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gomi_otaku, VW Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 3448
Experience:  VW FastTrack '00-'01, VW Academy Chicago and Seattle '00-present, VW Certified
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Volkswagen Eurovan MV: Eurovan 2003 weekender- driver side

Customer Question

Eurovan 2003 weekender- driver side door is stuck in locked position. Can't unlock it with the fob, a key, or from the indispensable by pulling on the knob or the handle. Any suggestions as to how to get it unlocked and or the door panel off so I can see if it is an actuator problem?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  gomi_otaku replied 1 year ago.
On the EV, if you unlock one door, it typically will cause all the others to unlock (which you likely know). The problem is when one does not cooperate- you unlock the driver door, the passenger door does not unlock, and because it is locked, it sends the signal to all the rest to lock again! Frustrating to no end.So- are you able to unlock the other doors, and the driver door just stays locked, and the other doors do not lock again? That would seem to indicate that either the latch is bad, or the wiring may have cracked and broken between the door and the body (fairly common, especially as these get older- and new harnesses have been discontinued for a few years now)I would first see if you can pull up the inside lock knob with the other doors already unlocked, so the latch is not pulling it back down again. The knob is too short and smooth to fight against that downward tension. You may also want to try unlocking it while someone exerts pressure on the outside of the door where it latches, to make sure there is not tension on the latch "finger" at the striker.Normally to remove the door trim panel, you remove the inside pull handle cover and remove the three screws holding it in place. Unscrew the lock knob. Remove the plastic push pin/rivet at the rear edge of the trim panel near the top. (From memory here- there is a screw at the forward end of the trim panel, at the top- you may not be able to get at it with the door closed- it may pull out of the panel) The trim panel then lifts straight up until the plastic tabs are clear of the slots in the door, and then you can disconnect the wiring connectors from the switches.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So the other door all lock and unlock without any difficulty, using the FOB, the key in the passenger side door, or via the knobs. It is just the passenger door that doesn't unlock at all. I have tried the FOB, the key, the knob and all of the above while trying the handles, both in and out as well. Still no luck. As to removing the panel, there is a screw on the hinge side that can't be accessed and there is another one just behind the locking knob that is also inaccessible due to the center column of the car that obscures it when the door is closed. Still trying to figure out how to get it unlocked without breaking anything. I have undone all the accessible screws, ie behind speaker and the handle and there is no sign that I can remove the panel without breaking it due to the other inaccessible screws. Still looking for a way to get it unlocked. suggestions??
Expert:  gomi_otaku replied 1 year ago.
I can only assume that the latch is jammed- it doesn't sound like it is "electrically" keeping pulled down. So in a shop environment, I would probably be first trying to "jolt" it loose before resorting to any kind of destructive measures. Hip-checking the door, etc. Often just relieving any outward pressure on the latch will allow it to release- push your hip against the outside right at the rear edge, with the window rolled down so you can try to pull up on the lock knob at the same time, or try to turn the key. Even if you can only get it to release enough to get to the first detent on the latch, you can get it open far enough to access those screws, or the screws holding the latch into the door, or the door handle screws on the end of the door.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your efforts but it hasn't resolved the problem. I have tried your suggestions above and still have a locked door that I can't open. FYI, if it helps, when the problem started, I had locked the doors with the FOB and everything but the drivers door locked which meant that I had to use the key to lock the door. I haven't been able to unlock it since. I even tried pulling the fuse and then tried pulling the knob up with a fair bit of force and that didn't have any effect either. Still trying to get it open and am open to suggestions but am trying to not have to break the door panel to access the actuator and figure out why it is happening.
Expert:  gomi_otaku replied 1 year ago.
If you remove the speaker will it give you access into the door cavity? The Eurovan is kind of weird, in that the lock knob does not connect directly to the latch itself, but to a lock actuator (click on that to take you to a picture of the part)This is mounted directly down from the lock knob, and then an electrical connector sends the signal to the door latch to lock or unlock. You may be able to get in through the speaker hole, access the actuator and see if you can move it at all. It is a solenoid motor that uses vacuum to push/pull the rod up and down, and like any VW solenoid, it will wear out and eventually bind up the gearing inside, maybe even splitting the case. You may be able to free it up, as it sounds like it is not even budging with the lock knob. Or you may be able to unplug it, and then you can see if you can unlock the latch from the outside key without this sending the signal to keep it locked. I'm with you, if possible I would not want to damage the trim panel, as they are really expensive, and probably not even available anymore other than used parts.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I agree that we need to access the actuator but unfortunately access via the speaker port isn't possible as it only gets you into a small space overlaying the door panel as it is a part of the driver door's lockable compartment. Behind that is the regular gray plastic door covering with only a small opening for the wires. Next? What about a slim jim? would that work relative to the actuator problem or not?
Expert:  gomi_otaku replied 1 year ago.
You can try- but VW has been pretty good about building "framework" of metal around their components so their is some kind of blockage from above. Have you tried removing the panel on the other door, just so it can help you visualize how the other side is laid out inside? I had forgotten about the screws behind the speaker that hold the panel to the door, it might be worth checking to see how solid the panel is behind there. If there is a hole in the center, you may be able to cut out the panel with a hole saw or recip saw, inside the screw circle, as it would be hidden behind the speaker after reassembly.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So I was able to get the actuator rod disconnected (accessed from the top with the windows down and used a combination of pry bars and shims to split the door open a bit from the top to help with visualization) at the top from the lock rod thinking that would isolate it but STILL can't get the door to unlock. Even when disconnected from the rod, I am getting no signs of life while using the FOB. also still unable to unlock it and can't figure out why.
Expert:  gomi_otaku replied 1 year ago.
The rod just runs from the actuator up to the lock knob- if the actuator itself is bound up, it will stay that way. You may want to see if you can hook onto the loop on the arm of the actuator where the push knob rod was connected, and really yank on it (since the actuator is likely bad anyway) It's the electrical signal from the actuator that is keeping the door locked

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