How to replace broken cable in sliding door

estorne

New member
Vehicle: 2007 2500 144” CARGO Low Roof, factory interior trim panel in sliding door is Masonite with plastic push-rivets.

Symptom: With door fully open, cannot close sliding door using inside release button (thumb button on inside of door). Must close by reaching outside and using outside door handle. All other door functions work normally; inside release button works fine for opening fully closed door from inside.

Diagnosis/Problem:
broken Bowden (like a bicycle brake) cable at “splitter” mechanism in center of door. I diagnosed by watching the catch/release mechanism on the bottom/front of the door slider piece that attaches to the track in the van body under the doorway step; look underneath, and you will see a rotating piece with a cable routed along the edge of the piece; actuate the outer door handle, and it should rotate; if you push the internal button and this does not rotate, then this write-up should fix your problem. If the internal button also rotates the mechanism, then you may have a different cable broken, so this may not be as helpful. The door contains 5 or 6 different cables. There are catch/release mechanisms on the bottom/front and middle/rear of the door, and both the inside and outside handles must release both in order to open/close the door, making for 4 cables coming from the handles/buttons. Two are combined into one for the bottom/front catch/release, and apparently this is the point where this cable has been known to break (which is probably why europarts-sd stocks it). Other write-ups kind of cover this, I’m just showing my process with photos as some payback for the hundreds of dollars that this forum has already saved me in a short period. It’s an overly verbose and detailed explanation for a pretty simple fix, but nothing exceeds like excess. Let me know if it’s useful.

Parts & Tools needed:
1. Hard plastic forked auto trim remover tool (available at most auto parts stores or through Amazon, usually sold as an assortment of different sizes/shapes to remove most any internal panel without marring the surface; inexpensive and highly recommended); or, thin screwdriver or putty knife. I have the cargo van with the factory plastic push-rivets and Masonite trim panel.
2. T30 Torx bit
3. Very small flat screwdriver or jeweler’s pick
4. (Optional) Needle-nose pliers
5. (Optional) electrical tape or duct tape
6. MB replacement part A-906-760-01-00 “control cable”; I purchased from europarts-sd for around $30.

Estimated Time: 20-30 minutes

Setup: All work is performed from inside the van. I did this with the door slightly ajar, more for ambient light and ventilation than anything else. Can probably be done with the door completely closed. Definitely can’t be done with the door fully open.

Procedure:
  1. Remove inside trim panel. See photos. Although the plastic rivets have a slot in the head, I can’t figure out the purpose other than aesthetics; there are no threads on the center spreader post. If you try to turn them, you just bugger up the face of the plastic. Just work the tool carefully under the head in the center and pry/pull straight out about 1cm, until resistance is felt, then work the tool between the rivet base and the trim and pop the rivet out of the trim panel hole. If you pop the center post off of the base from overly exuberant prying, just remove the base and then push the center post back in (there are small tabs and a keyed hole to orient/locate when pressing back in). I highly recommend the hard plastic automotive trim removal tools, I use them frequently for just about any internal work on several vehicles. This same tool works nicely to atraumatically remove the plastic bezel from around the radio and climate control console in about 10 seconds.
  2. Remove inside door release button handle/bezel. Using the small flat-blade screwdriver or jeweler’s pick, carefully pull up/pry off the round plastic plugs covering the three T30 screws attaching the handle/bezel to the door. Remove the three torx screws. Lift the handle away from the internal button mechanism and set aside.
  3. Remove bad, bad cable from splitter mechanism. Identify cable splitter “box” in center of door. Carefully pry cover off (you will see a total of 4 holes in top and bottom of cover, these hold posts located on the internal body, just lift up/down slightly to clear the posts and pull straight out away from the door). On the LHS you should see one cable in the center of the mechanism and exiting to the left; on the RHS, you should see two cable housings entering the box, but only one metal braided cable inside the box corresponding to the upper cable housing. This one comes from the outside door handle. You can actuate the outside door handle and see this functioning properly. In my case, the lower metal cable was missing; the metal slug on the end of the cable had disappeared inside the mechanism, and the cable had retracted into the cable housing. Remove the bad cable housing from the splitter box by pulling it straight out of the box (towards the rear of the door); it is a snap-fit so you will have to overcome the tabs that retain a shoulder on the cable housing end fitting; it takes a bit of yanking. It may be possible to pry it carefully (maybe use the trim tool) at the cable housing fitting/box interface, but I just pulled and it came out. So now the cable housing is free of the box. If the slug from the broken cable disappeared inside the slider, push it out (towards the front of the van) with a paper clip or piece of wire; you don’t want it hanging out in there and binding things down the road.
  4. Remove cable housing from routing clips. Note the location of any large 2” pieces of foam on the cable housing along it’s path up to the door handle/button. Follow the cable housing down and remove the two clips that hold it and another cable to the door frame.
  5. Remove cable and cable housing from the button mechanism. Lift the button mechanism up and away from the door slightly to reveal where the two cable housings attach to the button mechanism. Remember, it’s two cables because the button releases the bottom/front and rear/center catch/release mechanisms. You will want to remove the cable housing that is towards the rear of the van (you can verify buy pulling on the housing that you just liberated). Using needle-nose pliers (or very small fingers), pull the braided cable enough to allow the barrel slug (round termination on the braided cable) to be slid out of the button mechanism. Pull the cable housing’s white end fitting laterally out of the button mechanism; it should just slide out.
  6. Feed the new cable through the door routing. Attach the new cable (splitter side) end to the old white cable housing fitting using electrical tape to use the old cable to “guide” the new cable inside the door, like a fish tape. You don’t have to do this, you can manually push the new cable down into the inaccessible dark abyss and hope for the best, but it worked really well so I recommend it. If you do this, take off any 2” pieces of larger diameter foam temporarily to facilitate routing, and put them back on once the cable emerges from the dark mysterious innards of the door towards the bottom. The cable housings have thin foam tubing on the outside (probably for vibration) that is about as fragile as Cool-Whip, so this method seemed to preserve it during routing. Just gently pull the old cable housing and feed the new cable housing to follow without any kinking. Once it comes out the bottom inside of the door (be careful when pulling through the electrical cable down there), disconnect the electrical tape and pull until the white fitting is close to the button mechanism.
  7. Attach the cable and cable housing to the button mechanism. This is essentially reversing the removal process. Slide the barrel slug into the recess in the button mechanism and route the cable in the depression on the back of the button. Slide the white fitting into the groove in the side of the button mechanism. Pull the cable slug on the other end of the cable (towards the splitter) to take out any play.
  8. Route and re-clip the cable up to the splitter box. If your cable had 2” foam tube pieces on it, reattach them/slide them back onto the housing. I re-used the old foam in addition to the stuff that came on my cable, can’t hurt to have more vibration damping.
  9. Attach cable and housing to splitter box. Feed the cable’s slug and cable housing fitting into the splitter box; pull the cable towards you so that it sticks out of the splitter box. Push the cable housing fitting until it snaps into place in the splitter box. Feed the slug into the round hole in the sliding mechanism and route the cable in the narrow slot. You may need to slide the slider mechanism towards the back of the van to do this. Actuate the button to make sure that the cable is seated properly and actuates the slider in the splitter box. If all is good, snap the cover on the splitter box.
  10. Attach inside door release button handle/bezel. Push the inner button mechanism back into the door. The inner button mechanism sort of just sits on the door cutout, and the handle/bezel holds it in place. It’s not a really exact locating fit. If everything is lined up, the handle should locate on the screw holes easily; if not, jiggle things around until it easily lines up. Reinstall the torx screws and tighten. It’s just a welded nut on the door sheet metal, so don’t go crazy with the torque. (Sorry, don’t have a torque rating for this.)
  11. Verify that everything works. Open the door fully, actuate the inner door handle to release for closing.
  12. Button up the door. Reinstall the door panel. To install the plastic rivets, push the base flush with the panel, then push the center post in to be flush with the base.

I'll post more pix in follow-on posts.
Hope this is helpful. Let me know if I missed anything or if you have additions to this. -Eric
 

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awaywego

2008 NCV3 2500
Symptoms in my van: with sliding door in fully open position, inside handle button wouldn't work to bring door back to shut. I had to pull outside handle to shut door.
This write-up totally helped solve the problem.
My little contribution: if you are buying the cable from europartsSD, they state that you must buy both cables. This is not necessary and is misleading. I spent an extra $28 buying the other cable but it isn't needed. If your symptoms are the same as mine, just buy the part listed in this writeup.
 

lindenengineering

Well-known member
Just an update on this and by no means nullifying the authors efforts, but essentially the whole cable, chain, comms cable and latch are now supplied by MB as a complete unit, making install so much easier.
Dennisa
 

somsuch

New member
Thought I'd update this as I've had exactly the same problem. Took me a long while to find this post!

I had some real difficulty finding the replacement part in the UK. I found the part on 'europarts-sd' which was referenced in the original post.
It's currently listed here under the name 'Door Latch Control Cable B-Sliding Door 2007-2019'
https://europarts-sd.com/item.asp?PID=2185

If you search the product code it doesn't come up.

On the topic of product code, the listed code in the original post isn't the correct one for my van. I don't know if it might be different country to country or van to van but in my 2011 sprinter (SWB High Roof) the product code for that cable is: A9067604204

I had a lot more luck once I started searching for that and found a cheap one on ebay without any shipping costs.

Great write up - thanks a lot!
 
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jskakel

New member
Hi:

So my cable and door are working fine but I have this obnoxious rattle from a loose cable inside the sliding door. The dealer fixed it for me once. He said all he had to do was "tighten the cable." So my question is how and where do I tighten the cable?

Thanks for the help

2007 2500
 

DanAzon

Member
Just an update on this and by no means nullifying the authors efforts, but essentially the whole cable, chain, comms cable and latch are now supplied by MB as a complete unit, making install so much easier.
Dennisa
It would be great if you included the MB part number. It would make sourcing the part “so much easier”.
 

DanAzon

Member
Last pix.
Well done! I noticed the cable is much thinner than the other cable, I’m sure this adds to the potential for failure. I really appreciate your thorough and descriptive post/write up. The pictures were very useful. I also applaud you for including the part number. I ordered right away. Being able to release and close the slider from the inside handle is going to be great. My second owner sprinter came to me in this condition. I was happy to find it was a broken cable and not a broken plastic part. Thanks 🙏
 

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