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#1 jiggity76

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 01:39 PM

I've been reading some of the posts about the outside door handles and was wondering what is a good aftermarket brand to buy.  It seems like the Dorman brand is not the best maybe?  Anyone have a brand that is a good quality OEM replacement?  Thanks.



#2 rich_e777

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 02:10 PM

IIRC Dorman are the only replacements unless you can find originals on a JY vehicle.

 

They are cool in a unique sort of way but damn do I wish they just but regular sedan handles on these cars sometimes.

 

The handles would do better to have a little roller bearing making the contact instead of two pieces of metal rubbing against eact other.


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#3 Galaxie500XL

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 03:43 PM

I kept finding junkyard handles for my car, and they generally lasted 6 months to a year.  About 3 years ago, my driver's door handle broke, and I wasn't able to find any junkyard handles, and bought the Dorman handle.  The finish isn't as smooth and shiny as the OEM part, but it's weathered quite well, despite the fact I don't have a garage, so the car is outside 100% of the time.

 

Functionally, I found the Dorman handle didn't precisely fit the curve of the door frame, the bend was shallower than the door frame, so I had to gently bend the door handle a bit to fit closer to the contour of the door.  The large nut at the top of the door handle pulled the handle the rest of the way in.  I made careful adjustments to the Dorman handle, I found that the rods had to be adjusted compared to the old OEM handles, which never needed to be changed at all to work correctly.  That being said, I'd recommend if you use a Dorman door handle, go ahead and remove the inside door panel before you begin installing...if the handle is way out of adjustment, like mine was, you'll need access to the rods from the inside of the car to be able to open the door once it's closed---and it's no fun trying to remove a door panel from a car with a door that's stuck closed.  Don't ask me how I know that.  :)

 

Overall, though, I've had no issues at all in 3 years with the Dorman handle once it was installed.  It's lasted far longer than the junkyard handles I'd used previously.


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#4 jiggity76

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 12:49 AM

Ok, thanks guys.  I went ahead and ordered the Dorman brands and we'll see how good they work/install.  I will pay attention to fitting them correctly and utilize all the tips you guys posted.  Never done it before so it will be interesting!


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#5 Psych0matt

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Posted 02 July 2016 - 02:14 AM

I actually found a brand-new one at a junkyard still in the packaging, but I think it was aftermarket. It's worked just fine for the last two years

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#6 Nas Escobar

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 03:51 AM

Ok, thanks guys. I went ahead and ordered the Dorman brands and we'll see how good they work/install. I will pay attention to fitting them correctly and utilize all the tips you guys posted. Never done it before so it will be interesting!

Dorman ones are pretty decent. I have 2 on mine.

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#7 jiggity76

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Posted 04 July 2016 - 01:13 AM

Seems like they are pretty reasonable too.  I might bug you guys for help if I get stuck.



#8 Schurkey

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 05:30 AM

There is no such thing as a "good" door handle for these vehicles.  Genuine GM is junk, Dorman is junk.  This has been covered in previous threads.

 

The ONLY things you can do to extend the life of the door handles are:

1.  Verify that the metal-rod linkages are not bent.  VERY common.  Bent linkage requires the door handle to be pulled to the end of it's travel--or beyond.  This guarantees premature failure.

2.  Door latch mechanism is properly lubricated.

3.  Door hinges are adjusted properly so the latch doesn't scrape on the post attached to the door frame.

4.  Weather seals are in good condition.  If the weatherstrip freezes to the door frame, excess force is needed to pull the door open, exceeding the stress limit of the door handle.


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#9 Imp558

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Posted 06 July 2016 - 07:07 AM

There is no such thing as a "good" door handle for these vehicles.  Genuine GM is junk, Dorman is junk.  This has been covered in previous threads.

 

The ONLY things you can do to extend the life of the door handles are:

1.  Verify that the metal-rod linkages are not bent.  VERY common.  Bent linkage requires the door handle to be pulled to the end of it's travel--or beyond.  This guarantees premature failure.

2.  Door latch mechanism is properly lubricated.

3.  Door hinges are adjusted properly so the latch doesn't scrape on the post attached to the door frame.

4.  Weather seals are in good condition.  If the weatherstrip freezes to the door frame, excess force is needed to pull the door open, exceeding the stress limit of the door handle.

 

.... and if you can get in the habit of using the door handle to unlatch the door enough to pull it open from the edge or top of the door that saves wear and tear on not only the fragile part of the handle but also the rod.


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#10 jiggity76

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 01:03 AM

I have been busy and haven't ordered the Dorman's yet.  Maybe I should try to fix the originals then.  The driver's door does not work but the passenger side does.  The passenger side handle is not flush with the trim anymore and sits sort of pulled out but still works.



#11 Nas Escobar

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 03:59 AM

Well have you adjusted the rod that connects to the handle?

 

Unless the handle is cracked off, that usually fixes the issue. I had the same thing going on with my Lumina when I bought it. adjusted the connecting rod and I was able to keep my original door handle.


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#12 jiggity76

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 03:28 AM

That's what I was thinking.  Both handles are intact and I think they just need a little lovin.  If all else fails, then maybe order some new ones are just try to find some good originals.  Thanks everyone!



#13 White93z34

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 03:24 PM

I have a Doorman one on my z34. A few things:

 

If you have the lighted keyring thing you'll have to open the hole up with a dremel or other rotary tool to get it to fit. Kind of a pain in the ass, but whatever.

 

And the finish isn't very good. my car sits inside most of the time and the paint is kinda fading and pealing after a few years. OEM ones were powdercoated, so they hold up way better.

 

That said the overall fit is pretty good, which is huge to me as I've had some straight up trash aftermarket ones before.


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#14 GnatGoSplat

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 03:55 PM

.... and if you can get in the habit of using the door handle to unlatch the door enough to pull it open from the edge or top of the door that saves wear and tear on not only the fragile part of the handle but also the rod.

 

This.  I always pull the handle with just enough pressure to unlatch it, then grab the door itself to open the rest of the way.  They will last forever this way.


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#15 Addicted To Boost

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 06:10 AM

This.  I always pull the handle with just enough pressure to unlatch it, then grab the door itself to open the rest of the way.  They will last forever this way.

This is what I've always done too, and never broken a door handle.  You can not use the handle to swing the door open.


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#16 jiggity76

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 11:16 AM

I've been using that same technique too guys.  It kind of feels natural doing it that way for some reason and it's easy for me to do.  I'm going to try to save the originals and just adjust and clean them up.  I like the OEM look and feel if I can.  It does not have the lighted entry/key hole option.  Was that offered on the Cutlass?  I know that some GP's had it.  What about the Gran Sport?



#17 rich_e777

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 02:00 PM

Y`all can take a file and smooth out the metal to metal contact point and use some heavy axle grease to lube to area, my passenger side is broken andI have a replacement ready to go.Now that I have a decent camera and dont feel like being in the sun doing car stuff I`ll post a thred later this evening on how I can squeeze about 5 years of life out of these Dorman handles.

 

The Cutlass indeed had the lighted key ring and for some reason that was one of my favorite little details about the car when I first got mine, I want to put a little blue or green LED in there to recreate what cannot be found anywhere else. Ive never noticed a difference in the handles with or without the key light. I`m afraid Ive replaced my original handles so long ago and I never kept the originals to be able to tell.

 

So what about a small spring attatched somewhere to allow the door to "pop" open when the handle is pulled? That way one wouldnt have to pull on anything but closing may take some extra effort. Thoughts? Ideas? Cries of Anguish?



#18 jiggity76

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 03:38 PM

I like the spring idea!  Should have been on the original design.  Do you know what RPO code or whatever that would have been on the Cutlass.  Maybe I have it and don't know it.  Car battery is out of it right now so not sure.  My parents had a brand new 90 Mercury Cougar LS and I remember that it had the lighted key hole option.  You would just lift up the handle and if the car was locked it would light up as well as the interior lights.  Thought it was pretty cool as a kid.



#19 rich_e777

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 03:54 AM

Not sure of the code for the lighted key ring, I never could find a part number or sourced a replacement option either as other things started adding up and I sort of put it on hold. With LED tech coming as fas as it has since back then I`m sure an easy fix can be made. But I`m not there yet.

 

You could pop the inside cover off the door and see if you have two wires going to the lock, that would indicate you have the option. IIRC they are orange and white and may end in a clear block that looks like a connector but its not, that would be whats left of the ring itself. There was nothing to unplug and remove so splicing into existing courtesy light wiring would be needed. 


Edited by rich_e777, 25 July 2016 - 04:03 AM.


#20 Nas Escobar

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 04:31 AM

Yeah my ring in the Cutlass is fubar too.

 

As far as the LED comment, those keyrings were actually ahead of their time. They were fiber optic.

 


2003 Pontiac Grand Am (01/12 - 08/13)

1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

2002 Chevrolet Camaro (09/13 - 07/16)

1996 Infiniti G20

1993 Chevrolet Lumina Z34

1989 Buick Regal Limited (06/16 - 01/17)

1994 Chevrolet Cavalier RS

2009 Pontiac G6





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