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Handle works but door won't unlock - both interior and exterior

Elric2176

Member
Mar 21, 2015
19
4
Boston, MA area
I have a late 2014 Model S. The rear driver’s side door handle is (I think) a Gen 2.

Recently, the handle itself seems to work fine – it presents, retracts, has the handle light go on, etc. When you pull the handle, the glass properly drops down a little bit. But the door won’t open. Same thing using the interior handle - the glass properly drops down but the door won’t open. Pulling the manual cable down near the floor does open the door.

I think it was intermittent for a few days, then stopped working entirely, but I can’t say for sure.

I haven’t seen any discussion or schematics that explain what happens when you pull the exterior or interior handle – what’s the chain of events that drops the glass and unlocks the door. How do both the interior and exterior handles communicate with the glass and the door lock?

Any ideas what might be wrong, and if it can be fixed myself? Is it a door handle mechanism problem, or something in the door itself? Or the wire connecting the handle to the door unlocking mechanism? Since both the interior and exterior handles don’t open the door, I assume it’s not the exterior handle itself that’s the problem. I want to avoid just taking off the door panel and looking around without an idea of what to look for.
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
1,048
608
Kentucky
The handles just flip an electronic switch. The mechanical latching and unlatching is in the door frame, thus the manual cable releases were needed to unlock the door for rear passengers if the electricity is cut. There is no mechanical connection from the door latch to the door handles.
 

Elric2176

Member
Mar 21, 2015
19
4
Boston, MA area
The handles just flip an electronic switch.

Yes, but is it just one switch that takes input from both the interior and exterior handles? And does the same switch control the glass lowering and the door unlocking? If it's all one switch, that suggests that the wire from the switch to the glass-lowering motor is OK, but the wire from the switch to the lock isn't.

Where is this switch located - that's what I'd like to know. And if there are pictures, schematics, or instructions on how to check this? There are tons of instructions about the handles themselves, but I haven't been able to find anything about this end of the process.
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
1,048
608
Kentucky
 

Elric2176

Member
Mar 21, 2015
19
4
Boston, MA area
The door opens fine once I manually unlock it, so I don’t think misalignment is the problem. Plus I don’t hear the lock unlocking when I pull either handle.
 

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