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'87 2.0 SI, Door was working fine earlier in the day, now will not open from outside or inside. So I need to take the door panel off. From looking at passenger side there are two screws at the end of door, how do you remove those if you can't get the door open?


Note: I searched the forum first. Sounds like in 2006 Trav had the same problem, most responses were not at all helpful.
 

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Ugh - that stinks. Looking at my 84 it seems like you can get to the 3 screws in the side door panel (1 near the bottom) by removing the rear side lining. Looks like that involves removing the back seat though. Any idea what is causing the door to stick? Do the door handles move freely, or are they stuck? If they move, it could be that the rod from the handle to the latch broke loose near handle. If that's the case you may be able to grab it with plyers by just removing inside handle trim plate, not the whole panel/rear lining/seat. Good luck!
 

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Well, I might have bad news for you. There is a common Honda problem affecting door latches from the 80's through at least the 90's. The internals of the latches are interconnected by metal pins, rods and plates interconnected by nylon bushings. The nylon deteriorates over the years and eventually falls apart, and one of the interconnecting pieces comes out, permanently (unless disassembled and repaired). The symptoms are: Door doesn't lock. Door doesn't unlock. Door doesn't respond to BOTH outer and inner handle. If any of these are your symptom, it is most likely the prob I described. It could just be a disconnected actuating rod inside the door, but likely you'd at least be able to open the door somehow. Anyways, the crappy part is that you CAN NOT remove the door panel (without mangling something) when the door won't open. There are screws under the panel and behind the dash, and the seat is in the way, obviously. But the screws behind the dash are the real killer, and removing the dash isn't very likely either with a door closed.

On other Honda's/Acura's people have resorted to desperation, cutting open exterior door skin, on 4 doors removing the back door and drilling the latch plate out. Most ways damage the car badly.

I just looked at my Prelude, so I have a few suggestions.

First, acquire a used door latch mechanism to inspect it, see if there is any way you can release the latch if you somehow succeed in removing the door panel.

Second, you can try drilling a hole/holes from inside the car on the door jamb frame right next to the latch hoop. Look at your working door. There is a latch hoop, and thin sheet metal behind it that the rear interior trim piece is attached to. You'll want the hole(s) to line up with the latch hoop in such a way that you can get a screwdriver(s) onto the latch assembly mechanism and try to pry it open that way. You'll see the latch mechanism has a finger that rolls over the latch hoop when you close the door, you MAY be able to manually move it with a flat head screw driver. But of course you need to plan this out well. I am only 75% sure this approach would work, I have used it on similar trunk latches before. Never had to do it on a door yet. To drill the hole(s) the interior trim piece should be flexible enough to be held out of the way. If not, you may need to remove the rear seat cushion and remove the panel fully (easy enough) If you succeed, you can use basic hole plugs like a PDR guy would use to snap into the holes you made.

The second idea is what I would do to my Prelude if this ever happens.

The other issue you will have is that these parts are NLA/obsolete new, and even used is hard to find. And used ones might be a ticking time bomb.
Repairing the latch may prove difficult as opening them up is a tough task, and reassembling them is not easy either because usually they are riveted together, and not your usual rivet either. If you did manage to open up the latch mechanism, I am confident you could find similar plastic/nylon bushings from McMaster-Carr, if it was a failed bushing. But if it a molded plastic part that broke, you are pretty much screwed. You may be able to disassemble a latch assembly from an Accord 4 door rear drivers side (try to avoid drivers door, they are worn out by now) and use it's parts. Trial and error.

Good luck, I hope you keep us up to date on what you find and how you deal with it.
 

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Handles move freely. Door was working fine earlier in the day.
takemorepills may be right, but I'll be optimistic and assume something snapped or got loose near the handle. I'd start with removing the inside handle trim plate (one screw under cap covering handle hinge) and see if you could move the rod. If not, I guess start practicing how to jump in and out through the open window :).
 

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Have the same problem on my 4th gen 94 si. Inside and outside handles don't do anything to open the door. Though the resistance is the same as it ever was. When using the key the lock mechanism works as always. Moving the lock manually seems the same, and even the power switch moves the lock as always. The door just doesn't open. Cursing it and threatening it has no effect. Thought I heard it laugh at me.
Hate to think I'll have to drill a hole the B pillar. Funny it just happened over night.
When operating the handles I hear movement at the lock mechanism as usual. Just does not open. Since I have a parts car, '93 si, I can see just where the lock mechanism is.
Will try to manipulate the trim panel enough to reach in and maybe move a rod or linkage.
Tried using a slim jim device, but I could see on the parts car that I can't get it near the
mechanism. That and the side bar crash reinforcement is in the way.
May just have to cut a hole in the trim panel right by the lock mechanism and take it from there.
Thanks for the suggestions. I posted my problem on the 4th gen site and though there were well over 100 views there were no suggestions. I just love these old cars!
Ben
 

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Well, I might have bad news for you. There is a common Honda problem affecting door latches from the 80's through at least the 90's. The internals of the latches are interconnected by metal pins, rods and plates interconnected by nylon bushings. The nylon deteriorates over the years and eventually falls apart, and one of the interconnecting pieces comes out, permanently (unless disassembled and repaired). The symptoms are: Door doesn't lock. Door doesn't unlock. Door doesn't respond to BOTH outer and inner handle. If any of these are your symptom, it is most likely the prob I described. It could just be a disconnected actuating rod inside the door, but likely you'd at least be able to open the door somehow. Anyways, the crappy part is that you CAN NOT remove the door panel (without mangling something) when the door won't open. There are screws under the panel and behind the dash, and the seat is in the way, obviously. But the screws behind the dash are the real killer, and removing the dash isn't very likely either with a door closed.

On other Honda's/Acura's people have resorted to desperation, cutting open exterior door skin, on 4 doors removing the back door and drilling the latch plate out. Most ways damage the car badly.

I just looked at my Prelude, so I have a few suggestions.

First, acquire a used door latch mechanism to inspect it, see if there is any way you can release the latch if you somehow succeed in removing the door panel.

Second, you can try drilling a hole/holes from inside the car on the door jamb frame right next to the latch hoop. Look at your working door. There is a latch hoop, and thin sheet metal behind it that the rear interior trim piece is attached to. You'll want the hole(s) to line up with the latch hoop in such a way that you can get a screwdriver(s) onto the latch assembly mechanism and try to pry it open that way. You'll see the latch mechanism has a finger that rolls over the latch hoop when you close the door, you MAY be able to manually move it with a flat head screw driver. But of course you need to plan this out well. I am only 75% sure this approach would work, I have used it on similar trunk latches before. Never had to do it on a door yet. To drill the hole(s) the interior trim piece should be flexible enough to be held out of the way. If not, you may need to remove the rear seat cushion and remove the panel fully (easy enough) If you succeed, you can use basic hole plugs like a PDR guy would use to snap into the holes you made.

The second idea is what I would do to my Prelude if this ever happens.

The other issue you will have is that these parts are NLA/obsolete new, and even used is hard to find. And used ones might be a ticking time bomb.
Repairing the latch may prove difficult as opening them up is a tough task, and reassembling them is not easy either because usually they are riveted together, and not your usual rivet either. If you did manage to open up the latch mechanism, I am confident you could find similar plastic/nylon bushings from McMaster-Carr, if it was a failed bushing. But if it a molded plastic part that broke, you are pretty much screwed. You may be able to disassemble a latch assembly from an Accord 4 door rear drivers side (try to avoid drivers door, they are worn out by now) and use it's parts. Trial and error.

Good luck, I hope you keep us up to date on what you find and how you deal with it.
is this something that can be prevented by greasing or lubricating?
 

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is this something that can be prevented by greasing or lubricating?
Unfortunately, it is something that seems to happen when the nylon pieces inside the latch assembly deteriorate over time. The latch assembly is difficult to lube, maybe lube could prevent deterioration.

When I took my door panels off to replace my speakers, nearly all of the nylon fasteners, clips and threadserts crumbled when I disassembled them. Same thing happens inside the latch assembly.

I hope the OP can post back his solution. To me this problem is worse than your engine or trans going out, as there doesn't seem to be a proper way to recover from a failed latch.
 
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