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 functional again.

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 that bad.

Here is a picture of a rear door handle mechanism cleaned up and painted with clear enamel.

Handle prep

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 spring pressure.

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.

Happy Motoring, VHubbard.  Jan 8, 2011 

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