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Old 04-26-2011, 08:19 PM
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Door Latch Installation using Stock Handles

Hello Folks,

On my 47 Plymouth 2-door coupe, the previous owner installed aftermarket bear claw latches on the driver and passenger doors. The installation was done very nicely, utilizing the factory outer door handles. The inside door release handles operate correctly, except with the door lock/unlock function.

On a 47 Plymouth you push down on the inside handle to release (open) the door, and you push the handle up to lock the door. Currently on my car you cannot lock or unlock the door from the inside (or the outside, for that matter, since the lock cylinders were shaved from the outside of the doors). Adding to this is the addition of a remote entry setup, which allows me to lock or unlock the doors using the remote, but I have currently disabled this system as I do not relish the thought of being trapped inside the car because of a battery or key fob failure.

I will be removing the door panels in a couple of days to take a look inside. I feel that there must be a way to overcome this issue with a little bit of mechanical creativity. I want to retain the remote entry feature since I still want to be able to lock/unlock the car from the outside, but I need to improvise some sort of manual lock/unlock feature (not just an emergency release cable).

I'm pretty confident that I can figure out a way to retain the factory door handle and make it fully functional again, but I'd like to know ahead of time what my options are, or if anyone else has tackled this situation before.

Thanks in advance for advice and recommendations.

Cheers, Ken in SSF

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Old 04-27-2011, 08:25 AM
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I haven't seen the "Bear claw" latches of late but the ones they sold for years didn't even have a locking mechanism at all! They were "industrial" latches made to fit a wide variety of applications. One of the most popular were motorhomes where the "bear claw" was bolted to a handle mechanism which had the lock in it. So the latch had no locking mechanism at all, the handle is what had the lock that stopped it from moving.

Until you pull the panels off and take a look there is no way we can say what to do. If it does have your regular locking mechanism then simply drill a hole in the door and put a lock cyl and put a "button" of some sort inside to do the same. This is a link to a thread I posted about using a Jeep Latch set up which is a bear claw like latch but has the locking mechanism. (click here)

Brian
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
I haven't seen the "Bear claw" latches of late but the ones they sold for years didn't even have a locking mechanism at all! They were "industrial" latches made to fit a wide variety of applications. One of the most popular were motorhomes where the "bear claw" was bolted to a handle mechanism which had the lock in it. So the latch had no locking mechanism at all, the handle is what had the lock that stopped it from moving.

Until you pull the panels off and take a look there is no way we can say what to do. If it does have your regular locking mechanism then simply drill a hole in the door and put a lock cyl and put a "button" of some sort inside to do the same. This is a link to a thread I posted about using a Jeep Latch set up which is a bear claw like latch but has the locking mechanism. (click here)

Brian
Thank you Brian!

You are correct about not knowing until the door panels are removed; I hope to have them off by this weekend.

Fortunately, the bear claw latches that are installed on my Plymouth are lockable; as you said, it may just be a matter of installing some sort of manual lever on the door panels. Does anyone know of any kits available for that purpose?

Cheers, Ken in SSF
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:55 AM
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"Kits" for something like this usually consists of a box of rods and clips and directions of "Cut and bend to length and install".

It is a super easy project using a little forethought. First get into the door and see what you have. There is no sense to even think about it until then.

Brian
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