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Old September 17th, 2010, 01:21 PM   #1
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andk5591's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: State College PA
Posts: 163
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Default How to Rotary door handle w VW latch

If you want to use something like an old Ford door handle or any that rotate and have a shaft running though, but would like to use stock VW latch, I just finished it and it works.

I used early 30's Ford exterior handles
outside handle.jpg

Initially I was doing something real simple with a threaded rod and heim joints at each end.
old door latch.jpg

I got rid of the parts of the stock VW latch that I didnt need, but don't forget that you need to also open it from inside - I screwed one up and took too many pieces out. I also used an early style interior handle was easy to adapt (added 1/2" to the tab that connects to the rod). This initial design worked fine in mock up until I installed the door and closed it - The solid link forced the outside handle up when I closed the door. Not acceptable, plus I needed a little more spring to keep the exterior latch in a horizontal position. Time to rethink.

This is what I came up with.
new door latch.jpg

Used a cut down BMW serpentine belt to provide a flexible link (BMW because my buddy had one in his trash can) - anything reasonably strong a flexible will work. I almost used a dog leash. I made an aluminum bracket that I pop riveted to the belt and ran the threaded rod from the heim joint to it. This gives me adjustment if I need it. At the handle, its just an aluminum block rounded on the backside so the belt runs smoothly over it and I screwed the belt to the block. I made a coil spring from a throttle return spring and an aluminum angle to act as a stop so you cant turn the exterior handle the wrong way. Cheap, relatively easy and it works like a dream.

One more thing - if you look at the VW latch, you'll see a 1/4 20 bolt near the bottom of the pic. This acts as a stop for part of the mechanism. Without it, the one arm slides over a bump that held a part of the latch that I removed, and it can stick.
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC], 61 Cal look, "stock" 65 Bug, 69 VW woodie, 70s vintage Manx clone, 73 bug based hearse project, 67 "T" project and a 66 with probable Suby transplant.

Last edited by andk5591; September 17th, 2010 at 03:09 PM.
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