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Old 12-13-2010, 09:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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My door won't close/stay closed

This is getting to be a serious problem--I almost got in an accident the other day because my @#$% door flew open in the middle of a turn! My driver's side door latch doesn't work right when it's cold out. Once it gets below about 45 degrees it tends to bounce back instead of latching when the door is closed. I've always been able to get it to latch by pulling it closed firmly but slowly, but apparently that isn't good enough, since it FLEW OPEN.

I tried to see if there was excess grease in there or something and couldn't see anything visibly wrong. I noticed that the passenger side (which works fine) latch closes with a nice little "snick" when pushed but the driver's side doesn't.

Any suggestions for how I can fix this myself, or am I going to have to take it to LoD? This is my only car, so I really need to get it fixed ASAP!
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I guess moving further South ( where it's warmer ) isn't an option ?? .......

( Sorry...don't have any ideas )
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Already did that--MD to NC! Although I guess I got this car in NC, so I haven't moved south with this one...
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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you must have some grease in the latch that has been contaminated. Try spraying liberal amounts of WD40 in there to loosen it up.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I know exactly what you mean. I too am curious about a solution to this.

I have had this happen on my wifes Saturn VUE another Saturn and a Fiero when it has gotten cold out. You can slam the door and it will just bounce back open. Initially I suspected it may be due to the composite, plastic, fiberglass type construction of the doors - but I have had several Corvettes and they never have done that. And even in some instances, once you do manage to seem to get the door closed and latched, it must not really be because it can effortlessly reopen.

It doesn't have anything to do with contaminated grease. I have used WD40, sprayed de-icer, windshield antifreeze - everything I can think of trying to thaw out ice but visually there is no evidence there is anything wrong with the latch and none of these remedys worked.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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hmmmm, sounds like a dangerous problem. glad you didn't get in an accident Maggie!

Maybe its the latch mechanism that needs to be replaced? They had to do this to two different Murcielago's at work (well where I used to work). I remember that the latches for the Murcy's were like $1600 though! I'm sure the Lotus one would be cheaper but hopefully this isn't your problem.

For a temporary fix: If you lock the door does it make it any safer?
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Locking doesn't help, unfortunately. I'm hesitant to spray anything in there that might end up making the problem worse or more difficult to fix... It would help if we knew precisely what the problem is--grease? Parts not fitting exactly right? Or...?
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Before you start spraying down the latch with a lubricant you should try to determine if it is an adjustment problem or if it is actually a sticky latch mechanism. With the door open, take a look at the latch where the striker pin that is attached to the door jamb enters it. You should see a metal plate with a cutout in it where the pin would hit it and rotate it to latch the door. With the door unlocked, take a large phillips head screwdriver and slide the tip of it through the latch opening in the same manner the striker pin would normally slide through. You should see the latch plate rotate around the end of the screw driver tip and hear it click when it locks into place. When you push the release button on the door and slide the screw driver tip back out of the latch opening it should easily spin the plate back to the unlatched position. If there is any significant resistance to any of these movements, you have a lubrication problem with the latch mechanism. If everything in the latch works easily, you have an adjustment problem with either the latch or the striker pin.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesprit View Post
Before you start spraying down the latch with a lubricant you should try to determine if it is an adjustment problem or if it is actually a sticky latch mechanism. With the door open, take a look at the latch where the striker pin that is attached to the door jamb enters it. You should see a metal plate with a cutout in it where the pin would hit it and rotate it to latch the door. With the door unlocked, take a large phillips head screwdriver and slide the tip of it through the latch opening in the same manner the striker pin would normally slide through. You should see the latch plate rotate around the end of the screw driver tip and hear it click when it locks into place. When you push the release button on the door and slide the screw driver tip back out of the latch opening it should easily spin the plate back to the unlatched position. If there is any significant resistance to any of these movements, you have a lubrication problem with the latch mechanism. If everything in the latch works easily, you have an adjustment problem with either the latch or the striker pin.
Exactly what he said Name:  goodidea.gif
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I think that is the best way to determine if the problem is related to the latch mechanism itself or to the adjustment.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesprit View Post
Before you start spraying down the latch with a lubricant you should try to determine if it is an adjustment problem or if it is actually a sticky latch mechanism. With the door open, take a look at the latch where the striker pin that is attached to the door jamb enters it. You should see a metal plate with a cutout in it where the pin would hit it and rotate it to latch the door. With the door unlocked, take a large phillips head screwdriver and slide the tip of it through the latch opening in the same manner the striker pin would normally slide through. You should see the latch plate rotate around the end of the screw driver tip and hear it click when it locks into place. When you push the release button on the door and slide the screw driver tip back out of the latch opening it should easily spin the plate back to the unlatched position. If there is any significant resistance to any of these movements, you have a lubrication problem with the latch mechanism. If everything in the latch works easily, you have an adjustment problem with either the latch or the striker pin.
good advice, but there are two latching positions, so make sure both click.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:12 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Well...

I took the car in to LoD today (it's 15 minutes from my house, so it's a bit too convenient not to take it there). Dropped it off this morning with the door closing if pulled slowly and firmly, but not latching if just pushed shut.

They tried adjusting the latch with no success and ended up removing the door to adjust the hinge (to the tune of $240, which I figured would be worth it if it meant no more problems, and they said I wouldn't have to pay if it didn't fix it). Came back at 4:15 and the door closed fine. Yay, fixed!

Paid and then left--leaving the car there as I needed to pick up my roommate whose car I was driving. We went back to get the Lotus at 7:15 and the door would not close. I could just about get it to latch but not to pull fully closed after that like it would before. I tried to drive it, hoping that I would be able to pull it closed but it wouldn't stay, the door/car was creaking and it was just not safely drivable IMO. So I took it back, left the keys, and will have to call in the morning.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm having the exact same problem, also only on the driver's door, worse in cold weather. In researching it, I can not find any adjustments at the latch or pin.

EDIT: I stated that the pin is not adjustable. As T.J. points out below, that is not correct; there is a small amount of adjustment available. Mine was stuck.

I am planning to try what your guys did, adjusting at the hinge. If that doesn't work, I'll try to see if I can increase the tension of the spring that overcenters the latch pawl.

Last night the alarm went off when the door popped open while sitting in the driveway.
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Last edited by luxige; 12-17-2010 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:40 PM   #13 (permalink)
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for me this happens from ice. Usually if I slap the INSIDE of the door, opposite the lock, I can hear it pop back into place. Closes fine after that.
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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It's definitely not ice in my case (though, since the car is currently sitting outside at the dealership and it's sleeting right now it probably *will* be ice causing problems today!). Problem happens even when it's around 40 and the car has been dry, it just gets worse with colder temperatures.

Luxige, adjusting the hinge may be worth a try, but it didn't solve my problem. I'm not sure what will, but I have a feeling it may end up being replacing the latch.

I guess with the snow on the ground today I wouldn't be driving it anyhow...
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:14 AM   #15 (permalink)
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you can adjust the pin. it is not welded to the roll bar. 17mm wrench, only a few turns on the pin and it will come loose. then you can play with it. It will move fore, aft, up and down. it really sounds like these pins are just in too far so the door hits the seals before it is latcched all the way onto the stryker pin. i like to loosen them just enough so the pin doesnt move but is "loose", the little by little i tap it with the wrench in whatever direction I need to go (in this instance it sounds like out), tighten it back up and slowly close the door to make sure you arent making contact with something you shouldnt. do this with the window open then you can put your head through and watch your placement. it takes a little while to get everything perfectly adjusted, but it can work if it is indeed the issue. when it is cold the seals arent as plyable so the door doesnt like to close as far. just a thought for all of you.

good luck!!
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:23 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Update - I tried again to adjust the pin. It had been stuck in place when I tried before, but loosened with the application of a cold chisel and hammer. I was able to get the latch to just catch by setting the pin fully outward and slightly up from neutral. New problem: the door is quite loose now, as you might expect. I think T.J. is correct that the rubber seals are the problem, and I'm now guessing that the hinge needs to be moved outward to make enough room to move the latch pin back inward so there is the right amount of pressure on the seals all the way across.
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:00 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I picked my car up today. They adjusted it again, and he said it was working earlier. Unfortunately, by the time I picked it up, it was not working again. Someone from the dealership ended up pushing on the door quite hard to get it to latch, so I was able to drive it home at least. Lotus says that the latch will need to be replaced, and the guy in the body shop is going to find out if there is an updated latch or if mine is just faulty.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:51 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I had the same "no latchy" problem. I sprayed silicon lube in the lock and jiggled the latch mechanism around. Problem gone !
The parts within the lock may be sticking together...
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:24 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I am having the same problem for the 1st time this winter. It is my passenger door. Temps in Maryland are in the 20's and 30's. I will try all the adjustments above and hope they work!
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:32 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Also having the same problem. Door will shut if you hold it closed as you shut it. I'm going to go with the lubricant solution as the problem presents itself with cold weather.
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