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1949 Super and Roadmaster door lock repairs

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In April, while opening the driver's door on my 49 Buick Super, I felt the handle lose tension and fall half way out of the escutcheon on the door.  Examination revealed that the door handle remained in this loosened condition but now the door was unlatched and would not close and remain latched.


What follows here is a brief description of the problem with a few photos to visualize door lock mechanism including details of how I repaired the lock.


The 1949 door lock (not to be confused with the door key cylinder assembly) is hard to find these days.  The 49 Buick door lock was a one-year only part.  48 door locks and 50 door locks won’t fit.  To make matters worse, this assembly only fits the Super and Roadmaster.  And we are only talking about front door locks here.  The rear doors are another critter because they do not have the locking mechanism.  Hollanders reports that front door parts for the 48-49 Cadillac 60S, 61 and 62 as well as front door parts for the Oldsmobile 48-49 Ninety-Eight will interchange with the 49 Buick Super and Roadmaster.


Look for front door lock assemblies for the 49 Super and Roadmaster in Group 10.470.  Look for the front door lock tumblers in Group 10.553.  If you travel to those parts groups in a Master Parts List book, be prepared to be bewildered by the volume of front door locks.  Focus on the 49 model year Supers and Roadmasters.  It will help you zero in on the specific part numbers if you need them.


This is the door lock for the 49 Buick Super with some labeled parts.





Here is a picture of the door lock assembly with the door handle inserted into the tumbler.  The setscrew is circled.




The TUMBLER is the part that holds the door handle shaft in place after it has been inserted through the outside escutcheon.  The door handle is held in place by the SETSCREW.   This is a specialty screw and if you have occasion to disassemble the lock on a 49, don’t lose it.  The LOCK PLATE rotates in an arc of less than 90 degrees and operates against the ears of the door lock key cylinder to lock and unlock the door with a key.  The lock plate is another very delicate part.  Cast from soft metal it is easily broken.  The original lock plate on my 49 Super was broken when I bought the car and sent me on a 4-year search for a new lock assembly.


When I finally got the door lock assembly out of the door, this is what I found.




The tumbler is press-fit into the articulating locking lever which is tensioned by a stout spring.  Over the years, the collar of the tumbler wears away and when it finally gives way, it allows the tumbler to fall out of the lock lever.  This effectively negates the action of the door handle in opening and closing the door against the door latch.  The door handle just “dangles” there but won’t fall out because it is still held in place in the tumbler by the setscrew.


Here is the fix.  This is a new tumbler and complete set of new door lock assembly springs as well as the press tool necessary to properly press-fit the tumbler into the lock lever.  The springs are easy to find.  The tumblers and the tool are much harder to find.




Here is a picture of the new tumbler after it has been press-fit into the locking lever.  You also set the spring pin that must also be removed and re-inserted and re-staked in the repair process.




Once the new tumbler and pin have been properly press-fit into the door lock assembly, the door can be re-assembled and will hopefully be good for another 68 years. 


Your best friend for door disassembly is the Fisher Body Service and Construction Manual.  By all means, locate an original copy because the aftermarket manual copiers usually don’t have a clue on using grayscale to scan black and white images.  In manual copies, the photos are almost always black and white with no shades of gray to show image detail.  With a copy of the original manual, you will see the full details of parts.








I hope you never experience the sinking feeling of having your driver’s door handle come loose and half-way fall out of the escutcheon.  ;)   If you are lucky, you won’t hear any loose parts falling inside the door, but if you do, it will be the tumbler spring releasing and falling after the tumbler is released.


My thanks to BCA member Ken Mitson for his assistance in his machine shop when it came time to install the tumbler and spring pin.




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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, thank you for your post, I think someone in the Cadillac club was making a repro of the tumbler .As you mentioned Olds and Cadillac use the same part , I believe the price was 135.00 for the repair kit.I found a NOS repair kit to do mine .

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On 6/24/2017 at 8:32 AM, gdmn852 said:

Hello, thank you for your post, I think someone in the Cadillac club was making a repro of the tumbler .As you mentioned Olds and Cadillac use the same part , I believe the price was 135.00 for the repair kit.I found a NOS repair kit to do mine .


That's great news if someone out there is making reproductions.


I just found that the eBay seller where I got mine has posted another set.  If any '49 Super or Roadmaster guys and gals out there need this repair, here is your chance.





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  • 1 month later...

Another tumbler, spring and installation tool kit has become available.  Hard to find if you need it.




(I'm not the eBay seller nor do I know him/her or have any monetary interest in these parts.)




EDIT:  Just noticed - he has three available.

Edited by 49_buick_super (see edit history)
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