Isaac Martin
January 1, 1996

Step By Step

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California Mustang’s outside door handle set comes complete for both doors. This is one half of the set that also includes new insulator pads and attaching hardware.
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The first step is to screw in the stud on the handle end. It only has to be installed finger-tight.
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This photo shows how the latch actuator rod is attached to the handle in the door. The rod end is inserted in the hole, and the black clip swings down, snapping over the rod. Study this photo for a while, because unless you’re Superman and have X-ray vision, you’re going to be performing this step by feel only.
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To take off the old handle, remove the external Phillips head screw. Once inside the door, unclip the actuator rod and remove the retaining nut and washer. California Mustang’s 6-in-1 screwdriver (PN SD1, $5.95) will make the job easier. It has removable shafts so you can fit a number 1 and 2 Phillips head bit and a 3/16- or 5/16-inch blade screwdriver. With no bits, the handle becomes a 1/4-inch and 5/16-inch nut driver, all of which are handy sizes for removing and installing interior hardware.
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Looking from the top, the handle insulator pads (arrows) are positioned, and the handle is inserted into the door openings. Install the retaining nuts, actuator rod and screw, and you’ve got a new, solid feeling door handle.

With 30 years of use, Mustang exterior door handles--particularly the driver’s door--start looking dull and operating poorly. When your thumb pushes against the button on the handle, the button no longer has that crisp, new car feel. Even if your Mustang isn’t restored, new outside door handles are easy to install and will improve the quality operation of the latch.

When you press the handle release button, a plunger pushes against a bell crank, which lifts and pulls on the actuator rod to operate the door latch. As you can imagine, after tens of thousands of openings, combined with a total lack of maintenance and lubrication, the plunger wears and the door handle mechanism begins to feel pretty flabby.

Happily, on ´64-1/2-´70 Mustangs, reproduction outside door handles are available and easy to replace. We’re only covering the first generation handles, since in ´71, Mustangs came fitted with a flush, lift-style door handle.

California Mustang carries new door handle kits, and was happy to demonstrate an installation. The company offers outside handle kits for ´65-´66 and ´69-´70 (PN 22404R, $43.95) and for ´67-´68 (PN 22404R1, $43.95). Basically, the kits all install the same way as the one shown here on a ´67 coupe.

To get inside the door, you need to remove the interior door handle, armrest and door panel. Removing the panel means carefully popping the panel retaining clips free from the door itself. Raise the window so the glass and window mechanism are out of the way. To help the job go more smoothly, spend a few minutes finding the attaching screws by hand, since you’ll be working blind. Follow along as the photos illustrate installation details to note.

Remove the old handles and bolt on the new ones. Now they’ll look good and feel solid when you open the door to hop in and go for a cruise.