Yesterday I was opening my driver's side rear door when the handle action became very light and I heard something clunk through the inside of the car door. After that, I couldn't open the door from the outside. I pulled the door apart and sure enough - the plastic arm in the handle mechanism had broken.
I've done quite a bit of fabrication work on my ChumpCar, so I figured fixing a little plastic arm wouldn't be too bad.
The handle is all fixed, installed back in and works like a charm.
View 1 - outside view of the handle, repair circled.
View 2 - Inside view of the handle, repair circled
Circled- the arm that broke off. You can see the crack.
A pretty decent shot of the actual repair. The (goldish) bellcrank now pivots on a piece of steel - cut out of a washer.
Top view - the red plastic clip needed trimmed slightly
My basic steps of fixing the handle:
1. Remove the handle from the door (documented in a variety of places)
2. Fish out the broken parts from inside the door. There's probably a metal shaft and a dime-sized chunk of plastic.
3. Familiarize yourself with the mechanism. Turning the handle pivots the plastic lever which pushes the bellcrank that pulls the release cord. If you need reference, pop off the opposite side door skin and take a peek.
4. Clean the piece up around the break. The door inside was covered with a dark dust. Clean up the broken piece as well.
5. Zip-tie the bell crank back some where it will be out of the way and not put pressure on the lever arm for a bit.
6. Using heavy-duty CA or plastic epoxy, reattach the broken arm. This will eventually not really be load bearing.
7. Find a fender washer or something similar that can slide on the metal shaft that fell off when it broke. Trace the metal. Then using a hacksaw and grinder, form that piece to shape. Basically, you want a piece of metal the same size as the lever arm that is the same size as the distance between the metal shaft and the bellcrank.
8. Lightly sand the paint off of the plastic lever arm where the new metal piece is going to go.
9. Using heavy-duty CA or plastic epoxy, glue the metal support you made into place.
10. Replace the metal shaft to make sure it all fits.
11. Trim down the plastic clip that holds the metal shaft in place where it fits. Reattach.
12. Using steel epoxy putty, secure both ends of the metal piece you made to the broken lever arm.
13. Reassemble the door.
I tested it out, and it works like a charm!