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Floppy Door Handle Fix for VW / Audi
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Floppy Door Handle Fix for VW / Audi

Peter Bodensteiner

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$50

Talent:

**

Tools:

Phillips screwdriver

Applicable Models:

 
Audi A4 (1997-01)
Audi A4 Quattro (1997-01)
Audi TT (2000-04)
Audi TT Quattro (2000-04)
VW Beetle (1999-02)
VW Golf (2000-02)
VW Jetta (2000-02)
VW Passat (1996-00)

Parts Required:

New door handle

Performance Gain:

Door handles work correctly again

Complementary Modification:

Replace door insulation

Floppy interior door handles are one of the most frequent complaints on Audi message boards for two reasons. First, it's common for the spring inside the interior door handle assembly to break, which makes the chrome-finish handle go "floppy," rather than returning smartly to its home position. It still works, it just doesn't feel right. Usually the driver's door handle is the one that suffers from this malady, as it's the most frequently used door. That's the one that is shown in this article.

Second, it's a part that the driver interacts with frequently, perhaps several times a day. German car owners take pride in the precision and quality exuded by their automobiles; a floppy door handle shatters that image. The simplest way to remedy this problem is to remove the handle assembly from the door and replace it with a new one. That is the path that is described below--Audi does not offer the spring by itself as a replacement part. Make sure to order a replacement handle assembly that matches the interior color of your car.

It may seem ridiculous to you to replace the entire assembly because of a broken spring that itself probably costs mere cents to produce. If you are one of these people, you can make a new spring with the proper gauge of wire, or you may be able to find a junkyard replacement (look for a rear handle assembly from the same side you need to repair, as it's less likely to be worn out).

I didn't do this, but it might work better to lower your window before starting out. That way you could access the back of the door handle mechanism through the open window, rather than from above, where the door panel restricts your vision and access.

Open your door and then locate and remove the Phillips-head screw to the rear of the underside of the grab handle.
Figure 1

Open your door and then locate and remove the Phillips-head screw to the rear of the underside of the grab handle.

Use a screwdriver or something similar to pry the grab handle cup away from the upper part of the grab handle, which stays in place as part of the door panel itself.
Figure 2

Use a screwdriver or something similar to pry the grab handle "cup" away from the upper part of the grab handle, which stays in place as part of the door panel itself.

The cup can be removed by rotating the bottom of it out toward you.
Figure 3

The cup can be removed by rotating the bottom of it out toward you. In other words, pivot the bottom of the cup outward, using the bar portion of the grab handle as the axis.

With the cup out of the way, you now have access to these two Phillips-head screws.
Figure 4

With the cup out of the way, you now have access to these two Phillips-head screws. Remove them now.

There are two more Phillips screws to remove.
Figure 5

There are two more Phillips screws to remove. One is at the outer end of the door panel at the top...

.
Figure 6

...and the other one is at the inner end of the panel, also at the top.

Grab the conveniently located grab handle and pull the door handle upward to separate it from the door itself.
Figure 7

Grab the conveniently located grab handle and pull the door handle upward to separate it from the door itself. There will still be some wiring connections holding the panel and the door, as well as the latch release cable, so it won't pull completely away.

At this point the door panel can be tilted away from the door at the top.
Figure 8

At this point the door panel can be tilted away from the door at the top. This will give you all the access you need to do this particular job.

Peel back the foam insulating material just enough to access the door handle mechanism and the end of the latch release cable.
Figure 9

Peel back the foam insulating material just enough to access the door handle mechanism and the end of the latch release cable. Pull off the metal clip that holds the white plastic collar into the black clip in the background.

Pull the hook at the end of the cable downward to disconnect it.
Figure 10

Pull the hook at the end of the cable downward to disconnect it.

Use a small screwdriver to release the power door lock wiring connector from the door handle assembly.
Figure 11

Use a small screwdriver to release the power door lock wiring connector from the door handle assembly.

Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screw holding the handle assembly to the door panel.
Figure 12

Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screw holding the handle assembly to the door panel.

Now the only thing still connected to the handle assembly is the wiring for the tweeter speaker.
Figure 13

Now the only thing still connected to the handle assembly is the wiring for the tweeter speaker. In this case we don't disconnect the wiring, but we remove the tweeter itself from the handle assembly.

This metal clip holds the tweeter in place.
Figure 14

This metal clip holds the tweeter in place. Release it at the forward end as shown. You may need a screwdriver to pry the clip loose, as it is quite tight.

The broken handle is at the left, and the new one is at right.
Figure 15

The broken handle is at the left, and the new one is at right. The only difference is that the coiled metal spring on the old handle is broken. It's easy to see where the end of the old spring is missing.

Installation is quite literally is the reverse of removal.
Figure 16

Installation is quite literally is the reverse of removal. Attach the tweeter first, and then place the handle assembly back in the door panel. Replace the Phillips screw to hold it in place. Replace the power lock switch, hook the latch release cable back into the hole on the back side of the handle itself, and secure the cable with the clip. Fold the foam insulation back in place and then push the door panel back into the door from above and then sliding it down into position, taking care to route the door lock button back through its hole on the top of the door panel. Replace the screws holding the door panel in place.

Last, reinsert the grab handle cup, again rotating it about the axis formed by the bar of the grab handle.
Figure 17

Last, reinsert the grab handle cup, again rotating it about the axis formed by the bar of the grab handle. Push the cup upward until it snaps into place and then secure it with the single Phillips screw.

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