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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

First post here. Have been using the info on this forum for a few years now. Thank you for everyone's help thus far.

I grew up in my dads shop. There is not much I do not have a tool for or have not done to a vehicle. I would say advanced backyard mechanic.

I did do a search before writing. I cannot find complete info on what I am looking for, sorry if I missed it.

I have both a 1996 Rav4 AWD (Mine) 4 door with power everything and a 1997 Rav4 AWD (The Boy's) 4 door with manual everything, both have automatic transmissions (extra info not really relevant to issue, but is needed to understand how I created my own issue here).

The 97 AWD 4 door with Manual Locks Manual windows. When I purchased the car the passenger rear door was stuck due to the plastic clip on the inside of the outside door handle breaking and the child lock being engaged on the inside. I have plenty of junkyard experience so breaking the door panel was not a concern. I was able get into the door open. I got a newer handle and door lock actuator from another rav4 at the junkyard. The door lock actuator was from a rav4 with power locks. I figured this would be fine since he will just be using it as the latch and door opener. Shortly after doing this my front passenger door lock actuator on my 1996 rav4 started to function intermittently. I had the brilliant idea that I would tear apart that newly installed power actuator in the boy's 97, take the motor out of it, and then install that motor in my now not functioning door lock actuator (in the 96). I was successful in getting the motor out, however it was in just as bad of shape as the motor in the actuator. I did buy 4 dc motors off of eBay and replaced them in all my 96 door actuators.

I had no issues with the door actuator out of the 97 functioning when it was out of the vehicle. However once I installed it into the vehicle the door was sticky. I shot some silicone lube into the latch closed the door and now it will not open. I have pulled the door back apart. Tried moving the child lock, no luck, manually moved the outside latch disengagement rod (don't know if that is the proper term) and nothing. I have made sure the door is unlocked. I have had someone pushing on the outside of the door while moving the disengagement rod. did the same on the inside. the outside handle is removed from the outside again and I am able to move the rod that disengages the door latch from there as well, nothing works to get this door open.

After searching other the other threads with doors being stuck on this forum I believe I need to drill the latch out. My question is what am I drilling? Am I drilling the three screws that hold the latch in from the back side? What other options are there? I do not care about the paint on the inside of the door or door jam, just the outside area

Any help is much appreciated. If you need photos of what I am working with please let me know I will gladly upload (if I am able to per the rules) .

Since this is my first post I cannot link to other posts (that is why they are missing the needed info to actually link in the address), below are the threads that had useful info but not everything I needed,

rav4world /threads/urgent-rear-passenger-door-wont-open.82240/#post-845535 - URGENT: Rear Passenger Door Won't Open!

rav4world /threads/rear-door-wont-open.293865/#post-2655049 - Rear door won't open

Thank you again for all of your help.

P.S. This forum gave me the info to complete two 3sgte swaps in the 4.1's. and now I'm messing with a 5sfe swap in the 96, cause its an auto transmission :( You guys are the best!

2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dapoof, can you confirm whether you removed the door panel and then tried operating the rods to open the door?

Yes the door pannel on the inside is removed. I did attempt to operate the rods for both the inside handle and the outside handle. Nothing is releasing the latch.

It looks like a piece of the latch that locks and unlocks the door has broken (seen from the outside here), I tried messing with this and operating the door and no luck.

it also looks like when I reinstalled the latch/actuator that something got bent out of place in the metal bracket that houses the latch and the lock/unlock mechanism.
Automotive lighting Pink Light Vehicle door Headlamp

I know in the current pictures the rod for the outside handle is semi tucked into the inside handle latch operating rod, that is not the case when I am testing or trying to get the door to open. I have also shot some videos of what is happening. I have not had a chance to upload them to youtube and possibly include a link (if i am able to this time, being a new member) in my response.

Below are some additional pictures in case it helps identify what my self created issue may be with this door.






Thanks again,



6 Posts
Those pics are sweet! I never get that good of a look. You're just going to have to get in there with a couple of long screwdrivers and force stuff around until it pops open. Quit asking permission and make it happen!
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