|The MGA With An Attitude
Dealing With A STUCK DOOR LATCH - BD-103I
A little fun story first. During the Alaska trip (July 1, 1997) my driver side door wouldn't open. Cable was still attached with appropriate spring action, but it would not unlatch, no clue at the time. I ultimately crow-barred the door open with the lug wrench, breaking the striker plate in the process. Then removed the door panel and pocket, and removed the latch with a piece of the striker still stuck in the latch. Inspection immediately revealed that the back end of the latch pin was moving normally while the tip end of the latch pin was not moving. Since the latch pin is all one piece, it was obviously broken in the middle. I tipped the latch with pin tip end upward, pulled the release mechanism, shook it a little, and the latch pin tip dropped back into the latch so the striker piece could be removed.
Options and decision time in Alaska. We stopped to visit a white water rafting company which we had frequented a few days earlier. I borrowed an electric welder in their maintenance shop, and welded the striker plate back together, then assembled the latch and striker back in the car, slammed the door shut (never to open again), tossed the door panel and pocket in the boot (or trailer), and resolved to climb over the door for a few days. We called to ordered a new latch and striker for second day air delivery, and picked it up two days later at the UPS depot in Fairbanks.
Early Morning July 4, 1997, time for some field maintenance in a campground in Central (city), Alaska. This time I knew how to get the door open. Pull the latch and hold it in retracted position, then bump the door from outside (in line with the latch mechanism) several times to jiggle the broken tip of the latch pin until it let loose from the striker, and the door was open so could install the new latch parts.
If you don't like using a crow bar, and the pull and jostle technique doesn't work, there is still a way to get the door open. Tony Bratt in Oxfordshire, UK, shows us how to get creative. Get inside the car, push the seat backrest forward, and pull off the door seal along the back edge of the door. You can then drill a series of small holes in the elbow bend of the striker plate to split the plate, leaving half of it screwed to the body post and the other half still stuck in the latch, and the door will open. A new striker plate is under $10. See BD103C for Door Latch Repair.