too much, I was distorting the mechanism. Since this is a 1996, the plastic outer panel attachment clips have become very brittle. I broke off three attaching clips when unscrewing the screws (#30 Torx bit). Fortunately, I was able to use two-part epoxy to reinstall the pieces and then gingerly reattached those screws after lubing them in WD-40.

Last edited by gman5657; 05-05-2015 at 06:11 PM..
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Old 05-06-2015, 06:45 AM   #9
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glad it's back to functional status. And thank you for providing the solution/closeout information in enough detail that the next person that comes along with the same problem will know exactly what to do.

85% of the people stop by, get some possible causes for their issues, go on their merry way, and are never heard from again---the end result being a hanging thread and those of us giving advice never knowing what the actual solution was and therefore not being able to further hone our troubleshooting skills.

So once again, thank you.
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