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Toyota Sequoia Rear Hatch Door Problems

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  • Toyota should be ashamed of this problem, it is so common, and they refuse to acknowledge that the rear latch assembly is really poorly designed.

    You need to pop off the finish panels around the door from the inside. Start at the top and work around to the main panel. You will have to remove the bold that holds the strap on to the main panel and then remove the panel.

    Once you have gotten the panels off you can physically open the rear hatch by pulling on the cable that releases the latch. You may have to use a pair of pliers for this. Once the hatch is up you need to clean the latch mechanism. This gets really dirty from water through the door, under the seam and road dirt accumulation. You may need to get a new cable assembly also if the cable has stretched.

    Once you have cleaned the latch mechanism (make sure it is moving smoothly) attach the new cable and you should be ok.
  • rasha95rasha95 Posts: 3
    Has anyone had success getting their latch to open when its in the closed position and pulling on the cable assembly won't release the door? I fixed my the handle but now the latch won't release. HELP!
  • telejnkietelejnkie Posts: 2
    I had the same broken rear hatch handle on my 2003 Sequoia. After buying a new part for $89 I took on the task myself. Thankfully there are some good tips on doing this. What I'd like to add is this. Don't buy a new part, it's the same piece of plastic as the one that broke. Fix the part you have. Here how. Align the broken piece in it's original position and carefully drill a small hole from the outside into the broken piece. Get some gorrilla glue and a small screw. Put the glue in the hole and at the point of the break and carefully, slowly, put in the screw until you have a snug and very strong fit. Once dry this is stronger than the original. Good luck. You can do the same type of fix on the cheap plastic door handles.
  • rasha95rasha95 Posts: 3
    How did you end up getting past the plastic black box to reach the latch? My handle is good, but the latch is broken so I can't get my hatch to open by pulling on the cable.
  • dmorris68dmorris68 Posts: 1
    I'm struggling with that black plastic cover over the latch assembly in my 2001 Limited also. It looks like there are 2 or 3 small phillips head screws holding it on, but I see others are saying it just popped off. I can't seem to get in there to get them off, so I guess I'll have to remove the window regulator and use a mirror with a stubby screwdriver, unless someone has a better idea. I'm interested to hear how some of you got this off when your tailgate was stuck closed.

    Pretty sure my lock actuator is bad, the one in my rear passenger door went out about a week before the tailgate actuator went out. Coincidence? I don't know. But I get no sound from the tailgate actuator when I lock/unlock the doors. The cable is under tension and pulls on the latch release (I used pliers to pull it directly, no dice), so I'm sure it's locked. I need to get to the actuator which is under that black plastic cover and flip it unlocked by hand, but I can't get past the damned thing.

    I can't believe there's not a manual lock switch for the tailgate like there is for every other door on the vehicle. It desperately needs one.
  • Hang in there crazy dad, its been a few years since I replaced the latch on my 2003 Sequoia but remember having the same difficulty. I ended up reaching across from the other side (with a few forearm scrapes) to access the bolts. Please see the information below for additional help. I saved it from another owner.

    Well my 2003 Sequoia's rear latch broke and my power rear window works intermittently. I figured I would warn folks that it was not the easiest repair to replace this latch, but I guess since I purchased the latch on Amazon.com for $23 including shipping I did save myself at least $175 to $375 depending on hearing that the dealer wants between $200 and $500 for the repair. Hope you have skinny arms and don't mind holding your arms over your head for most of the repair. Here is how I did the repair:

    First, you have to climb in the back of your Sequoia since you can't open the hatch. Take a flashlight, a 10 mm socket and some patients back there with you. a box fan sitting in the backseat blowing some air on you helps too if Sequoia is in a hot location. There is a pulldown strap that has to be removed first. Slide the plastic cover "up" to reveal the 10mm/phillips bolt that needs to be removed to get the inside plastic cover off. Then you will have to take ALL the plastic molding off to get this cover off. Start with the top molding in the center ABOVE the window. It pops off and comes off first. Then take the molding on the left and right sides of the window. It pops off too. Now you can remove the large plastic panel covering the lower half of the hatch. Squeeze your fingers into the window area and pull "UP" on the large getting the top section of the cover over the metal frame at the bottom of the window. Once over this pull "OUT" on the cover since the lower sections snap on.

    Take a deep breath because there is more covers to take off. Now you will need to take the 10mm socket and remove 8 bolts holding a metal cover over the power window mechanism. This cover has to have to cables unplugged if you want to get it out of your way. I recommend this after I did not do this at first and having this cover hanging by the cables and getting in your way just adds to the frustration if you take a few minutes and unplug it.

    now with this metal cover removed get your flashlight and look in from the drivers side of the power window mechanism. You should see a cable going from the latch (bottom center of hatch) to behind the license plate (where your broken latch is that you have to manually open). There is a clear plastic cover over the latch and cable. Pull this off. Then feel where the cable ends. Assuming the cable is still in the metal latch mechanism, push UP and to the PASSENGER Side of the car with this end of the latch extending the cable and hopefully popping open the hatch.

    If you have made it this far, go in and take a break, relax and regain your calmness. Now, to remove the broken latch you have to first remove your license plate and the screws holding the plate. Then, from the inside of the hatch there is one 10mm bolt holding the key lock mechanism on. Take this bolt off and let the lock down into the hatch. Now for the toughest two nuts to take off. Inside the hatch there are two bolts that are part of the latch that you must remove 10mm nuts from. You can almost see the Driver Side bolt and I took these out with a smaller 1/4" 10mm socket wrench. The nut on the passenger side it really hard to reach. Your forearms get torn up the the large gears for the power rear window, but once you get these two 10mm nuts off the latch from the inside you are almost there. Now with the key lock removed and these two nuts, on the inside of the hatch at the 4 corners of your outer license plate "trim" you will see snap in mounts. I squeezed these from the backside so that the license plate trim comes out. Unless you want to disconnect the power to the license plate lamps, just flip the frame over to remove the broken latch from this frame. There are two phillips head screws holding the latch to the frame. Once you get the old latch off, screw the new latch on. NOTE: Take care to screw the latch on evenly and all the way in or you may have to take it apart again to get the license plate frame to sit flush and snap back in.

    With the new latch installed, replace the license plate frame snapping it in from the outside and then put the 2 10mm bolts on either side of the latch from the inside as well as reinstall the key lock. Don't forget to connect the cable to the new latch. I removed the cable from a tydown block to give me more slack in the cable. Using the flashlight, take the end of the cable and thread the "ball" on the end through the slot on the new latch and press the outer shielding of the cable back as it was original. Replace the clear cover over the latch mechanism. At this point, test your new latch and make sure your license plate frame is snapped back in flush.

    If so, then reinstall the metal cover with the 8 10mm screws. Plug back in the wire harness (though I am still having trouble with my rear power window). Then put the plastic cover and trim back on in reverse order... large plastic cover, left and right window trim and top trim. Then put the pull down strap back on and replace the plastic cover on the strap by sliding it down.

    Hope this helps. I still wish there was a way to get all the power window gear out of the way and give you more access to do this job.
  • I'm just adding another Toyota customer's complaint about the rear door latch of my 2003 Sequoia. The latch broke last summer. I bought a new latch from the dealership and installed it myself. It took about 3 hours - it was extremely difficult but I wanted to save $350. Bad news.... the new latch broke a couple of days ago.

    My neighbor has a 2006 Sequoia and he too had to fix the latch, twice!!!

    Toyota needs to step-up - there should be a class-action lawsuit. Is Toyota proud of it's product? I bought the toyota because of perceived quality. NEVER AGAIN!
  • saadat1saadat1 Posts: 5
    Hi guys!
    with your help i was able to remove the panel etc. to repair my latch.
    now there is a black plastic cover that i cannot remove.any idea how to take this plastic cover off so i can get to the latch.my cable is ok and my handle is not broken.i think the latch is jammed and so it wont open.
    lots of thanks for helping each other
  • saadat1saadat1 Posts: 5
    i was able to locate to small screws holding the plastic cover of the latch on my hatch back.
    now i cannot remove the electrical connection from it so as to remove the plastic cover and finally open my hatch back which is not opening.the cable is intact and the door handle is not broken
  • rasha95rasha95 Posts: 3
    saadat1- I got one of the electrical connections to disconnect but not the other, I didnt know there were two little screws so I cut my plastic box in half. Anyways, after you get past the black box, I'm still at a loss. The latch is self contained and not exposed once the black box is off. Anyone know where to go from here?
  • saadat1saadat1 Posts: 5
    do you know where i can buy the cable for the latch. My cable is broken
  • saadat1saadat1 Posts: 5
    once you see the wire from the latch to the lock.You will see a lever where the wire is connected to the lock.Pull this lever towards the driver side and push hard on the door to open.The lock mechanism is frozen by the dirt and rust.Once you pull the lever the lock is released and you just need to force the door open.
    I sat inside and pushed the door out with my feet
  • saadat1saadat1 Posts: 5
    OK guys,first of all, Thank you very much for helping each other.With your help and advice I was able to to open the hatchback of my 2004 sequoia.
    What i fount out was that my handle and wire were not broken.My lock had frozen.After removing the panel etc. I found a black plastic cover on the lock.After hard work i was able to feel, with my fingers, 2 small screws holding that black plastic cover.I used a small screw driver to remove that cover.There are 2 electrical connections too. I could remove the top one but couldnot remove the bottom one.So I squeezed the plastic cover and reached the lever where the wire is attached.I tried to pull the lever manually but the door still wont open.Si pulled thelever and pushed the door with both feet(sitting inside the vehicle).The door opened.Then I had to remove 3 bolts holding the lock and remove the lock.It was not working.So i bought a new lock from dealer for $119.It came with the wire.Removed the old wire and put the new wire and lock.It is working now.By the way no need to remove the glass
  • algeorgealgeorge Posts: 1
    I have a 2007 Sequoia with a latch that broke today while trying to load the vehicle for vacation. I called the local dealership....and yep, you guessed it, almost $500 before taxes. Funny thing is, they "magically" had this part in stock because they replace it ALL THE TIME. I called Toyota Corporate and filed a formally complaint citing the almost 35,000 claims against this one part's continued failures.
    I was told they would need 48 hours to look into the issue. The saving grace is the fact I had a claim when the vehicle was certified and I mentioned the latch having issues at that time. I won't hold my breath that Toyota will do the right thing here with a part their own dealerships recognize as a problem.
    For all of you that had this issue....did your dealership tell you the lock needed to be replaced as well?
  • I did have the same problem months ago, and I called Toyota about that. I am from NorCal and labor alone in Palo Alto is $325 plus the parts. I checked the product online and bought the metal one (not the plastic provided by Toyota, pretty cheap and lasts only for a year or two) for $30 plus tax and shipping cost. Then checked youtube to get the video tutorial on how to replace it. Luckily, it's been 7 months and still don't have any problem.

    Dealership will cut your wallet into pieces when you go there. Just for labor alone is a killer.

    Hope you got a better response from their corporate office.

    Goodluck!!
  • alice24alice24 Posts: 1
    Dear saadat1, (June 21st, 2012 4:01 PM)
    Our 2007 Sequoia rear latch broke this weekend as well. My husband was pretty upset. I told him I would check the internet to see if other owners had the same problem. As you know it is a common occurrence.

    What has happened since the 48 hours? Has Toyota Corporate responded since your last conversation with them? Toyota says they need to see our vehicle before making any decision. I am having it looked at, at the dealership tomorrow. I hope it will be covered we have the extended warranty, but I was told Toyota would not approve anything without looking at our car and deciphering it was not negligence on our part.

    Please respond either way good or bad on this site.Time is of the essence. I will check for your response this evening. Sincerely, Hope extended warranty covers it!!! And it becomes a recall item!!
  • HI Alice24,

    What happened now with your Sequoia? I hope everything is okay now. There's a lot of toyota owners who are having problems with rear latch door handle, and I am one of them. I just hope they will replace it for free if it still cover with their extended warranty. If not, I would suggest to just buy the metal part at Amazon.com and if your husband have some experience on small repairs he can check youtube and look for replacing rear hatch door handle. Quite time needed to do this but I bet you you will save more or less $400.00.

    THank you and good luck!
  • jim452jim452 Posts: 1
    I'm having a problem opening my back hatch on my 2003 Toyota Sequoia. I think the handle is ok, also the back window will not work.
    Thanks,
    Jim452
  • I am on my 3rd new latch so I ordered a metal replacement this time. I am a single mother of three so money is tight. I did the replacement myself with the help of this forum and some Youtube. All was good until my hatch would not open 3 months later- mommy! I went back in for more and removed inside trim to get at the cable and pulled but to no avail. My guess was the lock actuator and after reading forums I wasn't going to fight the darn plastic cover on actuator so I took a two month break. I went back in today and decided to go for it. I gave that cable some mean pulls and again nothing. I grabbed my remote door opener and started pressing unlock while pulling and nothing. Then door automatically locked itself on the timer. I then pressed unlock on my remote then pulled cable and IT OPENED! VICTORY IS OURS! I am now going to replace door lock actuator along with new cable- wish me luck.
  • 5050iam5050iam Posts: 2
    Hi, I have an 02 limited and I lam falling out of love with this vehicle. I'm amazed how. at the time such an expensive vehicle. can have so many avoidable nuisance defects in manufacturing and design.

    With this said, my latch broke again, the first time was when I returned home from a family vacation in the winter and had to drive home from the airport with the door kind of closed with my family and luggage...
    This time happened the day after returning home from a vacation....Checked with my local mechanic again and the price was about $350.00 for the replacement. I have seen a lot of videos on youtube and this doesn't look that difficult, just a pain in the but.

    I have been looking on line for the new parts online. Can you/anyone share where you got your metal handle? Also is that just the assembly or does the original handle still work?

    It's hard to tell from the pictures of what you get, but the ones that I have seen are all black and I have a white sequoia.... Would really appreciate any help anyone could share....

    thanks!

    brian
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