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How To Repair the Passenger Hand Grip

Jonathan S. Ott

Here is how I repaired the passenger door hand grip (for the second time). I learned from my mistakes the first time and the grip has held up well this time around (knock on wood...). I originally planned on replacing this grip but decided to repair it after finding out Mazda wants $315 for the black plastic armrest and hand grip assembly.
First, you will need to remove the entire interior passenger door. To do this, there are two screws on the very front of the interior door panel, one screw on the very back (all three only show when the door is open), one screw below the vertical hand grip with a 1"x1" cover in front of it, one screw in the recessed tray that contains the door opening lever and door lock (covered by a 1.25"x0.75" black cover), and one screw behind the power window switch. To access the screw behind the power window switch, you can use a small pocketknife or screwdriver to pry the switch out of its resting place and then you will see the screw, which goes in perpendicular to the door.
Once you have the screws out, you can remove the recessed area black plastic tray. Then pull out slightly at the bottom and sides of the door to release three plastic clips. Then you can remove the black plastic cover at the back of the door (it covers the nuts for the exterior door assembly) and the triangular black plastic cover at the front of the door by pulling/gently prying them outward from the door. Then pull the door up to clear the clips. You will have to disconnect the power window switch, which easily pulls out of the socket.
The vertical hand grip is screwed into the black plastic contoured arm rest. On my car the arm rest was not cracked but the vertical hand grip was cracked at the top and bottom of the leather/vinyl covered part. I took all the plastic pieces apart. The first time around I tried epoxying the parts together using clamps. Unfortunately, this resulted in a fit that was less than perfect. First, take 40 grit sandpaper and roughen up the areas between the cracks and everywhere within an inch of the cracks that is not visible when everything is reassembled and on the door. The rougher the surface, the better the J-B Weld will hold. I sanded much of the surfaces inside the top of the grip and inside the top of the armrest assembly where the grip screws onto the armrest assembly. I also sanded the surface of the bottom of the grip opposite of where the grip screws onto the metal piece which connects to the door frame.
To reattach the top of the grip at the proper angle, screw the grip onto the armrest. The top two screws hold the top piece (assuming it has broken off), and two screws that go directly into the grip hold the grip itself onto the armrest. This holds the grip at the proper angle to be epoxied together. Use J-B Weld between the plastic pieces and liberally inside the grip where you cannot see when the door is put back together. I recommend taking a two-step approach; first epoxy the inside of the grip itself. At this point do not epoxy the grip to the armrest assembly. Let it sit about 15 hours at an angle that does not let the epoxy drip out.
After the J-B weld has completely dried, unscrew the grip from the armrest assembly. If the brass fittings that accept the two screws up through the bottom of the grip are loose, remove them, screw the screws into the fittings (which helps handle the fittings and keeps J-B Weld from getting into the threads), apply J-B Weld to the outside of the fitting and the inside of the holes in the grip, and push the fittings into the holes and let the J-B weld completely dry. After it is dry, you can remove the screws from the fitting.
This step is to repair the bottom part of the grip, which is about 0.5" wide and a little over an inch long, if it is broken. I found that I could not get this piece to epoxy together at the proper angle until I used the passenger door frame to help with the process. For this, you only want the grip itself, the metal piece that connects the grip to the plastic guide, the plastic guide for the bottom screw, and the three screws that assemble these three parts and the two screws that hold the grip and plastic guide to the door. Assemble these three parts and screw them into the passenger door. This will keep the grip at the proper angle. I applied J-B Weld to the grip and used duct tape between the metal piece and the grip so that the metal piece would not become permanently attached to the grip (duct tape can be easily removed after the epoxy has dried). I also used a small clamp to make sure the grip pieces did not move. Wait about 15 hours for the epoxy to dry. I started this process about 7pm and left it on the door when I drove to work the next day. Once it is dry, remove the screws holding the grip onto the door. At this point, I took a small section of scrap metal about 1/3" by " and J-B welded it to the bottom of the grip on the side opposite of where the metal piece screws in to provide extra support.
Finally, assemble the grip and metal piece that connects to the plastic guide with the screw that holds them together. Apply J-B Weld to the grip and armrest where the grip sits down into the armrest and then assemble the grip to the armrest and screw in the two screws at the top of the grip to the armrest and the two screws that go into the grip from underneath the armrest. Liberally apply J-B Weld on the inside of the grip where it meets the armrest. You will want to let the assembly dry at an angle that does not allow the J-B Weld to seep out while it is still wet.
Once it is dry, if you can see any gray J-B Weld from the visible part of the grip/armrest where they meet, you can use a black Magic Marker to color the J-B Weld to the same color as the plastic. Then assemble the grip/armrest assembly to the door panel, attach the plastic guide to the metal piece on the grip, and put the door panel back onto the door. I had a difficult time screwing in the screw that holds the top of the grip to the door frame since it is so recessed. I used a little duct tape to hold the back of the screw to my screwdriver, which let me insert the screwdriver through the hole where the power window control goes and screw in the screw. The rest of the reassembly should be straightforward in the opposite order of removal.
Jonathan S. Ott
93 black/tan touring

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