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Toyota Sequoia Rear Hatch Door Problems



  • I forgot to ask you if you ended up going with a metal latch or the plastic latch. Will either one work?
  • I am having a problem with the rear hatch door not opening, I can hear it locking
    & unlocking but has only opened a few times and that is only when I have the right back door opened, it's a hit & miss situation. The window operates fine though. Before I take it to the dealer for the cost of an arm & leg I would like to repair it myself. Any Help or direction would be greatly appreciated.
  • jafwojafwo Posts: 1
    edited June 2010
    Not wanting to pay over $500.00 for Toyota to fix my hatch, I put off fixing this DEFECT for about a year, until my mechanic told me that he has fixed quite a bit of these, $190.00 parts and labor, and 3 hours, and it's done.... I also was looking to beef-up the part by replacing the handle or maybe substituting anything that would break easily, but when my mechanic showed me the DEFECTIVE existing part...the handle and the hook are one molded piece... plastic!!!! so it would take some engineering. So if your in Southern California, San Bernadino area, I know where you can get this done cheap.
  • rockbrainrockbrain Posts: 1
    Over the last two weeks I've spent another $2k on my recurring tailgate problem with my 2003 Sequoia. This will be the fifth time it got stuck and wouldn't open. My favorite episode was when it got stuck out in Nevada on an off-road camping trip (getting the gear in and out of the passenger doors was a real treat). Then we got a flat, but couldn't access the spare because the rear gate was stuck. So we eventually had to bend the bottom of the door up a bit to get the wrench in to lower the spare. We took it back to Toyota (this was the 4th time the door broke) and they told us we would need to replace the door at our expense to get it to work because we bent it.

    We took the car to a local body shop to have the door replaced. But apparently they didn't do it quite right. Over the last year, water got into the door panel and messed up the circuit board, so the door wouldn't open anymore. So I took it to Toyota who said they wouldn't fix the electronics until the leak was fixed and that a body shop should fix the leak. I took it to a body shop who told me they couldn't find the leak until they could open the door and that it was stuck because of an electrical issue. Back at the Toyota dealership they told me this time that they could only open the door by destroying the door in order to access the locking mechanism. Then I went back to the body shop who said that the dealership was nuts and to take it to another dealership. I took it to another dealership who got the door open and the latch fixed. But I got it home and the whole thing froze up again because the electrical system was still broken. That's where we are tonight. Despite many complaints at no time has any Toyota representative handed me any consideration other than another bill.
  • thexmanthexman Posts: 1
    The cheap plastic piece broke on my 2003 Sequoia about 14 months ago (of course it wasn't covered under the warranty anymore). The dealer said it would cost almost $300 to fix, so I bought the replacement part online for $65 and found an out-of-work mechanic who replaced it for $80. Unfortunately, the handle broke again today, same exact way as the first, the cheap plastic part that takes the most stress in the entire handle and which is placed on one side of the handle, so that you create extra torque every time use it. This piece really does seem designed to fail! And would it kill them to put a hatch release button somewhere else in the car? Either on the inside of the lift gate or somewhere in the front of the car would work. The '82 Buick Century wagon my parents had when I was growing up had a liftgate release button inside the glove compartment and it was a very useful feature, one that should really be standard on a vehicle that costs as much as the Sequoia! Does anyone know if I can get such a button installed in my Sequoia, or if anyone makes a liftgate handle that is made out of metal and can actually perform it's desired function for more than just a couple months longer than its pathetic warranty!
  • edoc2000edoc2000 Posts: 1
    I started having the same problem with my 2010 Limited. Out of nowhere the power back door stoppe working. I haven't brought it back to the dealer yet, but will give an update when I find out what the problem is. Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have not heard from me.
  • lockman14lockman14 Posts: 3
    edited July 2010
    There is actually an easier way to open the tailgate. Roll the rear window down and use a wedge, you can make one out of wood real easy or buy one made out of hard rubber for a couple of dollars. Carefully put the wedge between the inside weatherstripping and the glass. It doesn't take a lot to to make a small 1/4 inch gap that will allow you to look at the inside. Using a good bright flashlight look down inside the door right above the handle and you will see the cable assembly. There is a wire that may block your view a little but take your time. Once you spot the cable assembly use a long thin screwdriver or pretty much anything that is strong and will fit inside the opening you have created, push down on the opposite side of the part where the cable hooks into and the tailgate will pop open. You may have to pull the tailgate while doing this but it's a lot easier then being cramped in the back sweating your you know what off. Once you look inside the door panel it will all make sense, it's very easy to do. It took me less than 2 minutes to open the tailgate. Then follow the instructions given by " heytomsequoia" for disassembly. If you take your time and relax and think about all the money you are saving by doing it yourself that should help.
  • blwhflblwhfl Posts: 3
    just broke-will not open and was getting ready to pack for trip to take my son to college--go Toyota!!!

    add mine to the long list of Sequoia owners with hatch problems
  • kb32kb32 Posts: 1
  • blwhflblwhfl Posts: 3
    that did not open to anything that was related to my issue/thanks anyway
  • thexmen: This is in response to your broken handle. I own a Locksmith business in Jacksonville, Fl. I have dealt with so many of the broken handle issues I finally came up with my own fix for that cheap plastic molded piece. I use a heavy duty steel sex bolt that once in place not only can take the pressures of opening the hatch but the way I have it designed the bolt is capable of moving back and forth riding along the release part of the handle. This allows for the part to always have the least amount of pressure on it while opening, which of course means it will probably outlast the vehicle.
    The first time I saw how cheaply designed this handle was there was absolutely no way I was going to use the same type of handle again, just so a year or less down the road I could come back to the same job and repeat. I fix and replace the handle for $150 and I have done so many it only takes me a little over an hour. If anyone would like to email me I can be reached at [email protected]
  • I'm a Locksmith in Jacksonville Florida and I have fixed so many of these handles on the rear hatch that I can do it in my sleep. I have found a simple solution to fixing the broken handles. I brought one in to all the Toyota dealerships and they all agree it's the best and easiest fix they have seen. The best thing is it could be easily added when they do the original mold of the handle. I've taken pictures of a repaired and I even have previous customers that are willing to say how well the fix works. I have sent this idea to Toyota in person and online and not one person has responded. It's total cost for my fix on the handle itself is less than a dollar and it's metal. I tried but they don't want to listen to someone not associated with toyota research and development or with the company in any position.
  • Lockman, your mistake is believing that Toyota is altruistic and wants to improve its vehicle reliability, which they don't, because they want to keep you handing over your dollars over to their dealers on a statistically predictable periodic basis for parts and labor. This rear latch mechanism has been used for at least a decade (the identical part was used on both my 1999 Toyota Sienna and my 2007 Toyota Sequoia - where both have broken) and it is a well-known 'defect' within Toyota but they know it keeps the soccer moms coming back with their credit card as reliably as the 'Check Engine' light that illuminates every 5,000 miles.

    When my Sequoia's rear latch broke, I checked eBay and found a plastic replacement part for $17.00 and a cast METAL version of this part on eBay for $33.90 (including shipping). My wife, being the wonderful woman as she is, thought she would do me a favor and take it into Phillips Toyota in Leesburg, FL dealership. She was told that the part was not even available in metal and that the plastic replacement part alone was $76.81, with an installed price of $280.34. Needless to say, I bought the METAL part on eBay for $33.90 and installed it myself. Total cost $33.90 for a metal part that will last forever vs. $280.34 for a plastic part that would be broken and back to the dealer again next year.

    I will not even consider buying another Toyota vehicle. Their build quality is like the old gray mare: she ain't what she used t' be.
  • Kudos, Heytomsequoia, for doing a great job documenting the process of replacing the broken Sequoia rear door latch. Having just done this job myself today, my only comments to add to Tom's are that:

    First: In the 2nd paragraph of his instructions, Tom states that you need to take ALL of the trim off including the top trim. Though he is correct that you need to pop out the interior rear window pillar trim off on both the left and right sides, you do NOT need to remove the trim from the top of the window. Just pry the left and right side pillar trim pieces out firmly. Again, be prepared to pull out firmly since there are 3 of the white plastic Toyota trim snaps holding each pillar side trim piece on (I found it helps to use a screwdriver to pry/pop each snap out from the underside of the trim piece).

    Second: When the rear door latch is broken and the rear door is closed tight, it's cramped and miserable to squeeze your whole body behind the 3rd row seat and is not easy to get your fingers to pry up the tightly-secured interior trim panel and pop it off from the inside. My first instinct was wrong: I tried to pull the interior panel upwards. No, the panel is snapped in place by 8-10 of those white Toyota interior trim snaps and only THEN it will lift up. My bassackwards approach (which actually worked very well) was to roll the rear window down, stand on the outside at the back of the vehicle, and then use a stubby flat screwdriver to gently and slowly pry the interior panel weatherstrip up and over the metal lip backing it and THEN pop off the interior trim panel by pushing the trim forward while standing on the outside.

    In Tom's 5th paragraph, he says that your arms get torn up by the large gears of the power window mechanism when trying to remove the two nuts from the back of the broken handle. I started down this same path too, but fortunately noticed two half-dollar sized rubber grommets at about where the nuts are located. If you pop those rubber grommets out, you can get a 10mm socket wrench with a 6" extension to access those nuts without ripping up your arms.

    Finally, I suggest that everyone here buy their replacement part on eBay or Amazon where you can get your replacement Toyota Sequoia rear door latch in METAL instead of plastic for under $35. Don't buy the $70+ replacement part from Toyota (why would you reward a company that makes this known defective part for more than a decade?) and, besides, Toyota only sells cheap plastic replacements when metal OEM versions are half the price and will last for the life of the vehicle.

    Any questions, you can email me at [email protected] and I'll be happy to try to answer.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Even better, just post in here. We all benefit when a problem is discussed on the open forum. Thanks.
  • Thanks to the online advise I was able to fix my rear latch handle for $33.90. However, when I have it all back together I can't get the rear door latch to lock. The rear door key system works fine - operating all the car door locks. The rear latch just won't lock. Do I have a connection problem with the new metal handle? What could the problem be now?
  • My 2008 has started with the same problem. I was hoping you had found a fix.
  • I had my rear latch fixed from a local repair shop for over $300 (cost is much higher at local Toyota Dealer) and not even a year later, it broked again! I went on with no opening of my rear door for a year and a half now. My concern is that this problem may occured if I fixed it again. In my opinion, it has to be a defective, or lack of something. Everything of this car is falling apart! I'm putting more money into this car when I could just save it up to buy a new car! I had other Toyota cars, but the Sequoia is by far worst, and I do not recommend it to any family and friends.
  • Do yourself a favor and go onto eBay and buy the METAL rear latch for less than $35. If you're mechanically inclined, you can fix it yourself; if you're not, you can take the part to your mechanic who will install it.

    It won't break again. The job should take a competent mechanic about 90 minutes. If you pay more than $120 for the installation by a non-dealer, you're paying too much!
  • We are the original owners of a 2001 Sequoia with over 200,000 miles. We have the "rare" (according to TSB EL007-01) high beam indicator inoperative, the drive indicator inoperative, excessive brake wear, many plastic pieces falling off, and the continuing rear window and door handle problems. We replaced the handle with the metal version last time, but when we put everything back together we developed an electrical problem somewhere in the system. The following items quit working: running lights, door open indicator, passenger windows from the driver's door panel, rear window and door lock from the remote control or from the driver's controls. If you use the key to unlock the driver's door, the horn alarm will sound until you put the key in the ignition. Intermittently, the alarm will sometimes go off unlocking with the remote control. Individual windows all work fine at their individual door controls. The rear lock and window work with fine with the key in the back. My local mechanic found the following diagnostic codes: B1211, B1212, B1214, B1242, B1271, and B1287.

    When we disconnect the rear MPX ECU, the electrical problems go away from the rest of the car, but the rear door is completely dead, even with the key. We did a visual inspection of the wires and don't see any frays. I hate to replace the costly rear ECU or body ECU unless I can prove they are the cause. Any ideas out there?
  • Can you help me find the same part. I have a 2002 Toy Seq. and this is the second time the back latch has broken. I did a search on ebay but couldn't find it. Can you help me find it? Thanks a million.
  • On eBay, I just successfully searched the term: "toyota sequoia rear door handle metal". They're currently selling for $33.90 as a Buy It Now. To the best of my knowledge, most of the model years all use the identical part.
  • I liked the idea first read over on TundraSolutions to reinforce the plastic arm at the base where it breaks off.

    Before installing the new handle today, I took modeling clay to make a collar on the underside of the new handle where the plastic arm attaches.[covered three sides of the new arm] I made up a good glob of two-part JBWeld epoxy and filled in the void to provide very strong reinforcement of the arm's base to the underside of the handle.

    Interesting development: I put the new handle with JBWeld into the oven at lowest heat (~150d) to speed the epoxy setting. The heat accelerated the set the epoxy and the modeling clay melted and ran out --- leaving surprisingly little cleanup of the modeling clay collar I had installed.

    {True Confession: Had I anticipated the clay melting I would have put a piece of aluminum foil under the piece to catch the melting clay. But I didn't so, I had to cleanup the gooey melted clay on the bottom of the oven!}
  • I'm having the same problem as everyone and have taken the panel off of the door and removed the latch cable but when i pull on the cable the door will not open. It sounds line the power lock is working but I dont know for sure. also my plastic latch is good so I am past that point. Any help would be GRREAT.
    Thanks Walesgorm
  • If your door is still not opening after pulling the cable the problem may be the actual latch at the bottom of the door. I had this issue once and it was not fun. What I had to do to get the door open was lower the spare tire, which was not easy itself becasue have to reach through the spare tire to turn the mechanism to lower the spare since you cannot access the port for lowering the tire. After the spare is lowered you need to cut the bolts that hold the latch catch in place. A new latch can be purchased for around $50, I think. The latch becomes coroded and cannot move to relase. If this is your problem it is a pain in the butt to fix, but can be done. If you need more detail let me know.
  • I think that would be the mother of all PITAs. I feel for you.

    Here's my suggestion. I have used an aircraft grade penetrating oil made by KANOLABS ( on really tough jobs such as OXYGEN SENSOR removal.
    It's called Kroil/AeroKroil. Way better than WD40.

    Kroil/AeroKroil Loosens Frozen Metal Parts!

    My suggestion is to liberally soak the latch mechanism from inside the door in this KROIL a couple of times over a couple days. Then try exercising the latch mechanism with the cable pulls and solenoid unlocking/locking button pushes in the hope it frees enough to open the door. Then replace it when a new one (bolts right in).

    If that fails, you probably have the fun task described by peterson70 ahead of you some fine weekend, but quickly before Winter arrives.
  • I'm still looking for advice on putting things back together after replacing the broken handle in the plastic license tag holder piece. HEATERSWA and other instructions say "reverse the process" which is not instructive as to how to get the cable reinstalled and the white plastic shield over the cable back in place. They don't even mention this.


    Help - need some advice from you EXPERIENCED in fixing this.

    How do you reassemble the new handle and license plate frame and get it back into place?
    WHen, how do you attach the cable?

    I can't fit the handle assembly back into the door with the cable attached.
    I guess you tilt and fit the handle through the door cut-out. But I can't fit it in when the cable is attached and as it sticks out to the left in the back.

    So how do you attach the cable onto the new latch after its installed. Can you reach in there with the window UP?
    Do you have to remove the window regulator mechanism?

    I haven't seen any of the instructions listed describe any part of this RE-INSTALL process.
  • I'm having the same problems with my Sequora. It sounds like the lock is unlocking but the handle is not working.

    How were you able to lower the spare tire? Also, what did you have to do to cut off or remove the bolts to the latch. I
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