Hi, I just wanted to give you guys an update about my Chevy door lock.
I finally fixed the lock this morning, but overall it turned out to be a lot harder that I expected, and the end result wasn't totally ideal (skip down to near the end if you don't want to first hear about my battle with the door rivets :-) ). I drilled out the five rivets holding the seat belt roller brace. I started out using a 1/8" titanium bit to drill pilot holes first, but I put the drill bit in first, then tried to power the drill. It wouldn't spin. Duh! I learned quickly that the drill has to be spinning*before* you touch the bit to the metal! I ended up breaking three drill bits (but fortunately they come with a lifetime warranty). and I went back and forth trying to decide between a larger bit (not as prone to breaking) or a smaller bit (easier to drill with), which made work harder and longer. I learned you can't apply to much pressure using a smaller bit, since it will break. I used penetrating lubricant as drilling oil (not sure if there was something better to use--it smelled like WD-40, but it was a different brand). I also wasn't sure how far to drill, since I was unfamiliar with the shape of a rivet.
So after I finished the pilot holes, I started using as 5/32" bit. I had trouble since with this larger bit, the drill stopped rotating as soon as the bit touched the rivet. So I had to keep angling the drill a different way to keep it spinning, and after a while, this forced two of the rivet heads to pop off. For the other two rivets, the drill didn't stop, but just the opposite: it kept spinning the rivet head clockwise along with the bit (like a driver spinning a screw), so I couldn't accomplish anything. So I ended up using various grinding stones to grind off the rivet heads. I nicked the seat belt brace and paint a few times doing this, but not too badly (I sprayed primer to cover the pain chips). For the last rivet, I started drilling, but then realized I could just leave it in, since I could turn the brace out of the way without removing it. But since it was already weakened, I drilled it out, but it was hard, since there was interference from the door, and I couldn't drill straight. So I just ended up grinding the head off (and breaking another bit in the process!).
So I punched out the headless rivets. I measured the holes left in the door skin, and it turns out they are only 3/16", not 1/4", so my Arrow rivet gun*would* actually work, since it takes that size rivet, assuming rivets are measured like bolts are. I could just as easily use 3/16" bolts, nuts, and locking washers though. For one hole though, the bolt there would run closely along a vertical metal door crimp, which would make the nut/washer lie flush against metal at only one or two of the six hexagonal corners (assuming the bolt was long enough to clear the crimp). So I am not sure if this would be safe, or if a rivet would be better there. Anyway, I will look for the highest rated bolts, but I am not sure how much of a choice I will have.
But the real problem started with me trying to get the loose rod attached. I found out where it goes: it is supposed to snap in to a hole in a flange where the lock is, which is part of the door latch. However, I could only get four fingers in the tight space, and not my thumb, since the window track was in the way, and there weren't any door skin holes nearby. The problem was the rod was not able to go into the hole straight, thus, I couldn't get it to lock in. If I were able to get all four fingers *and* my thumb in the small area, I would have been able to bend the rod, while simultaneously pushing it in so as to lock in place. I struggled for about one hour. Then I was angry for a while since I felt the job was just about impossible to do, and started contemplating having to take out the window and track, or actually cut through the metal to gain access. I even contemplated having to buy another door. But after a rest, I decided to give it one more try. This time though, I bent the rod first just ever so slightl y, to give it a better angle. I got the rod in the hole partway, then took another break to clear my mind before my final attempt. This time, I just concentrated, and was able to use two fingers to somehow get leverage and push it in place. I heard a "snap" and it was secure!
I am now able to lock and unlock the door with a key, but it doesn't lock as smoothly as it used to, and you don't hear a "click" anymore when locking it. The key now has to be just right in order for me to turn the cylinder, which is a little irritating. But at least it works now. It may be that the cylinder is just old? Because I really didn't bend the rod too much, and it would also have been hard for that police officer to have bent it with just the slim jim that he used. Or maybe this is the way it always was. I put off fixing this problem for about eight months (I had to unlock the car from the passenger side, and reach over to unlock the driver door), so I may have forgotten how the key was supposed to turn.
Well, now I have to buy the bolts or rivets, and put everything back together (correctly!). That shouldn't be too hard. So now I can concentrate on getting the ignition key out of the cylinder. :)
The funny thing is, I put off doing some supposedly more "complex" jobs (like replacing my radiator fan and blower motor, so I could do what I thought would be a relatively simple job first (the door lock). I never imagined it would be such a pain, but I am glad I learned. (And it actually*would* have been a simple job, had I had easy access in the first place.)
Well, I just wanted to thank you guys so much for your excellent advice! I will also keep you updated on the ignition lock situation.