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Drivers Side Front Door Lock Sometimes Doesn't Work - Thoughts?

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I bought a 97 ES300 last week and overall I think it's in pretty good condition for it's age. I initially had an issue where the seat belts didn't fully retract... but a quick search on this forum and I found that I had to clean that little mount that goes on the pillar to get rid of all the gunk stuck in it. Once I cleaned that out, the seat belts retracted like they should. Awesome 5 minute fix at no cost.

However, I have another problem I'm trying to fix. My drivers side door doesn't always lock or unlock using the remote. It works most of the time, but every once and a while, it won't lock if I try to arm the alarm. Sitting in the car, I can see that the lock attempts to lock itself. It moves a little but doesn't move enough to actually lock.

All the other doors work just like they should.

Before I go and purchase an lock attenuator (or whatever they're called), I thought I'd check here and see what I could try checking first. Is there a way to clean the lock itself? Maybe due to it's age it just needs a good cleaning? Or maybe the connection isn't 100%? I know the old owner replaced the inside panel... so maybe he didn't properly connect everything and every once and a while the connection becomes loose causing my issue?

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I'm with you on this one. While the lock actuator may be weak, its cause may be a corroded electrical connector, or a dirty or corroded lock assembly that's all gunked up. After all, it is a 14 year old car. (Our first Lexus was a 97. What a sweet ride she was!)

If she were mine I'd pull the inner door panel and the thin plastic weather shield underneath, and explore all of those possibilities I mentioned above. You may even discover that something has jammed inside the door itself right at the lock rods, or a rod is slightly bent, or so worn it has too much slop to throw the lock lever firmly.

If you discover that parts need replacing, try a wrecking yard, and even consider trying Camry parts, as they're twin sisters to the ES. Good Luck!

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the lock motor is probably weak. Here is a $5 Fix we have done on the RX300 forum...Will work on any electric lock door regardless of car....long thread but you may find it interesting....

would suggest reading most of it and at the end folks have come up with better solutions for location of lock....nice pictures also.

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