Solution: How to disconnect the linkage from the lock
I figured out how to remove the linkage from the lock / actuator.
This explanation will make more sense after you buy a replacement actuator and can study how it connects with the linkage to the exterior door handle. My replacement lock came from a salvaged car at local junk yard.
The top of the linkage is a hook that connects inside the door to the exterior door handle.
The bottom of the linkage is threaded like a screw and inserted into female threads in a lever that operates the lock / actuator.
At first, I thought the threaded connection was to adjust the length of the linkage. Sounds plausible, except there's not enough room in the door to turn the lock, and you can't turn the linkage because it's hooked to the inside of the door handle. So this can't be right.
Then, I noticed by studying my replacement lock that the female threads (which the linkage threads screw into) are actually two halves of a clam shell you can pry open. The white half (nylon?) of the clam shell has small notches on the top and bottom. Use a small flat blade screwdriver to carefully pry the clamshell open, i.e., separate the white and black halves of the female threads to release the male threads of the linkage.
When you install the replacement lock, the last step is to squeeze the clamshell with female threads closed around the male threads of the linkage.
This will make more sense when you can study a replacement lock in your hands. If you need more help, let me know and I'll e-mail or post pictures.
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Last edited by dwclapp; 07-28-2011 at 12:20 AM.