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What are the typical door handle problems?

Old 11-14-2018, 10:19 AM
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What are the typical door handle problems?

My handles have been getting harder and harder to open, especially when it's cold out. Last winter the driver side handle got really bad, but then part of the plastic border broke which gave me more room to move it...so, problem "solved" for the time.




I did take my door apart this spring, assuming I'd be able to see the problem, but nothing looked out of place or worn. So all summer, door opened fine and I kind of forgot, till it got cold again.

Now this happened. Obviously I'm going to replace the handle, but what's the underlying condition going on here?



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Old 11-14-2018, 10:54 AM
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I would think moisture and time led to rust and seizure of moving parts behind the handle. A little chassis grease should do.
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Old 11-15-2018, 06:21 AM
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Nah, I mean you'd be right if we had rust around here, but that's not it. I took off the door panel this spring and saw nothing wrong in there. I know there are some common problems with the handles on these Tacomas, with something wearing, but I couldn't see anything worn. The handle moves easily, it just takes lifting up on it really high/hard to get it to finally open. Seems like it's not making good contact in there somewhere but like I said, I couldn't see anything wrong. Not that I really know what I'm looking for but I feel like I'm experienced enough to be able see if something is worn or not working the way it should. I guess I'll need to look again but I just couldn't see anything that looked wrong.

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Old 11-16-2018, 09:24 PM
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I have a 95 Gen 3 T100, but I would imagine that the newer door handles are made with the same plastic. Mine required a very hard pull upward to open the door, and a look inside showed that the handle works with two long tabs that engage the mechanism, and these two tabs are molded into the handle part itself. So over time they grow weaker, or start to bend, and dont engage the mechanism as well as they used to. No other fix than to buy new, in my case.
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Old 11-18-2018, 07:50 AM
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Alright, thanks. Ordering a new handle now. Was going to go OEM but it's $137! So going cheap. I'll replace one every two years for the $10 I'm paying. I hate to be that way but...I mean really.
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Old 11-28-2018, 03:04 PM
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Seems as though the new handles fixed it. I can tell they aren't OEM quality, but good enough. While I had them out, I cleaned and lubricated the lock cylinders, since they were getting pretty sticky too. The gas cap lock cylinder was getting bad, too, to where I almost couldn't get gas on cold, snowy days. Much better now.
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Old 11-28-2018, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by 83 View Post
Seems as though the new handles fixed it. I can tell they aren't OEM quality, but good enough. While I had them out, I cleaned and lubricated the lock cylinders, since they were getting pretty sticky too. The gas cap lock cylinder was getting bad, too, to where I almost couldn't get gas on cold, snowy days. Much better now.
Good to know. My son is having trouble with his '98 Tacoma passenger door. Maybe he'll get some handles for Christmas.





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Old 11-29-2018, 02:10 PM
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Will have to see how they feel once it really gets cold out, but I'm definitely kicking myself for not doing this sooner. Between the handles and the sticky passenger side lock, I'm amazed at how much nicer it feels to unlock and open my doors. I hadn't really realized how annoying it was.

If you can afford it, OEM would be great. But it really is the difference between $130+ and around $13.
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Old 12-01-2018, 07:07 AM
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And...you'll have to stay tuned. Seems that replacing the handles has caused some unknown weak spots to surface. First cold snap and my driver side door won't close anymore, passenger side door won't open. I was loading my truck to leave town, figuring I'd deal with the driver side not closing, when one of the times I went to open the passenger side and the outside handle just went floppy, and the lock won't go up all the way anymore. Both problems seem to be a spring in the latch mechanism which tends to wear out on these trucks (according to the searching I've done). I guess with the new, well-functioning door handles, the weakened springs both broke? Will find out later today, since driving with a bungie cord holding my driver door shut, not being able to open my passenger door, and not being able to lock my truck aren't going to work so well...

I've been noticing that my truck is finally starting to show it's age now that it's 20...

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Old 12-02-2018, 09:37 AM
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I figure at less than $20 each, if the cheap aftermarkets dont last I can afford more; a little like buying wiper blades.
I also am having problems with the latching mechanism on my driver's door; new ones are almost $200 bucks, but Im working on a second-hand pair from another user here. My door closes, but only half latches, so it rattles loosely in the frame. Loud, and alarming to my passengers.
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Old 12-02-2018, 01:13 PM
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Mine won't close, period. I had to use bungie cords driving from town to town on Friday, with it swinging open about an inch on sharp left turns through the canyon. Not cool. And of course I can't lock it. I have the latch mechanism out and can't see where the problem is coming from. Tried to get the passenger door open following a video I found online, but I can't get it to unlatch. Figured if I could compare the two side by side, since I actually think it's a different problem going on with each, I could figure out what's wrong. But I can't get the passenger door open. I'm to the point where I'm just starting to break stuff and get frustrated so...I guess it's going in to a mechanic.

But yeah OEM door handles are $137, OEM door latches are ~$240. Each. Now I'll be adding labor costs on top of that...going to be recovering from those expenses for a while...

Hope you have better luck with yours!

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Old 12-02-2018, 09:13 PM
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ive had them off, apart, and back together; if youre even just handy with a screwdriver you can save yourself the labor costs
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:11 AM
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I don't see how to get the latch assembly apart. There's a brass colored metal cover over the actual latch part of the assembly, which looks like it's riveted on, all the way through the assembly. I can get the plastic cap off the door lock mechanism/gears on the lower part of the assembly, but can't figure out how to access the actual latch. Maybe I don't need to, to fix it, but seeing what's going on in there might help me figure out what isn't working. Without getting the passenger side latch off, I don't have anything to compare it to. I can see that it isn't working right, but not having seen one before, I can't figure out what's missing or wrong. I'm going to try once more to get the passenger side door open by taking the exterior handle out. Maybe I can find the right lever to push or pull through that hole. I'm not having any luck from the inside, especially since all I have to visualize what I'm trying to blindly move is a non-functioning latch from the driver side. I can move all sorts of levers on that one, but none of them move the actual latch, so it's not much help with figuring out the passenger side.

But I'm at least close to buying a new driver side latch assembly. Having a passenger door that won't open is something I can deal with for a week or so and keep working on. A door that won't close, though...that just doesn't work.

We'll see.

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Old 12-03-2018, 06:41 AM
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Not sure if anyone has experience with this, but I was talking to the guy at the dealership parts department and he couldn't see any reason a non-powered assembly wouldn't fit. Couldn't guarantee it, but he felt pretty confident. $160 vs $400, so it's worth a shot. I ordered the non-powered assembly for the driver side and I'll keep working on getting passenger door open.
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Old 12-03-2018, 09:21 AM
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yea those mechanisms are riveted shut; i just soaked em good with WD40 and blasted with an air compressor, it cleared out a lot of the dust and junk, but I still have problems with my drivers side latch
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:58 AM
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Alright. Well I have an appointment Wed to leave the truck with a mechanic to get the passenger side open. No matter what I push, pull or lift through either side of the door, it won't open. At least I did half their work for them already. I have the exterior handle off, interior door panel off, and the passenger seat out.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:02 AM
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I know this will get buried eventually, but for anyone paying attention, you can replace your powered door lock/door latch assembly with a non-powered assembly. For my 98, a powered assembly like the one my truck came with was $400. Non powered was $160-ish.

So...for a fairly simple latch problem, had I just brought my truck to a shop and had them do a traditional fix, this repair would have cost me at least $1,000. Doing this yourself would cost just over $300, assuming you needed to do both sides at once. For me, with a good, cooperative Toyota parts guy and a local shop who knows me and was will willing to not only work on something I had already torn into and messed with, but would also install customer-supplied parts, I'm somewhere just under $400.
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:56 PM
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Last update. I got the passenger door latch installed and the door back together. For what it's worth, the only thing that was wrong with that side, I now realize, is that the brand new handle broke. One pull on the brand new outside handle on a 15 degree day with the door locked, and it broke. Driver side is so far fine, but for anyone considering the $10-13 option for replacing handles, instead of the $137 option, it's something to consider.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 83 View Post
Last update. I got the passenger door latch installed and the door back together. For what it's worth, the only thing that was wrong with that side, I now realize, is that the brand new handle broke. One pull on the brand new outside handle on a 15 degree day with the door locked, and it broke. Driver side is so far fine, but for anyone considering the $10-13 option for replacing handles, instead of the $137 option, it's something to consider.
The OEM Toyota door handle is much cheaper through Amazon. Here it is for $96 with free shipping.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B005VWRJBU/ref=sr_1_15_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1544251957&sr=8-15&keywords=2000+tacoma+door+handle+passenger&condition=new https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B005VWRJBU/ref=sr_1_15_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1544251957&sr=8-15&keywords=2000+tacoma+door+handle+passenger&condition=new
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Old 12-08-2018, 07:17 AM
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Cool, thanks. Unless my passenger side was just a dud, the extra cost is worth it for OEM. I'll let you know if the driver side breaks this winter...
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