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Saturday, July 27, 2019

Replacing KARR's Power Lock Actuators

KARR's power locks had stopped working about a year ago and I had been locking the doors manually.  I decided it was time to do something about it so I ordered new power lock actuators.

Here is one of the new actuators from The Fiero Store.



Removing the door panel was the first step.


You can see by the look on my face how much I do not enjoy removing these door panels.  Not because it is hard, but because everything is so brittle.  The back of the door panel is a press-board and it is very easy for the door clips to pull out if you are not incredibly careful.








Driver side door panel is off with no casualties.


Here is the original door lock actuator.


The door handle support needs to be removed in order to access the rivets securing the door lock actuator.  This support is riveted on in three spots.  The spring you see in the picture with the yellow zip tie was an attempt at getting the worn lock actuator to stop rattling.  It worked, however the lock actuator just is not strong enough to unlock the door anymore.


Here I am checking to see if the door ajar switch is broken as I suspect it is.  (It was.)


Next I drilled the three rivets out.




There are two rivets securing the door lock actuator.


Drilling out the rivets.


For reference, here is where the two rivets are.



Sara cleaned up all the metal shavings created from drilling out the rivets.  Thanks Sara!


There was still a little bit of rivet holding, so I had to punch it out with a nail punch.


Both rivets have been removed.


Door lock actuator is out.


Here is a side-by-side comparison of the old and new lock actuators.


The provided brackets with the new lock actuator do not match up with the existing mount holes in the door.


As you can see, even the holes for mounting the bracket to the lock actuator are slightly different.


They are similar enough though that I believe I can make the old bracket work on the new lock actuator.


I started by removing the screws that will secure the bracket to the lock actuator.


Because the new bracket had elongated holes, the plastic mounting tab on the lock actuator required slight trimming in order to get the old bracket to fit.





Next I turned all four screws back in to secure the bracket to the lock actuator.


I then maneuvered the lock actuator into place for a test fit.



I decided before mounting this in place it would be a good idea to test it and make sure it works.  (It does.)



I bought some short bolts, washers and lock nuts to replace the rivets.



The only piece left to remove from the old actuator was the small lock rod.  This needed to be transferred to the new lock actuator.




The new lock actuator has a new dust boot (cover) over it.  I needed to make a small slit in the back so I could feed the wire harness plug through.



The wire was able to pass right through the dust boot.


Next I just needed to secure the new lock actuator in place using the bolts and the nut clips that were provided with the new lock actuators.  The bolts I purchased turned right in.



As I was working on the door lock actuator, I noticed there was a vertical scratch on the outside of my door window.  I wanted to track down what caused this.  I know that usually this is caused by worn felts on the window guides, but mine have all been replaced and are brand new.

I used a piece of masking tape on the glass to mark where the scratch was so I could easily see it as I ran the window up and down.




I determined it was one of the outside window felts and I needed to remove the upper door trim to gain access to this window guide.


With the trim out of the way, I needed to loosen the inside window guide so I could pull the glass away from the outer guide.  This way I could inspect it.


Using a pick I etched the position of the inside guide so I could get it back in the same spot.



I was able to pull the glass away from the outer guide and clean it using a microfiber cloth.  It appeared that a rock had become lodged in the guide and was the cause of the scratch. :(


While I had the doors apart, I wanted to clean and re-lube the window tracks.  I cleaned them with a rag soaked in Brake Parts Cleaner and then for lube I used White Lithium Grease.




I also cleaned and lubed the door latch assembly.


I reinstalled the plastic upper door trim next.


I loosened the door latch mounting bolts so I could remove and attempt to repair the door ajar switch.  I had been unsuccessful in locating replacements.


I was able to get the door ajar switch out and as I feared, it was broken.  This switch is held in place by a single screw but the plastic on the switch where the screw turns in was broken.



I could not think of a way to make a repair that would actually hold for any reasonable length of time, so I decided to attempt to once again find replacements.  I decided if I could not find replacements, I would just leave the switch disconnected as it is now.

Using the new hardware I purchased, I started reattaching the door handle support.





With the door handle support installed, I fit the door panel back into place.




I reinstalled the lock trim panel.



Unfortunately, the lock actuators were not the only problem.  With the door panel back in place the new lock actuator was still not able to lock and unlock the driver side door.  In this picture I am trying very hard not to go Hulk on the Fiero.  It was at this point Sara suggested we take a break and go get ice cream.


Once back from Dairy Queen, we removed the door panel for the second time.  I had read online that aside from the lock actuator, the door latch assembly can just get gummed up over time with dirt and grease and become too hard for the lock actuator to move.  It was suggested by a user on one of the Fiero forums that you can use lithium grease sprayed down into the latch assembly to lube it up.  I tried this before removing the latch assembly from the door completely.



The lithium grease did not help so I decided to remove the entire latch assembly so I could properly clean it with brake parts cleaner.  There are three clips that needed to be removed from the three different lock rods that attach to this latch assembly.  They are not easy to get to.





With the latch thoroughly cleaned and re-lubed with lithium grease, I reinstalled the latch assembly and tested the door locks.  They worked. :)  I reinstalled the driver side door panel and decided to call it a day.



The following day I tackled the passenger side.


I started by removing the door panel following the same process as the driver side.



I drilled out the rivets and removed the door support.



I drilled out the rivets for the door lock actuator next.


I removed the old door lock actuator.


With the door lock actuator out of the way, I decided to tackle removing and cleaning the latch assembly.  I also cleaned the window tracks at this time.



With everything reinstalled, I tested the new lock actuator and it worked! :)  All that was left was to reinstall the door panel.  I was so excited it worked that I forgot to take pictures.




The passenger side door ajar switch broke in the process of removing the latch assembly.  I was able to source two new door ajar switches on eBay and have ordered them.  Unfortunately this means I will be taking the door apart once again.  Stay tuned.

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