: Oh for the love of god..rear door won't open.



robb257731
08-10-09, 09:57 AM
So I finally put my 1991 Brougham D'Elegance on the road. I had new rear shocks, front shocks, back brakes, front flex hoses, and a centre link installed on Friday, and the car drives beautifully.

On Friday just before taking the car to my mechanic, I tried to open the rear driver door. Nothing. There seems to be no tension in the thumb latch. So I went inside the car to try to open it from the interior, and again, it won't open. It feels like something must have let go inside...only way to describe it is 'boneless.' The door lever springs back into place, but again, there's no resistance.

My mechanic said he'd have to replace the latch, but he doesn't know how to get the door panel off (with the door closed) to get at the latch.

I'm also wondering about the driver's door. You know how when you push the button with your thumb to open it, you feel that kind of, I dunno, resistance as it's opening the latch? I felt it on my 1992, and it feels the same way on the passenger doors, but on my driver door when you push the button with your thumb to open the door, the door just swings open and it kind of feels like it wasn't even closed (even though it was). I'm worried that I'm going to have the same problem on the front door as on the rear.

Any ideas?

cadillac_al
08-10-09, 10:48 AM
I've been trying to figure out the same problem for a long time on a 78 Seville. I just had an idea the other day that I haven't tried yet. I can't get the door panel off either with the door closed. I am planning to remove the rear seat and see if that helps but I got the idea that the lock may be sticking and I think I can disassemble my lock switch without removing the door panel. I don't know if I will get to it this week because I am going on vaca but I do believe when I get that manual switch removed, I may be able to work the lock lever and unlock it. I think when the door is locked you get very little resistance at the handle. Anyway, just some food for thought for you. Good luck.

If you fix it let me know how you did it.

Aron9000
08-10-09, 01:53 PM
You can take off the plastic light housing and the chrome surround around the inside handle with the door closed. I'd take both of those off and try pulling on the rod inside the door. Needlenose pliers would be a good tool to use.

I had to replace the front pass side latch on my car due to the lock quit working. I must say the whole door latch/lock assembly is some of the most piss poor and cheap engineering I've ever seen. Especially all the plastic clips that are used in there.

robb257731
08-12-09, 12:07 PM
Thanks for the tips. I've got a couple of weeks off soon, and will tinker around with it then.

deVille33
08-15-09, 10:46 PM
Your going to find this problem more complex than you may think. As for your sticky front door, spray the latch mechanism with WD40 or silicone spray. These mechanisms have a tendency to have the old lubricants dry and start sticking after twenty + years.
On your rear door, is the lock stuck in the lock position? Will not release by use of the electric unlock solenoid or the lock button? It could be that your return spring has broken or fatigued. I've had several of these door latches gum up and stick. My '78 Brougham had both doors on the driver side lock up on me. Had to remove the door at the hinges to remove the door panel, then I could get to the mechanism. Good Luck.

GenrlRodes
08-16-09, 03:32 AM
My earlier 90 Brougham had this happen to front passenger and rear drivers doors. Did manage to pull enough apart inside to get both to release. Only to have it happen again. Found out from an old car guy,... He slapped the door with palm of his hand and they both started working....for the most part all the time...once in a while would stop....Several slaps on the door and work again.

robb257731
08-18-09, 11:47 AM
My earlier 90 Brougham had this happen to front passenger and rear drivers doors. Did manage to pull enough apart inside to get both to release. Only to have it happen again. Found out from an old car guy,... He slapped the door with palm of his hand and they both started working....for the most part all the time...once in a while would stop....Several slaps on the door and work again.

Hmmm, was his name Arthur Fonzerelli? LOL. I think I'll try it....worth a shot!

robb257731
08-18-09, 11:49 AM
Your going to find this problem more complex than you may think. As for your sticky front door, spray the latch mechanism with WD40 or silicone spray. These mechanisms have a tendency to have the old lubricants dry and start sticking after twenty + years.
On your rear door, is the lock stuck in the lock position? Will not release by use of the electric unlock solenoid or the lock button? It could be that your return spring has broken or fatigued. I've had several of these door latches gum up and stick. My '78 Brougham had both doors on the driver side lock up on me. Had to remove the door at the hinges to remove the door panel, then I could get to the mechanism. Good Luck.

The lock button is not stuck at all. It opens with all of the other locks, and closes when the car is put in drive. I think it's the return spring in the latch. My concern is that it's going to happen with the driver door as well.

deVille33
08-19-09, 04:53 PM
Spray the latch opening with WD40 or silicone spray. Do not use white lithium grease, as it has a tendency to dry and collect debris.

robb257731
08-19-09, 11:51 PM
My earlier 90 Brougham had this happen to front passenger and rear drivers doors. Did manage to pull enough apart inside to get both to release. Only to have it happen again. Found out from an old car guy,... He slapped the door with palm of his hand and they both started working....for the most part all the time...once in a while would stop....Several slaps on the door and work again.

Unfortunately, the Fonzie Slap did not do the trick. Maybe I'm slapping the wrong place....

GenrlRodes
08-20-09, 02:49 AM
Not sure. Seems like I remember slapping just under the door handle... Oh well, it was worth a try. I thought it a rather 'interesting' way to open a door. I am just glad it did get mine working. Issues could be different too. I hope that something works for you. I know that it is a pain when they are not working.

robb257731
08-28-09, 01:09 PM
Went up north last week and took the Brougham. I had to take that car down the WORST road I have ever seen....so bad that I wanted to back out of it and go home. I took a video of it on the way out and will eventually post a link to it....we're talking boulders, logs, etc. The Brougham took it all in stride.

Well...packing up the car the other day, I had a bag in my hand, and without thinking just reached out to open the stuck rear left door, and voila, it opened just fine. I'm thinking it must have been a power lock issue...ie, the lock switch was popping up with the power locks, but the lock itself wasn't releasing.

N0DIH
08-30-09, 09:16 AM
My 91 Bonneville did that, I fussed and fussed and got it to come open, don't stop trying it WILL open. I was spraying oil in where I thought I could get to the mechanism, it finally came open, so I oiled it and it was fine for many years after.

Do NOT use WD-40 and the like to oil it, to break it free yes, that is fine, but monthly oiling, GM spec's motor oil. I think I might have used PB Blaster to break free, it stinks, but got it free.

deVille33
09-15-09, 11:25 AM
One of my Coupes Had the passenger door handle button offset so that it wouldn't return. For a quick fix I locked the door using the key in the outer lock. Big Mistake. The lock wouldn't relase and the button wouldn't pull up.
In an effort to release it I sprayed Sea Foam into the lock and around the door button. It still wouldn't release. I then took a slim jim and jimmied the buttom untill it worked it's way out. Then I set the slim jim on the lock mech and jimmied it while trying the key in the lock. It started moving and finally released. Now I have to remove the handle and make up a new return spring.

eldorado99
09-15-09, 07:09 PM
My driver door did this (on my '70) I just rolled the window down and peered down into the crack and sprayed the hell out of everything with WD40 until the mechanism unfroze. Then voila, the door worked again and I took it apart and lithium greased everything.

sven914
01-12-10, 08:32 PM
My passenger front door just stopped working.

The lock comes up all the way and I can't physically pull it up any more. The door handle button and interior handle feel like they still have tension on them, but the door doesn't move at all. Half the time the interior lights don't come on with the button.

Any more tips before I get in over my head and break something. Also, could it be that that the mechanism is literally frozen (it hasn't gotten above 30* in a week and the window seals aren't in the greatest condition)?

greencadillacmatt
01-12-10, 10:28 PM
That could very well be the reason, the freezing. When it gets really cold out, my Cavalier does the same thing. Feels like there is tension on the handle, but it doesn't open. Do you park outside? If so, my best advice is to find a friend/family member with a garage and let it thaw out over night. A bullet heater doesn't hurt either...

Bro-Ham
01-12-10, 10:32 PM
Sven, GCMatt could be right - your car may be protesting the cold and sending you a message to thaw it out. At least the driver's door works - if it didn't you'd be able to slide out the passenger side like they did on nearly every 1950's TV show and movie. :)

greencadillacmatt
01-12-10, 10:50 PM
At least he could slide over easily if he needed to. My Cavalier has a center console, and it is a PAIN to climb over. I'm at least 6'5", and a '97 Cavalier isn't the biggest car on the inside. :p

sven914
01-12-10, 10:57 PM
Well it's supposed to get above freezing some time next month so I can wait for that, but what if that's not the problem... Can I get to the rod through the chrome panel behind the inside handle and will there be enough room to lubricate it, or should I spray the lube down the window first?

Bro-Ham
01-12-10, 10:58 PM
Matt, you're a tall guy!! How do you fit in a Cavalier? WHY do you drive a Cavalier?! Chad and his Astro are rubbing off on everyone!!! :) I shouldn't talk - I unloaded a 07 Honda Civic a few months ago...at least I'm pure now... ;)

greencadillacmatt
01-12-10, 11:43 PM
sven, I would try hosing down the inside of the door panel with lube/penetrating oil after you rule out the cold. I hope it works for you, it's so annoying when a door stops working. It's like it sits there taunting you.

And Bro-Ham, I drive a Cavalier because I'm a poor college kid. It's my daily driver, especially in the winter. I drove my '84 almost daily over the summer until the head-gasket blew. I didn't have the cash then to finish the Olds engine for it, or to fix the HT4100. I got the 'Lier for free from my grandparents when I turned 16. And no, I'm not some spoiled kid who got a car for his birthday, events just lined up perfectly then. They got a new Pontiac G6, and they asked if I wanted the Cavalier. I jumped at the chance, because I had no roadworthy car then. I know it sounds weird, but I love my Cavalier. Sentimental value and all that jazz. I have no idea how I fit in it. I even have an inch or two of head room!

Stingroo
01-12-10, 11:47 PM
This is why I'm glad I'm somewhat short -- only 5'9 so I can still fit very (very) comfortably in a Z06.

(Note: God, if you're reading this, after college bless me with a low-mileage cheap 2006 Z06 in DSOM) :D

Bro-Ham
01-13-10, 12:29 AM
Matt, I'm a poor college kid myself right now and I couldn't imagine a better car to drive in my circumstance than a Cadillac. :) I laugh when I think of the cars I had even just a few years ago and I feel such a feeling of pleasure at how simple my life is right now with just my clunky old Cadillac.

Sven, I sure hope you can pry open that stuck door of yours. Maybe pour some vodka on it - it always thaws me out - maybe your car will like it too. :) Otherwise, drive south to FL for a thaw out now that the weather has finally started to get back to normal here. Good luck!!!

greencadillacmatt
01-13-10, 12:44 AM
Well, if I don't have work on monday, and my friend isn't busy, we are going to finish the head-gasket job on my '90 Brougham. It might be running by the middle of next week. Then it just needs exhaust and tires. Quick, to the Craigslistmobile! (computer screen spins wildly)

PS: Oh, and Dave, I found your youtube account. I love your dogs!

Bro-Ham
01-13-10, 12:53 AM
Good luck with your 90! What about the 84?? :) I hope you get it all back together as you hope it should be. I'm glad you like my two hounds - they will be 13 years old in 3 months but they're still going right along and they're my little buddies.

greencadillacmatt
01-13-10, 12:59 AM
The '84 is at my cousin's house, hiding in his garage for the winter. I made quite a bit of progress on the Olds 350 over Christmas break. When things start thawing out in the spring, I'm yanking out the horrid HT4100 and giving the car the engine it should have had from the get-go. 100 more cubic-inches and some Comp-Cams goodies should move the DeVille along very nicely! :D :burn: :D

hearseman
01-13-10, 08:21 PM
I had the sema thing happen to me. The right rear door would not open. I kept hitting the lock/unlock button on the front door until I heard a delayed "click". The door opened and I sprayed the latch with WD-40 and it has worked fine. I will add that the outside temperature was about 25 degrees when mine stuck. I noticed the old lube on the door latch was hard and dry so, I figured it was sticking. Keep working it. It will finally unlock.

sven914
03-30-10, 06:54 PM
Fixed my door. Took less than five minutes.

I just took the chrome piece out form around the door handle, and sprayed aimlessly around the inside. Then I manually locked and unlocked the door a few times, tried the handle and it opened.

Thanks for your input. I was expecting 100 times more hassle than that.

hearseman
03-30-10, 09:17 PM
Ive been there too. My right rea door would not open. I left it unlocked for a feew minutes and then heard the lacth release and was able to open it. The grease gets hard on the latch aftre a few years. Spray it liberally with Kroll or WD-40 and then brush on some lithium grease. When my left rear door stuck, I had to tap on the outside of the door around the latch with the palm of my hand for a few minutes before it released. All GM cars share this problem aftre a few years.

Ian6
03-30-10, 10:35 PM
glad everyone was able to get their doors open.
It sounds so weird to hear someone talk about not having head room, cuz I can't relate I'm 5'4" so it feels like I have miles of head room in any car especially in my cady LOL

greencadillacmatt
03-31-10, 12:10 AM
It's weirdly head-roomy in my Cavalier. No problems with it in my '84 or '90. Although I need re-headliner my Brougham. Having it dangle on my head while behind the wheel is just annoying. (shakes fist at old headliner)

Ian6
03-31-10, 12:42 AM
lol, yeah mine has been re done. i hear its not hard to do though

The-Dullahan
03-31-10, 09:07 PM
Take the housing for the door handle off (the shiny plastic cup) and from there, get some needle nose pliers and try pulling the release cable. After it is opened, just pop off the panel and do the handle work yourself, it's simply. I have done it with my car (you're lucky, your rear doors hand handles on the inside, three out of five of my doors do NOT have interior handles)

Also, you may be able to pop it open with a bar or hanger. I have unlocked Brougham and other Caddy doors with that trick (typically used for stealing cars) and many other makes and models and I have actually managed to release the door on some models and have the whole thing pop open. I am rather doubtful that this will open your door, but it is worth a try.

robb257731
04-01-10, 09:42 AM
Well, my car's in storage at the moment, so it's a moot point. I found that the door would seize up out of nowhere, but if I pulled out of my driveway and let the left rear wheel bump over the curb rather than down the ramp, the door would generally open. I think there must be something out of place inside, and the bumping puts it right? Who knows. It was working fine for quite awhile, and then when I went to have it rust checked, the door wouldn't open. Of course, out of nowhere it started working again, so had the rust check completed.

It was working when I put it away for the winter. It's still in storage....hope to get it out next week....I wonder if the door will open?!?!?

The-Dullahan
04-03-10, 03:48 AM
I had the sema thing happen to me. The right rear door would not open. I kept hitting the lock/unlock button on the front door until I heard a delayed "click". The door opened and I sprayed the latch with WD-40 and it has worked fine. I will add that the outside temperature was about 25 degrees when mine stuck. I noticed the old lube on the door latch was hard and dry so, I figured it was sticking. Keep working it. It will finally unlock.

When we were young little Pikeys and Mum had to get us all into the car (Big Pontiac Station Wagon) I recall the doors all being frozen shut. When she finally got them all opened she went through the procedure of getting us all inside, seated and strapped in...And then she couldn't get the doors to close again, because the latches all froze up.

Gotta love that below-freezing weather.

robb257731
04-06-10, 10:08 AM
Picked my car up from storage yesterday....the door opened with no issues. Woo hoo!

sven914
08-23-10, 07:58 PM
Fixed my door. Took less than five minutes.

I just took the chrome piece out form around the door handle, and sprayed aimlessly around the inside. Then I manually locked and unlocked the door a few times, tried the handle and it opened.

Thanks for your input. I was expecting 100 times more hassle than that.

Scratch that... Expectation has been met and exceeded, a few times over.

Since April, the no opening thing has returned and has gotten progressively worse. It start out as the occasional inconvenienced of not having that door every few weeks. Then it became an almost weekly occurrence. Finally, every time I tired to use the door, it got stuck (even after just fixing it). One day in June, out of frustration, I ripped the door panel off and have been driving around like that for the last three months.

After giving the door weekly baths in silicone lubricant, the door was still relatively useless. I go back to school next week and need access to the passenger side, so today I decided to find a real solution. When I was trying to open the door again, I was watching the mechanism to see what wasn't working.

http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/7553/194035400756276425.jpg

I noticed that the object circled in red would go, almost, to the bottom of it's peg when the door would actually open. I also noticed that it did not always return to it's original position when the handle was released. If I locked the door and then unlocked it, the door would stick, until I reached in and pushed that thing back up, and tried again.

Basically it was like when you try to unlock the door while someone is trying to open the door; the lock can't disengage and the door can't open. My fix was to stop bathing it in lubricant, and to put another "helper" spring on the mechanism. The spring is anchored to the door frame and then to a hole in the anonymous part there and helps pull it back into position. After a few attempts to jamb the door, I can't, so I'll probably be installing one on the driver's door (it's starting to stick too).

MudAnt
08-24-10, 12:53 PM
http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/7553/194035400756276425.jpg

My fix was to stop bathing it in lubricant, and to put another "helper" spring on the mechanism. The spring is anchored to the door frame and then to a hole in the anonymous part there and helps pull it back into position. After a few attempts to jamb the door, I can't, so I'll probably be installing one on the driver's door (it's starting to stick too).

That's some useful info if this becomes a regular problem for anyone else. We should compile a big list of fixes like this.

outsider
08-24-10, 02:33 PM
nice research sven! and i agree with mudant, a comprehensive list would be sweet

sven914
08-24-10, 06:48 PM
Maybe we need a general repair sticky... A place for all of the most common problems (wiper/washer system, power antenna, vinyl top, and doors to name a few) and only the best solutions for repairing the problem (as opposed to 10 pages of indirect help).

Stingroo
08-24-10, 06:56 PM
RWD FAQ, anyone?

Though perhaps Jay should edit the links to be the permalinks to the correct posts, rather than whole threads.