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1997 Astro back doors won't unlock, tried everything

I have a 1997 Astro van and recently I shut the back doors (two door version) and now they will not open/unlock. I tried the power locks as well as the key. I read where you can take off the speaker cover in the door and reach thru and unlock/release from there. That did not work either. Not sure WHY Chevy decided not to put interior release handles. Anyone know the trick to opening the doors so I can see what the problem is?

Well 27 views and no responses. Great…

that’s ‘cuz . .we don’t know what to say now that you’ve said you have actually touched the latch from inside through the speaker hole.
My body shop guy, Henry, could have it open in a flash.
I don’ t know his secret, but that’s why I pay him well when I use his services.

A friend of my wife brought her old Nissan car over here years ago, just outside in the parking lot, to see if I could sim-jim the passenger door open.
I tried . . I could even see the latch down through the slit tween window and weatherstrip.
But I could not find the right lever.
I tried . . for an hour I tried.
Door still closed. would not unlock from inside or out. would not open from inside or out.
I knew something had come apart. On a car that age the little plastic clips that hold the rods get brittle.
but . . I , , could not get it to budge.
– so I called Henry to come over from the body shop.
told him the situation and handed him the slim-jims
went back inside to my parts counter.
in as much time as it took youall to read this . . .
I felt a tap on my shoulder.
DONE ! says Henry with a grin.

Moral of the story ?
you are going to have to hand off to someone familiar with that latch to know which lever is which.

One way for you to do that yourself is to find a latch in stock someplace, that you can hold in you hand and experiment with.
BUT . .
On a truck that age ?
that’s a hard as getting you old one to work.
( Dorman only makes the driver’s front door latch . I didn’t check LMC Truck yet.)

You may be able to get an exploded view from the parts counter at the dealership. That could point you to the right spot you need to unlock that door.


Here’s an exploded view of the rear doors (click for full size):

You can see two levers on the back of the right door latch–one is for the lock, one for the latch release. Rods connect them to the lock cylinder and door handle.

Thanks. I still cannot get the darn thing to open. About wore my arm off trying to get it to open while reaching thru the speaker hole. Not sure what to try next.

Thanks again for the help.

If you can get the interior trim and door panel off, you’ll have much better access to the latch (see pic). It may be difficult to do with the door closed but may not be impossible.

Bug, Thanks a ton for the help. I really hate trying to take door panels off as I can never get them back on right. But hey, I am getting desperate.

Call a locksmith and a body shop repair place and see if one of those says they can open the doors and fix them so they work like they should.

I had a stuck door problem with a 1971 Mustang Mach 1. The key felt normal and the lock button popped up. Lifting the door handle had no effect! Climbing over the console from the passenger side was a PITA. Inside door handle did not work although the window rolled down and up. I was able to pull the door panel about 3 inches open at the top and nothing was disconnected. I pulled, pushed, and twisted everything with no results. I sprayed everything with WD-40 and tried again the next day. Nothing. I had purchased the car in 1980 for $2,000 and this was late 1999 so I had got my moneys worth out of it. I was deploying overseas so I put it in storage which the Army paid for from February thru October 2000. I told my next door neighbor I was going to sell it and he made a reasonable offer. The next day we took his trailer to pick it up. Of course the door still did not open but I crawled in and it amazingly started so I drove it onto the trailer. The next day his Stepson dropped by and was checking out the Mustang. He walked up to the driver’s door, lifted the handle, opened it, and was looking at the interior (play Twilight Zone theme)! I can only hope your Astro is also able to repair itself!

You should tell Henry to share is expertise with others…

Yes, it would be nice to know what “the guy” knows. Might save me some cash also. I’ll keep trying what I have been.

Yeah, I can’t see any screws to remove to get the door panel off. Door needs to be open. Next, dynamite! Haha!

I’m assuming your van is the passenger version with the full garnish molding around the perimeter of the doors. If that’s the case, the molding is held on by both screws and push in retainer clips. At the area of the latch, you may be able to pull the molding out enough to access behind it. This may provide access to remove a screw that holds on the door panel, which you may be able to then pry out of the way.

On the cargo vans, there is no garnish molding and the door panel just pulls off.

Is there any way to unlatch the left door through the speaker hole? If so, both doors may open enough to get at the molding retaining screws.

I ran across a post on another forum where the poster had the same problem. He said, “…[I] pulled the door panel open enough to get my hand in to pull the release.” He didn’t say exactly how this was accomplished, but it is apparently possible.

I don’t know anything about this van, but…is it possible to remove the bolt from the door hinge?

I have tried and tried to get it to open by reaching thru the speaker hole to the point of cutting my arm in several places. The right side (facing out from inside) has screws but I do not see any for the left side door. I can reach the rods and have tried pushing them up and down, any way they will move, with no luck.

Unfortunately @knfenimore it is not the rear hatch, scraping and scrambling your arm through the speaker hole is a possible option, there is a relay and fuse separate from the front doors I can gather from looking at the schematic, you might even check if there is a broken white wire in the driver door jam that controls the rear unlock if I read the schematic correctly. They appear to be on a different fuse. cannot find the link again but think it ws 25