The 7th Hell of Aftermarket Door Latches

A couple of weeks ago I ordered some new door latches for the Bronco expecting to be able to remove the old ones and simply drop in the new ones. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

At first glance I could tell they were not the same, and they had been ground down in order to fit in the allotted space within the door, so I set upon the path to get this project on its way. I pulled the old ones out and struggled quite a while with getting the latch & lock rods out of their little clips. After I removed the door assembly I cleaned and straightened the rods, and screwed the new latch into place. I set the rods into place and made the mistake of clipping them onto the latch. First mistake.

The latch didn’t work at all. It wouldn’t close and latch. The lock wouldn’t push the lever in place to lock it. It just flat out didn’t fit. Time to break out the grinder. I spent probably about a half hour between the die grinder and the Dremel getting the surfaces ground down to stop hitting the door skin. Finally that fixed the locking problem and the interior door latch, but the exterior latch wouldn’t work; and what’s more, it wouldn’t stay latched with that rod attached. After messing about with the door latch, I figured I had to make a new rod that was longer.

Not knowing what the hardware store was going to be able to supply me with, I figured I might be able to use some braided cable instead – but they had steel rod stock – so I bought some of each. After I bent a new rod, it became clear that this was the easiest way to get the latch to work. The cable was a good idea, but after I pulled out the anvil/vice, it was simple enough to bend a rod, and clean it up.

This still seems like a lot of work just for a single door latch. I still can’t get the striker post off, and have yet to even attempt to do the passenger side.

It’s been so long since I have had an old car to work on regularly, I have obviously forgotten how much effort has to go into the simplest of things some times. I think I am going to get one of the those small Butane torches from Sears to help get some of the bolts off.

I think for the passenger side I will take some photos of the steps and post them after I am done.

%d bloggers like this: