Why Children Should Not Drive Your Toys, Part 2

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that Part 1 of “Why you should not allow your children to drive your toys” was the two years RovErica drove the Range Rover Classic and the four hours I let her borrow the Discovery 2 one fateful April afternoon her Senior year. Two years of RovErica driving the Range Rover resulted in an entire summer up on jack stands and dozens of hours of restoration. Four hours of her driving the Discovery resulted in a totaled vehicle.

Part two of this story is why you should not let your son drive your Range Rover to eat lunch while his Scion is in the BODY SHOP. “BODY SHOP” should have been my first clue why DietMtnDrew should have his wings clipped. This image of my door handle will suffice as the second clue.

Yes that is a cast aluminium door handle torn in half. I blame myself. I should have taught him the trick to opening the door. Instead he just “pulled a little harder”. When it failed to open the door he just crawled over from the passenger side.

The doors on the left side have a nasty problem I have yet to solve. They are not set correctly and require you to push on the door to cause the latch to trip. All this while you are pulling the latch. Its tricky to say the least.

Finding door handles to replace the broken units is getting very difficult as well. The last time I was at Rover Cannibal he only had three total in the entire warehouse. At some point one of us enthusiasts will need to send a functioning unit to a machine shop for them to make out of steel or aircraft aluminum. I can’t imagine what that would cost.

Last Sunday we were experiencing some more of the “I can’t believe this is January in Oklahoma weather”. Temps around the state got up to 72 F degrees. Our normal is closer to 45 F. I took advantage of the beautiful day and swapped out my driver’s side front door handle.

This is a relatively easy job. The good news is both the left side and right side door handles are inter-changeable. The fronts obviously have locks built in to the handle assembly, while the backs do not. The handle fits in either. I had two rear door handles. So using a punch I freed the hinge pin and the handle just slips out.

You must remove the door cards first. I purposefully bought some of the plastic friction pins just in case I break some in the removal process. On the last Wheeler DealerEdd China had a lovely tool I haven’t found yet, to assist in the removal. I used a big screw driver with a nice large flat head. After the door cards are off and the plastic is out of the way you can see what you are up against.

You can now remove the handle assembly from the door. It requires an 8mm socket for the nuts.

Simply remove the nuts and the bracket and the lock comes away from the door. This is fairly simple. I don’t recommend you dropping any of the nuts. You might not find them again.

Once the handle assembly is out of the door, use a common punch to remove the hinge pin and swap the handles. This model has heated door locks so you will have to work with the assembly hanging from the door, unless you want to cut the wires and splice them back later. I opted not to do that and just worked on it from the door.

Here’s a look at the assembly. The new handle is in place. Not pictured and sitting on my bonnet is the actuating rod and spring. It is held in place with a pin and clip. Nothing to worry about. You can see the retaining bolts and you can imagine how badly I wanted to brush off the rust.

I marked the “C” clip because the trickiest part of this job is getting the rod clips loose. They are held in place with a friction spring clip. The one located secured to the unit with the “C” clip was difficult to remove in the door. So I removed it by loosing the “C” clip. You may find your self more dexterous. The last trick to loosen the rod clips is to just use a screw drive and flick (for lack of a better term) them off the rods.

Reverse the dis-assembly and you are back in business. The system of rods and loose fitting wobbly clips is really a poor way to do things in my opinion. There is a lot of room for wear and failure of parts that are probably impossible to find. Once you learn how the door locks are actuated with the electric units, if this doesn’t disappoint you nothing will. Its not elegant or even very clever. Its a nightmare waiting to happen. Again this is my opinion. Its hard to believe the same race that put the brilliant Spitfire in to the air to win the Battle of Britain designed that.

On the OkieRover Difficulty Scale this job is a one. Edd China would call the internals fiddly bits and that is a perfect description. They look intimidating but they are not.

The passenger side front handle is also tearing and I’ll be using my last spare to fix it. I’m still trying to figure out what to do about the doors not functioning correctly. Most of the internal door parts were made by GM. I’m wondering if I can buy new door latches and solve my problem. Another solution is to just take it down to a body shop and have them “adjust” the doors. If I knew what to do, I’d do it myself, but I don’t and haven’t seen anything on the interwebs to tell me.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

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