Finally Opened [was Door won't open from inside or out]

Ben Swann benswann at
Wed Jan 2 14:16:56 PST 2008

Halleluiah! Persistence finally one out, just as I was ready to do the worst to my
inside door panel.  My door had been out of service since before Christmas and I must
have looked funny getting in from the window or passenger side.

I tried a lot of things to get this door open after the problem happened.  Basically, I
must have knocked the outer handle rod out when replacing the window regulator.  For
some reason the inner release did not open it either even though it was properly
attached to the inside handle.  It began working mysteriously when I got the door
opened. Once I got the panel off I reattached the outer rod, lubricated and everything
works fine.  Had I tested the latch prior to putting the inside panel back on, this
would never have resulted in the Catch 22 situation I was in.

Things I tried:
Bent coathangers and heavy wire - strangley fashioned curved metal with blade point on
the ends  - the attempt to release the small catch that retained the latch around the
striker pin.  Repeated attempts failed me and I gave up for the time being.

I tried to cut the striker pin after procuring carburendum coated coping saw blade
(several).  This simply would not work because you couldn't work it back and forth - no

I also tried to get a wrench in and remove the striker pin - nah!

Finally I went back to trying to release the catch again.  The coathangers and strong
wire were bending and not releasing the catch, but I thought if I had something rigid
enough and shaped properly I could get at it.  I ended up sacrificing a nice long thin
datacom screwdriver that I had spied earlier but didn't want to destroy at first.  I
fashioned it into a fancy shape with a MAPP torch until it made a nice curve that would
get around the pin and reach into the latch and stay rigid.

I almost gave up on try number 2007 thinking I wasted a nice screwdriver - when POP!
The latch released partially.  I kept at it and finally it released completely and the
door opened.

Now I have an extra panel and latch assembly I ordered thinking I was going to have to
destroy the inside panel.  This was definitely the "team doorhandle" failure from Hell.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ben Swann [mailto:benswann at] 
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 9:45 PM
To: 'Dave Defferding'
Cc: 'quattro at'; '200q20v at'
Subject: RE: Door won't open from inside or out

Well, I've tried repeatedly to lock and unlock to no avail.  Latest efforts were trying
to jummy the latch with a homemade tool - there is a little detant, a catch for the
latch I'm trying to push down and release the catch.  So far I have made a few tools,
but none work.

I will try to lubricate some things tomorrow and see if that helps.

Following that, I'm looking at getting one of those cable saws so I can get around the
latch pin and saw it off.  I think this is the least damage I can do to get the door
open.  Once open, I can replace the latch pin and get the panel off and fix whatever is


-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Defferding [mailto:MstrBlastr at] 
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 8:48 PM
To: Ben Swann
Subject: Re: Door won't open from inside or out
Importance: High

Hi Ben,

Almost same thing happened to me about two months ago--after I replaced the 
actuator cable, which I'd been carrying around for over a year...  I was 
happy and proud to get it done so I got out and locked the car.  Door 
wouldn't open!!!-- neither by key or by newly operable lever from inside 

Fate smiled on me however.  For about 15-20 minutes I repeatedly did the key 
lock/unlock sequence from the outside while gently holding the outside door 
latch.  It suddenly unlocked!!  I opened the door and locked/unlocked again 
while looking/listening.  I then loosened the big screws on the door latch 
and wiggled it a bit, sprayed copious silicone/other lube in all openings of 
the latching mechanism and gently 
tightened/tested/loosened/wiggled/tightened until it unlocked every time by 
key and internal lever--then tightened good/tested while door was open. 
After all that and another half hour or so I closed the door and locked 
it/opened it, and it's been fine since.  It stays locked because there is a 
little spring loaded cam which you can see with the door open, and if that 
bugger doesn't release the door stays locked shut.  Both mechanisms worked 
(key-inside lever), but that cam wasn't quite in the right spot relative to 
whatever it caught on so the door stayed locked.

Hope you don't do too much damage-- check the passenger side and you'll see 
that cam.  I thanked God that day, oh what a sinking feeling that was.  Good 

Dave D
'91 200Q with working driver's door lock/latch now.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ben Swann" <benswann at>
To: <audi at>
Cc: <quattro at>; <200q20v at>
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 12:36 PM
Subject: RE: Door won't open from inside or out

Front driver door.  It appears the lock mechanism has come undone or broken 
and neither
manual or pneumatic actuator is unlocking it.

I am trying to jimmy it open from the outside with passenger door open - no 
luck yet.

There is no way I see that I can get the panel off without destroying it.


-----Original Message-----
From: Huw Powell [mailto:audi at]
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 3:02 PM
To: Ben Swann
Cc: 200q20v at; quattro at
Subject: Re: Door won't open from inside or out

> I don’t know what I did as I was replacing the window regulator – now 
> working.  I put
> all back together and panel back on.  When I went to open the door, it won’t 
> unlatch.
> Tried it from the inside and it did the first time.  Now it won’t open 
> from inside or
> out.  So any tricks to getting these doors open without removing the 
> panel, since you
> need to open the door to remove the panel?
> Car is a ’91 200Q20V.

Yikes, sounds like you knocked something loose or perhaps didn't get a
connecting rod back in just right!

The only suggestion I'd have is the slim-jim type approach. AAA types
usually carry the full set with instructions for all cars, but not all
of them are good at using the tools.

Is it a rear or front door?

Huw Powell

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