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Toyota Sequoia Rear Hatch Door Problems



  • 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 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 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.

  • 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 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.
  • 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....


  • Got my all metal handle from: 4294967117+4294959021+4294958905&Nr=AND(universal:0)&sv=0&sc=Most+Popular:Tailgate+Handle

    your existing handle should also be black and not seen anyway. yes a pain to replace, but you get to know your SUV.
  • I wife desperatley wants a power controlled hatch back on our 2004 toyota Sequoia. We cannot afford to sell ours and upgrade- only 64K mi. and in perfect condition. Is there an aftermarket power unit anyone knows of? S.O.S HELP!!
  • I've got a 2006 Sequoia and the rear hatch handle just broke today. Just ordered a replacement all-metal handle from Amazon. YouTube has some videos on repairing this (even some redneck work arounds that costs $0).
  • We purchased our 2006 Sequoia new in 06. Not more than 6 months after the purchase the rear hatch locking mechanism failed to open the door. Took it into Toyota and received a $450 enema. Chalking it up to not knowing the history of this defect, I paid the bill.
    Approx. a year later, here we go again. Into Toyota it goes. Wife get a call the mechanism is full of dust and not releasing. She informed the service guy we live in the country and drive dirt roads every day. He told her, get this, "the vehicle is not made for off roading". She told him it is a 4 wheel drive vehicle with the off road and towing package. She asked him to put his statement on the invoice. Of course he refused.
    I have since replaced the locking mechanism 4 time myself. I have replaced the handle on the door twice.
    As for the handle, purchase only a metal replacement. They can be found on ebay. Before you install it, get a stiff piece of wire and wrap one end around the area where the cable attaches up and over the spring to the little "ear" that is depressed when the hand engages. This is to give more durability to the handle without bending the "ear".
    TIPS: As for the locking mechanism, get some brake kleen and silicone spray from your favorite parts dealer "NOT TOYOTA". Open your rear hatch and remove the plastic cover protecting the lock. Put the straws in the brake kleen and silicone spray cans. Get a paper towel. First spray the brack kleen inside the lock catching the dripping with the paper towel. Repeat until fluid flows clean. Allow to dry. Follow up with a light coating of silicone spray. Leave door open for an hour or leave winows down overnight to allow to air out and dry. Repeat process once a month. The grease Toyota puts in the lock is a dust collector. You need to get all the grease out of the lock to prevent future problems. This has worked well for me.
    Too bad becouse it is a great vehicle otherwise. Unfortunatly TOYOTA HAS DECIDED NOT TO STAND BEHIND IT'S PRODUCT as demonstrated by the history of this defect.
    We are once again in the market for a new SUV. It will not be a Toyota. We require something that be be driven on something other than concreted and the manufaturer stands behind.
  • I got this from another site.

    ToyotaTom :
    The first thing you'll want to check is the power back door cancel switch on the dash
    ToyotaTom :
    This will disable the power back door and it will be rendered inoperative
    ToyotaTom :
    It should be labeled "pwr door off"
    ToyotaTom :
    If this button is pushed IN, then the back door is turned OFF. If the button is OUT, then the back door should be working
    ToyotaTom :
    If this button does not make it work, then it will need to be taken in to the dealer for a proper diagnosis. We'll need to plug in the laptop and look at the full data list of everything the back door is seeing, and determine what isn't right. It may be a touch sensor, a latch out of adjustment, a little limit switch, or a bunch of different things. Unfortunately this will be a hands on project that only the dealer is going to be able to communicate with the correct computer to retrieve the data necessary for a proper diagnosis.
  • My 2005 Toyota Sequoia recently came back from the Body Shop after some accident which required the entire rear door be replaced.

    The rear door has lights integrated into the door itself which appear to be brake lights and reverse lights.

    Upon return the RED lights in the Rear Door do not work???

    When should they come on;

    a) when headlights are turned on
    b) when brakes are applied
    c) hazards
    d) never
  • sfclakesfclake Posts: 1
    Hey jafwo, do you have the name of the mechanic who fixes the rear hatch handle on the sequoia, I live in San Bernardino CA, mind just broke. Thank you, my email is, [email protected]
  • lctskilctski Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Sequoia and have had to replace the back hatch latch 8 times!!!! The window hasn't worked in 5 years due to rust and the entire door is rusting!!! Rust under the brake light and around the window! When is Toyota going to stand behind their vehicle and recall this? I would love to have a functioning back door in my very expensive truck I bought new in 2003! Problems started at year 1 with 45k miles!
  • timflantimflan Posts: 1
    edited August 2013
    I'm a DIY kind of guy. So using the instructions here, plus some YouTube videos, I tackled the liftgate hatch handle replacement this week. My findings...

    •The "All Metal" version on Amazon is MOSTLY metal, and appears to be much better quality throughout. It weighs almost twice as much as the original.

    •Getting the trim off the inside (with the hatch closed, unable to open) is easier if you do it from the OUTSIDE, through the window.

    •Be sure to close the window before you start unplugging electrical connectors.

    •The two rubber plugs covering access to the impossible-to-reach 10mm nuts that secure the handle to the door would have been REALLY convenient, had I discovered them prior to doing it the hard way.

    •It's important to seat the cable housing into the clip on the new handle assembly. The narrow "saddle" near the end of the cable housing fits tightly into the fork on the handle assembly. It's so tight on mine that I couldn't get it in without using a pry-bar to exert a bit of force on it. This was the trickiest part for me, honestly. Don't take a shortcut and just pull the entire cable housing end over the can slip off later, inside the door. Do it right.

    •SECURE THE CABLE HOUSING to the rear wall of the liftgate body. If clips are missing or broken, use some duct tape. This is important, because the window can catch on the cable housing if the cable housing is free floating in the door cavity. If it catches, bad things happen. I was lucky, and was able to diagnose and repair the NEW problem I inadvertently introduced with my mistake. Which brings me to the next item...

    •If your liftgate does not lock OR unlock reliably, you may be able to fix it yourself. Symptoms:

    (A) Door lock/unlock actuates, but you can't open the door even when you pull on the end of the cable.

    (B) Door lock/unlock actuates, but the door is always unlocked.

    Good news: Both (A) and (B) might be caused by the same issue. It was in my case. I was SUPER-fortunate in that I was able to get the door to open by fiddling around with the door lock/unlock and the window until it opened. Once I had it open, I played around with it in a variety of configurations, which is how I was able to experience both (A) and (B) intermittently.

    This really deserves it's own whole post, but I'll cut to the chase: If the cable housing has been yanked (by the window mechanism, in my case), it may have bent the forked clip where it attaches to the latch (not the handle...the latch at the bottom of the door). If you bend that forked clip back so it's square to the entire assembly (mine was pulled out a tiny bit, not quite square to the rest of the unit), you'll allow enough cable to return when the handle is released for the little levers to get back to their full at-rest positions. It's like adjusting the brake or shifter cables on a bicycle; the relationship between the end of the CABLE HOUSING and the end of the CABLE is critical. The little levers need to fully return in order for the door-lock actuator to be able to positively engage/disengage the latch cable.

    Boy, this is impossible to describe in words. Sorry about that. Unfortunately, in the heat of battle I wasn't about to stop and take pictures or video.
  • Why didn't Toyota install an interior latch opener!?? This is ridiculous!! I would think this would be a safety concern if anything! Cars can pop trunks from interior, mini-vans can pop back door latches with an interior button... WHY CAN'T SEQUOIA? I seriously think this should be a design recall since the handle keeps breaking and it is a safety hazard!
  • My 2005 SR5 rear hatch door latch finally snapped last week. After 150K miles, I thought I had one of those vehicles that didn't have that problem, but alas, a week ago I went to open it and "snap", the latch broke. I decided to take it to my Toyota dealer, and after three days at the dealership (didn't need the vehicle for that time) and $550, it is repaired. I agree with previous posters that Toyota should take responsibility for this part, since, in my opinion, it's not a normal "wear and tear" item. Also most door mechanisms last the lifetime of the vehicle. At least the dealership has a 12 month/12K guarantee on their work, so in that time I can decide whether to keep the vehicle or sell it.
  • Hi,
    I have an 04 Sequioa and the rear window stopped working about two years ago. I never bothered to fix it.... last week, the tailgate handlw broke and i had no choice but to tackele the problems.

    I learned that the Toyota replacement handle is a "plastic" piece of junk and many owners have had multiple failures with the factory replacement handle. I bought one at napa for about $55 that is "metal" and very sturdy.

    THere are several great youtube videos out there that walk you through the repair of the handle. watch a few then print out this great step by step... Thanks Piranamedia.....

    While i had the door apart, i also took a shot at the broken window problem. there is a defective "break" that must come out of the existing unit. It's only two nuts. I took the break out and reset the unit by:
    1: turning ignition to on;
    2: holding power window in up position for 10 seconds;
    3: turning car off.

    the motor reset. power window works perfectly. no new motor required.

    thanks all for posting. It made it worlds easier with your knowledge and walk throughs.
  • hongkong12hongkong12 Posts: 1
    edited January 2015
    We're you able to have your car locked and unlocked? I have the same issue. I bought a complete new power controller for the rear but I still cannot lock the car manually or with remote control. Please help.
  • I have had the rear handle on my 2007 Sequoia replaced or "fixed" 4 times in the last 2 years. My local Toyota dealer is a joke. I complained to Toyota customer service online, but they say they have no record of any issues with the rear handle of the Sequoia.

  • hamp3hamp3 Posts: 1

    Door locks in my 2007 Toyota 2007 SR5 are locking and unlocking randomly without activation. In 20012, a Toyota dealer determined that the rear door latch was broken and the window motor was shot. They replaced the rear door latch mechanism but said the rear window motor was shot. Dec 2013, the door latch failed to open again. I had the door latch repaired again. Window still not working. This pass weekend 17-20 Jan the door locks started locking and unlocking randomly again on its on. Currently the rear window is now stuck in the down position and will not close while engine is on or off. There's got to be a short somewhere. Any assistance provided is greatly appreciated.


  • ppikeppike Posts: 1

    I had the rear latch replaced in 2012 for $500.00+/- and again this week for $300.00. The dealer gave us a break on the labor.(Hah). My car is a 2001 model and it seems the latch lasted for 11 years the first time and 2 the second. There should be a recall on the latch.

  • aliminalimin Posts: 80

    Have a 2005 SR5 and had the rear latch replaced by the dealer in September, 2013. At that time I confirmed that they would cover repairs if the latch broke again for 12 months/12k miles. Broke again last week, took it in, and dealer repaired without charge. This must be a frequent repair since the dealer had the part in stock. Good to have it fixed (again), but I plan to trade the Sequoia soon.

  • 2001 Sequoia and a 1999 Sienna before that. Twice now on both vehicles the door latch mechanism has snapped from regular (not abusive) use. At the dealership this minute...Toyota of Puyallup. Service manager said he had never heard of it and that he could find no record of the problem in the Toyota database.

    THANK YOU, Internet people. I will be ordering a metal replacement and getting to know my SUV. And, never returning to this dealership that, at a minimum, wouldn't stand behind their own work from when they replaced it a year ago. (In spite it not working well when I left then.)
  • My toyota dealer was asking for 750$ labor plus $120 for parts. I got a shock of my life.

    Well you tube came to my rescue. This video helped me. Thank you youtube.

    It took me about 4 hrs. Well it saved me some serious dough.

  • Wow I just spent 4 hrs replacing my hatchback handle. The internet is wonderful. I found many videos showing how to do it and they warned me in advance to get the metal handle from ebay. After hooking it up and having to unhook it three times I finally had to remove the spongy gasket it came with to get it to work. I think it just wasn't reaching enough to work right. So its all put together and working now, but now the door wont lock. When I moved the window up and down after I was done, the window did seem to catch on something once. So I'm hoping "Timflans" post above will fix my problem.. Thanks in advance Timflan! I'll let you know.

    I've had my 2002 Sequoia for about 4 yeas now and didn't realize this latch problem existed until mine broke and I went on the internet to figure out what to do. My door handles have had minor sticking problems but have not broken yet. I WD-40'd everything today to help avoid a problem.

    wish me luck. tomorrow is another day of trying to get the door to lock now.
  • robhorobho Posts: 9
    cjtoyota, your comment justified why I paid the dealer $500 this past February to replace the rear hatch handle on my 2007 Sequoia. I saw the video and knew it was possible but also knew that it wouldn't be easy and certainly time consuming. I hated paying for it, but my wife INSISTED that I let someone else do it for me instead of spending a cold day working on the car. Bottom line is without a working handle you can't drop the spare tire!
  • My rear door handle on my 2001 Sequoia has been broken for a couple of months and I'm about to purchase the metal replacement handle from Amazon. I am unable to do the work myself, and do not wish to hire a Toyota service provider to do it, so I'm wondering if anyone on this thread can recommend an independent mechanic ANYWHERE in California who has performed the work successfully for a reasonable price. I live in the Bay Area, so I would prefer hiring someone locally, but I often visit L.A. and would not rule out finding someone there. Sacramento area works for me as well. Thank You.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Rising Sun Automotive
    68 Woodland Ave
    Ste B
    San Rafael, CA 94901
    Phone number (415) 459-2273

    A quick hop over the Richmond Bridge if coming from the East Bay
  • Ok, this thread is a few years old, but I have had the same problem with my 07 Toyota Sequoia in 2015 and 2016. Here is what I have found, and its an easy fix without being incredibly handy with tools. First, there are Youtube videos taking you step by step through how to do this repair correctly, so I won't reinvent the wheel. There are three things that I have found that can cause this problem. First is the handle is broken. Its cheap plastic and a waste of time. Don't buy it from the dealer, you can buy a metal one for 1/3 of the cost on Ebay, delivered to the door. If the latch is broken, then replace it following one of the videos on Youtube, which will show you how to correctly remove the rear door panel without breaking the clips. A little sweat equity will save you $500. I fixed my broken handle within an hour. I just put my iPad in the back of the sequoia with me and went step by step. Second problem I had....after I replaced the handle in December of 2015, the door stopped functioning in January of 2016. The handle was fine. The locking mechanism is fine, everything works but the door won't unlatch. I lowered the window, and put a wedge between the outside door window trim (not against the glass) and spread it so I could looking inside with a flashlight. Low and behold, the cable is stretched far enough that pulling the door lever never engages the release. SO, I took a coat hanger made a very small hook at the end, looped it around the cable stop on the end and pulled, releasing the door and opening the hatch. THIS IS IMPORTANT to be able to do because you can't get to your spare tire without the hatch, and I was out in the middle of nowhere deer hunting. If your cable is stretched, you have two options, buy a new cable (around $25 on eBay shipped, and I bought one for $19) or you can put another cable stop closer to the door handle slot so there is no slack. The cable stop is less than $2 at the hardware store, however, the tool to crimp it looks like a huge set go bolt cutters. There may be smaller versions that I am unaware of. I opted for the new cable. I followed the directions on Youtube to take off the back door panel as if I was repairing the broken handle and replaced the cable, which was fairly short and simple. It takes slightly less time because the door handle is already in place and you are not removing and replacing the old broken one. One other problem I have heard of is the bottom part of the mechanism gets rusted or oxidized. There are solutions to that problem as well, but the coat hanger pull on the door cable with get your door open so you can work on the bottom part and replace if necessary. Good luck with a frustrating, and obviously very common problem that Toyota really ought to take care sequoia is almost 10 years old and mechanically is very sound..and I hope to have it for a few more years at least. Peace.
  • I've changed this so many times on my 02 Sequoia I was able to do it in under 30 minutes yesterday in the cold with a rear window that will not go down. It is a record for me, but I am still not happy about it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You should make a How-To video for YouTube! Doing a good turn always makes you feel better, right? I may have to do this for a neighbor. Pretty amazing failure rate on this part, eh?
  • This isn't that difficult of a fix, and my 2001 Sequoia still had the original plastic latch in 2017. I've had this apart about 6 times now, each time learning something new.

    If you follow these instructions, it is my belief that you will get many years from your rear door

    1. Buy a "premium" all-metal rear door handle from Ebay or Amazon. Under $20
    2. Do NOT use the full new handle. Take the C-clip off the rod from the old handle and the new handle, remove the rods, and put the new handle lever (the piece that you use to grab and open the hatch) on the old Toyota assembly. This is important, as I found out the hard way, that the new "premium" parts are junk and the metal bends too easily on the pivoting lever assembly. If the pivoting lever assembly bends, then there won't be enough travel for the cable and the door won't open. Other guys have suggested "shimming" the cable with split shot fishing sinkers, or cutting a nut and crimping the nut around the cable at the door handle end. This really doesn't fix the problem of the new non-oem handles being inferior in strength and design.
    3. Buy a new OEM Toyota rear hatch door lock and cable assembly. Mine cost me $80 on Amazon.

    That should be it for the door opening mechanics. The door handle, and the cable/lock mechanism are really all there is to this. I did not purchase the OEM Toyota handle, but I would bet that it would also give many years of service like the original.

    The problem from the broken handles happens because the door lock mechanism/cable gets difficult to pull, which breaks the plastic OEM handle lever tab. Replacing the handle and not the cable/lock assembly will only cause a new handle to break very quickly due to the extra stress on it from the binding lock mechanism or cable.

    My rear door also wouldn't lock, and it could be opened even after locking the Sequoia. This is when I discovered that the rear door lock actuator was bad. I could hold the actuator in my hand, press the lock/unlock with the fob, and it wouldn't move. New lifetime warranty on aftermarket part: $80

    Grand total for repairs: $200 for a new handle, cable/lock assembly, and door lock actuator.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Thanks for the very helpful post on this issue!
  • seagarnolaseagarnola Posts: 3
    Bought the aftermarket part, watched the videos, took door apart. Rear gate will NOT open...even yanking on cable manually much less using the latch. Now what? How this isn't a recall issue is beyond me. Very much appreciate everyone passing along the knowledge.

    '04 Sequoia has 209k miles on it, this is the only insurmountable problem thus far. I could live with it if it did mean that I can't get to the spare. That's a deal killer. You hear me, Mr. Toyota?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    So you mean that you took the back panel off and still can get the door open? So you haven't installed the aftermarket part yet?
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