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Old 21-09-2010   #1
jtd multiwagon '03 115bhp
 
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estate rear door handle release mechanism

Having recently contacted every concievable Fiat salvage yard but failing to find a rear door handle for my JTD estate, I could only surmise that these units (a) give a bit of bother and (b) are hence in seriously short supply second-hand. or outrageously expensive new
To recap my situation: the estate car has a outer handle for opening and closing the tailgate. To the underside of this handle is a narrow, 15cm pressure pad incorporating the release switch to unlock the tailgate. My pressure pad still had the familiar movement when i pressed it, but the internal contact did not operate to unlock the door. The only way to open the boot was with the remote control key fob. This became a bit of a pain as two drivers share the car and we had to plan who got which key and when etc. So, a solution became necessary. Several things were tried bit I think I have finally cracked the problem - a non-standard switch was fitted a few days a go and continues to work satisfactorily. cost 99 pence from maplins (and extra solder as I had ran out)!
<< maplin item is "sub-miniature push-to-make switch. Available for those fussy types in Red (JM47B) or Black (JM01B)>>
The answer was to mount this small switch into the pressure pad.
this required removing the rear door trim (top window trim = two side screws, then lift away, main door trim= 6 poppers, then the six screws up in the recesses amd two allen screws in the inner hand grips, and then pull the trim away from the retaining fasteners). The door handle can be unbolted (4 x 13mm bolts IIRC) I cut the two wires running to the pressure pad through the handle. Once you have the handle off, pop the pressure pad out of its recess, carefully-ish peel the rubberished stipled cover of the two leaves of the pressure pad. Seperate the two halves and explore. You are aiming to remove the existing (broken) ball operated switch completely. I put the two halves back together and just set a sharp point into the centre of the bottom part and started "drilling" through. I then got a tapered knife and widened the gap until it was a tight fit for the new switch. Note- the aim is for it to protrude from the pressure pad so the button can be operated. I mounted the switch from the front and screwed down the lock nut on the rear. Then a sharp craft knife or hot soldering iron will remove the old electronics from the upper half. You aree aiming to make a messy hole just were the upper parts of the new switch need to protrude. I had an old length of twin and earth domestic cable which i fed in through the end of the handle and out to the centre where the new switch was be once the pressure pad was back in place. I didnt trim the cable until I had the handle and door reassembled then I could simply cut of the unrequired mass of cable(better too long than too short)A bit of soldering and lots of silicon smeared everywhere and anywhere, a quick wipe, and then squeeze the repaired handle together and try to stretch the rubber cover over the unit. Again a sharp knife and soldering iron allowed for a hole to be made for the switch to protrude for forthcoming usage! note- looks and finish arent important as the unit fits into the inside rear of the door handle and will never be a feature. rebuild/reassemble and marvel at the wonder of it all. Then apply dressings to soldering iron burns and craft-knife wounds, peel silicon from every finger tip, eyebrow and nasal cavity and puzzle how you could have more fun for 99p. HTH.
Thanks robbie-rocket-pants, Yellow Peril, Shadeyman thanked for this post
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Old 23-09-2010   #2
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Re: estate rear door handle release mechanism

(a) yes.
(b) yes.

To fix it:
Remove tailgate handle, dismantle and clean out gunk. Clean electrical connectors.

Now it should work again for a few more years.
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Old 23-09-2010   #3
jtd multiwagon '03 115bhp
 
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Re: estate rear door handle release mechanism

Calm and sensible advice John.
My boot door had taken to opening itself when driving along, turning corners (the looks from pedestrians were priceless) and then not opening when access was needed to the boot. Over time I formed the opinion that the Italian cars can develop rather insane electrics of their accord. Working on the theory that "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" I reckoned I was no more crazy than an Italian if I ripped the beggar out and made my own switch!
Isn't there something about Stilo's which gets under your skin (besides the oil)
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