While this installment of Resto Shop won't win you high marks at a car show, it will earn you "brownie points" with your passengers and onlookers.
There's nothing worse (I'm sure there are worse things, but stick with me on this) than going out to your car in a parking lot and having a bunch of admirers gawking at your sweet ride. You chat with them for a few minutes about how they once had a nice Camaro like yours many years ago; in some instances you'll get the really strange person who says he had a Mustang just like your Camaro. When you get those weird comments, don't make eye contact. Feign getting a phone call, wrap up the conversation, and open the car door. But you're starting to get nervous because people are watching. A lot of you reading this know exactly what happens next. You slide the key in and turn it to unlock the door while praying that this will be the one-in-a-hundredth time that the door will magically unlock. But you're not "The Fonz," and turning the key did nothing. So you throw about 30 quick key turns and the door finally unlocks-a little embarrassing for you and your passengers. It's even worse when you're trying to open the door for your date and this happens, especially if she doesn't understand the relationship you have with your first-gen Camaro.
The spring that can break and cause entry issues is the one located inside the interior door handle mechanism. If this spring is broken, the door handle won't return to its "park" position. You have to replace the small assembly or remember to put the handle back in "park" before you close the door behind you. If not, you'll never get the door unlocked, and you'll have to make the embarrassing pilgrimage to the door on the other side of the car and reach across to pull the opposite door lock knob.
When you pull your door panel off, you should have a heavy-duty wax paper shield between the door and the door panel. The paper barrier is a shield that keeps water off the backside of the interior door panel. More water than you think can get on the back of the door panel if it's missing or damaged. Water can travel down the back of the panel, drip on your carpet, and before you know it, the door panels are moldy and your floorboards are rusted out. If the water shield is missing or damaged, get a new one and seal it up with Butyl tape on the left, right, and bottom of the door. Duct tape will not work for more than a rain or two because it's not meant to be exposed to water.
If you replace a couple of these simple springs and mechanisms, you'll breathe easier every time you go to unlock your door.