How to reconnect rear LH exterior door handle to interior lock knob?

A few weeks ago the inside lever of the rear exterior door handle of my '96 X300 XJR (LHD) broke off, making it impossible to open that door from the outside. The broken lever is normally connected to the door’s locking system via a metal rod (n°6) with at the end a plastic eye (n°7). That eye is supposed to go over a knob that is fitted onto a lever of the lock itself (I think n°8). I have enclosed a technical drawing on which - unfortunately - the knob cannot be seen properly (shame I couldn’t upload a pdf photograph I found):

When I removed the door’s interior trim to check what was wrong, the metal rod was already disconnected from the knob. So, after installing a replacement door handle, I thought it would be a piece of cake to reconnect the rod by pushing the eye back over the knob. But strangely enough that didn’t work at all, not even with the help of some grease nor by changing the angle a bit. I simply cannot put enough pressure on the eye with my fingers because of the narrow space. And even then, wouldn’t putting more pressure on break it?
My question: does anyone know how to get the eye over the knob without breaking it?

PS: the car needs to get it’s Belgian MOT in 4 weeks and they’ve already let me know it wont pass like this, so there is some time pressure envolved I’m afraid. Thank you for sharing any insights!
Best regards,
David

I managed to enclose the photograph this time. It is an image of the lock, with the knob encircled in red. aybe this clarifies things? GNA1081AJ-SLOT-ACHTERDEUR.pdf (62,1 KB)

i think you will have to do it with either the handle or latch assembly loose (unbolted from the door)

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Thanks Andy for your reply
I hope I don’t have to unbolt the handle again, because it is a hell of a job to get it back on. Maybe I’ll try the latch first and see how hard it is to get that loosened.
It still puzzles me how the eye should go over the knob without breaking it, but maybe I’ll get a view when the latch is unbolted. Right now the knob is completely concealed by it.
I’ll keep everyone posted

Good news. I think I solved it without having to disassemble the door handle or door latch. I eventually took the risk of applying more manual pressure. What did I do differently than before: 1. I worked with tight-fitting garden gloves with non-slip fingertips to be able to apply more force and experience less pain, 2. I used more grease and applied it mainly to the inside of the eye, 3. I pushed from an oblique angle of approx. 45-60° to the perpendicular through the knob (this way I tried to avoid putting too much lateral pressure on the little lever to which the button is attached) and 4. while pressing the eye with full force with my right hand, I held the door handle from the outside about halfway up with my left hand. This created just a little bit more accord between both parts.

Result: eye over the knob and nothing bent or broken. Quite a relief and I also learned that the eye should not go all the way past the knob, but should actually go ‘around’ it. There is a small groove in the center of the plastic eye, and the knob fits snugly in there. At first I found it difficult to believe that the eye was installed correctly because I still felt some space behind the knob. But further examination of the eye that came from the old door handle led me to the conclusion that it was in the right spot. A dozen tests opening and closing the door only confirmed this.

I will continue to drive without inside door trim for a while until I am really sure that the eye will not come loose again, but I am quite confident it will hold. On to another flawless MOT :smiley: