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So recently someone tried to break into my '93 Astro Luxury Touring van. The broke a piece of the handle on the drivers side door. It was actually working fine, until one day it finally busted.

I had to take it to a body shop to get them to allow the door to fully close. So now it closes but i have no handle.

I really want to start working on this thing myself if i can.

Is this a straightforward job? I couldnt figure i out in my garage, because after ripping off the door panel, i saw no easy way of accessing anything to replace.
 

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It is a tight fit. I don't find it a difficult job if you have patience.

The hardest part for me was getting the nuts on the new handle. I had someone else hold the handle and just barely stick the stud through the door. With the handle all the way inserted I couldn't get the nut to go over the stud. Once I got the new one bolted in everything else just snapped back in place.
 

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Common Sense + Critical Thinking
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Small hands help! (mine do not qualify) and little bit of sticky stuff on the head of the nut so they don't keep falling off into the door cavity help getting them on the studs. I have a large collection of magnets of various sizes so I just stick one in the socket and it holds the nut in place while I line up every thing.

Patience as Mat says, is the key. Just did my passenger side after it broke during the Winter. (extremely cold weather and cheap replacements by previous owner) I had a new original GM part from my previous Chevy sitting around that I had purchased right before that vehicle went to the JY so I hung onto it knowing I might eventually have to replace it on this newer to me van.
 

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There's a specific spot on the door where you can drill
a hole in it, and it makes the replacement waaay easier.
Both my front doors have those holes, and I
drilled bigger holes than are shown in this video.

 

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Having done both sides on both our vans (some more than once) I can tell you it is not a job I look forward to. However, it isn't the worst job by any means.
A few tips I've learned:
Use a good handle - $10 eBay ones often break again in a few months. Some don't even fit or work from the get-go. Best I've found are OEM handles from JY if they're still in good shape. Plus, you get to explore how it goes together on a vehicle you don't care about. Save the nuts in case you lose one.
Some door panel mounts on your 93 will probably separate from the panel. Plan on using some JB Weld or some other good adhesive to put them back on.
You definitely do not need to cut holes. You can if you want. I don't have a hole saw and did fine without it.
One 10 mm nut is easily accessed through the access hole in the door - pop out the plastic cover and you can see it.
The other (upper) is definitely trickier. You have to go by feel from inside the door. Or, as I just discovered not having the correct tools at the JY, you can access the top one by dropping the latch assembly. You'll need to disconnect connecting rods to other components to let it drop low enough so I'd suggest this as a "Plan B" - you'd be making one aspect easier but adding work on the other end. Just go slow and be patient using "Plan A" (working inside the door). I've found disconnecting the lock connecting rod makes it WAY easier to get to the top nut. Of course you then have to remember to put it back on, which can be tricky (have to go by feel.)
Manual dexterity is essential.
Pay attention to where the connecting rods go and make 100% sure you have them back before closing the door or putting the door panel back on. Test everything. Nothing like thinking you're done only to find you can't unlock the door with the key (don't ask me how I know). Or worse yet, finding out you can't unlatch the door from either inside or outside after you've closed it! (Never done that myself, but read where people have.)
Make sure your latch and post are well lubed so you don't have to pull too hard to open the door. This will help your new handle last longer.
I believe others have covered most everything else.
If you get it done correctly its actually a very satisfying job to have behind you. You'll pat yourself on the back every time you open the door!
 
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