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Old 02-21-2010, 06:15 PM   #1
mibugnu
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Default Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Hello everyone. This seems to be a common problem with all Honda's/Acuras...The door won't open from inside or outside. I searched the web for a fix and found that a lot of people have distroyed their lock mechanism to get the door open. I was able to open my broken door, and fix the lock mechanism without distroying anything (except 2 door mounting pins).

I thought I would give back, so here is how I did it, WITH PICTURES!

I did this on my 1998 Civic EX w/power windows. The process should be very similar for all Hondas.

To remove the door panel, while the door is closed is kind of a pain, but it can be done.

Put the window down

Remove the screws holding the speaker, disconnect the wire, Remove the screws around the speaker hole (3). Remove the screw in the armrest cup, lift up on the cup and disconnect the wires for the power windows. Remove the screw by the inside door handle. Disconnect the plug for the power lock.

Now the scary part Kneel down on the seat with your head out the window. Reach both hands down and work your fingers under the door panel by the door sill. Lift staight up about 3 inches. (it will take about 50-60 pounds of force to get all of the pins to pull out, and you will hear cracking!)

Once the door panel is loose tilt the back edge up to release the front edge. Remove door panel from car.

Put window up.

Next remove the screw holding the white plastic anti-theft cover, remove the cover. See pic 1

Next remove the 10mm bolt from the lower rear part of the door. This bolt holds the window track. Reach inside the door and rotate the window track up. The bolt hole in the window track will line up with a hole in the door when its almost horizontal, Screw the 10mm bolt back into the track to keep it up out of the way. See picture 2

Now you will be able to see/work on your lock mechanism. You will need to remove the black plastic anti-theft cover from the lock mechanism. There is one screw holding it on. See picture 3

I made a special tool out of a throw away small phillips screwdriver. See pic 4.
It's bent at about a 45 degree angle with about 1 inch (or so) reach.

Picture 5 shows where you will need to insert the screwdriver. The door needs to be LOCKED, or else you will not be able to access the release pin. When the lock mechanism is in the door you will not be able to see what you are doing with the screw driver. Pictures 6 and 7 were taken when the latch was out of the car so you will be able to see what you are feeling for. Picture 6 shows a square opening. If the door is locked this opening will be blocked. Picture 7 (blury) shows the latch release pin through the square opening. Push this pin down and your door will open.

Picture 8 shows how to insert the screwdriver and approximately where the release pin is (blue box). Push staight down.

Once the door is open you can remove the lock mechanism from the car. Remove the clips holding the rods. The rod going up to the outside handle is a pain, pry hard and it will come out. Remove the 3 #3 phillips screws from the outside of the door. The latch should come out now.

Being the cheap guy I am I didn't want to just buy a new door latch without trying to fix the old latch. You can just buy a new one at this point if you want to, installation is reverse of what you just did, except the door panel is much easier to put on with the door open. Make sure you pull any of the push pins that stayed with the door.

If you want to fix the latch here you go...

When you pull the latch from the door don't shake it, drop it, throw it, etc. There is a very small piece of metal that broke off and is loose. This piece of metal used to line up with the release pin and when you lift the door handle it would push the release pin down.

Take the latch to your work bench, or your kitchen table if your wife isn't home. If you have power door locks remove the 3 screws that hold the power mechanism from the bottom of the latch. Picture 9 shows 2 pieces that will need to be separated (orange box). Use a flat head screwdriver and pry them apart. On the opposite end of where you just pryed, swing out the metal tab that is connected to it. (the metal piece has the square opening that you stuck the bent screwdriver into when it was in the car).

If it hasn't fallen out yet look for the little piece of metal that broke off. It was once connected to the square opening. I work in a custom metal fabrication shop so it was very easy for me to re-attach the broken piece. It needs to be TIG welded back on. (MIG and ARC aren't precise enough to weld that small of a piece). I highly suggest that you don't try to JB weld this piece back on, unless you would like to repeat all that you just did, tomorrow. If you don't have access to a TIG machine and an experienced tig welder look for a reputable fabrication shop in your area. If you can't find a fabrication shop look for a welding shop. Ask them if they TIG weld, and if they can TIG weld very small parts. Most expirienced Tig welders should be able to weld this piece back on in about 30 seconds. The fee should be very minimal ($5-$10) but this beats the hell out of $600-$650 that a dealer will charge to replace the latch, or the $150 they charge for a new latch. You can find used latches on ebay for around $50. Picture 10 shows what it looked like welded back on. For added strength I welded both sides ("L" shaped) instead of just the side that broke off.

Hope that helps! Good luck.
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Last edited by mibugnu; 02-21-2010 at 06:47 PM. Reason: added more information
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Hi,

Thanks for the post. I have a 96 integra with a similar issue. My driver's side door will not unlock from the outside, period. It will unlock from the inside, by pressing the unlock **** and pulling the handle at the same time. Also, with the door open, can unlock with the key from the outside but only by pulling the interior handle. I took the interior door panel off, both actuating rods seem fine and not bent, but only by putting tension on the rod from the interior handle can I get it unlocked.

Here's my question - I can see the latch, and the mechanism inside is clearly not functioning properly, and I want to replace it, but I can't get it out. My problem is the two rods coming from the exterior handle. One has a plastic snap I think I can get out, but I can't get the other one. Do those rods unhook at the top of the latch or do you have to take off the exterior handle to get to them?

Thanks
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

mibugnu,

Thank you so much for the post. I was able to open my door due to your post with no drilling I do not have the ability to post pictures but I wanted to add to your comments so I will do my best to explain the tips.

Pressing the pin and unlocking the door required two people for me.

The release pin must be pushed down in reference to the pin. But in reference to the driver door, you are actually pushing the pin toward the back of the car (if facing the door from the inside, push left). I used a coat hanger but it was quite difficult because it kept bending when I was pushing it. Also, the door must be locked and in addition I had to put the key in the lock and turn it to the locked position to match the picture. While the doors are locked and the key in the driver door is turned locked (counter clockwise), then the pin is pushed. While the pin is pushed then the key is turned to the neutral position, the door should pop open.

I could not find the missing piece so I had to buy a new latch assembly which was $108 at the dealer. None of the auto parts places I checked carried it and I did not want to take a risk getting it from a junkyard or Ebay.

Thanks. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Hey guys,

I have a 1992 Accord Coupe. The issue is the driver's side door and I already have the door panel off.

I'm looking at the lock mechanism and it looks similar to the photos Mibignu posted.

Will this method work on a 4th Gen. Accord?


Thanks.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

bringing this back from the dead...

Working on my GF's sons 98 civic coupe, he has the same issue. We got i all down to pushing the rod but we got nothing. what I see in comparison to pic 6 above is a rectangular hole cut into the sheetmetal and try to insert something to push but I get nothing. How hard did you have to push or was there another trck to try...
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Thanks for posting this. You put a lot of work into it and saved us a huge amount of time. We never would have found the release by poking around and probably ended up cutting up the door.

Tried a right-angle pick that was apparently too short. After trying that, we bent up a tool to duplicate yours, kind of scaled off your thumb. It worked on the first try.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Nice post very helpful
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:15 AM   #8
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

hey i have a 1999 honda civic 4dr i have a problem the driver side door wont open from inside or outside i took the speaker of and took the wire off as well it only has power doors and can you help me open the door and ideas please !!! thank you
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catchnup View Post
Thanks for posting this. You put a lot of work into it and saved us a huge amount of time. We never would have found the release by poking around and probably ended up cutting up the door.

Tried a right-angle pick that was apparently too short. After trying that, we bent up a tool to duplicate yours, kind of scaled off your thumb. It worked on the first try.
hey dude I've tried sticking something in there but cannot get it to open. By chance you have a pic of the "tool" and the length(s) of the bends? Thanks...
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Thanks for the in depth how-to! I currently have the same problem on my '99 Acura CL. I have gotten to the point where I need to lift the door panel up and out. I can't seem to do this, as it is not budging, and I don't start to hear any cracking or anything. Did anyone else have any issues with getting the actual door panel off in order to replace the assembly? Any tips or suggestions? It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:57 AM   #11
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Excellent Instructions! Extremely Helpful!!

I'm working on our 1998 Civic LX with 135,000 miles on it. We bought the Civic brand new.

The instructions for this repair are almost identical for the LX. The only difference is there is no white plastic anti-theft cover as shown in pic 1.

I ordered a new latch online from Majestic Honda in Lincoln, RI along with a few other miscellaneous parts for the Civic and the Accord a week ago, it showed up here in Southern California last night (UPS).

Part #72150-S04-A02 LOCK ASSY., L. FR. DOOR for $77.99

Getting ready to "Pop" the door now that I can see how it works with the new latch in hand!

Last edited by pshivers; 07-27-2012 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Update:

The Door is fixed and nothing had to be cut, sawed or generally destroyed in any manner! The only casualty was a couple of the door panel "snaps" broke while pulling the panel off the door. I'll be replacing all those next week when I install new speakers in the door panels.

This is what broke off:

Click the image to open in full size.

It is what normally pressed on the release pin for the latch (The part you are pressing with the makeshift tool). I guess Honda could have made it a little beefier so it will not snap off, but 14 years of use is not too bad...

Makes me wonder if I should replace the passenger side latch before it eventually breaks too? Considering the difference in usage between the left and right doors it probably won't be a problem in the cars lifetime....

Thanks mibugnu! You made what looked like an almost impossible and expensive task easy and very affordable!
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

bump so i can do this thursday! lol
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:53 AM   #14
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thax good info


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Old 02-23-2013, 12:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Well, first of all, thank you. My driver door did the same thing yesterday and this group of postings helped tremendously. I have just 2 things to add. For those who had a hard time seeing the broken lever to push on, I used a small mirror and held it on the back side of the latch. You can see everything when someone else holds the door key to the locked position. From there, a right angle scribe was used effortlessly to open the door. Second, to get the lever disconnected from the door handle (the pain in the butt one), use some small vise grips or pliers. I just slowly squeezed the grips between the plastic door arm and the back of the latch lever until the plastic clip let go.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:57 PM   #16
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mibugnu View Post
Now the scary part Kneel down on the seat with your head out the window. Reach both hands down and work your fingers under the door panel by the door sill. Lift staight up about 3 inches. (it will take about 50-60 pounds of force to get all of the pins to pull out, and you will hear cracking!)

Once the door panel is loose tilt the back edge up to release the front edge. Remove door panel from car.

Stuck at this part, having a real difficulty getting a good grip between the door panel and the door sill. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:24 PM   #17
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

I know this post is already almost older than me...51 until July... Anyway, I have owned at least 15 Hondas since my Crx Si I bought in 1997, and have loved them all until this crap. I helped my daughter get a 99 Ex V6 coupe, really cool until the drivers door did this. I have been working on this every day for 5 days straight now after work. I was getting nowhere, have the top of the panel loose, have drilled poked, tore the lock portion off the bottom etc. I finally went to my local dealer where they know me very well after all the stuff I bought there all these years. All I wanted to know was where the magic button was for this thing, the head mechanic came out and told me to cut the mechanism front part off after drilling out the screws. I have been trying to drill on it, but it's all hard as hell. I am so happy you guys are here, have learned almost everything I know about cars from people like you, engine and trans swap are no problem anymore, I have even done the infamous Cadillac head bolt repair, but was stumped on this one. I can't express enough how much this helps me this week, ROCK ON Honda Tech!
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:44 AM   #18
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dornestic View Post
Stuck at this part, having a real difficulty getting a good grip between the door panel and the door sill. Any suggestions?
Did you open the window before you tried to remove the panel? It was rather easy for me to remove the panel. Once the window is opened, there is a large gap on the top where you can insert your four fingers (except thumbs) and keep you thumbs inside the door so that you can grab the top portion of the panel. As the instruction the above said, I started pulling the back end of the panel up, just to release the hooks, then pulled it toward the inside the car. This action release some of the holding pins, so I just kept pulling the panel until all the holding pins were released. I damaged one holding pin toward the front (the pin stayed on the door, not the panel), but I was able to re-use it by inserting it back to the panel.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:51 AM   #19
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Hi mibugnu,
Thank you for posting this thorough instruction. I just had this problem on my 98 civic, but I was able to fix it by myself because of this post.
The only suggestion I would make is that you should buy a replacement latch assembly first so that you can study exactly where you need to push to open the door. I probably would not be able to hit the right location to open the door without studying and simulating the motion on the replacement latch assembly.

Also, thanks to pshivers for positing the Majestic Honda's information. I was able to buy a genuine replacement latch assembly part for $99 with shipping while it would cost $150 from a local Honda dealer. Whenever I need parts from now on, I will order them from Majestic Honda.

Thank you for all the help, Honda-Tech!!!
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:15 AM   #20
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Mibugnu,
Thank you and Hondatech for the providing me with the helpful information!!!!
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:12 AM   #21
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Icon3 Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Wow. Thanks for the post, Mibugnu... it actually worked. Only thing is, dumb@$$ me decided to shut the door, because I wanted to see if I could get it open, thinking I could do the same thing again later after I got off work coz I didn't have the time then and the replacement parts... well, when I tried again later, it didn't work. I thought you could just do the same thing again, but I believe you would have to do everything in reverse... put both the outside lock and the inside lock in unlocked position, and then you would have to pull the little metal bar back, instead of pushing it forward (which considering your range of motion, is damn near impossible, if not). So big claps for the 'tard of the year for f'ing up my one chance of doing things the easy way. So people, please LEARN FROM MY STUPID MISTAKE!!!

HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL HINTS...

When you are removing the black plastic anti-theft cover, you are NOT going to be able to see the screw [see PICTURE #2] that you need to remove to get the thing off just by poking your head through the small openings in the metal door frame; however, you will be able to see the one that is slightly below and to the right. You can either use a mirror to find it, or just go in blind and feel around... just look at the one that is right near it that you can see, and go up a little and to the left. It is handy to have a mirror as well as one of those magnet extention sticks, because it is a miniscule screw that may be a pain to find if dropped...

As Civic Door Latc said earlier, MAKE SURE you turn the outside lock with your key to the "locked" position, as well as making sure it is locked on the inside, otherwise you won't be getting anywhere. When both locks are locked properly, the white colored bean shaped plastic frame thingy with the bolt in it will have the bolt in the upper position as depicted, and not the lower position.

In addition to that (and again as Civic Door Latc said), if you are facing directly towards the driver's door, put your little tool/coathanger/screwdriver in the little hole in the bean shaped thingy, and remember to push to the left.

And if you do f' up and shut the door like me, you will have to resort to the drilling technique... Here is a website/link to the drilling procedure... you will still have to do all of the above before drilling, minus fishing around in the small hole for the little metal bar to push...

http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/di...7_17-57-32.pdf

Oh, and one last thing before I go... if you do happen to give up trying and you have the doors locked and your coathanger/bent screwdriver/tool thingy left in the little hole in the bean shaped thingy, in order to open your passenger door, you will need to turn your key to unlock the door, and hold it in that position to the left while pulling the door open. Otherwise, you'll be wondering why the hell your door isn't opening!!! I was ready to give up and figure out which window was gonna be cheapest to smash!!!

Best of luck, and don't f' up!!!
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:24 PM   #22
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

First of all, thank you very much for the original post and all the useful instructions.
I now have a question regarding the present status of my door and how it opens/closes...

My boyfriend and I spent the weekend fixing the door of my 1998 Honda Civic LX. We followed the directions above to replace the assembly latch with a newly ordered one.
In case that this is at all useful to anyone else, I will add that though my new assembly latch was a genuine Honda part, I had to resuse one of the metal arms from the old latch (the one that goes from the latch to the inside door handle) since the new one did not come with it. Maybe that's standard procedure, but I am in no stretch of the word a mechanic so I would not know... I just like fixing things and understand how they work; maybe this will be useful to someone else like me!

Anyhow, the gist of the story is that we fixed the assembly latch, took the old one out & put a new one in as explained above, and now my car door is mostly functional (i.e. the door opens and closes and I no longer have to jump in/out of the car through the window or the passenger side) yet, something does not yet fully function... Below, I am explaining how I manage to open my door.
FROM THE OUTSIDE: I need to use my key and turn it in the unlock position and hold it that way while simultaneously lifting up the handle in order for the car to open. This is similar to the point brought up to the post above by aussiechic2oo6. If I don't keep the key in that way, my door locks as I just lift up the handle.
FROM THE INSIDE: I need to hold the door **** up in an unlock position while simultaneously pulling the handle in order for the door to open. If I don't do that, the door once again locks by itself... haha, bummer. I guess we solved half the problem. WHAT DID WE DO WRONG?
Does anyone have any input, suggestion, comment as to what we may have done incorrectly when putting all this back together? Any help would be much appreciated because we tried to fix it twice and got the same result. We are pretty baffled...but we don't want to give up and would like to fix it correctly, even though we are happy we no longer have to test our flexibility or risk accidentally smudging dog poop from the bottom of our shoes all over the stick shift again!

Let me know!
Thanks.

P.S: On another note about the process of removing the door panel. Even after putting all our muscles into pulling the panel straight up to remove it, it seemed to lead us nowhere other than to frustration lane. We actually found out two important things after the fact. For one, after we managed to remove the door panel, we noticed that there was one more screw under the armrest that we did not account for. Because of that we competely broke off a substantial piece of plastic at the armest area, oops. Noticing it and removing it would have saved us much trouble and muscle. Secondly, upon suggestion from another post above, we ran our fingers around the window sill area after opening the widow to gain access to the "lip" of the panel. Once you remove this bit, it is significantly easier to remove the panel off. Pulling the panel towards the inside of the car (towards the passenger door) rather than towards the ceiling worked best for us and made more sense in terms of the way it is clipped into the door. That part seems to be a pain in the butt regardless of how someone does it though.
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Old 06-13-2013, 03:59 PM   #23
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

Quote:
Originally Posted by spunkythewitch View Post
First of all, thank you very much for the original post and all the useful instructions.
I now have a question regarding the present status of my door and how it opens/closes...

My boyfriend and I spent the weekend fixing the door of my 1998 Honda Civic LX. We followed the directions above to replace the assembly latch with a newly ordered one.
In case that this is at all useful to anyone else, I will add that though my new assembly latch was a genuine Honda part, I had to resuse one of the metal arms from the old latch (the one that goes from the latch to the inside door handle) since the new one did not come with it. Maybe that's standard procedure, but I am in no stretch of the word a mechanic so I would not know... I just like fixing things and understand how they work; maybe this will be useful to someone else like me!

Anyhow, the gist of the story is that we fixed the assembly latch, took the old one out & put a new one in as explained above, and now my car door is mostly functional (i.e. the door opens and closes and I no longer have to jump in/out of the car through the window or the passenger side) yet, something does not yet fully function... Below, I am explaining how I manage to open my door.
FROM THE OUTSIDE: I need to use my key and turn it in the unlock position and hold it that way while simultaneously lifting up the handle in order for the car to open. This is similar to the point brought up to the post above by aussiechic2oo6. If I don't keep the key in that way, my door locks as I just lift up the handle.
FROM THE INSIDE: I need to hold the door **** up in an unlock position while simultaneously pulling the handle in order for the door to open. If I don't do that, the door once again locks by itself... haha, bummer. I guess we solved half the problem. WHAT DID WE DO WRONG?
Does anyone have any input, suggestion, comment as to what we may have done incorrectly when putting all this back together? Any help would be much appreciated because we tried to fix it twice and got the same result. We are pretty baffled...but we don't want to give up and would like to fix it correctly, even though we are happy we no longer have to test our flexibility or risk accidentally smudging dog poop from the bottom of our shoes all over the stick shift again!

Let me know!
Thanks.

P.S: On another note about the process of removing the door panel. Even after putting all our muscles into pulling the panel straight up to remove it, it seemed to lead us nowhere other than to frustration lane. We actually found out two important things after the fact. For one, after we managed to remove the door panel, we noticed that there was one more screw under the armrest that we did not account for. Because of that we competely broke off a substantial piece of plastic at the armest area, oops. Noticing it and removing it would have saved us much trouble and muscle. Secondly, upon suggestion from another post above, we ran our fingers around the window sill area after opening the widow to gain access to the "lip" of the panel. Once you remove this bit, it is significantly easier to remove the panel off. Pulling the panel towards the inside of the car (towards the passenger door) rather than towards the ceiling worked best for us and made more sense in terms of the way it is clipped into the door. That part seems to be a pain in the butt regardless of how someone does it though.
Are you sure that nothing broke off in the place where you put your coathanger/screwdriver? If something is stuck in there, then it will continue to stay locked/keep locking itself...
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:58 AM   #24
synapticflow
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Default Re: Civic door won't open from inside or outside FIX (no drilling)

I hope someone can answer this. After removing the door panel, would there be a way to just get the door open with a tool like a screwdriver? For the time being, I would just rather leave the door panel off and get the door open with a tool. Right now I need my driver door open really bad so I can get the emissions test done.
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:36 PM   #25
Scottchy014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synapticflow
I hope someone can answer this. After removing the door panel, would there be a way to just get the door open with a tool like a screwdriver? For the time being, I would just rather leave the door panel off and get the door open with a tool. Right now I need my driver door open really bad so I can get the emissions test done.
Unfortunately, no. First off, its kind of difficult just to get the door open. Second, I couldn't see a real good way to rig the door for repeated use. Maybe after the door is opened, you could take the latch mechanism off and finagle a coat hanger or some wire to the broken release lever. I hope this helped a little.


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1998, civic, crx, door, handle, honda, inside, latch, locked, mechanism, off, open, repairing, rods, wont

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