Door Lock Fix

Last updated: July 21, 2000

From: (Don M.)
Date: November 3, 1998


Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 11:00:06 -0700
From: Stephen Stanley

I started a dicussion a week or two back about fixing the illuminator which lights the keyhole when you lift the door handle on a 3rd gen.

The consensus was that to replace it, you have to buy a new lock cylinder (at around $50).

Well, I can update you on this and maybe save you some money.

If the white plastic flap is broken, then to fix this, you CAN take the lock cylinder apart and replace it without buying a new cylinder (see instructions part 2 below). If it is the bulb which has stopped working, then you do not have to replace the cylinder. In fact doing so is no help at all.

The bulb under discussion is the one which illuminates the door lock which comes on at the same time as the orange lamp which lights the ignition lock. It is triggered when you lift the door handle.

  1. To replace the illuminator bulb

    Remove the door handle by pulling the triangular panel off the inside of the door and unscrewing the two bolts that hold the lock mechanism in place. There are two wire coat hanger-like wires which are removed by twisting the plastic devices they fit into. The wires then simply pull out of the lock assembly.

    The bulb is held in place by the same clip which holds in the door lock cylinder. The bulb is a small incandescent one with fly-leads which are very fragile. These wires break off where they enter the glass of the bulb. You can replace the bulb (it comes attached to an 18-inch wiring harness) without having to buy a new lock.

    To replace the bulb and harness, you will need to remove the driver's door interior panel. (Two screws at the front, one at the rear and one under a flap behind the interior door release). Having removed the screws, gently pop the panel off the door and carefully lift it off where it locates into the top of the door. The two grommets which the panel locates in on the top of the door are very delicate and my local Mazduh dealer can't find them in their parts catalog, so be careful. [If anyone can help me with the part number I'd be grateful since I broke one and the panel now rattles :-(]

    There are three white plastic electrical connectors towards the rear of the door, near its top edge. The one nearest the front of the car is the one that this bulb connects to. The harness is also held in place by a clip which is fitted from inside the door itself, so you will have to pull the plastic sheeting off the inside of the door to get access to this.

    I don't know how much Mazda charge for the bulb and harness, but it is possible just to solder a new bulb on the end of the harness. If you do - make sure you either:

    1. disconnect the plug inside the driver's door panel

    2. disconnect the battery


    3. put the key in the ignition and turn it to the ACC position (check the ignition switch lamp is off before soldering)

    I used a similarly sized bulb from an illumiated switch I had lying around my garage at home. It's not quite as bright as the original, but does the job.

  2. To replace the plastic flap

    This takes care. Make sure you are working somewhere clean and will contain the bits that may fly out when you start dissassembling the lock.

    You need to remove the polished cover which is on the front of the cylinder. By feeding a very small jeweller screwdriver under the rim, you can ease up the two detents which hold it on. Take the cover off, followed by the black plate with the rectangle through which the key is inserted to unlock the door. When you remove this, the flap can then be accessed. There is a spring under the flap (by now it has probably just flown over your left shoulder). Mazda do not supply this flap without a lock, but it should be easy enough for most people who have got this far to make up a new one from a piece of translucent packaging or similar, using a small hacksaw and a file.

As they say, reassembly is the reverse of the above procedure. The flap-spring goes back into the lock with the short arm to locate it and the long arm against the underside of the flap.

Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 01:15:14 -0800
From: Stephen Stanley (

The circuit that operates the door key hole light also operates the ignition keyhole light.

If one fails, I'd suspect the bulb, if both have failed, then it is likely to be the controller for the lights or possibly a fuse (which I doubt since the bulbs are very low powered so would probably notice other things failing as well as they would be on their own circuit) You can always test the bulb/circuitry by taking the handle assembly off and using a multimeter. the bulb is on quite a long harness that plugs in near tjhe top of the door (under the interior panel) but if you measure the voltage on (both) the leads when you lift the handle, if the controller is working and properly connected to the bulb, you should see 12v or so one one of them. I would not recommend testing continuity when the bulb is connected to the controller circuitry.

As far as I can remember, the controller is in the drivers door. I'd recommed you get an electrical manual for the car, I have found it invaluable.

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 11:36:26 -0600
From: "Stover, Steve"

The lock light on my [3] was out. Mazda said I had to order the whole door handle to get the bulb. Heeding Stephen Stanley's advice I went looking for another bulb.

After checking 3 or 4 electronics stores with no success, one store directed me to an electronics repair place, where I got a bulb that looked IDENTICAL to stock, complete with wire leads (no connector). I later stopped at another stereo repair shop to check the progress on my Alpine amp fix, and asked Lex if he had any bulbs. He asked me how many hundred I wanted. Apparently, the lock light bulbs are a fairly standard stereo and instrument light size.

So, if you need to replace a key light, might want to check a stereo repair shop first! The bulb I got came with wire leads already attached for under $2.50.

Date: February 21, 2000

1. Driver's door lock light bulb

I removed the door handle and disconnected the wiring harness that goes to the bulb & door lock. I left the harness attached to the door handle, but removing the whole assembly from the door made it easier to work on. I purchased a replacement bulb from Radio Shack, P/N 272-1141A (Mini Lamp with 1 3/4" hookup leads, 12V, 25mA), then soldered and shrink wrapped the new bulb to the old harness. The bulb cost $1.19.

Putting everything back together was easy, but then I found that my driver's side window would only go down a couple of inches. It turns out that when I reattached the wiring harness for the bulb & door lock, I did not route it as it was originally. Make sure the harness is routed between the inside of the door and the window guide at the back of the door (duh!) if you remove it to work on it.

2. Door lock plastic flap

I looked for translucent plastic to match the original flap. I found some plastic that was about the same thickness and color on the casing of some cheap auto-epoxy I bought a while back that didn't work well anyway. I used a dremel with a cutoff wheel to cut out the plastic that goes between the two barrels holding them together. Then I used a razor blade detail knife to cut the plastic to the same shape as the original flap. Finally, I used a small file to round the corners where the flap turns on its axis. It looks as good as new and works, too.

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