1969-1982 Corvette Door Handle & Lock Rod Installation

Do you have to pull your Corvette’s inside door handle way past center to open your door from the inside? Maybe the inside handle will no longer release. The only way you can open the door from the inside is to roll down the window and use the outside handle. This not only looks bad, but if it is raining, you are going to get wet. These problems are usually a sign of a broken or out of adjustment door handle rod. The repair is relatively simple. Start by making a call to Zip Corvette Parts, 8067 Fast Lane, Mechanicsville, VA 23111, (800) 962-9632. They have all of the necessary parts to totally repair the inside door lock mechanisms. The whole repair project should take less than one afternoon and the results are well worth the effort.

Our Project 77 Corvette had more than its share of problems with one of its doors so we decided to do a complete rebuild. Follow along as we repair our inside door mechanism and make it easy to open the door from the inside again. 1969-1982 Corvette Door Handle & Lock Rod Installation:

Step 1

01: These are the Corvette Parts that we received from Zip Products: New lock rods, handle rods, grommets, clips, retainers, outside handle, handle and lock gaskets and the handle rod pin. You will also need some standard hand tools, degreaser or mineral spirits, lubricating grease and one afternoon.

Step 2

02: Start by disconnecting the battery. Remember the door will be open for some time. To gain access to your Corvette’s door components, the glass must be in the up position. For power window Corvettes, raise the glass prior to disconnecting the battery. Our project 77 Corvette was a non-power Corvette so we could raise and lower the glass as needed. Now remove the window, lock, inside door handle and assist strap. Then carefully remove the door panel.

Step 3

03: We needed to replace the outside handle so we carefully removed the handle rod retaining clip, unscrewed the retaining nuts and pulled the handle out of the door.

Step 4

04: You will remove the door lock rod from the door latch mechanism. Start by removing the door lock rod retaining clips. Slide the clip up until you can pull the rod end out, then remove the clip.

Step 5

05: Remove the upper door handle rod clip. This clip is different from the lock rod clip. It is clipped to the rod. Remove it and then remove the rod from the door latch mechanism.

Step 6

06: All of the rods should be removed from the latch mechanism. Use a screwdriver and remove the three retaining screws on the door jamb. Now pull the latch mechanism out through the lower door access hole.

Step 7

07: Thoroughly clean the latch mechanism in a cleaning solvent or degreaser. Mineral spirits works great. When it is clean and dry, check all of the working mechanisms for wear or sloppiness. If everything works correctly, lube all of the moving parts with white lithium grease or its equivalent. It is now ready for re-installation. If the door latch mechanism is worn, contact Zip Corvette. They have new Corvette door latches availible.

Step 8

08: Remove the door lock cylinder retaining clip and then remove the cylinder. You can now thoroughly clean, polish and lube it before it is re-installed.

Step 9

09: Now remove the door lock and door handle rods from the inside handle and remote. In this picture you can see what our problem was. The rod on the right had been repaired with a sleeve and lock nuts. This made the handle have to open too far and then flex the rod so the door would not open from the inside. The handle rod on the left is the new correct one sent by Zip Corvette Parts. Sure is a big difference, isn’t it?

Step 10

10: You are now ready to start the assembly. Install all of the slide-on retaining clips on their respective levers. This will make the assembly go much easier. Re-install the door latch mechanism into the door and tighten into place.

Step 11

11: Next, thoroughly lube all of the moving parts on the outside door handle. Now install the door handle rod onto the handle.

Step 12

12: Slide the outside lock cylinder with a new gasket into place. Make sure the lever on the lock cylinder engages the door latch mechanism. Now push the door lock cylinder retaining clip into place. Make sure the key slot is facing the right position. You can install the lock upside down. When the lock is installed, carefully place the outside door handle with a new gasket into place. Connect the handle rod to the latch mechanism and tighten the handle into place.

Step 13

13: Slide the rod grommets into place. One should be installed on each upper handle rod and the door lock rod. Spraying the grommets with a spray silicone will help them slide into place. These grommets are an anti-rattler. They will keep the rods from rattling against the door frame.

Step 14

14: Now adjust the rods so that they line up with their respective levers. You will have to adjust each rod to fit. When you think they are right, put them into place and install their retaining clip. Now open the handle. It should open about 1/3 of it’s total movement and release the door latch. If it does not, adjust it until it does. Do the same with the outside handle. This is the most time consuming part of the whole project. Just take your time and keep adjusting.

Step 15

15: Attach the lock rod to the door lock mechanism. Then totally lube the entire inside handle assembly with white lithium grease. Make sure that the door lock also works properly with the inside knob and the outside key.

Step 16

16: When everything is adjusted properly, you can then re-install the door panel. If your door does not have an inside watershield to keep moisture out of the back of the door panel, you can easily make one. Open up a large garbage bag. Place 3M strip caulking or two-sided tape on the outer edge of the door. Place the garbage bag onto the caulking or tape and then trim off the excess. Now cut openings for the handle and window crank. There you have it. A perfect watershield.

Step 17

17: Next re-install the door panel, assist strap and all of the handles and you are done. It is that easy. You can now exit your Corvette by just pulling on the door handle.

Door Handle Repair: 1968 to 1982 Inside Door Handle Mechanism Repair

Source: Zip Corvette Parts

8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632

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  1. Jeff

    While otherwise being an excellent Corvette technical article, you fail to mention that the window glass blocks access to the exterior door handle. How do you deal with this? Remove the window glass?

    1. admin

      Your Corvette’s window glass does not have to be removed, just roll the glass all the way up and there should be plenty of room to repair the door handle.

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