How to Fix a Broken Door Handle on a GMC Truck

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Nothing is more irritating to deal with on a car than a broken door handle; and since the driver's side door gets used the most, its handle is usually the one that breaks first. If you're tired of having to leave your window down so you can break into your own car, don't worry. Replacement door handles can be obtained cheaply and take less than an hour to install.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flat paint scraper or flat blade screwdriver
  • Replacement door handle
  • Replacement plastic door panel clips
  • Window handle (crank) removal tool
  • Masking tape or duct tape

Removing a Broken Door Handle

  • Disconnect the ground cable from the negative battery terminal. Loosen the nut on the retaining clamp and pull the cable off the terminal.

  • Remove the window handle using a window handle removal tool. Align the tool with the window handle and slide it between the handle and the interior panel. The teeth on the tool will spread the internal retention spring clip and allow you to pull the handle off the splined shaft. Be careful not to lose the spring clip.

  • Remove the power window switch, if equipped. Use a flat blade screwdriver to pry the switch off of the interior door panel. Pry the electrical connecter off the switch.

  • Remove the power door lock switch, if equipped. Use a flat blade screwdriver to pry the switch off of the interior door panel. Pry the electrical connecter off the switch.

  • Remove the screws that connect the armrest to the door frame. Remove the armrest.

  • Remove all the screws that connect the upholstered door panel to the steel door frame.

  • Carefully slide a thin paint scraper or flat blade screwdriver in between the interior door panel and the steel door frame.

  • Slide the screwdriver around the outside of the door panel until you hit one of the plastic door panel clips.

  • Pull the door panel straight out to disengage the plastic retaining clip from the door frame.

  • Continue around the outside of the door panel until all of the plastic retaining clips are removed.

  • Remove the interior door panel. Once you have removed all the plastic retaining clips, you can simply lift the interior door panel out of the way.

  • Remove the plastic water shield. It is usually taped to the door frame and can simply be pulled off.

  • Remove the actuator rod from the inboard side of the exterior door handle. Remove the retaining clip from the actuator rod and pull it forward to disconnect.

  • Remove the two nuts that connect the the outer door handle to the door.

  • Remove the door handle.

Installing a New Handle

  • Move the door handle into position and reinstall the two nuts that connect it to the door.

  • Connect the actuator rod to the inboard side of the exterior door handle. Slide the rod into the hole on the door handle and reinsert the retaining clip

  • Temporarily install the window crank or power window switch. Check that the door handle operates properly with the window in both the up and down positions. Check that the lock functions properly.

  • Reinstall the water shield. Use masking or duct tape to hang the plastic sheet over the door frame.

  • Reinstall the interior door panel. Make sure the plastic retaining clips align properly with the holes in the door frame. Gently press against the panel to seat the clips in the holes.

  • Reinstall the screws that connect the interior door panel to the door frame.

  • Set the armrest in position and reinstall the screws that secure it to the door frame.

  • Reinstall the power door lock and power window switch if equipped. Reconnect the electrical connectors and push the switches back into the interior door panel.

  • Reinstall the spring clip in the window handle and gently press the handle onto the splined shaft.

  • Reconnect the ground cable to the negative battery terminal. Slide the clamp onto the negative battery post and tighten the retaining screw.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plastic retaining clips tend to become brittle with age and can break easily. Replacements can usually be purchased at your local auto parts store. If you are buying a new door handle, it will most likely come unpainted. You can paint it using touch up spray paint, but you must paint it before you install it in the door. Always remember to use spray paint in a well ventilated area.

References

  • "Chilton's General Motors Blazer/Jimmy/Typhoon/Bravada 1983-93 Repair Manual"; W.G. Nichols; 1999
  • "Chilton's Chevy S10/GMC S15 Pick-Ups 1982-91 Repair Manual"; Chilton Book Company; 1991
  • Photo Credit dave_7 - creativecommons.org
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