Replacing the door handles

Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby rev_les » March 19th 2010, 1:02am

Let us know what you come up with, as far as I can find, they're the same at least from '85 to '03.
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby mclaugh » March 22nd 2010, 10:58pm

Well, GM has two handles, one for 85-92 or so, the other for 93 on. They are almost identical, the main difference being the way the rod connects to the lever.

I got the new one first, and thought maybe it didn't fit because the replaced door is (may be) older than 93. So I traded it for the older handle which still didn't fit.

Then I read another thread where someone suggested disconnecting the lock rod, which solved my problem. I should look up his name and thank him. Even getting the top nut on wasn't too bad, but I have skinny fingers.

So I'm climbing in the correct side of the van again. Thank you all for your replies.
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby mbennett » April 13th 2010, 10:59pm

I too am having the new handle interfere with my window track. I have the "left" handle for the driver side. When i pull the handle from the outside it hits the window track. I have taken it out and put it back in several times. Can anyone suggest anything?
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby mbennett » April 14th 2010, 12:56am

mbennett wrote:I too am having the new handle interfere with my window track. I have the "left" handle for the driver side. When i pull the handle from the outside it hits the window track. I have taken it out and put it back in several times. Can anyone suggest anything?


I bought my handle off eBay and it is supposed to fit an 85+ Astro. I didn't know until earlier that they changed them in 95. So I went to autozone and paid $30 for the right one, I don't have time to wait another week for an eBay seller to send hte wrong one.
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby astroturf » April 14th 2010, 1:28am

mbennett wrote:
mbennett wrote:I too am having the new handle interfere with my window track. I have the "left" handle for the driver side. When i pull the handle from the outside it hits the window track. I have taken it out and put it back in several times. Can anyone suggest anything?


I bought my handle off eBay and it is supposed to fit an 85+ Astro. I didn't know until earlier that they changed them in 95. So I went to autozone and paid $30 for the right one, I don't have time to wait another week for an eBay seller to send hte wrong one.


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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby Mr_Bowtie » April 14th 2010, 1:33am

I never knew there was differences in the handles. Man they look the same. :shrug:
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby Gone Blue » May 2nd 2010, 3:56am

I am glad I found this thread. The GM Factory service manuals do not have any detail on how to replace the front door handles. I drilled a 1" hole in the door today so I could replace the drivers door handle and it worked great. Now I just need to find a hole plug to replace the duct tape I put over the hole. G.B.
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby junwa » October 2nd 2010, 5:11am

This thread is gonna be imployed on the first day I pick up my new Safari, cus the driver door handle is only connected at the top and flaps in the recess.

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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby RECox286 » October 2nd 2010, 5:31pm

One trick I use to gain access to the front door handles attaching harware, is to carefully locate another grommet hole above the door latch. (Use a hole saw that will give you a diameter the same as the lower access hole.) It gives me enough room to get a 10mm flex socket on the upper nut that secures the handle. It is a little tricky, but you can work the handle out of its hole with the pull rod still attached, then hook the rod to the new handle and get everything back into place. Install a 2nd grommet to cover the hole you drilled.

Sorry I don't have any way to post photos or graphics. (this sucks, sometimes)

The trick to keeping these fragile handles giving better service life is to see to the cleaning and lubing of all the door hardware. Hinges, rollers, tracks, latches, badda, boom. I use CRC as a solvent, then lots of shop air, and follow up with a light coat of spray lube that will dry but still lubricate. I think the worst assembly is the slider. It has rollers on the bottom assembly that attract crud like mad, and it becomes a contest to see which one of us (the truck, or me) will win. So far...

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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby RECox286 » October 2nd 2010, 5:34pm

Yes Jim,

Chevy did it to us again. I know they LOOK the same, but they don't TASTE the same. Don't ask me how I know...

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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby paintdrying » March 20th 2011, 9:34pm

I just finished replacing the outside passenger handle. If I had to do it again I would drill a hole. I found that disconnecting the rod from the lock cylinder was very helpful. I screwed the bottom nut onto the handle a few turns then I held the top nut over the hole and slowly pushed the handle into the door while turning the nut. The attached washer only spins so is of no help getting the nut started. By the time I have to replace the handle again I will have forgotten the nut trick. Save your self some trouble and drill a hole.
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby RECox286 » March 21st 2011, 1:19am

The Driver and Passenger door handles are easier to replace if you undo the latch and position it out of the way so that you can get to the top nut thru the opening where the latch was. The latch will not move far, but should move far enough to do the job. The lower nut is accessable thru the hole with the plastic cover just below the latch. I have drilled an auxilliary hole just above the latch to access the top nut, which worked out well, then covered the hole with a plastic cover (stolen) from the JY. You need a 10MM 1/4" flex socket to work the upper nut with this arrangement, and it does make the job much easier. Just be careful to make the new hole high enough to just miss the latch. (NOTE: This proceedure negates having to remove the door panel in order to replace the handle.) The handle and rod will fit thru the hole even with the rod attached and so the rod can be removed from the handle from the outside of the door.

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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby paintdrying » March 21st 2011, 3:11am

Ah,crap, the flex hard. What was I thinking, I removed the three screws that hold the latch but I could not access the nut. I have big hands so I chose not to disturb any of those rods if I did not need to. I realized what you said to be true, the handle broke because the door was not lubed up properly.
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby alan2112drums » March 21st 2011, 2:42pm

Can anyone comment on using replacement door handles purchased on eBay? That is, are they quality parts or cheap crap? Some sellers claim their replacement handles are OEM or high quality (metal). (Don't feel like paying $75 at the stealership and the JY is far and still cost a few bucks).
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby paintdrying » March 22nd 2011, 1:55am

try for the dorman off of rock auto. E-bay is hit or miss.
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby 98cirider » March 22nd 2011, 5:10pm

paintdrying wrote:try for the dorman off of rock auto. E-bay is hit or miss.

I concur, the Dorman is much higher quality. I replaced the handle on my 90 Safari with a cheaper part and it broke within a few months. The Dorman I bought from Rock Auto feels stronger and more solid. Well worth the dollars to not have to replace it again. I also have skinny fingers, so the top nut is a pain, but possible. I like the idea of drilling another hole to access the top nut. Now, why didn't GM do that?
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby harryevan » June 4th 2011, 4:10pm

I hope I'm not too late for this post.

I bought the $14-18 Taiwanese replacement and it failed so I went looking for the GM replacement, which came down from $89 (why I bought the cheap one) to ~$45 through part.com, $51 with shipping, and it came in a GM box. I'm putting it in now, so we'll see how long it lasts.
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby Lumpy » July 22nd 2011, 10:26pm

mclaugh wrote:Well, GM has two handles, one for 85-92 or so, the other for 93 on. They are almost identical, the main difference being the way the rod connects to the lever...



I'm a little late to the party... :wave:

Just to add to the "what year takes what handle" fun.
I just bought a front left outside handle from RockAuto.
Their listing says -

CHEV ASTRO 85-92
GMC SAFARI 85-91
GMC SAFARI XT 90-91


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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby Positive P » August 2nd 2011, 2:30am

Sorry Stoneground, for the huge fail on responding. All I knew was that the Lumina/Sillouette that I use the handles off of, were the first Gen ones with the huge front wedge front end. Still working great by the way. Just to clarify, just the front doors, and some of the slider handles work.(have found a couple that don't) But they are very cheap new now. But still a huge design flaw by the manufacturer. I have broken the new ones as well, but always have some on hand, learned lesson.
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Re: Replacing the door handles

Postby Lumpy » August 2nd 2011, 4:52pm

I just replaced my L Front outside door handle.
The process of getting the mechanical bits back IN to the door space
was a bit traumatic on the outside painted surface of the van door.
I couldn't find a simple way to get all the levers and stuff into the
hole without scratching the paint.

It's not a problem in the least to me, of course. I just follow it up with a bit
of camo paint. But for you guys with more conventional paint jobs, perhaps
sticking down something like contact paper or painters tape around the door
handle hole would reduce or eliminate the scratch factor.



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