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Door Lock Repair

Thanks to Al Powell's descriptive post "Keeper-Lock Link Repair" I decided to tackle the driver's door lock on my 1990 Audi.  Al's post covered the situation that can occur when the center cog on the alarm activating mechanism gets out of line with the center tooth on the new lock link.  Of course this happened to me at least once.  A couple other quirks slowed me down, and I'll pass them along.

I thought I had really messed up the new lock cylinder (with old tumblers and springs) when I first installed it, because it didn't operate smoothly.  When I checked further, the new lock link was catching on a plastic clip from the outside door handle linkage.  I smoothed the plastic with a file to solve this.

The circular spring, I found, was easy to install correctly if it is centered exactly on the back of the unmounted lock link.  This centering leaves room for the matching pin on the lock to also fit in the center between the two ends of the circular spring.  When the lock link is mounted onto the lock. the proper spring action in both directions is obtained.  Of course after you mount the lock link onto the lock, you have to hold it fairly secure until you get the lock ring or washer back on.  In my case, I found the original lock washer much superior to the flimsy lock ring supplied as part of the three piece kit.

The locks themselves can appear to get out of sync.  You may find that when you try to test the button with the door open, it goes down and instead of staying down comes back up.  In other words it doesn't auto lock.  Another helpful post reminded me that the drivers door has to be closed.  If you want to test auto lock action with the driver's door open, manually operate the latch on the door jam.  Remember however to not slam the door with the latch already latched.

My 1990 had a lot of plastic door fasteners instead of screws.  The plastic pins didn't hold very well when the door went back together.  A little RTV on the bottom edge helped to secure things.  I didn't quite get the inner door opener handle fastened as tight as I wanted.  The screw holding it seemed stripped, but more likely what happened was a nut that was supposed to fit into the tough plastic behing the door fell out.  Oh well.  The door works fine and it doesn't rattle.

In the process, I found one Audi dealer I will never go to.  Armed with the part numbers from audifans list, I talked with the HBL Audi part department (Tyson's Corner or Vienna, Va. only 15 minutes away).  They didn't have a clue what parts were needed to repair the lock.  Finally they insisted I only needed the lock link, and if I wanted a new lock cylinder it would cost over $100 for that part alone. They ordered the lock link only, and promised it would be there 3 days later.  When I called on the appropriate day the part hadn't come in.  I called a competing Audi dealer (Heismann's in Arlington) about an hour away from me, and I could tell right away I should have called them first.  They knew exactly which parts I needed, and had two sets of everything on the shelf.  I called HBL back, and politely said that since they screwed up the order, the least they could do would be to have their runner pick the parts up for me.  They of course balked at this, but finally agreed.  When I called them later, HBL claimed that the part numbers I gave them were incorrect, and Heishmann's didn't have the parts (I think one part had a "C" instead of a "D" so they must have assumed it was wrong.  By this time I had had it, insisted I talk to the manager.  I explained as politely as I could that they had failed to get  the right parts, apparently couldn't find them at another dealer that had them on the shelf, and had forced me to lose the use of my car for 3 days (and who knew how much longer).  Although it was quitting time this manager promised to look for the parts himself while I waited on the phone.  A few minutes later he returned and said he had all three parts in his hand.  Not only did he have the parts, but he promised to set them asside so the cashier could accept payment an hour after closing time so I could pick them up that night.  Well, I thought this was pretty good response, so I thanked him, but said I would pick them up the next day.  As a final negative omen from HBL, when I picked up the parts I was so glad to get them that I didn't pay too much attention to the price.  When I got home I noticed that every part was significantly higher (40% higher for the total bill), than it would have been at Heissmann's.  I think that's it for me and HBL.  Not only did they not know what they were talking about (except maybe for one person), they charged 40% more for parts.  The sad part about it is, in this affluent Northern Virginia area, no one seems to take the time to complain about poor dealer performance.  I called the HBL Dealership owner to voice my complaint, but never got a call back.         

At least I fixed it for about $35, saving who knows how many hundreds of dollars over HBL Audi doing the work.  If their parts department is any indication, I have the distinct feeling their repair shop would have been learning at my expense.  

Robert Dalton
rpdalton@onebox.com - email
(703) 234-3969 x1020 - voicemail/fax

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