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How difficult/long for a first timer to replace check strap/handle?

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I have an appointment for some non-related work to be done on my GT and of course the stupid handle has broken at the hinge. I have all the parts needed including a new check strap however I'm meant to be bringing the car in on Saturday early for some work that was planned quite some time ago. It's a long drive and I leave her for a week or two. Of course I could have the garage do this work but the hourly rate is pretty steep and Christmas is coming!

My question is in the title. Is this a one or two hour job when you've not done it before? I could probably spare 2 hours max tomorrow to do it. Am I crazy to think I could in that time frame?
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Can do easily within an hour and half that if familiar with the inside. The most awkward bit is the mastic sealant holding the door weatherproof liner panel in. Ideally use new sealant to ensure it remains weather-tight when refitting. It should just pull off (carefully).

I remove the blanking triangle on the inside of the mirror mount.
Use small flat screwdriver to remove oblong small trim cover at inside handle.
Remove small Phillips headed screw to remove panel at inside handle and tweeter.
Disconnect handle from its pull rod.
At cut out for pulling door closed, remove the rubber insert to expose 2 small Allen headed screws. I think they are 4mm internal hex.
Remove speaker (woofer) grille.
Remove speaker (4 Philips screws).
Disconnect wires.
Remove 2 screws retaining the trim panel.
Prise off the push fit plastic clips around the entire door trim panel.
You should now be able to remove the trim panel.

IIRC, remove the bracket for the trim panel to connect to where the door pull cut out is.
Displace the weatherproof membrane as necessary.
At this point, I cannot remember if it is necessary to displace the window motor for access. It may be but it is 10mm headed M6 bolts (machine screws).
Similarly, the window front guide channel can be removed. 2 10mm headed bolts is what retains it. I don't need to remove it as it will pass but the check strap needs a bit of manoeuvring if it is left in place.
All that is then needed is to remove the fasteners holding the check strap in.
There are 2 Torx screws at the door frame and 10mm headed nuts in the door.

OK, that is for a 156 but our cars are very similar. There should be no surprises.
I use 1/4" socket set for nuts, bolts, Allen bolts and Torx bolts. A trim removal tool to pry off the plastic push fit clips may be useful but is not necessary with experience and confidence.
It is better to do this when not too cold as plastic clips are brittle in the cold. I suggest a minimum temperature of 10°.

With the correct tools to hand, it is a 30 minute job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies so far and the write-up @Fruity. A few things give me pause. I'm not living at my house at the moment due to massive construction so the only place I have to do this is outside on an incline drive and it's cold here today! Couple of other bits I'd need to get (mastic sealant and maybe some trim tools). Lastly it's just being under pressure to get it done. Don't want to rush it and break stuff. If it was nice and warm and I had loads of time I would be up for it. I have something to fix on the passenger door that requires this process at some point so for sure there is another change :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So last night on the way to the gym the idle on the GT changed tenor at a light and I knew within 30 seconds that the ****ing MCSF light would start bleating. Limped it home and plugged in the ODB and as expected mis-fire errors. What this means is that I could not drive it the 110 miles I was going to today to Autolusso South and I now had all day to do the door card. Well after getting plug out in the handle I get the recommended 5mm hex key which is plenty long enough and I could not get the key to grab at all. Shine a light in there and the bolt appears to be rounded. So guess I won't be changing out the handle today. Any advice on how to get this bolt out now it's ruined?
 

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Remove the bolt/machine screw and measure it. I don't like the problematic Allen hex screws and often change them for Torx screws if they are degraded. Any hardware store should have something suitable. They are not high tensile fasteners which are used in critical areas like engine, mountings and suspension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Remove the bolt/machine screw and measure it. I don't like the problematic Allen hex screws and often change them for Torx screws if they are degraded. Any hardware store should have something suitable. They are not high tensile fasteners which are used in critical areas like engine, mountings and suspension.
OK great thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So, I've tried a 'rounded hex removal tool', a torx bit, regular hex and 'the next size up' which simply doesn't bang in. Cannot get the bolt inside the handle out to remove my door card. Frustration is at its maximum. Any other suggestions before I just get the garage to do it?
 

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Time to get sacrificial. My next try would be lightly dressing a 7/32 hex bit (5,5mm) with grinder and using it with a hammer-impact driver.

Beyond that, slow drilling with a left hand bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Time to get sacrificial. My next try would be lightly dressing a 7/32 hex bit (5,5mm) with grinder and using it with a hammer-impact driver.

Beyond that, slow drilling with a left hand bit.
That made me smile...'sacrificial'! Not a tool I have unfortunately. I do have a mate that does have one though. What do you mean by 'lightly dressing'? As in roughing up the bit so it will grab?
 

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I mean reducing the bit size from 7/32” (5,5mm) by a poofteenth to (say) 5,25mm. Reduce carefully until it nearly fits, the impact screwdriver will finish setting it in with the first few taps.

By impact driver, I mean this sort of kit: Halfords Advanced Impact Driver & Bits | Halfords UK

Everyone should own a tool of this type, they are the perfect kit for locking wheel nuts/bolts as the striking force almost eliminates any risk of burring.

The end has a half inch square drive once the bit holder’s unclipped, you use a reducer down to 3/8” and a short extension, a reducer to 1/4” and then a quarter driven bit holder with your sacrificial tooling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I mean reducing the bit size from 7/32” (5,5mm) by a poofteenth to (say) 5,25mm. Reduce carefully until it nearly fits, the impact screwdriver will finish setting it in with the first few taps.

By impact driver, I mean this sort of kit: Halfords Advanced Impact Driver & Bits | Halfords UK

Everyone should own a tool of this type, they are the perfect kit for locking wheel nuts/bolts as the striking force almost eliminates any risk of burring.

The end has a half inch square drive once the bit holder’s unclipped, you use a reducer down to 3/8” and a short extension, a reducer to 1/4” and then a quarter driven bit holder with your sacrificial tooling.
Thanks again for your suggestions. Will look into an impact driver. Will something like this suffice for the extension to get into the door?

 

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Yes, noting ideally you want the weakest parts to be the shortest sufficient to do the job. I’ve got a bit holder that’s quarter drive female on the back and it’s barely an inch long. This reduces the “wobbliness” to a minimum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well sadly after trying umpteen combinations to resolve this the ***ing bolt wins. I'm going to have to get a garage to look at it. Really does **** me off but hey ho there's better things to do with my day today. Will update on how it turns out as I have an appointment on Wed. I'm wondering if this type of work in general is just not something that I'm cut out for!
 

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It shouldn't be overtightened. It may be some knuckle dragging neanderthal has been in there before or age has overcome the benefits of fastener electro-plating. Overtightening is a really good way to open up fissures in electro plated fasteners to ensure electrolytic action seizes them in place. Works better than thread lock. It's a reason why I try to avoid non-specialist maintained cars.

The only possible suggestions I can now offer is use heat to free it off (only safe if an induction heater is used rather than heat from a 🔥) or it may be possible to put arm in from the rear of the door to remove the attaching bracket from the door frame (with a ratchet and 10mm socket). Once off, it should be possible to remove but the chance of loosing patience and skin is fairly high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It shouldn't be overtightened. It may be some knuckle dragging neanderthal has been in there before or age has overcome the benefits of fastener electro-plating. Overtightening is a really good way to open up fissures in electro plated fasteners to ensure electrolytic action seizes them in place. Works better than thread lock. It's a reason why I try to avoid non-specialist maintained cars.

The only possible suggestions I can now offer is use heat to free it off (only safe if an induction heater is used rather than heat from a 🔥) or it may be possible to put arm in from the rear of the door to remove the attaching bracket from the door frame (with a ratchet and 10mm socket). Once off, it should be possible to remove but the chance of loosing patience and skin is fairly high.
Cheers for your reply @Fruity but I think I'm personally done trying. I haven't really done a lot of work on cars on my own and I'm afraid my experience, resolve and fact that I'm living in temporary accomodation without access to my usual space/tools means I'm going to leave it to the garage. I'm for sure annoyed I could not sort myself but tomorrow is another day!
 
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