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7th Generation (1993-1997) Specific discussion of the 7th generation

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Old 01-15-2013, 03:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Door freezing shut.

Twice in the last month I have had a problem with the door freezing shut. Both occurrences happened at about 15 degrees.

First let me start off by narrowing this down.

It isn't the seal or the keyhole.

If I remember right I unlock the door and feel resistance in the outside handle. Once the handle is pulled the handle moves up and down but either the door opens or everything gets stuck. If the door opens it won't latch closed because something is sticking. The first time it happened I got out and slammed the door a few times and it finally shut. Then wouldn't open till the next day when it warmed up to the 30's.

That same day all 4 doors were stuck. But the drivers side the most. the other doors the pull locks were stiff and needed to be worked up and down several times before anything would give.

Last night it was only the drivers door.

Are there any solutions how to fix this or common problems with the latch that could cause this?

This has never happened in the past 10 years of ownership even when the engine bay froze completely solid and had to be thawed out with a huge tarp and propane heater.

Thanks.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Even if you don't think it's the rubber molding I'd still spay it liberally with silicone spray and see if it helps. It has always done wonders for me in extreme cold. When water penetrates the molding and freezes up it can not only seal the door shut and make it impossible to open, but also make it hard to shut since you have solid ice where you only should have flexible rubber.

Other than that lubricate the lock parts.


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Old 01-15-2013, 11:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with using silicon spray.
All are cars we own my location do it.
Its mostly becaues of the moister building up around the outside of the seal. Drastic out side temps will causes this or even temp change from the inside of the car to the outside will.
Most of the time I have problem is during blizzards or days that go from below 32 to above and then back down (condensation forms and freezes). I happens some day where it will be around 20 and then over night drop to -40 (only 1 time a year but not in the last 2).
When there is a blizzard out winds and snow can be so bad it will pack in the door frame and freeze shut.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Earlier today before asking the question I cleaned off as much old grease as I could and lubed the door with Liquid Wrench White Lithium Grease in a spray can. Reading all the options on the shelf I went with this one because it's a lubricant that doesn't freeze, it repels water and it foams in a way that it sticks in place. I worked it into the mechanism as much as I could and at the moment I left the door panel off in case it happens again.

As a test I only did the drivers door. Figured if the others froze and the drivers door didn't then I had my solution. It's 18 degrees right now and I had no problem getting into the car.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I was going to suggest lubricating/cleaning the door latch. As for door seals, clean them thoroughly then dress with tire dressing or low gloss tire shine. I did mine on a Mazda I own and 6 months later, still clean and still brand new looking, still repelling water.
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I've had to deal with this problem as long as I have owned Japanese vehicles.

Water runs through the window seals and ends up in the latch mechanism.

First get rid of the water. Use WD40 for what it was intended for- Water dispersion. Note: Its not ICE dispersion.

Then get some spray grease and lube it up well. Some heat from a heat gun will help it flow through the latch parts. Best way is to pull the inner door panels off but on some cars you can do the job on the outside with OK results.

-SP
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This last week was a real test factor and I think Speedy25 addressed the main problem. The seals on the door only seal the door connection leaving the latch out in the cold. But i'm starting to think that the suggestion of the window seal is what was causing the water to actually be able to get in or on the latching mechanism.

With the drivers side cleaned and lubed with spray lithium grease and the passenger side not the temperature dropped down to -5 the one night and the drivers doors opened just fine where the passenger side doors latches were stuck.

When I get time I'll have to pull apart the other doors and clean and lube them up right.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Ironically I had the same thing happening to me last week and I have to admit treating the rubber molding is not enough to prevent this issue - you guys are spot on that the latching mechanism freezes. (Although treating the rubber molding is nevertheless also important to prevent freezing.)

A freezing latch has never happened to me before but what triggered this was having the car sit outside in three days of pouring rain and 55F, and then a couple of days later having the temperature drop to 0F (welcome to Chicago!). I guess the extreme rain must have gotten between the window and molding in as described above. I haven't gotten around to open the panel and apply spray grease yet but gave the latch mechanism a good shower of WD-40 for now. Thanks for pointing this one out.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Blindstitch, im about 45 minutes from you and i've been having the same problem. Only mine is with a door that won't close
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cody302 View Post
Blindstitch, im about 45 minutes from you and i've been having the same problem. Only mine is with a door that won't close
Is the door latch frozen not letting the gear/teeth that hold on to the door striker or are those teeth already turned in. If they are take a screwdriver and insert it between the teeth as if it were the striker and pull up on the door handle while pulling the screwdriver toward the car.

I also learned that there was a rubber protective coat on the latch mechanism that was binding on the door. Ended up peeling as much of that off as I could.

Now that I figured out my problem I learned that the only real solution for now is to leave one of the doors unlocked till the temp stays above 20 degrees. My window trim rubber piece needs replacing because theres a 1/16 or 1/8 inch gap that rain or melted snow funnels down into.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The door that wont latch is still the same problem. The ratchet part of the door latch gets frozen on its pivot and cant move to do its job.

Before I figured this out, I kept a propane torch in the car and warmed up the latch until it worked. If you have electricity near your car you can also use a heat gun or hair dryer.

-SP
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