For What Its Worth
66 Stock Door Handle Mechanisms
My 66 had a fundamental problem with doors. They would not shut
and stay shut. Old car disease. Age causes all sort
of problems. You can buy new mechanisms and latches, but on a 4
door with 2 mechanisms per door. is $250 roughly for all 8 latches and
mechanisms. I decided to see If I could make them fully
The first problem was in the door handle mechanisms or leavers inside
the door. Rust caused them to be sticky.
When they don't come back to the correct location, then the door
wont shut right.
I took them out. Note when taking the mechanisms out, look at the
clips that hold the rods on carefully. The bar ends often have a
Z shape to hold them in the holes. Then why the clips also?
Looks like the clips are there as springs to keep tension on the
connection so it doesn't rattle. If the clip is busted or rusted
beyond working, you may need a new one to minimize rattles.
I polished up the door handle mechanisms with a wire wheel as
best I could to get the surface rust off. The best thing would
have been to drill out the spot welds and taken them apart for a
thorough scrub down. I stopped short of that, mine weren't
Here is a picture of a rear door handle mechanism cleaned up and
painted with clear enamel.
The next thing to overcome the light rust inside on the slide and
spring was to apply some grease. I used a screw driver to
pry the leaver away enough from the side to put a needle grease tip
in. I pumped in some grease and worked the
mechanism. Cleaned up the excess grease. It was now
a smooth working mechanism.
These pictures are from the door handle mechanism on the back
door. The front is similar. Do not leave grease on
the outside of these door handle mechanisms. It may stain the
door covers, so be careful.
Next was the door latch itself. They were not rusty,
(southern car) but the grease applied from the factory 40+ years ago
had outlived its useful life. They were sticking and not
working smoothly. A tooth brush and a can of white grease fixed
the problem. The tooth brush is needed to work the grease
into the joints, shaft areas, slide plates etc. I also coated the
springs as a rust preventative. Of the 8 springs on the 4
latches, only 1 was beginning to show rust. Also clean off
any grease from the part of the latch that extends outside the
door. It could stain passengers clothing.
Interior picture of a rear door latch as it came out of the car.
Hard to see, but the factory grease was more like leather than
grease. The main latching mechanism would not freely return under
Latch after greasing.
I greased and checked to make sure everything moved and returned under
spring pressure the way it was supposed to. Clean off the
excess grease and reinstalled everything.
What was the result? Doors close and latch easily. No
slamming needed to get the mechanisms to catch. Slight pressure
closing the doors and click the door closes and catches.
VHubbard. Jan 8, 2011
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