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Discussion Starter #1
This is a pretty common failure, all mk4+ cars switched to a new style of door handle. A few causes are slipped pins, worn levers, water leaking into the various seals and freezing, etc.

I will add it to the list of common issues these cars have FAQ at the top of the page and in 1000q: FAQ index. Still needs some better pics and updates for the Jetta but this should do it for now.

http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q_how_to/a3b4/doorhandlefaq.htm

Part numbers for both jetta and passat and clickable links are included in the writeup so you can check current prices for door handles.
 

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Pics of the shim? I already had this issue. The pin fell out and I fixed it with by pushing it back in and lubing everything.
 

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You would think that making door handles last a long time is easier than making engines. But it's still really #@! annoying when the door handle breaks.
 

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A cracked door handle gasket can cause sticking too. If you wash the car in the winter, try to avoid forcing water where the door handle meets the door gasket. The worst is when the cylinder is frozen too.
 

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The door handle conversion does not seem very realisitc. A new handle is maybe $100 after shipping and taxes. The conversion kit: kit+welding+cutting+body work+painting. That's at least $2000! Who would do all that work for something that 99.99% of people wouldn't notice?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't know, IMO it's a huge waste of money but I was doing some research for the parts and thought I'd throw it out there FYI. I still have some pics and jetta specific stuff to add, I'll fix it later.
 

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Updated the FAQ. As it turns out, worn handle parts is only half the story. I fixed the problem by moving the door latch adjusting nut. Now the doors open with a light touch instead of having to pull just right to get them to open.

Warning - the passenger side adjusting nut and door handle screw are reverse threaded. I also had to slide the adjusting nut in the different direction from the driver's side to get the desired result.

More pics added too.
 

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Thanks for that, I already tried taking the handle apart and it didn't do much. How do you know which way to adjust the nut?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just move the nut, loosely tighten it, and see if the door opening improves. Just don't yank hard on the handle. If it's worse, move the nut the other direction. Just remember that the pass side is reverse threads on both the adjusting nut and the handle screw. I throughly mangled the nut so I'm pretty sure about it :)
 

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I just noticed something that has never been mentioned, instead of going through all the trouble of adjusting the nut, just push out the pin holding in the plastic plunger. The pin has an adjustment range so you can reverse it to move the worn side to the other side and then move it outward, problem fixed! Here is a pic.

I believe that this is the quickest and easiest adjustment to make and should be #2, priority #1 is checking for loose pins.
 
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