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Guys,
My last post was in 2015 so I've been inactive for several years, but still have my 240 & 280 Zs. My 280 passenger door exterior latch stopped working. I can still open the door from the interior latch, so the mechanism seems to work.
Also the exterior handle still moves the vertical rod, so I don't think it is a broken pot-metal latch as described in other posts I found from 2002-2006. I can see everything moving, but the vertical rod coming down from the latch that has a plastic clip on the bottom end seems to be unable to engage the tab on the latch mechanism. Is this adjustable?
 

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Yes, it screws up and down the rod like a nut. Check to see if either the vertical rod from the handle is bent OR if the nylon "nut" is stripped (therefore will not stay in proper place). If the door has been hard to open, the extra pressure required may have caused the rod to bend such that it will not engage the latch anymore. If the nylon "nut" can be turned by hand easily, it may have just worked it's way up the rod and out of position. It would have some type of thread-lock from the factory and should be more difficult to turn.
 

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Because you said the rod has a plastic clip on the bottom, it leads me to believe that you have a 77-78 280. You forgot to mention the year. If not then it's just the plastic nut like they all had prior to those years. Anyway, either type is adjustable but the 77-78 usually needs to be pulled out of the door to adjust the nut because the window runners are in the way and it's hard to pop the 2 plastic locking fingers out of the way while you spin the nut. A long pair of needle nose pliers to retrieve the rod and a half inch wide slotted screw driver to pop the rod out of the handle receiver are the best tools for the job. Make sure that the door handle isn't partway broken which would still give you movement on the rod, just not enough. Z man of Washington
 
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