Author Topic: Help-I can't close my drivers door  (Read 514 times)

jjccp

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Help-I can't close my drivers door
« on: 12 June 2019, 08:41 AM »
I've searched the forum and I've looked at the manual and I can't figure out this problem

Intermittently, my drivers side door won't close and latch all the way. It catches the first latch, but won't close all the way. Sometimes it will close just fine. At first I thought it had something with the window being up or down, but that's not it.

I'm pretty sure there's an adjustment somewhere, but I can't find it. And of course, I can't lock the car when the door won't close.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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1979 6.9 #6846

Squiggle Dog

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #1 on: 12 June 2019, 10:35 AM »
I wonder if the door hinge is sagging and so the striker is out of alignment and the top corner of the door seal is rubbing on the rear door. Or maybe the door check strap has broken and is getting jammed.

The most likely cause, I think, is that the latching components need lubrication. It would be worth it to clean the door latch and striker and put some grease on the parts that contact each other. Also put some drops of oil on the pivoting parts of the door latch that you can reach. Lubricating the door hinges with the proper grease gun (for chainsaws) would be a good idea.


Also look to make sure the cone-shaped pin is centered in the hole when the door closes. If it's off by quite a bit, you can loosen the four hex key bolts holding on the striker to the body and slide it up, down, forward, and backward. Up and down aligns the pin, and forward and backward adjusts how proud or recessed the door is in regards to the rest of the body when closed. You can also remove or add shims to compensate. Just know that it's easy to strip out the heads of these bolts, so make sure the holes are clean and the hex key is tapped in all the way and use downward pressure when turning them.
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jjccp

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #2 on: 12 June 2019, 12:52 PM »
Thanks for the great info SQ.

So far I've de-greased and cleaned and lubed everything I can get to in the door mechanism. It appears to be operating correctly as far as moving and going into the the 3 different positions when moved by hand. The alignment of the pin looks good too and similar to my 7 other doors.

When closing the door, the first latch catches but then something jams and the door mechanism won't let the door go any farther and go to the final closed position. What ever is jamming is metal on metal in the mechanism and not somewhere else on the door. Funny because it moves fine by hand just like the other doors. Hinges, door check all fine and there is zero sag in the door.

I don't want to mess with the 4 bolts and shims on the striker until I have a better idea of what's up

It's got to be something in the door mechanism. I'll have to pull it out and see next.
« Last Edit: 12 June 2019, 12:57 PM by jjccp »
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1979 6.9 #6846

Squiggle Dog

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #3 on: 12 June 2019, 01:18 PM »
Yeah, maybe the latch mechanism has a broken part. I remember my 300SD having a left rear door that was stuck shut and a right rear door that wouldn't shut all the way. I remember the latches were rusty, broken, and missing springs, so I replaced them on all four doors with good used ones.
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revilla

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #4 on: 12 June 2019, 02:42 PM »
Hi
I would remove the door handle to gain more visibility on the latching mechanism from the inside. I understand the visibility from the outside is limited.
Removing the handle is relatively easy. Remove the plastic plug on the side close to the latch. You will see 2 allen bolts, unscrew. Careful not to drop them. The 1 fat screw right at the handle. Slide the handle backward. Now pull the handle perpendicular to the door. With the help of a flashlight you will see the insides. Try playing with the internal handle to see if things improve. Clean and oil the moving parts. If something is broken you should be able to see from that angle.
There’s also an adjustment (1 flat screw) at the handle itself next to the weight. It changes the force/displacement needed to unlatch and open the door: Once you see it you will understand the logic for the adjustments.
Good luck.
Robert
W116 1977 280SEL & 1979 280SE

ptashek

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #5 on: 12 June 2019, 04:26 PM »
It could also be the limiter strap at the bottom hinge (or whatever the proper name is for that part), not sliding in fully when the door is closed.
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nathan

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #6 on: 12 June 2019, 04:41 PM »
replace your striker. when you do this, ;pencil outline where the original was so you can put the other one on at the same position and its already aligned.
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jjccp

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #7 on: 15 June 2019, 06:39 AM »
Thanks for all the great tips. I now have in hand a new (used) door mechanism and a striker. Before I start swapping parts I was hoping to understand where the problem lays.

I see the adjustment on the door handle that Revilla mentioned perhaps I should try that first.

If that doesn't work, can I replace the door mechanism without taking the window out? I know how to take off the door panel no problem there.

Nathan, you suggested replacing the striker, but the new striker I have looks identical to the one that's on the car. Can't see anything wrong with it or the alignment.

One thing I did notice is that there is a plastic buffer type piece on the mechanism where it hits the striker on the new door mechanism, that seems to be worn off the one on the car.
« Last Edit: 15 June 2019, 03:01 PM by jjccp »
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Squiggle Dog

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #8 on: 15 June 2019, 12:09 PM »
There is no need to take out the glass, just the door panel. When I look for used door latches, I look for the plastic part that you pointed out, as they usually seem to be broken off. I don't even know how you would replace those plastic parts, and it would be a shame to throw away a latch because of a plastic part that can't be replaced.
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jjccp

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #9 on: 17 June 2019, 11:18 AM »
Thanks for the info again Squiggle Dog.

The plastic buffer that I circled and was so excited about fell off when I started cleaning the new (used) door mechanism. Oh well, I hope that's not the issue. I still have no idea what's actually causing the problem.

In the pics you can see that the newer door mechanism is slightly different than the one that was in the car. Also have the door handle off and I can see the adjustment that Revilla mentioned. I still don't understand what it adjusts. I'm going to leave it alone for now and I'm going to put the new unit in and put it back together and keep my fingers crossed.
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jjccp

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #10 on: 17 June 2019, 12:40 PM »
replace your striker. when you do this, ;pencil outline where the original was so you can put the other one on at the same position and its already aligned.


Nathan, you were right. Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

I went to all the trouble to take off the door panel and replace the door mechanism (not my idea of fun) and bang, it wouldn't close. Then I tried adjusting the strike in, out, up and down by about a 1/16 of an inch in each direction and bang again, it wouldn't close. Then I drew the pencil line around the strike, like you said and replaced it with a different one and click, it closed. I would swear that the two strikes are identical, but the door now closes and that's all that counts. I learned a lot and now have all newer, clean, lubed guts inside the drivers door.

I still don't know what the adjustment at the door handle does and I didn't touch it.

Thanks to all for the excellent help. I can use my car again - woo hoo!
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1979 6.9 #6846

jjccp

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #11 on: 20 June 2019, 09:25 AM »
Hi
I would remove the door handle to gain more visibility on the latching mechanism from the inside. I understand the visibility from the outside is limited.
Removing the handle is relatively easy. Remove the plastic plug on the side close to the latch. You will see 2 allen bolts, unscrew. Careful not to drop them. The 1 fat screw right at the handle. Slide the handle backward. Now pull the handle perpendicular to the door. With the help of a flashlight you will see the insides. Try playing with the internal handle to see if things improve. Clean and oil the moving parts. If something is broken you should be able to see from that angle.
There’s also an adjustment (1 flat screw) at the handle itself next to the weight. It changes the force/displacement needed to unlatch and open the door: Once you see it you will understand the logic for the adjustments.
Good luck.

Revilla thanks again for the info. I now have my door closing pretty well, but it still takes a bit of a firm push to get it to latch all the way. Some of my other doors close and latch with just a little motion. You said I would understand it, but I still don't get what that door handle adjustment does.

If you have a moment, would you please explain a little further what it does and how it works?
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revilla

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #12 on: 20 June 2019, 09:59 AM »
Hello there,
Once you identify the adjustment screw close to the weight, undo it a bit until the barrel piece moves freely. If you displace it towards the center of the car the handle will take long move/effort to unlatch. If you move it towards the outside of the car the mechanism will take significantly less displacement/effort for the handle to unlatch the door. I would move it to the extreme position towards the outside of the car. Test. It should take significantly less effort to unlatch. Test the latching too. This test is intended to confirm your adjustment is working. If yes, it’s a trial and error approach to find a good middle point compromise. Additionally, with the outside handle removed you can open your window, close the door and play with the inside handle (open/close/open/close repeatedly) while  observing through the opening of the outside handle.  Is the latching mechanism moving freely?
Take advantage of that access to clean/lubricant all moving parts of the latching system on the inside.
When I had the same problem as you, it was the latching pieces that had old/solid grease preventing it from moving freely. I cleaned/lubricanted the outside visible parts and also the insides and problem solved. Then I adjusted the handle for optimal displacement/effort to unlatch and open the door. A side benefit was the door now makes the right MB sound when closing. Music indeed!
Robert
W116 1977 280SEL & 1979 280SE

jjccp

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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #13 on: 25 June 2019, 07:53 AM »
Revilla,

Thanks for the great info. I haven't had a chance to work on the door, but when I do, I'll be referring to your tutorial.
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Re: Help-I can't close my drivers door
« Reply #14 on: 26 June 2019, 08:37 PM »
I am going to have to try this as well. What worked for me was adding another shim, The door already had two additonal thin shims and I added a thick original shim and it closes like it should.
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