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maclif 10-04-2012 09:34 PM

Fixed broken door handle
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!


spc2125 10-04-2012 09:43 PM

DAMN! I wish I could do this!

Mine recently broke but I have bigger problems to worry about (center diff). But its going to cost like $35 for the handle and then atleast $100 to paint. Ridiculous.

I wish I could just send mine down to you and have you fix it :p

maclif 10-04-2012 09:50 PM

The fix really isn't that hard. Give it a shot - worst case you have to buy a new one anyway. Right?

spc2125 10-04-2012 09:54 PM

Right. But I am a noob and I am having a hard time understanding some of your instructions. But your right. I think I will try it eventually because Im going to haveta replace it anyways.

But so your saying that this is a temporary fix because it cant handle a tremendous load?

OrangeTea 10-04-2012 10:03 PM

I recently had mine broke on my driver's side door. It was super annoying. The part was $58 after tax at the dealer.

A body shop painted it and installed it for me for $50. (Dealer wanted to charge me $178 just for the install.)

maclif 10-04-2012 10:30 PM


Originally Posted by spc2125 (Post 4101116)
But so your saying that this is a temporary fix because it cant handle a tremendous load?

No. I actually broke my driver's one in a similar fashion a couple years ago. Fixed it the same way and it still works.

All of the load of lifting the handle to release the latch mechanism passes through a plastic arm about 1/4" square. Mine now passes through a piece of steel (a washer). It should be stronger the original.

The reference to non-load bearing is just at that one step where the broken arm is still unsupported.

maclif 10-05-2012 04:44 AM
Maybe this will help explain what I did. The added part is from a 1/2" zinc plated steel washer. The washer on the right is what's left over from when I made the additional piece. So, the shape taken out (with rounded edges a bit) is the part I added.

spc2125 10-05-2012 06:17 AM

I reallly really want to try this before i go and buy a new handle

maclif 10-05-2012 09:15 AM

It's worth a shot. Really, getting the handle out isn't hard and if you take a little time to see how the mechanism works, it's not rocket science at all.

SLegacy99 07-18-2013 05:46 PM

Thanks for the info...I now need this because my Legacy can't go more than 1 week without a problem...the quality of this car is MUCH poorer than my '99. I am disappointed.

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