Repairing a Broken Interior Door Handle
By: Bob_98SR5
Date : November 30, 2003
Application: 1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5


Obligatory Disclaimer
I am providing this write up for illustrative purposes only. Perform at your own risk. Any mods (including this one) you perform on your vehicle is your responsibility. Commercial use of this write up will result in legal action as well as the undying scorn from members of the online Toyota 4Runner community. You've been warned.


Summary
If your interior door handle or your passenger's door handles do not open its respective door, most likely it is caused by a small, soft plastic (yet again) part that is broken and/or snapped in half. For more Toyota soft plastic part follies, read my other article on 5-speed clutch bushings.


Step 1: Removing the Door Panel
Use the following procedure for all doors: Remove the two push fasteners located on the side of the door as well as on the door panel itself. Next, carefully pop off the door armrest in an upwards motion with a thick screwdriver or a similar prying tool. Finally, unscrew the two philips head screws holding the door panel to the door.

 
Here's the side push fastener. Take a pen and push it until it clicks. Then remove the entire part. Theres one on the front part of your door   Carefully pry upwards from one end to the other. Look underneath and you might need to press in the white fasteners on the inner part of the armrest.

Next, pry off the window control panel by wedging your screwdriver under the farthest end from the door and prying towards and upwards to front of your 4runner. Unplug the harness(-es) and set aside.

Step 2: Removing the Door Handle
Removing the door handle can be tricky, so pay close attention. First, unscrew the philips head screw. Next, pry it out of the door panely by pushing the part towards the front of your 4runner. Pull gently to the front and you'll see the plastic part that allows the door latch to open your door. Most likely it is green, but if it has been replaced, it could also be white.

Notice three things about this part: a) the bottom part attaches to the horizontal part of the door latch rod b) the vertical door latch rod inserts upwards through this little part and c) it is plastic.

First, unless you have some thick skin, get some gloves on and grab a pair of needlenose pliers. With one hand, grab the horizontal part of the door latch rod and pull it towards the back of your 4Runner. Next with your free gloved hand, unfasten the bottom of the little green part with your index finger. You'll have to do it underhanded. One good tip: as you are unfastening the green part with your index finger, slightly torque the entire door handle and the green part will come off easier. One you've gotten the bottom part of the green part removed, push the horizontal door rod downward to free up the door handle. Once you got this part off, the rest is easy.

 
Remove the screw and then pull towards the rear to expose the door latch rod. Undo the green part to remove the door handle   Unfasten the bottom part of this green part with your index finger. Torque the door handle slightly to help it unfasten itself. Next, push the whole door unit downwards (D) to unattach the entire door handle

Step 3: Attaching the Green Part
Simply attach this in reverse order. Push the green part into the door handle arm. Then insert the metal rod (the one with the upwards end) into the green part. Snap on the bottom horizontal part of the green part. You're now done. Give it a test and it should work with no problem.

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