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-   -   Swapped my exterior door handles so they open in the other direction (like a CJ/YJ) (http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/swapped-my-exterior-door-handles-so-they-open-other-direction-like-cj-yj-1071297/)

Jason D 07-17-2010 07:03 PM

Swapped my exterior door handles so they open in the other direction (like a CJ/YJ)
 
I'm still pretty new to jeeps, but since day one the direction of the outside door handles has annoyed me. Today I finally swapped them around so they faced the other direction and made them easier to open.

The modification needed to do it was actually fairly easy. Especially compared to the PIA it was to get the door handles out and then putting everything back together. A GREAT friend of mine, who happens to be an engineer, simply repositioned and bent the rod that connects the door handle to the locking mechanism. (THANKS JASON!!) I didn't take any great pics for a How-To, but here are the ones I have along with some from the Factory Service Manual and some from DailyDrivenTJ.com - Welcome.

Roll the window down. Remove the two screws holding the door sail panel. (phillips screwdriver) Remove the panel by pulling up & out.
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...0039_large.jpg

Here’s the link I used to remove the door panel: Remove Door Panels On A 2004 Jeep Wrangler

NOTES:
You don't need to remove the inner door handle.
There are 6 clips holding the door panel in place. Another interior removal tool would be nice to have here. I just pulled them out, but I broke a few.


Roll the window up. Pull back the splash shield to gain access to the handle.
Remove the pin holding the rod to the door handle. You’ll have to do this from the access hole in the door. The pic is taken from the top only so it’s easier to see. I used a small pair of right angle needle nose pliers.
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...0045_large.jpg


Using a flat blade screwdriver, hold back or bend the RETAINER out of the way, then push up on the "gold" KEEPER. This was a huge PIA, and even harder to put back in. Once you swap the handles around the RETAINERS will be upside down so you’ll need to turn them over. Now just push out the handle. It’s a tight fit by the way.
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...0041_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...0042_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...0043_large.jpg

You have to swap the handles around, not only to get them to face the correct way, but also to keep the “action” of the release mechanism still pushing down the rod that runs from the handle, down to the bottom of the door and back up to the door latch. I removed one of the rods and tried to modify it so in this pic, it’s actually squeezed together. Originally, it was more spread out in a “V” shape. As it turned out, you don’t actually need to remove the rod.

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...0044_large.jpg


Now that everything on the handle is on the other side. (pointing to the rear of the jeep instead of the front) the rod has to be squeezed together, so it lines up with the release mechanism. Also, there is a slight bend at the top of the rod where it is flattened out. Bend it in the other direction until it lines up with the release mechanism and reinsert the pin.

That's it. Put everything back together. The actual changes we made to the jeep were so simple, (swap the handles and bend the rods) we wondered if it was originally intended to be this way, but some safety expert decided they should be turned around.

DanZ51 07-17-2010 07:40 PM

If I had read this article last year after just getting my TJ, I'd be outside right now swapping these around.

Now, a year later, I'm starting to get used the backward operation. It's still a stupid design.....:rolleyes:

MattJeep 07-17-2010 10:59 PM

This is a great post! The door handles are completely retarded, I still have not gotten used to it. They work against correct leverage.

MT_Ranger 07-17-2010 11:02 PM

You might think a little differently when you jam them full of mud thrown up by your front tires. ;)

DevilDogDoc 07-17-2010 11:05 PM

You do realize that Jeep flipped them around bc of issues related to mud being flung back and getting in the latches and people not being able to open them right? This was one of the improvements over the YJ's. Or so I have heard.

DevilDogDoc 07-17-2010 11:06 PM

Damn I type slow

MattJeep 07-17-2010 11:12 PM

Nope, never knew that. I guess I can see that, but damn its akward. Just another Jeep quirk :)

MT_Ranger 07-17-2010 11:35 PM

Just something that's makes your TJ a tad nicer to drive than a YJ/CJ ;)

GMC7000 07-18-2010 12:06 AM

Funny I gotz a yj and a tj, never noticed the difference.

mrblaine 07-18-2010 12:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DevilDogDoc (Post 9806035)
You do realize that Jeep flipped them around bc of issues related to mud being flung back and getting in the latches and people not being able to open them right? This was one of the improvements over the YJ's. Or so I have heard.

If you ever wheeled at Los Coyotes when it was open, the manzanita that lined both sides of the trail would easily shove branches into the forward facing handles and make bad things happen.

I've had it shove a branch in between the mirror and windshield frame and snap side mirrors off by breaking the aluminum bases.

DevilDogDoc 07-18-2010 12:59 AM

I never thought about branches and such, much worse than a little mud!:D

2006_Sport 07-18-2010 01:32 AM

Honestly the direction of the door handles never bugged me. :dunno: I guess some people are more OCD about some things than others.


Good write up though!!

rubi-05 04-29-2011 07:26 PM

switched mine great research mud in door handle never affected my yj go home wash out thanks

TJJP77 04-29-2011 08:02 PM

Say whatever you want about the TJ handles, but they're a heck of a lot better than the handles on the JK - I hate those crappy pushbutton handles with a passion.

rayray71 01-19-2013 07:34 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I am in desperate need for the door handle keeper retaining clips!! Does anyone know the part number or have a link where I can order them at?? THX IN ADVANCE!!


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