The striker needed to be moved 1/16" and now the door latches and releases perfectly. Brian and Michel, i owe the both of you lots of thanks for all the tips you've shared over the years. The Dum Dum showed me how tight it was and then I shimmed it with fender shims to get the right thickness. Drilled out a fender washer to 7/16" and it fits perfectly.
Thanks a bunch for the help!