I have a 1951 Pontiac Chieftain Torpedo and I have a problem. I want to remove the handles and window cranks from the doors so that I can remove the door panel to get access to the inside of the door. The problem is that I get any of the handles or cranks to come off. I do have the appropriate tool that a friend lent me, but the tool never seems to do anything. I did make sure I am between the handle and the little metal disc, but nothing works. Do you guys have any tips or tricks? Thanks!
I understand your frustration with the clips on these inside door handles, on occasion I have wrestled with them as well, and then other times they come right off.
They actually make a few different tools to remove these. The most common looks like a long slot in a piece of sheet metal, the idea is to insert the release tool between the handle and the escutcheon plate the tool is generally inserted in the direction where the tool is beneath the lever part of the actual handle (assuming the “C” clips were put in right, if it was ever apart). The tool fits into a grove in the inside door handle and as it is pushed further onto the door handle shaft it releases the “C” clip and the door handle simply pulls off.
Sometimes the clips have been installed backwards, in which case insert the tool with the lever part of the door handle facing away from the tool.
Another common tool for releasing the C-clips that hold the door handles in place looks more like a pliers but rather than having a pliers type end it has flat hooked shaped blades on the end. Simply insert the tool behind the handle and press in to grab the C-clip and pull out.
Do a internet search for “Door Handle removal tool” and you’ll see both of these types available.
In some cases they are a real pain… and it helps to get a friend to push in on the inner door panel while you negotiate the tool into position. Have a nice bright flashlight available too, as once you get everything pushed back often you can see the clip itself.
I have used both types of these tools to remove inside door handles, but find the pliers type to be the only one that works well for me on GM cars of the 30s. And have used both with success on 40s and newer cars.
Take your time and be patient with it, once you get one I assure you the rest will come easier, and if that clip pops off to places unknown. They do reproduce them and they’re relatively inexpensive.
Let me know how this works out for you!