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Remove the seat Remove the interior panels covering the door post Pull as much carpet away from door post Remove seat belt restraint Use a gas torch to burn off the mounts holding the catch to the post CAUTION: Keep a water hose or fire extinguisher next to you. The water hose is best May need to cut open a portion of the door post to gain better access for the torch to be effective Sparks from cutting will burn the carpet. Remove carpet or provide a protective barrier Be careful while cutting to not burn any wiring Set torch flame correctly. Focus on what needs cutting Be care not to burn through door post Lots of heat, sparks and smoke will be produced Paint on door post will burn. It's hidden by the door so a quick spray can of paint will make it look brand new Buy the door catch when purchasing the new or used door latch

GOOD LUCK!

I just finished opening a 1998 Honda Civic left front door that was in the shut position and would not open. I pulled several suggestions and I believe have a better one.

1 - Just put the seat in full recline, it will give you a working padded inside surface.

2 - Carefully lift interior panel and slide the rubber glass trim out.

3 - Using a panel remover (screwdriver type instrument, bent with a v cut in center) to lift the panel up, then using a metal putty knife let the metal tab slip behind the door window metal frame.

4 - Unscrews the screws holding the arm rest and speakers

5 - Use the panel remover to pull pull the panel out

6 - Using a drummel or Roto tool with the 18 inch extension and a small drummel grinding wheel, grind off the two top heads holding the metal outside cover. Then using a long narrow good chisel get between the outside metal and striker plastic housing and separate it back. Finally, use the small grinder to cut away at the narrow points the top part of the outside metal striker plate.

7. Use a metal / plastic cutting drill bit (type used to cut Formica or aluminum) drill the plastic away from the rest of two top screws which hold the unit to the door, (look at passenger door to see position. Once the screws are free you can use the chisel to pry away the one remaining screw on bottom of latch.

8. Unscrew the 10 mm bolt holding the window track to pull the entire unit out from the bottom opening, carefully turning the unit to remove the electronic actuator (which in this case works fine).

The entire process took about three hours, it was like working as a dentist. The window until the track bolt was loosened was open so I could work from the outside of the door. Without the 18" rotary extension there was no way to get a tool in such a close area. It was funny for once the latch broke free, (we were on the outside pushing against the door for leverage, the interior door opening warning buzzer sounded and we thought it was the cell phone, when we realized what it was we stepped back the door just opened.

Once opened we removed the rest of the door panel.

I was afraid to use a used latch (spring had broken) so I have opted for a new OEM which from Honda is $125.00. No parts house listed or had the latch, only the actuator. Being in Florida the heat from the sun and being parked all day with the left door to it and my daughter, the social worker getting in and out a dozen times a day, the latch plastic went from a soap stone texture to a hard brittle plastic that with a few taps from a hammer on the chisel broke apart easily.

The entire process is 5 hours from start to finish, (not counting waiting for new latch to arrive. use a tie down strap around the seat and the inside frame to keep the door shut in the meantime. Part came in within 24 hours. I also replaced the rod attachment ends for another $6.00.

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Q: How do you replace a door latch on a 1998 Honda Civic when the door will not open?
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