| Door handle details
Winter has been mild in North Carolina, though cold enough in the deep winter months to keep me out of the garage.
March usually is the transition month a month of teasing warmth and, when cold, a month of yearning for spring. This March
has been warm. So warm, in fact, that this weekend I opened the front door of the garage to let air and sun in. This is what the car looked
like on 11 March, just before the left door handle was put into place.
Please excuse the mess. Winter blows leaves through the cracks beneath a side door, but the rest of the disarray is my fault.
I am always amazed to see pictures of other fellows' neat and tidy workspaces. I've never been that organized, and I have kids
who use the garage and the tools as well.
This entry might be a little too detailed for most folks, but I found that I spent an inordinate amount of time just figuring out
how the door lock/latch mechanism works. I initially thought that some parts had been pilfered, since there seemed to be too much "air" in the
middle of the section covered by the can-like "retaining case." There is a plunger-like piece that slides freely in the rear section of the
tumbler piece, and it slides freely when the car is locked, and is held in place when unlocked, so that the plunger is forced out
the back end of the retaining case to activate the latch mechanism in the door.
I got a new retaining case from XKs Unlimited. The cases are sided, and so this one fits only the left side. (A tab is labeled "LH" for "left hand.")
The retaining case frequently will fail at the rear end, as mine had. The part was virtually identical to the original, except for the fact that
excess metal from the casting had not been trimmed off. This mainly was an issue for the hole at the rear (pictured). Ten minutes of sanding
with some 220-grit sandpaper made everything clean and correct. Fit was not good on a small tab that slides into a slot on the door handle, but this was a matter
of a little more sanding to bring the tab down to size.
Neither of these were big issues. It is, of course, much better to have too much metal than too little.
This lock and the one on the right side door had apparently been lubricated with oils and perhaps a little grease. They were both caked with grime.
I took everything apart and soaked everything in kerosene (aka "paraffin") and scrubbed with an old toothbrush. This is the usual drill I go
through with parts, as I don't have a fancy parts washer. I've decided to use a dry graphite lubricant on the locks.
For the most part, the pictures to the right and their "tooltip" captions, which you get when you mouse-over the pictures, tell the story in excruciating detail.
The pictures themselves are probably the most useful of the explanations. Nothing in the disassembly or reassembly requires any special tools, just a needlenose pliers, a
couple of screw drivers, and a fairly strong couple of fingers. The springs are not tremendously hard to compress, so you can easily squeeze the parts
with one hand.
How the mechanism works perhaps becomes apparent from the pictures. The important piece that manages the locking is the small linkage piece that slips into
the slot at the rear of the retaining clip. When the door is locked, this part offsets the plunger inside the tumbler and allows the plunger to slip between
the fork-like sides of that section of the lock tumbler. The seventh picture from the top shows this linkage piece in place; the ninth and tenth pictures show the
plunger functioning in unlocked and locked settings.
One thing I did that might be an addition, though a small one, was to place rubber seals between the door handle and the two points it touches the body.
I don't have any record of a seal in that position when we disassembled the car, but that doesn't mean that the original cars wouldn't have had seals. I cut mine out of rubber from a car
inner tube. Worked nicely.
I've finished installing the chrome I got back from Ricardo.