Rant about door handles

Rant about door handles

Postby 95AstroLT [OP] » April 5th 2020, 8:54pm

Obviously exterior door handles are a weak point on these vans, and they're no fun to replace.

I've done several so I'm no newbie, but yesterday's was almost too much.

Replacement was from Dorman. I know their quality varies, but driver's side I did on our 95 was theirs and went well last month, so got one for the driver's side of our 97. Geometry on aftermarket door handles seems to vary wildly, I even had one bought on eBay I didn't install it was so hard to operate. The Dorman I put on the 95 was pretty good and I only had the usual aggravation of manipulating things by feel.

Yesterday went to do the 97. Had to bend the striker (or whatever it's called) to get a smooth operation. But after clearing that hurdle the arm the rod connects to wanted to scrape the window channel (had not bent that at this point). I've had that happen on handles that were square on that end, but this one came rounded. So I ground a bit more off, better - but still scraped. Ground a bit off the window channel, slight improvement but still scrapped.

Here's where I may have gotten into trouble. Bent the area where the rod connects slightly away from the channel. Barely any scraping so I put it together. However, it was real difficult to connect the rod and then put on the handle this way so I put in the handle and then connected the rod. Pretty aggravating but I got better with practice. (And I ended up getting LOTS of practice!) Seemed to work pretty well! Connected all the other rods, tried everything 30 or 40 times before I put the door panel on.

Putting on the door panel, I accidentally hit the power lock switch. Didn't think much of it but tested the door a few more times, about the 3rd time the rod to the handle came out! Aaaarrrrgggg! Pulled the door panel, put rod back in, tested 25 times and it seemed ok. Tried the power lock - rod came out of the handle again! What?? Power lock mechanism doesn't even touch it! (Should mention plastic piece there doesn't have the secondary "latch".)

Feeling around while operating the power lock, it seems depending on where the key lock was last turned the rod for it jumps slightly when the power lock is operated. Still shouldn't touch the handle rod but they're fairly close together. After having the handle rod come out this way a couple more times, I took the mesh sleeve off the key lock rod and couldn't duplicate the problem.

I guess bending the rod connection area on the handle to avoid scraping the window channel I may have gotten it too close to the key lock rod and the mesh must have caught it somehow. I still can't see how, but the problem went away at least so far.

So my rant is back to how often these handles break and how difficult they can be to replace PLUS the poor quality of replacement parts. Seems the handles I got for repairs years ago were better - if I had the problem I had yesterday on my first handle replacement I might not have tried it ever again!

No question to ask here except maybe what source can one count on for a handle that won't need modification? (Hate to pay $100 for a Genuine GM. I do have a used right handle from the junkyard that appears to be original - works very smoothly, going to need that for our 95.)

Maybe the description of my ham handed repair will somehow help someone else.

Rant over.
1995 Astro LT 299,000 miles
1997 Safari SLE 202,000 mi
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Re: Rant about door handles

Postby Leeann_93 » April 5th 2020, 9:07pm

I bought a set of Depo handles to replace the front ones on my '05; they were highly rated on Amazon (I did dig deep in the reviews). I have not installed them yet, but it's only a matter of time.

They're solid. They feel great, the action is smooth, nothing about it feels cheap. I can't wait until they replace the dying OEM handles, they feel so good. Of course, I'm not all that excited to replace them, but I can't wait for it to be over :lol:
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Re: Rant about door handles

Postby sixsixsixsix is online! » April 5th 2020, 9:42pm

Look for low mileage Gen I M-class Vans at the Junkyard.
Ask about the Cross-Reference while there - models that used the same part numbers. Luminas come to mind.
A ten spot might help him/her remember your Card w/ the ph # on it.
... oh, and you don't carry some business cards w/ just your name? or 'nom n' num' - LOL

:blah:

Some parts are interchangeable between R & L handles - "FrankenHandle".
Look for Old NOS.

Edit: did you notice any difference from SLE Vans to an LT Van or the Safari/Astro equiv. ?
'Better Handles on Better outfitted Vans', I dunno.
.

Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... “Everything needs to change except the asshole culture and stupid way of life of the avg. antifa, BLM follower - slobs, cowards, killers w/o any thought that they, IN FACT, are now the Racists.”

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Re: Rant about door handles

Postby AstroWill » April 5th 2020, 9:53pm

Leeann_93 wrote:I bought a set of Depo handles to replace the front ones on my '05; they were highly rated on Amazon (I did dig deep in the reviews). I have not installed them yet, but it's only a matter of time.

They're solid. They feel great, the action is smooth, nothing about it feels cheap. I can't wait until they replace the dying OEM handles, they feel so good. Of course, I'm not all that excited to replace them, but I can't wait for it to be over :lol:


Those are the same that I used and don't have any problems with them at all. This last time I did the drill a hole in the door method to try it out. It worked well, but I will have to pull the inner door panel anyway because those stock speakers suck and need to be replaced, and soon. :)
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Re: Rant about door handles

Postby 95AstroLT [OP] » April 6th 2020, 1:49pm

Leeann_93 wrote:I bought a set of Depo handles to replace the front ones on my '05; they were highly rated on Amazon (I did dig deep in the reviews). I have not installed them yet, but it's only a matter of time.

They're solid. They feel great, the action is smooth, nothing about it feels cheap. I can't wait until they replace the dying OEM handles, they feel so good. Of course, I'm not all that excited to replace them, but I can't wait for it to be over :lol:


The one I replaced yesterday was a Depo, I'm pretty sure. Lasted about 2 years, but my retirement job is food delivery so it got lots of use. Didn't fail completely, but the smaller attachment to the outside handle broke so it was probably only a matter of time. The piece where the rod attaches was square on the end and it did hit the window channel - if I had ground the corners off (as I later did when the passenger's side went out) it might have lasted longer - maybe a little easier to pull. Except for that, action was smooth. Wonder if Depo is like Dorman, reselling parts from various sources. Price on Amazon looks good, though!
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1997 Safari SLE 202,000 mi
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Re: Rant about door handles

Postby 95AstroLT [OP] » April 6th 2020, 2:02pm

sixsix wrote:Look for low mileage Gen I M-class Vans at the Junkyard.
Ask about the Cross-Reference while there - models that used the same part numbers. Luminas come to mind.
A ten spot might help him/her remember your Card w/ the ph # on it.
... oh, and you don't carry some business cards w/ just your name? or 'nom n' num' - LOL

:blah:

Some parts are interchangeable between R & L handles - "FrankenHandle".
Look for Old NOS.

Edit: did you notice any difference from SLE Vans to an LT Van or the Safari/Astro equiv. ?
'Better Handles on Better outfitted Vans', I dunno.


Hadn't thought of interchange, always assumed Astro vans were Astro only. A quick look up on O'Reilly confirms. Our 95 is an LT, the 97 a base, haven't discerned any difference between handles that came with them. Door handles seem to go quickly at the JY - found the passenger's side handle on the very last Astro at the back of the lot, right one was gone (and somebody butchered the door to get it out :screaming: ) Nice van, too. I ended up getting the rear bumper with hitch since ours is bent slightly from a pickup hitting it. Unfortunately I was by myself - that thing probably weighs 70 pounds!
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1997 Safari SLE 202,000 mi
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Re: Rant about door handles

Postby 95AstroLT [OP] » April 6th 2020, 2:04pm

Oops - meant left one was gone. Is there a way to edit posts here after you've sent them? :lol:
1995 Astro LT 299,000 miles
1997 Safari SLE 202,000 mi
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Re: Rant about door handles

Postby Wiley » April 6th 2020, 3:24pm

Leeann_93 wrote:I bought a set of Depo handles to replace the front ones on my '05; they were highly rated on Amazon (I did dig deep in the reviews). I have not installed them yet, but it's only a matter of time.

They're solid. They feel great, the action is smooth, nothing about it feels cheap. I can't wait until they replace the dying OEM handles, they feel so good. Of course, I'm not all that excited to replace them, but I can't wait for it to be over :lol:


I installed the same handles a month ago. I agree they are solid feeling handles. One of my doors was already exposed (trim removed), but I still drilled out holes and replaced that way on both doors. Aside from some fiddling here and there it was a pretty easy job that I had put off for months. Had the trim been on and I dropped a part in the door it obviously would suck, but that didn't happen.
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Re: Rant about door handles

Postby sixsixsixsix is online! » April 6th 2020, 11:25pm

95AstroLT wrote:Oops - meant left one was gone. Is there a way to edit posts here after you've sent them? :lol:


Yup... right up there next to your smiley face... but wait ... if you're on a phone... look for " EDIT ", you get about a day or so to get the cuss words and porn out - LOL. Sometimes even after someone has posted.
.

Well, after all... what would Banacek say ?... “Everything needs to change except the asshole culture and stupid way of life of the avg. antifa, BLM follower - slobs, cowards, killers w/o any thought that they, IN FACT, are now the Racists.”

.
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Re: Rant about door handles

Postby AstroWill » April 6th 2020, 11:54pm

95AstroLT wrote:Oops - meant left one was gone. Is there a way to edit posts here after you've sent them? :lol:

LOL, yea doesn't really change the meaning of the post.

If you want to you can edit your post soon after it's posted(most edits happen within the first hour) and after that you can ask a moderator to fix it for you.
https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=124473
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