Wuddup org.... I bought a 94 crew cab a couple weeks ago and both front doors had the sheet metal issue with the door handles. Having power windows, that means when you turn the truck off and reach for the handle, you gotta stick the keys back in, roll down the window, stick your arm out, open your door, roll the window back up, and then finally take the keys out again....i figured id get out there and fix it this morning and snap a few pics of the process. Please excuse my welding, im not used to sheet metal... lol
I'll start off by talking about the problem and its symptoms. The problem is the sheet metal in the door that supports the lions share of the weight when operating the interior door handle is rather weak, starts to crack/tear and then you may find that you need to pull juuuust a bit more to open your doors. This often results in more tearing/cracking of the sheet metal or it may begin to actually stress the handle to where it becomes the weakest point and breaks.
I had a bit of both in this truck, the drivers side handle was intact but the sheet metal was ripped to the point the handle assembly was no longer attached to the door. My passenger side sheet metal was cracked but still somewhat intact, but the door handle broke off. Luckily i have a crew cab and am just gonna use one of the rear door handles till i can make it to the junkyard.
Anyway, tools/materials needed will be the following:
3/8" 3" extension
sheet metal patches
Drill with bit (unsure of bit size, should be slightly bigger than the bolt you use the 7/16" socket to remove)
Start by taking off the door panels, luckily these older trucks havent hidden all the screws and they are pretty straightforward. Set your door panel aside in a safe place.
Using the 5/16" socket, remove the door handle and set it aside, then remove the door handle assembly using the 5/16" socket.
this was my driver's side: notice there is no mounting location for the handle assembly, as the sheet metal has torn away.
here is the passenger side, more intact, but cracked nonetheless.
now, some of you fellas may want to make a trip down to the steelyard for some drop at this point, but i happen to have some wrecked vehicles within a short walk, so with a pair of blunt edge pliers and a hammer, i was able to rip some scrap off, hammer it flat, and use it for my patches. The donor vehicle happens to be my old Durango R/T (RIP)
Here is the drivers side after the patching and wire brushing.... again, pardon my sheet metal work....
After placing the handle assembly up where it goes, you can see where to drill a new hole.
At his point you may want to spray some primer on it to prevent rust.
After the hole is drilled, you can slide the clip nut back on there, and re-install everything in reverse order.
You are no longer a prisoner of your truck!