Fixin' to fix stuff
Remember a million months ago when I fixed the car door? Well, I mentioned then that BOTH rear door handles were broken, but I could only fix one because the child lock was engaged on the other, making the door impossible to open from the inside or outside. For months and months after I figured out how to fix the door handles, we knew we wanted to fix the other door but were concerned how much we'd have to pay a locksmith to rip open the door and disengage that stupid child lock!
Anyways, a few weeks ago I decided we should probably just get it fixed, but first I turned to the internet one last time to find out if there was any way that I could disengage the child lock myself. After some extensive googling, I found something I thought would work. It was pretty simple, so I thought I'd give it a try--it couldn't hurt, right?
It involved removing the inner door handle, then reaching in to the bars inside the door that connect the door handles to the locking mechanism. I just pulled on the bar that led to the outer door handle, and VOILA! The door opened, and I was able to switch the child lock to its blissful OFF position.
I'm not going to lie, I think I did a frenetic happy dance in the parking lot that day :)
So, once we had gotten that taken care of, I went ahead and ordered a new outer door handle, and got to fixing it as soon as it arrived!
Now, just so you can appreciate what I did, this time I took pictures of the process :)
Step 1 was actually pictured above: remove the inner door handle.
Step two is to take off the panel covering the arm rest and to unscrew a few screws holding the inner door panel to the metal door frame.
Step three is to unhook the electronic window switch so you can take off the door panel.
Steps 4 and 5: remove the door panel, and peel back the weatherproof covering.
Steps 6 and 7 are the tricky parts. You have to reach in and unscrew the bolts that hold the outer door handle on. The closest one is super easy, and comes off very quickly, but the second one is CRAZY far back and very hard to reach.
The arrow in the picture below shows you where the second bolt is.
Don't see it? Let's move in closer:
Ah! There it is! Yeah, that thing is ridiculously hard to get to. I was using a socket wrench for most of the bolts, but this one is in such a weird position that the only thing I could use to get it out was a really small hand wrench.
So as hard as that bolt is to get OUT, it is about 10x harder to get the bolt back IN. It's in such a weird position that getting the bolt in and getting it threaded enough to work on it with the wrench required some insane hand contortion and many, many tries.
BUT! Eventually, I got the bolt threaded and was able to tighten it up with the wrench! Once that bolt is in, I was basically done!All that was left was to put everything back: tape the weatherproof covering back in place, put the door panel back on, reattach the window switch and arm rest panel and finally, put the inner door handle back on.
And then, I shut the door, and opened it from the outside for the first time in almost a year, and let out a big whoop of joy!
Ladies and Gentleman, we have 4 fully functioning car doors again! HOORAY!