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rear cargo area door handle went dead, won't open.

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by OregonHillbilly, November 8, 2018.

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  1. OregonHillbilly

    OregonHillbilly New Member

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    I bought this explorer over the summer and it had a problem where the bumper had been pushed in and the plastic on top of the bumper caused the rear door to not shut all the way and the door ajar light would be on unless you slammed it. So today I tried to do something good and I fixed the bumper so the door would close correctly, then I tried the door and the second time I went to open it the handle up above the license plate felt like it broke or something and now it doesn't unlatch the door at all. Door is stuck shut and latch handle just moves freely. I'm thinking I'm going to have to rip off the plastic door panel to get inside the door? Any tips?
    I also noticed the hinges on the glass portion of the door are loose.
     
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  3. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Broken yellow clip inside the rear hatch. It attaches the handle and it's metal rod to the linkage that opens the latches.
     
  4. Mr. Alligator

    Mr. Alligator Elite Explorer

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    OR

    latch handle mechanism itself may have broke internally (happened to me). Either way, you must remove rear interior panel, and then problem should be apparent. There is information on this Forum about removing rear panel....

    Tip number one: after removing fasteners, including a screw and the plastic “Christmas tree” fasteners, pull rear panel UP, not out... or you will break plastic prongs attached to back of rear panel (also happened to me).

    Tip number two: Carefully tighten hinges attaching glass to rear door, but be careful not to strip out the hinges. As I recall, this requires a Torx driver... replacement hinges can be found at salvage yards.

    Good luck.
     
  5. OregonHillbilly

    OregonHillbilly New Member

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    It's going to be hard to pull up on it because the door is closed right now. I'll get around to this project in a while.
     
  6. XLTrunner

    XLTrunner Active Member

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    It's easily done even with the hatch closed. Don't forget to remove the inside pull strap before trying to lift and remove the panel.
     
  7. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    There are no x-mas tree push-in clips holding the interior trim panel on the rear hatch on a 2000. If you try to pull the panel off you'll break the numerous hook-in clips that hold the bottom of the panel on. They hook in top-down. You have to release the metal push-in clips from the sides and top of the part on the trim panel that goes around the rear window first. IIRC there are 2 on each side and 3-4 across the top, Then (after having removed the pull handle and there may be 1 screw under a little cover under the window) lift the trim panel straight up to unhook it. A stiff putty knife slid between the plastic trim panel and the metal part of hatch around the rear window can be used to locate and release the metal push-in clips. The metal clips pop out. At 18 years old It's possible some of the plastic the metal clips are attached to may break because the plastic is getting brittle.

    I've opened the rear hatch w/out removing the trim panel, but you make crack the plastic where the window latch is as you have to force a long screw driver between the plastic and the metal part of the hatch. There's a pivot point in the center of the hatch which has rods going out to the left/right latches. When you pull the exterior handle the rod which is attached to the outside handle pulls on the pivot point for the latch rods. Pushing down on the pivot point with a long screw driver will also pull on the latch rods. I don't recall which side of the pivot you have to push on, but I think it's the left side if you're facing the hatch. Try this method at your on risk, but there's risk of breaking plastic either way,

    Note: If there's a lot of resistance on the exterior hatch handle just replacing the yellow clip it will likely break again. By lubricating/adjusting the release mechanize and latches as needed you need to get things working smoothly.
     
    Last edited: November 9, 2018
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  8. MetricMuscle

    MetricMuscle Elite Explorer

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    ....or make sure the doors and lift gate are unlocked. My driver's door unlocks first with one click of the remote, then the rest unlock with the second click.
     
  9. Turdle

    Turdle Freelance Stuntman Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Tip
    Do not use an aftermarket replacement handle. It'll work long enough for you to put the hatch trim all together then fail on the first pull.

    OEM has a totally different yellow clip that will hold. Use silicone spray liberally on all pivot points you can find.

    I used 1/4" bolts with a panhead, lock washers on the nuts inside instead of rivets.
     
  10. MAS Tequila

    MAS Tequila Elite Explorer

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    It's most likely the little plastic clip.

    The ones from the parts store display do not last long.

    I bought a big bag from a supply house, and mine has lasted 3 years now.

    If you want one or two, let me know.
     
  11. 1998Exp

    1998Exp Well-Known Member

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    The bolts in those hinges are normally secured with "semi-permanent" RTV. At least mine were, and totally refused to budge. I think that they get loose when the polymer washers shrink with age. The usual way to deal with this is heat, but I wouldn't apply it to something sitting in glass. Perhaps a small impact wrench instead. My problem was "solved" when something hit the glass and it shattered. The hinges on the replacement glass that I got from a JY were tight enough.
     
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