Chevy Astro and GMC Safari Forum banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just returned from my first week-long jaunt in my recently converted Astro parking/sleeping at random super scenic turnouts overlooking mountains/cliffs/oceans up the coast from LA. It was a great trip overall, and a great experiment to see what functions or fails regarding the new space.

The side sliding door was getting harder to open/shut before the trip, then wouldn't open AT ALL until I bought some lube for the wheels/tracks, at which point it would open as long as I open the door handles both on the inside and outside simultaneously - which of course can't be done when you're locked out on the outside. So I was anxious to try and fix it upon returning home, especially after reading this thread:
https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=10893

In prep for trying out what 98cirider reported to work with success 10 years ago (and now here I am finally addressing the actual reason/issue for this post), I decided to add some lube to the...center rear hinge of the door for good measure - I hadn't greased up that part previously. And before doing so, I touched/pushed the latch (circled part in photo) there ever so lightly. Then I went to shut the door and...the door won't shut! Tried and tried but basically it is being blocked at the point where it'd usually connect/secure. It must be this latch (if that's the right word). But when I move the latch, it only moves a little. My understanding is that it should open up, and that's what allows for the incoming connection when the door shuts. But it won't budge, and it's also hard to really get into that nook of the door to monkey around much. What happened - I barely touched it?? And of course, what can I do? Thanks much for any help.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2004 Astro AWD, 2004 Safari 2WD
Joined
·
595 Posts
open both handles as you said and open that latch. It goes mostly circular. You may need a screwdriver to help it along.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
I had the same problem for weeks that you were having. Finally the door wouldn't open. I managed to get it to open to lube everything. Worked for awhile. I was lubing the same part of the latch and I got it stuck open like yours. It should unlatch if you pull either handle open while manually opening that latch with your finger or tool. if not, it's locked. I had to go inside the door... Mine worked perfectly again for awhile and then locked up tight. My issue was broken plastic inside the latch jamming it up. I found the 'tickle spot' to manually get the latch open regardless if it is locked or not. (see pic) Lube everything in there! Check all rods and their guides. If all fails, you might have to replace the latch as I did. Pry up on the very back metal part at the end of the screwdriver. You will need a light and a mirror to find it. Good Luck.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was feeling grateful and excited to take you guys' tips into practice (thanks for the help) and ran to my van and first tried any which way I could to find the "tickle spot" and unjam the latch. But as mentioned before and as I'm sure you know, it's mighty hard to access anything in that area other than part of the latch itself. I again tried holding both handles to bring it to latch, without success, and I am one body right now, and cannot hold both handles and jimmy the latch at the same time. Anyhow, while I was futzing, I noticed down at my feet was a spring. At first, because it looked so very shiny and brand new (and my Astro's 1995) that I thought "Oh, maybe that's just some random thing lying around from my outdoor work space", but then I looked at the photo you included, and see that there's a very similar spring going on there. My god! Is that from my van door?? If so, how did that just fall out?? And is this, in part or full, why the latch won't turn?? And, at this point, is there no way of getting the spring back in without....taking apart the whole mechanism...which first involves....taking the whole door off??
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
if that first image is of your latch in it's current position, the latch is "closed" while the door is open. It will not close until you release the latch.

If you have someone to help you, what you want to do is slide a pencil or screwdriver through that opening you have circled, and put some pressure toward the van itself

Then with pressure being applied, try activating either both or one of the door handles. Make sure the key is "unlocked" or the lever on the inside is in the lock position. Also if you have child locks, Make sure those are not engaged either.

If it's just sticky, the pressure on the latch when you operate the handles should pop that latch into the open position.

Then if that spring is not from the unit, you should be able to clean it out with cleaner and fluid to get it working smoothly again.

Sometimes when you open the door, if it's been acting real sticky, The latch won't open fully when you open the door. then when you try to close it, the knob/post that it grabs onto on the side of the van, pushes it closed before it latches. and if it's sticky and there's not enough pressure pulling the latch out, it will just stay "closed"

As far as repairing/replacing. Since your door is already open, there are 3 screws (torx) you can see two of them on your photo, and half of the third one on top. You will have to pull the internal door panel and with those three screws you should be able to remove the whole mechanism to clean it up and repair it or find replacement and just re-install.

Those get real dirty and gunked up fast so keeping it clean and lubed is important.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
One trick I have done as a solo person. I would hook a bungee cord hook through that hole, and hook the other end to something inside the van. That will put the pressure on the latch and allow you to work the handles independent of prying on the latch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
I just re-read your initial post..

I suspect when you "touched/pushed the latch (circled part in photo) there ever so lightly." you probably "closed the latch" to the locked position. Easy to do and now you need to "open the latch" so it will receive that post.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks much for chiming in.
Easy to do and now you need to "open the latch"
Yes, apparently easy to do but the rest so far has been...harder.

I tried your prescribed bungee method, and was really pulling that bungee as strong/tight/taught as can go, and opening the handles, but not a budge.

I am still unsure of the origins of that spring. Again, it's truly shinny/spiffy/like new, and I can't even see where it would have an opening to physically fall out of the van.

I don't see much options now except your advice to take the whole thing apart, which is something I loathe to do considering must unhook/unscrew the original conversion's old velour'd plywood panel first, and, if like the others that have had to unscrew, it's quietly falling apart internally through old age and will die sooner the more it's toyed with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
Did you verify that the key lock and the interior manual lock are in the totally unlocked position. Try putting the key in and turning it clockwise the try the bungee release
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
So I did verify that indeed it appears you have accidentally "closed the latch"

I will post a video shortly. What you need to try is manually "unlock" the door with the key and also do the same with the interior latch. Then put some pressure on the latch (bungee, although I did find that I can operate the handle and latch at the same time. Just not the interior handle.) and try to release the door.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
Here's probably how you managed to "close the latch" by pressing on the latch manually.


And here's how I released it on mine.


My current Van is a 2nd Gen but It's the same on first gen. (I did this before on my older cargo van before I gave it up)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
dchan, i just read your post. i'm gonna go out and try your further suggestions right now...except...whatever video links you sent are "private". don't even see any option to gain access through secret passcode or some such....

i hadn't tried anything with the key yet because am not accustomed to even using the key in that door as it's never opened from the outside since i've owned it....

P.S. just tried with key turned and, yes, door otherwise unlocked, but no luck….
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
Gabor Latte said:
P.S. just tried with key turned and, yes, door otherwise unlocked, but no luck….
It's very possible also that somehow the linkages to the keylock and locking solenoid popped off which is why the handle is not engaging.

On the inside of the door there is should be a lift lever to unlock the door. Not sure if your's has this because if it's a conversion van many other things can happen.

The last part is, depending on the accessories and options installed, there can be a "child lock" that keeps the door from being opened from the inside. If it's in the "engaged" position, the inside handle can not open or release that latch.

If both the manual key lock and the interior door lock don't work but the power latches did the issue you now have is that in order to use the power lock system, normally the door needs to be closed. (on my van you can see the contact plungers that make contact with the power lock connector and transfer the power to the lock mechanism.

If you apply voltage (12v) momentarily to these contacts one direction will energize the solenoid to lock the door. reverse the polarity to unlock the door.

IMG_1666.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
dchan, you have really helped out a complete stranger today.

it wasn't 'till i saw your video that my thick skull could comprehend the instructions.

it worked!!!!

:banana: :ty: :banana:

i even locked it again and opened again!

thank you soo soooo much. this really takes a load off.

so, after i solved that, i forged ahead with the original mission, which was to take a soft mallet to this here thingamabob on the front part (seen here in this photo cut and pasted from the thread i mentioned from 10 years ago).

SlidingDoor-5.jpg


i just gave it a couple strong taps to move it a bit, maybe an eight of an inch.

and this indeed allowed me to now open the door from the inside without having to also hold the door on the outside and press my body against the door. another major boon and victory!

but now, i still cannot open the door from the outside. my sense is the door disengages from the front part, but is still hooked on the back end somehow. so i tried to use the mallet on the same part but inside the back end. it was really too hard to wedge it in there without any force. i might have to actually get civilized and buy the torx tool needed there, but I'm not exactly sure that will solve any problems. so if anyone has any ideas, i'm all ears. maybe I'll start a new post about that in a bit.

but i am positively thrilled and relieved to have these other issues resolved, and I simply cannot imagine how I would have done so without all of your help - including your videos. i could kiss you! :banana-guitar: thanks to everyone! :eek:bscene-drinkingcheers:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
I was really pulling for you to get that popped open! It was one the hardest things I've ever had to figure out! Here's a better pic of it. It's tough to get at. I became good at it after a few times. The van needs the side door! I ratchet strapped it "closed" while I waited for a new latch but I couldn't drive a mile without people honking and pointing to my door. Sure just rub more salt in my wound... I never thought about the bungee to something inside while tickling it. I phoned a friend to help and I tell you, he was nervous about putting his finger in there while I banged and rattled things inside lol That's when I found that little tab in there. Yes, need bungee or friend to rotate the outside piece while tickling if the door is open. If the door is shut it will just pop open on it's own.
Mine looked and sounded like it was locking/unlocking but it was stuck locked. My handle rods and lock rods all moved as they should. I had a bungee on the door handle and was lubing it all up when this happened to me. Keep trying lube ounce you get it working. Check all those rod guides. There's a hidden one under the electric solenoid bracket for the key lock rod. I missed that taking it apart. Replacing that latch was a nightmare! I cursed the engineers back in Baltimore! Those pop rivets went in after the linkages. I figured it out without taking the door off or dealing with rivets. One linkage at a time in the right order without losing a clip! Blood pressure was high and I lost sleep. I probably could have used my old latch once it was cleaned out but that plastic that crumbled out keeps the rattles away I believe. I didn't want to do this twice so I went new.
If you have to take it out pm me. I took pics at every step so I could put the new one back in. Rubik's Door! I hope you get it opening/closing, locking/unlocking and sliding like new! Cheers

PS: Don't be like me and put the door panel on and off until it's really fixed!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
Ok. Seeing your "post" there. (picture of the latch post) you need to get yourself to a welder/body shop. Remove that locking post, get the backing reinforced an reinstalled in the proper place. If smacking it with a mallet made it better, then you probably have slammed that door on the post one too many times. My Gen 1 had the exact same problem. Where the latch got all gummy, kept getting stuck in the closed position. When I was able to get it to latch closed, I soon learned that it was not completely latched but at the intermediate position. this is why the outside handle doesn't "release" the latch and why it was so easy to get it into the wrong position. Almost every time I opened the door on my Gen1 I had to check that latch before closing to make sure I was not slamming the door on the post.

The position of that post is probably moved too far in now and will eventually snap off if you don't resolve the alignment issue.

What has happened is after getting the door slammed on the post a few too many times, it's gotten pushed back too far. Usually in such a way that the metal around that post has fatigued and is very malleable. So when you do put your body into the side of the door to push it closed further, it finally pushes that latch far enough in. Somewhere along the way, I suspect the outside door handle has either popped off one of the linkages or the lock lever has permanently released the outside door handle from engaging the latch release mechanism.

I had to have my cousin cut out the whole section, realign it and fill in the gap once we had it in the correct place. We had another gen1 astro to use as a template, to get the alignment.

That's a nasty job but once you get it aligned right and fixed properly, you will be extremely happy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
and when I say "Snapped off" what happened is the metal around that post you drew an arrow to, you can see the brown ring around the edges.. That area on mine and my cousin's astro both had the same problem. the constant slamming and pulling on that post fatigued that ring around the post and it just broke off. taking the sheet metal and the post with it. The post was still attached to a ring of sheet metal that had pulled out of the hole.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
864 Posts
Oh Wait you said the front one..

I am guessing it's the back one that is out of alignment. The one that actually mates to the latch you had to resolve the release issue with.

The Gen1 had a post just like that at the back of the door, that the latch grabs on to. If it's out of alignment, it probably is not engaging properly with the latch you were just fiddling with and not locking into the correct position. If it's in the "mid release" position, you generally have to push the door in (your body against the door from the outside) to get it to complete the latch, then the handles will "release" the latch. But if it's in that intermediate position. moving the outside handle does nothing for the latch.

If you move that back latch out just a little bit, you will probably find that the door works better however. it also means that the metal around the back latch post is starting to fatigue.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top