Problem: The door locking mechanism - responsible for coordinating the activities of the handles, key, and alarm - is having an electronic malfunction, most likely a cracked solder joint from repeated door opening/closing.
No other store carried the item or had any idea where to obtain it.
Time Required: 1.5-3 hours, depending on individual pace.
My Passat had managed to work the pins loose and dropped them into the door frame, where they've likely lain for months.
The bracket had then worked loose of the panel and the entire lock mechanism was free to jostle around in the door.
Locking Mechanism Removal: Start by removing the door trim panel.
For the driver side door, you can now pull up on the entire handle/switch assembly as a unit - use moderate force to unclasp the clips holding it in place.You should be able to find the triple square bit in a multipack - buy it, the pack is useful for other work on the car.While you're there, also pick up the large hex driver set - it even includes a 17mm hex driver for removing the auto transmission drain plug.(illustration) The lock mechanism is held in place on the metal panel by a plastic bracket with two cylindrical pins keeping the bracket in place.Use a blunt tool to push the pins out from the rear of the panel.*Only needed if disassembling the locking mechanism.