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Drivers door handle permanently locked.
#1
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Rscott77x
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I have a 1947 Clipper. I came out from dinner one evening last week and could not get my drivers door unlocked. The lock cylinder rotated normally but the door handle would not unlock. I tried the passenger door and the same problem. I thought at first the passenger lock had been changed by a previous owner. Now I think they both failed for the same reason.

Any tips on this repair?

Posted on: 2016/1/31 8:12
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Re: Drivers door handle permanently locked.
#2
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HH56
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It is kind of hard to understand how both could fail at the same time. Best I can do is a brief description of how lock works. I am afraid you will have to determine what is or isn't rotating or being moved. That could require removing the inner door panel to access the latch so you can watch what is happening. If you are locked out then unfortunately I don't know of a way to get in without breaking a window. Possibly the weather strip is loose enough a piece of wire could catch the vent handle but wouldn't count on it.

The latch works by either the outside handle or the inside handle moving lever arrangements to lift a latch release bar. That in turn moves three spring loaded stamped pieces of metal. Once the metal pieces are moved they unblock the toothed wheel so it can rotate.

The two locking methods move items to block the lever arrangements and prevent them from moving. Once blocked by their mechanisms the handles can not lift the release bar.

Inside button slides a collar down a notch and inward so it catches on a part of the lever arrangement operated by the inside handle. Because of the way the various levers are fastened together and interlocked, blocking inside blocks outside too.

On the outside lock the blocking method is different. When the key rotates the cylinder it also rotates a square bar which rotates a cam in the latch. As the outside handle moves the latch bar to release the wheel, part of the mechanism also moves a sliding bar which moves up into the cam enclosure. If the cam is in the unlock position the bar slides past and handle works. If the cam is blocking the sliding bar nothing for the outside handle will move. In order to release the mechanism so the handle can move, the lock cylinder has to rotate the cam completely out of the way again.

The cylinder rotates the cam 180 degrees. Is there a chance the lock housing is also rotating slightly as the cylinder rotates so between the two rotations there is not the full range. Any possibility the housing has loosened in the door and it is no longer positioned correctly so when you remove the key there is incomplete action at the cam? Does the key feel like it is doing anything? The cam provides very little mass to add to rotation but there is a bit of load.

If the housing is not rotating and all is correct with the housing (slot straight up and down), to find your problem I believe you will have to verify that square bar is in fact rotating the cam. To do that requires removal of door panel. You can visually watch the bar to see if it is turning. If it is rotating, something has happened inside the latch which will most likely require removal. If it is not rotating the part of the cylinder which rotates the square bar has possibly broken off. To have both break, I would think most unusual.

Here are a few photos showing the various parts.

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Posted on: 2016/1/31 12:37
Howard
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Re: Drivers door handle permanently locked.
#3
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Tim Cole
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It seems strange that both locks would malfunction simultaneously. There is a square rod that connects the lock cylinder to the latch mechanism. I have fabricated them for a car in which they were missing to avoid a lock out situation. If they break/fall off the lock cylinder will turn but there will be no action.

As far as getting into the car, unfortunately I would cut a hole in a window to avoid permanent damage.

The system is not very robust. Once you get the doors apart a machinist can repair the locks if the rod is broken. I drilled and tapped holes into the broken parts and attached the new rod using red Loctite.

Posted on: 2016/1/31 12:45
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Re: Drivers door handle permanently locked.
#4
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Rscott77x
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Thank you! I appreciate your help.
I called a locksmith. He used air bladders to open the passenger vent a smidge and got the passenger door unlocked. The vent window was cracked, however.

Both did not fail at the same time, I assumed a previous owner changed the lock cylinder on the passenger door and I did not get the key. Now, I think I was wrong.
I was able to use the unlock button to get the passenger side open via vent window which got cracked.
However, the drivers door will open with the inside handle only and the lock knob moves and makes normal clicking noises.

I will open the drivers door and go from there.

Posted on: 2016/1/31 16:19
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