North American Turbocoupe Organization



Door Handle replacement (Exterior)
vegas_ss Offline
Senior Member
#1
The drivers door handle is not working very well (barely will open the door)... It seems that the handle has broken and will need to be replaced... 

In searching I see comments that the mustang door handles are slightly different and will rub the paint.  When I check rockauto they list different part numbers between the mustang and thunderbird for the black handle but use the same part numbers for the chrome handle.  

What is the correct drivers side (left) handle in black?  Also what size rivets are used?  I have some rivets left over from the door lock actuator but I think they may be too big?

Any tips on the actual replacement procedure?
1987 TC, 5sp, Boport Stage 3 Head/2.1 Cam
1996 Impala SS
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Kuch Offline
Senior Member
#2
Oh Man, I would find it hard to believe that Ford made a different handle for any of their cars in the 80's. I have seen the replacement handles at the local parts store in the help section, and it says simply "Ford". Maybe try one of those first. A side note, mine was resting at a high angle before, almost like it was half open and I had to bend the small "rests" underneath to have it sit more flush with the door. Maybe someone gave yours a good pull at one time and bent it out. Or you could have a bent rod inside the door. If yours still works, I would check those items first. I bet you have a bent rod inside
1988 Turbo Coupe, Black/Black, 5 Speed, Moonroof,  T3/T4 50 trim, ported E6, 255LPH, Kirban, 3" DP dual 2.5" w Hooker Maxflows, MGW shifter, K&N, Gillis valve, RR cam, Koni's
1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, 390 6V, 4 Speed, Vast and fast
1960 Ford Starliner, 292 Y Block, 3 Speed, slow and low
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vegas_ss Offline
Senior Member
#3
I ordered one from rockauto for $3.00 (needa 77130) which when googled comes up with dorman 77130. I think the hinge on the side where the lever is has failed as the handle pulls crooked. It's been acting up for a while but has finally become quite tricky to get to work. I think the differences with the part numbers between the mustang and the tbird may be due to the mustang using plastic handles on certain years.
1987 TC, 5sp, Boport Stage 3 Head/2.1 Cam
1996 Impala SS
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vegas_ss Offline
Senior Member
#4
Just to followup... Installed the handle today and works fine. The hinge pin on the old handle fell out/broke or ???

I did watch a YouTube video on the replacement on a mustang site, they made it seem like you could slide the new handle in and over the door latch rod without disconnecting it at the door latch... I couldn't come close to getting the old handle out without removing the rod from the latch assembly. The latch rod clip was still pretty pliable after all these years which is good since I don't know where to find one of those!
1987 TC, 5sp, Boport Stage 3 Head/2.1 Cam
1996 Impala SS
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Kuch Offline
Senior Member
#5
Nice man, glad to hear it's all working with nice and a simple fix.
1988 Turbo Coupe, Black/Black, 5 Speed, Moonroof,  T3/T4 50 trim, ported E6, 255LPH, Kirban, 3" DP dual 2.5" w Hooker Maxflows, MGW shifter, K&N, Gillis valve, RR cam, Koni's
1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, 390 6V, 4 Speed, Vast and fast
1960 Ford Starliner, 292 Y Block, 3 Speed, slow and low
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88 Turbo Coupe Offline
Member
#6
My exterior door handle on the driver side just broke. No harsh weather ever and was opening the door as normal. It looks like the hook that holds the rod broke off. It still lifts up normal, just much easier now that the rod is not connected.
I know the new handles come with replacement rivets. I do not have a rivet gun, so did some research and found the below, hope it helps others.

If you need to use bolts, there are many options. The ones most Fox Body enthusiasts swear by are ¼” hex head bolts with locking washers. The bolts will need to be about 1.5” long to fit.

here is a link for step by step - it is for stangs and as mentioned above the handle is slightly different, still the install is pretty much the same.
https://www.cjponyparts.com/resources/re...or-handles
88 TC
5 Speed
Custom 2.75" stainless steel mandrel exhaust, cross drilled rotors (KVR), 245 50 ZR Eagle F1 GS-D3 (front & rear). This tire works amazing with the PRC. Wet or Dry! Lowered 1.75 inches
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vegas_ss Offline
Senior Member
#7
Depending on the handle, the rivets aren't necessarily included. The one I got from rockauto for $3.00 didn't include rivets but I had some 1/4" rivets from the door lock actuators that are also correct for the door handle. I did use an air powered rivet gun though, well worth the money if you ever need to use the larger 1/4" rivets. They are about $70 at harbor freight but you can also use one of the 20% or 25% off coupons.
1987 TC, 5sp, Boport Stage 3 Head/2.1 Cam
1996 Impala SS
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88 Turbo Coupe Offline
Member
#8
Thanks Vegas!

Being in Canada majority of places wanted $49.99 just for the 1/4 hand rivet tool. Amazon did have one for $35 but I would have had to wait till August 5th. Not wanting to wait, I went with bolts/nuts/lock washers.

Anyway, after having to hammer out the the hardened steel mandrels in the rivets, I would prefer to use the 1/4" hex bolts. Much easier to change if this handle breaks 30 years from now!

Important to note: the Mustang bolt length I found and listed above is too long - window going down will hit the bolt. I put in 3/4" in length and looks like even 1/2" length would work. 3/4 of an inch did leave plenty of room for the window to open/close properly.

I was able to get the rod into the handle without removing the rod bottom clip. I raised the handle as high as it would go and then pushed down on the rod and worked it into place. It took a bit of time and some finessing.

I looked for the clip you mentioned. With the door lock and other components there, it looked like a tight fit to try to re & re the clip at the bottom of the rod that connects handle to latch mechanism.
88 TC
5 Speed
Custom 2.75" stainless steel mandrel exhaust, cross drilled rotors (KVR), 245 50 ZR Eagle F1 GS-D3 (front & rear). This tire works amazing with the PRC. Wet or Dry! Lowered 1.75 inches
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