Rear door handles again ... and again ... and again

Hello all and seasons greetings,

When it comes to the '89 XJ40 door handles, over the past 3 decades I have earned a PhD in their removal and repair, My mastery of their reinstallation is another matter altogether, I’m not even a Freshman.

Recently my rear left handle stopped working … aha … a classic example of one the dog ears being cracked (if you’ve been there you’ll know what I’m talking about). But surprisingly the entire door handle assembly was intact. So that wasn’t the problem (although while I had it out I did reinforced it with some metal as a preventive measure… again if you’ve been there you’ll know what I’m talking about :grinning:). So I decided to reinstall it to adjust the linkage … HA !

Since there always seems to be years between these jobs I keep forgetting how unbelievably difficult reinstalling the handle is. Devilishly Fiendish comes to mind. After several hours of failed fiddling I decided to just button everything back up and make this the first car repair I do in 2023.

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Groove - years ago I had to service one of my rear door handles and I found that removing the window glass turned the job from an impossible one to a mere devilish, fiendish one. R & R of the glass (including frame) was IIRC a walk in the park by comparison.

Mike …

Yes it’s certainly the rear window track that’s in the way. I thought of removing the window frame but was a bit worried about ruining the aged rubber trim. I’ll give that a harder look when I dig back in there next month.

I had to replace the entire rear lock mechanism earlier this year and taking out the window frame was the only way to get in there. Even though I was worried things could get out of hand, the removal of the window frame was not a bad job. As long as you can find the screws holding things in (one is hidden IIRC) it’s an easy job.

Well I just couldn’t stand it …

Having nothing on my plate this afternoon I decided to work on my rear door handle AGAIN.

Now considering that it’s a REAR door handle and I haven’t had anyone ride in the backseat for … ah… forever, you’d think I could just get on with my life. But I can’t stand things that are broken that I “think” I can fix.

So the bottom line is that this can be done without removing the window frame but buddy … IT AIN"T EASY.

My personal strategy in installing the retaining bracket/clamp is to NEVER remove the retaining bolt nearest the back of the car, but to slacken it off enough so the clamp can be slid into position.

Installing the bolt with the bracket in place is “the impossible dream”

Disclaimer … this is what I did on my '89 REAR door handle. Following these instructions on other year model Jags MAY lead to divorce, insanity, and world insurrection !!

What I ended up doing was to slightly reshape the bracket that bolts to the door handle assembly so that it fits between the rear door track with a little more clearance. I then positioned it in place and held it there with a piece of duct tape.

I then thoroughly cleaned the door around the handle opening and glued on the rubber gasket with a nice bead of caulk and let it dry overnight. I then greased the exposed area of the rubber gasket so the handle assembly would slide over it into place without displacing it (skip this step at your own peril).

Next I connected the metal control rod to the handle assemble while it was still outside the car and slowly worked the handle in and over the gasket. It’s a very, very tight fit with the gasket doing it this way, but connecting the rod after the assembly is in place was impossible for me.

Once the handle is in place and properly aligned with the rubber gasket (yes it can be done) you can lift out the bottom of it enough to slip the two bolts into the bracket. Then reinstall the two bolts holding the bracket (no small feat) and tighten them using a socket with a universal joint…

There… all done and a piece of cake … NOT !