Steve-IndyMemberMay 16, 2023 at 2:12 pmPost count: 8
Regional Membership Director
VOA Mamba Member
Safety Alert Concerning Doors for Gen II III IV and V Owners Personal Observations and Opinions
IN/KY VOA…Safety Alert Concerning Doors for Gen II, III, IV, and V Owners…Personal Observations and Opinions:
As most you know, as the Viper has evolved, it has utilized more and more electrical components…far more than the original, bare bones Gen I Viper.
This is particularly true of the door locking/unlocking mechanisms. Through the years I have fielded a number calls saying “I’m locked in my Viper and can’t open the doors”. This is a scary situation anytime, even more so during an emergency. This can happen unexpectedly due to a weak or bad battery (and/or Battery connections), broken wires in the doors (common in Gen II’s), blown fuses, bad switches, etc.
The Vipers listed above (except Gen I) use electrical door openers (poppers)…activated by both for the inside handles and the outside “handles”(be they the round black button on Gen II’s or the body colored door tabs one depresses on Gen III, IV, and V Vipers).
For safety reasons, on Gen II through V Vipers. there are mechanical door releases that occupants can use in case of an electrical failure. So, let’s review the various types of mechanical releases on the assorted model Generations.
Gen II…there is a labeled lever on the rear of both doors that says “Pull for Emergency Exit”.
By pulling this lever downward, the door will open mechanically…with no electricity being needed. I am always amazed by hearing from long time owners that they have never checked the function of these escape levers !!
Gen III and IV…as the occupant pulls the door handle inside the car, the first few degrees of pull activate an electrical door popper. In case of electrical failure, as one pulls this door handle even further (about 45 degrees), the mechanical release opens the door. These models also have an external door opening option for the driver’s door which is the key operated switch found underneath the driver’s outside mirror.
Gen V…as the occupant pulls the door handle inside the car, the first few degrees of pull activate an electrical door popper. In case of electrical failure, as one pulls this door handle even further (about 45 degrees), the mechanical release opens the door. There is no external door opening mechanism on this model.
UNFORTUNATELY, there have been failures of a few of these mechanical door releases noted on Gen II, III, IV, and V Vipers. It has been SPECULATED that these failures could be the result of prior repair service on said Vipers’ windows and doors. Of course, dirt and corrosion should also be considered as causative agents. I certainly do not have the answer…and would appreciate hearing your thoughts if you have found the root cause of these malfunctions.
OPINION: Always lower both windows BEFORE you start working on your Viper’s electrical system…especially if you are pulling fuses or disconnecting the battery. ALWAYS keep the keys/fob on your person and not stored in the car.
To check your Gen III, IV, or V Viper’s mechanical door releases, you can lower the windows, close the doors, disconnect the battery, then pull the interior door handle to check the status of the mechanical release mechanism.
For maintaining the function of the Gen III and IV external emergency key cylinder switch, I also suggest that you smear tiny amount of lubricant on your key, insert it into this keyhole, and open the door a couple of times at least on a yearly basis. Please avoid the temptation to squirt lubricant into the external keyhole.
While I am sure that this is old info to many of you, hopefully it will still be of benefit to some owners.
I welcome the correction of any errors that I may have made in this explanation.
Steve Fess, Membership and “Special Ops” Coordinator, VOA IN/KY Region, Inc.
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