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Front Door Latch and Vacuum Actuator Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Door Latch and Vacuum Actuator Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$50 to $600

Talent:

***

Tools:

Phillips screwdriver, trim removal tool, 8mm, 10mm socket

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W124 (1986-95)

Parts Required:

Latch and vacuum element

Hot Tip:

Door panels are expensive, take your time

Performance Gain:

Not getting lock out

Complementary Modification:

Replace window regulators

This article will show you how to replace your front door latch mechanism and vacuum element. To get to these you will need to remove the door panel, and while it is not a difficult job, the door panels can be very expensive so take your time and double check things.

Before you begin you should park the car on as level ground as possible. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to work on the door while it is swinging open or closed. It is also a good idea to get yourself a small box or container to keep all your parts in.

Begin by rolling the window all the way up into the fully closed position and remove the key from the ignition. You will need to remove the inner door panel and exterior door handle to perform this job. Please see our articles on those procedures for additional assistance.

Begin by disconnecting the door pull from the mechanism (red arrow).
Figure 1

Begin by disconnecting the door pull from the mechanism (red arrow). The pull sits in a few plastic clips (yellow arrow). Just unclip it and set it aside. You will need to reach in and disconnect the wiring to the mechanism (green arrow).

Remove the electrical plug (red arrow).
Figure 2

Remove the electrical plug (red arrow). There is a yellow vacuum line attached to the actuator, but it is easier to remove once the unit is free and lower in the door.

Use a large Philips head screwdriver and remove the three large Philips head screws that hold the latch in place (red arrows).
Figure 3

Use a large Philips head screwdriver and remove the three large Philips head screws that hold the latch in place (red arrows). Depending on the age of the vehicle and whether you live in a four season climate these screws can take a surprising amount of force to remove. You may need to use an impact screwdriver. Do NOT strip these screws.

Use a 10mm socket and loosen but do not remove the two bolts (red arrows) for the vacuum element.
Figure 4

Use a 10mm socket and loosen but do not remove the two bolts (red arrows) for the vacuum element. This will allow you to slide it out from its mount in the door.

With everything free, lower the unit in the door frame until you can see the yellow vacuum line attached to the element.
Figure 5

With everything free, lower the unit in the door frame until you can see the yellow vacuum line attached to the element. Disconnect these. Make sure you grab the line by the stub and not the line. They can need a pretty good tug to get them apart, and if you pull on the yellow line you run the risk of ripping or breaking it. With the vacuum line free and the unit below the cross brace, turn the latch mechanism forward towards the inside of the door. The unit will pass between the window rail and the outer door skin. Remove the assembly from the lower access hole in the door.

This photo shows the complete assembly out of the car.
Figure 6

This photo shows the complete assembly out of the car. The upper pull mechanism (green arrow), the latch, pull and element joiner (red arrow) the door latch/lock (yellow arrow) and the vacuum element (blue arrow).

This Teflon bushing (yellow arrow) is a weak spot in the latch and can rip, weaken or just wear out.
Figure 7

This Teflon bushing (yellow arrow) is a weak spot in the latch and can rip, weaken or just wear out. Unfortunately at this time the bushing is not available as a separate part and if broken you need to replace the whole unit.

The yellow arrow shows the latch that connects to the outside door handle.
Figure 8

The yellow arrow shows the latch that connects to the outside door handle. When reinstalling you must make sure this is seated behind the door handle or your outside door handle will not work.

Here is a close up of the where the latch, element and pull join.
Figure 9

Here is a close up of the where the latch, element and pull join. If you are replacing the latch you will need to disconnect it from the pull and element. Gently squeeze the end of the plastic joiner and slip the pull rod and element from the latch. If you are replacing the element, mark the rod where it enters the element, then unscrew it from the old unit and re-screw it back into the new unit at approximately the same height. Installation is the reverse of removal.





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