Chevy Astro and GMC Safari Forum banner
21 - 33 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
872 Posts
The reason I mention body shop, They will have all the specs and tools to get those latches aligned just right and back to factory spec. I was lucky that my cousin had a brother that had the exact same vehicle as mine so we were able to compare the positions of the posts. He does body work, and builds show cars so it was a simple matter of measuring against a known good vehicle and match it up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
There's some communication confusions to clear up, and there's a further breakthrough, a thickening plot, and some more mystery...

first, safarico, i'm not sure if you understood how i remedied the stuck latch, which was not by the bungee method, but merely by keeping the key in turned fully rightward, while simultaneously using a screw driver to push out the latch while opening the door with the outside handle. i reckon bungee would've worked just as well in this method but the key to the Rubik's Door and avoiding high blood pressure and insomnia seems to be having the key in the door. at least that seems to be my success story. but i still have the issue with opening the van from the outside (sort of....as i'll explain) so thanks for the PM invite just in case i still need to take things apart.

so, i was just reading dchan's last posts, and need to clear some things up, but first let me say that something within your posts made me think of the key again. so i ran downstairs and tried opening the van...from the outside....with the key in the door. and guess what? it opens from the outside! but only if i have the key in the door. so this has solved yet another significant fraction of the overalls issues i set out this morning to fix. real progress, nearly there! the remaining question now is: how can i get the door to open from the outside without the key (and what does using the key remedy in the situation that could lead to a permanent remedy without the key?). This is important when i'm camping out for weeks at a time and that side door is the main entryway, going in/out often and trying to avoid bugs getting inside the van...

partly where there's confusion, dchan, is that the photo i last posted is not my van. i grabbed it from the post/thread//link i mentioned, on this website, were the mallet method was mentioned. for what it's worth, below are, respectively, the front and back "striker" parts from my van.

IMG_1501.jpg

IMG_1502.jpg


i had taken the mallet to the front one with success, but found it hard to thrust the mallet into the back one to being sandwiched between van and door. is it still you opinion that i need to see a welder, based on the photo of the back striker, and with new knowledge that the van now opens from the outside too when they key is in the door)? unfortunately, the gifts and graces afforded my life do not include a brother that has the exact same vehicle as mine who does body work, and the short story is, in no way can i afford the type of body work you were prescribing for this issue.

incidentally, for the record, here's a quote from that thread i keep mentioning (and photo i "quoted") from 98cirider, the mallet man.
I discovered the problem because I noticed the top of the striker just above where the torx bit goes was rubbed to a shine, bare steal, no black paint. Since I do not have a torx bit in the size needed, I tried my mallet. It only needed to move a tiny bit. Then I repainted the striker black to see if the paint gets rubbed off when closing and opening the door. So far, the paint is staying on, and the door is working better than it has in several years.
yeah so, that photo of his was the front one, which i apparently malleted into shape just like him so that it allowed me to open the door from the inside without the added choreography of pushing my body against it while also opening the outdoor handle (so, both handles).

i'm sure this 26 year old van's had its share of door slams and that's what brought things out of alignment, but the only remaining question is how to hack up some further DIY solution for the remaining issue of wanting keyless entrance into van's side door, if the universe will yet provide one. and to be clear: yes the key is what makes the difference in being able to open it from the outside, but of course it is not unlocking anything - the door is already always unlocked before i've conducted these little layman experiments and fixes...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
872 Posts
front frame.jpg
it would be interesting to see how your door alignment really is.

If that image of your front door's chips are from contact with the sliding door, it looks like you have an alignment issue.

Those chips, unless you are constantly opening your door against concrete walls, I usually seen on vans that the sliding door hits the front door when slammed.

Also if you look at the contacts for your door locks, they are way off center. The contacts do float a little but that wear pattern tells me that the sliding door is sagging pretty good.

Also if you view the pin/post that you took your mallet to, it's got wear on the top mating edge for when the sliding door slams that makes it look like maybe your door hits it on top as it gets closed, and hopefully it's getting pushed into alignment as you slam the door.

I would be checking all the bolts for the rollers and rails to see if some of those might be loose and not holding the door up in the proper position. Particularly the roller that is on the bottom that rolls in the track on the bottom of the opening. Getting that front area in alignment may also fix your turning the key issue. if there is too much pressure or deformation going on in that area of the door when it closes, It may be on the edge of where the key being forcefully turned is now allowing the handle to engage the mechanism inside the door.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
872 Posts
back frame.jpg


As far as the back frame pin. The area or large red circle is basically where mine and my cousin's brother's "ripped" because we didn't catch it in time.

If you can get a torx and very carefully remove that pin, (you need to hang onto the washer and nut behind that frame or remove the panels inside to get access behind that post) you might be able to remove it and have someone take a look. If it's still in decent shape but maybe starting to show some fatigue, you might be able to find someone to reinforce the sheet metal with a weld bead, not requiring a total repair of that sheet metal.

Is the blue fuzzy around that line a scratch or crack in the metal. Hard to tell but if it's an actual crack, then that post has been hit real hard and deformed that metal there. It means that the post has been pushed in towards the driver side and needs to be re positioned (by mallet if that's your only option) towards the outside of the van. That chip/dent circled in marker red if it was caused by the door being slammed, would tell me that the latch has been hitting there for a while and also clues that the sliding door itself is out of alignment and most likely sagging throughout.. Again check for loose bolts on all those wheels and arms that hold the door up in it's position. Any of those bolts starting to work themselves out can cause that door to sag.

And YES I've been there on all three of my vans to some varying degree. The newer Gen2 and Gen3 fixed some of these alignment issues by using different hardware that seems to have held up better but all the symptoms you have exclaimed about point to door alignment and wear on all the latches and mating parts.

Hope that helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
872 Posts
Last thing that may seem too simple.. Those contacts I circled and the push contacts I took a photo of.

Take some real fine sandpaper (600grit) or even a good ink rubber eraser (can you even get those any more?) to all the mating contacts. Doing this and then firing the power lock to "unlock" may help the situation. those are pretty oxidized and a good cleaning might help with "keyless" opening.. It's very possible that the solenoid that activates your door unlock, is not getting enough energy to completely flip the latch, where turning and holding the key in the clockwise position may be getting the mechanism just a little bit further.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I think the line inside the blue fuzzy is just a mere surface mark. will double check in tomorrow's daylight.

it would be interesting to see how your door alignment really is.
is there any way i can demonstrate that? snap and upload some video?

Also if you look at the contacts for your door locks, they are way off center.
i am unsure how to gauge/ascertain that using my own eyes.

Also if you view the pin/post that you took your mallet to, it's got wear on the top mating edge for when the sliding door slams that makes it look like maybe your door hits it on top as it gets closed, and hopefully it's getting pushed into alignment as you slam the door.
this is why i quoted the original mallet man, because i detected similar wear, but maybe in different places, and chose, using a certain logic, to hit the thing with the mallet in the opposite direction of where the marks are, which is maybe exactly how i healed one of the issues (opening the door from the inside)

will report back tomorrow with any findings/further progress.

I've been there on all three of my vans to some varying degree. T
good to know i'm not alone and really glad to have your set of eyes on this situation. if you've been around the block at least three times with these issues, that might be anywhere from one to three more times than whatever mechanic i'da brought it to, if not for this blessed website.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
872 Posts
to get a better idea of the door alignment

Close all the doors and look carefully (or take photos/video) of all the gaps around your doors paying attention to the sliding door and how the bends in the body align.

Then pop the sliding door but don't push it open. Then take another close look at if the door moved down as it was released you should be able to see if the door shifts down as you pop it. If the rails and rollers are doing their job, the door should barely shift downwards if at all.

if the door shifts downwards as it is popped open, then those pins you are taking a mallet to are doing way more work than they should be to keep your door in alignment when it latches.

With the door closed and latched, you can also check the gap along the top of the door to the roof line of your van. The gap there should be even all the way from the back of the door to the front, and the edges should line up with your front passenger door.
The gap to your front passenger door should be even top to bottom and the bends in the body should line up and match. For this to be correct however your front passenger door needs to be straight and aligned as well. those hinges and pins on the front doors are known for wear and getting bent or out of alignment. the gap from the front right fender, along the windshield, and sweeping back towards the back of the vehicle should be even. As it continues back along the roof line, it should stay in relatively close alignment to the roof of your vehicle. Look for places where the two doors or the doors and frames might be making slight contact when you slam them. Particularly right at the corners..

These are all visual signs that will tell you if things are in alignment or if the pins and latches are taking up the slack for sagging hinges or rollers.

Unless you get everything relatively close, you will continue to have latch holding and closing problems. How bad the problem is will depend on what you are willing to live with, how much wind and vibration noise you are willing to live with. etc.

It bugs the heck out of me to hear wind rushing through slight openings or hearing metal bounce against other metal because the latches are not fully engaged against rubber seals. My friends ride in my van and don't seem to mind. and having good alignment in the doors makes for easier opening and closing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Clearly you've been around the block, covered the whole neighborhood in fact. I appreciate all the detail and education. Will commit full inspection tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
2002 and 2004, RWDs
Joined
·
264 Posts
dchan51360 is always so good to get advice from!

Van's looking good Gabor. :thumbup:
They've all got issues that arise, but she's paid for!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
good to see you in these parts, deafman. yeah, dchan hooked me up good today! thanks - glad ya like the van. still got to varnish her up and a few more upgrades. she's been real good to hang with on the coast and in mountains. and yeah, she's paid for, she's all mine for now. :rockon:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I looked over the side door.
here's some video, perhaps of no use, no real intel. and some photos too down below (perhaps even more useless overkill). pardon the grime, she needs a shower after a week in dusty, dirty climes.


door doesn't seem to hang too low at all is my sense
today it was more difficult to open it from the outside (with key inserted). i actually broke out the mallet again and did some tapping on the rear peg/post, and then it was...even harder, almost impossible to open from the outside, so a lot is riding on the exact position of the rear peg. i don't wanna jinx anything through haphazard guesswork, so will keep some distance from the mallet for now.
otherwise i did not see anything unusual, bolts and rollers didn't seem loose.
i would love to be able to open the door from the outside, but i'm not sure what else i can do without throwing a lot of money at it. perhaps i should get a torx tool and play with adjustment of rear peg that way?
as you can see, the passenger side door handle is smashed in, inaccessible, and...the front door's lock doesn't open from the outside (but, hey, she was $1500, and overall decent shape, 182k miles...), and the back door is sorta inaccessible due to bug mesh, so side door accessibility from the outside would look a bit like paradise from my current vantage.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
872 Posts
astro marked up.jpg


So this image is telling. You have an alignment problem that is probably causing your inability to open the door.

I circled what I was looking at.

the front area by the windshield tells me your front passenger door is sagging too so it's alignment to the slider needs to be considered as sagging about the same amount as the passenger door.

The circles on the side where the passenger door meets the slider show that the slider front is sagging just a little bit more than the passenger door.

The circles at the top rear corner of the slider and middle of the slider seam show the sag there as well. The circle by the fender shows you where the door is impacting the body due to the sag.

The photo that you took with the slider just popped but not pushed back shows you just how much it drops as it releases from the alignment blocks. If you look at that alignment with the door closed (in the photo I marked up) the slider has dropped a bit when it popped open.

I'm not sure which way you are tapping on the pins but your goal should be to tap upwards and probably away from the body, not towards the body. It will make louder grinding noises as you slam the door but the idea is those big posts are being used to lift the door into alignment. You are not trying to get them to not impact, you are trying to get them to align the door properly.

The rear post, probably needs to both lift the door, and be moved away or out from the vehicle so that it will actually push the latch in completely..

Try this as you close the slider door, put your left hand on the back part of the door, and apply a fair amount of pressure in, like you are trying to over pressure the closing force while the door is latching. Then try opening the door from the outside.

I have a sneaking suspicion that your latch is not getting fully engaged when you close the slider. by putting pressure on the door, you might be able to get it to latch fully and then you will be putting a fair amount of pressure to pop open that latch when you operate the handle. (like my video that got you to release the latch)

You can actually try it without closing the door to see what I mean. If open the door and put your screwdriver into the opening start to push the latch in, it will click to a closed position that will now trap your screwdriver but if it's still sticky, and you try to operate the handle you should find that it doesn't pop open. Then if you push the latch fully closed (like your photo earlier) then use the process I did the video for, to pop it, you should find that it opens fine.

if your door is not seating far enough to fully engage that latch then trying to open the door with the outside handle will fail.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)
Thanks much for all of that. I am eager to try out what you suggest but I re-ignited my back pain a couple days ago due to over-exertion and...can barely walk at present, and am requiring some serious non-strenuous rest for at least a few days more. But I'll be back within the week.

In other news, this new updated web design looks pretty snazzy/classy/smooth....!
 
21 - 33 of 33 Posts
Top