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Lubricating slider door cables

My Sienna slider door handle is barely functioning, but thankfully, the inside release button is less bad. It got much worse today, and I’m leaving for a trip on Tuesday, so I need to get that door working normally…

With the panel off, my hunch at first turned out to be right: nothing actually wrong with the handle, but the cables seem sticky and the latch is loaded with grit and goo. It’s just not releasing freely.

Too dark now to mess with it tonight, but it’s a priority for tomorrow.

I’m accustomed to lubing bicycle cables but these cables seem more enclosed and harder to get lube into them. Maybe that’s a good thing, keeps dust and grit out. Triflow works for bikes but it’s easier to get the actual cable exposed to clean and then lube those, and the ferrules at the ends of the housings are large, easy to add lube dropwise and let gravity and motion spread it around…

I’ll remove the latch mechanism from the door jamb and clean that tomorrow, that is sure to help. But while I’m in there, I’d like to lube the cables properly.

I’m wondering if anyone has tried and true methods for cleaning and lubing the cables.

Thanks in advance.

Short of removing the cables and soaking them in something like mineral spirts,etc. there’s not an easy way of thoroughly cleaning the cables.

You might consider the use of a motorcycle cable oiler tool (generally cheap to buy) which can force lubricant into the cable housing. There should be some YouTube videos on the use of this tool.

If the cable is multi-strand and a strand or two is breaking inside the housing then no amount of lube will fix that.

Thanks @ok4450. I actually have that motorcycle cable tool, found it in 30 seconds this morning, even though my last motorcycle was sold 35 years ago. I’ll give that a try.

As for the broken strand of wire, my quick assessment last night suggested gummed up lube more than a broken strand. But I’ll investigate further this morning.

I’m grateful for your response.

For the gummed up latch mechanism I have had some luck with holding some sort of cup and a rag under the latch and then spraying it with WD40. A lot of WD40. It’s not a lubricant, but it can be a fair solvent. If you have spray brake cleaner it works better, but smells worse. Spray it and then operate the latch, repeat. When you have had enough of that, some spray on white lube to actually lubricate the latch. The latches are often hard to reach and covered, but that’s life.

Thanks @wentwest. Actually, it looks like the latch on the forward side of the door is easy to remove - four torx screws. But then I’ve not yet pulled it out. That’s next, after breakfast. If it won’t come out, I’ll go with your idea.

I haven’t yet investigated the latch at the back end of the door, but I think that’s working well enough to not be the main problem. When I’ve pulled the handle, the back end pops loose, but the front seems stuck. I’ll clean and lube both ends, starting with the front to see how it affects the symptoms.

My hunch was wrong.

I now have three very clean and smooth working latch mechanisms, lubricated cables, and a lower track that’s clean and lightly lubed.

And a broken door handle.

In hindsight, I had the information to find that right away, but didn’t recognize the signs. Just didn’t look hard enough. Oh well. Those latches were dirty anyway, it’s a wonder that the upper front worked at all. It may have been the gummed up latches that made it necessary to pull harder on the handle, eventually breaking it.

I did use the helpful suggestions offered above (thanks)…before I found the real issue.

Live and learn!

which was what?

As mentioned: Broken door handle.

Stuff like that happens. Imagine your joy if you had paid a dealer service department to do all that cleaning and adjusting before discovering the handle problem. And now you know how that system works, so any further problems will be straight forward to solve.