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Old 05-24-2019, 09:16 PM   #1
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Default '03 T1N sliding door problems

I apologize in advance for not digging through the forum to find the answer but we're on a 3 week trip through the SW Desert and internet is sporadic. So, I'm taking the easy out.

The sliding door is acting up, getting very difficult to open from the inside and not too easy from the outside. Inside it takes a hard hank on the handle and an open fist slam of the rear window pillar. I need to address this before we get stuck. But with 16 days to go you can understand I'm not wanting to eff things up and have a door that won't open or worse yet stay closed.

So, long winded intro out of the way. How to fix? Pics of the inside handle attached.The second pic shows the "free play" before I can feel the innards engage. I'm thinking this is the problem, adjust the free play out. And lube the works while I'm in there.

If I pull the two screws in the first pic am I going to get access to the innards? Or am I going to open a can of worms.

Unfortunately for me the interior side of the door is covered in vinyl padded trim. And part of the trim is blocked by the galley cabinetry. If I have to get access to parts hidden behind the vinyl the vinyl is going to get destroyed.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Screws reduced.jpg (56.8 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg Free play reduced.jpg (53.0 KB, 51 views)
File Type: jpg Door trim reduced.jpg (66.0 KB, 53 views)
2003 2500 T1N 158" High Roof 250K miles
Coupeville Wa, USA

Last edited by Patty&Ed; 05-24-2019 at 09:17 PM. Reason: spell check
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: '03 T1N sliding door problems

Yes, removing the 2 screws will let the black frame come out revealing the workings.
A metal tab sometimes gets bent from pulling too hard on handle,ie poor design, bending it back with pliers may fix your problem.
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Old 05-26-2019, 12:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: '03 T1N sliding door problems

Also check that you're closing it hard enough.... if the door hasn't *fully* grasped the striker pin (in the rear of the door), it won't want to unlatch to open.

Next time it sticks, go outside and push *in* (and if you can: forward) on the rear of the door and see if that lets it open (when you then pull on the latch).
(when this happens to mine, i use a 2x4 edge-wise to push the rear edge of the door forward just a tiny bit.)

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Old 05-26-2019, 01:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: '03 T1N sliding door problems

Mine is reluctant to open from the outside when the weather is cold. I sprayed the works with silicone spray and it got better, but it's still not fixed. You will have to do some surgery to expose the mechanism unless you can squirt some in with the handle as-is.
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Old 05-26-2019, 01:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: '03 T1N sliding door problems

Adjusting the rear catch, and front holding wedges can make a big difference. its pretty fiddly though. Mark before you change anything!
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Old 05-26-2019, 04:23 PM   #6
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Default '03 T1N sliding door problems. Temp fix!

Temp fix achieved! We'll be able to get in and out the sliding door until the end of the trip when I'm at home and can really dig into this. One of the problems is the hinge pin on the black frame had come partly out of it's guides. Another problem is we had been yanking really hard on the latch to get it to work at all. NelsonSprinter pointed out the problems with that behavior.

NelsonSprinter - Thank you! Pulling the black frame and the front edge of the vinyl trim panel gave me the access I needed. A pic below shows the metal tab I think you are referring to. Is that correct? I'm relutant to bend it without knowing the orignail position.

autostaretx - Thank you for the suggestion. I was aware of that and will often have to apply that "fix" afer a lazy closing of the door frim the inside.

glasseye - Yes, I've noticed different behavior with different temps. I'm sure the door changes dimensions from below freezing to balmy summer temps.

Midwestdrifter - If need be I'll try your suggestions. AFTER I get home.

Thank you all for the help! We're back on track for our road trip!

Here's a link with a procedure that actuall helps. The writing is a bit woo-woo but it works

Zen and the Art of Sprinter Side Door Opening
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Hinge reduced.jpg (129.3 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg Tab reduced.jpg (76.8 KB, 28 views)
2003 2500 T1N 158" High Roof 250K miles
Coupeville Wa, USA
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