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Broken Rear Hatch Door Handle


michaeldfv

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Joined
February 17, 2010
Messages
4
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City, State
NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Sport XLT
Hey, the handle to the rear hatch door on my 2003 Explorer Sport XLT is broken. I can pull the handle and it springs right back but I can also feel that its just not catching on anything. I know I can fix this problem if I could get the door open but I dont know how to do that. If anyone has any advice on how to open the back hatch door without the handle PLEASE let me know.

PS - I cant even get my spare tire down because of this problem
 


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XLTmodifire

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February 15, 2010
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City, State
Nor*Cal
Year, Model & Trim Level
99' XLT (B4 Autumn Brown)
Is there enough access to the back of it when you take off the interior panel? If so, you may be able to manipulate something to release the lever?

Good luck fella.
 




Seanx

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July 16, 2005
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City, State
olean, ny
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 Sport 4.0L
I have the same problem on my 99 Sport. When you look up in you can see that it rusted out and doesnt catch on anything.

I haven't been able to find a way to open it yet..
 




jimbo231

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March 5, 2009
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2001 Ford Explorer Sport
Same thing happened to me today. There better be a way to get it open.......:mad:
 




scream_clarity

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October 21, 2009
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City, State
London, ON
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Explorer Sport
I'm in the same boat. The window release on my '99 Sport has always been stiff so you had to whack it with your hand to get it to release until it caved in. I took the interior panel off and it was all rusty. I pushed it out and closed the door to test it and now the door handle doesn't open the door.
 




scream_clarity

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October 21, 2009
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City, State
London, ON
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Explorer Sport
UPDATE
I just went out to my truck to kick it a few times when I thought of something. I had the keyless entry remote with me so as I pressed unlock repeatedly I tried pulling on the door handle and it got stiffer. I kept pressing unlock and pulling the handle and after about 30 seconds it opened. Everything seems to be normal again and I managed to secure my window release.
 




laudan713

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June 3, 2011
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City, State
Ennis. TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Sport XLT
How to open the door if your handle isn't functioning

I was completely locked out while my Sport was running, and it had a full tank of gas. I was locked out because the drivers door was the only one unlocked and the outside handle was broken. I got in through the back glass rather easily (after waisting nearly an hour trying the old coat hanger gag) Long story short Ive learned about the door latches on my 2000 Explorer Sport. I was lucky enough that day to have that opening rear window, which is also how we will get your door open and hopefully fixed.

With the back glass open pull the Interior panel away from the door
-More like pry the top of it if you are outside
-if Inside just remove the 2 screws that are under the hanging handle

Locate two Yellow and White Clips
-clips are connected to two similarly shaped long bars
-The bars should run parallel to each other heading toward opposite ends of the door.

Open the Clips(by hand or a flathead if necessary)
-Once the bar is free from the clips it can fall further down into the door so be sure to hold them onec Un-clipped

Push outward on the bars.
-You will hear a click which means the latch released on that side.

Once the door is open take the cover off completely
-6 clips you can pull out of the top part, then slide the panel up to release the hooks connecting the bulk of the panel (this is assuming that you have taken out the two screws underneath the hanging handle)

Also remove the vent and Water guard
-Pull straight out on the clip while being careful not to damage the vent

Remove the two Gold colored Screws
-They are connected to a plastic handle on the door

Look inside and find which rod/clip has broken on you
-Its trial and error but move the mechanism and look thouroughly before unhooking anything.
-Its fairly simple to diagnose your issue once the door is open and the panels are off.

Hope this helps someone

Thx
Josh
BCarSmart Inc
 




renegade1

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March 17, 2010
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City, State
Peachtree City Georgia
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 explorer sport
I was completely locked out while my Sport was running, and it had a full tank of gas. I was locked out because the drivers door was the only one unlocked and the outside handle was broken. I got in ..........
i had the same problem and did what Laudan said - just trial and error. wish there was a company that made metal repacements for the cheap lil plastic tabs and clips that hold the latches together
 




SparkyJeff

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June 22, 2010
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City, State
Minneapolis, MN
Year, Model & Trim Level
'00 5.0L Mountaineer
I've had luck opening a rear liftgate in the junkyard by removing the 2 lights over the license plate. then I used a long screwdriver to unlock it. this was last fall, I don't remember exactly why I couldn't open it. It was either locked, or one of the rods was loose, maybe a busted handle, broken clip, I don't remember.
But I was able to do something or other through the little holes for the lights. I'm sure I started by taking off the nameplate.

I'm sure I'm not helping. Inside the truck is the best access.

It's a good idea to squirt some kind of lube or oil in all the little lock cylinders every spring and fall here in MN especially since I use the remotes to open the doors normally. Them little buggers get stuck.
 




Allison.M

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December 13, 2011
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City, State
Atlanta, GA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Explorer Sport
Thanks for Info!

Josh
BCarSmart Inc,

Thanks for your instructions on how to open the hatch door when the handle is broken. I was not only able to open it but fixed it as well. That saved me $150 and two trips to the repair shop!

Allison
 




staggart

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February 15, 2015
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 for explorer
Thanks - saved me a lot of time!!

Thanks to Josh at BCarSmart - your instructions were spot on. My handle had stopped working and the cause was the $2.50 plastic rod clip. A few hours of sweat and swearing and it was as good as Ford new.
 




Anthony675

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Joined
July 31, 2018
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City, State
Parachute CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Explorer 2 DR 4WD
I'm in the same boat. The window release on my '99 Sport has always been stiff so you had to whack it with your hand to get it to release until it caved in. I took the interior panel off and it was all rusty. I pushed it out and closed the door to test it and now the door handle doesn't open the door.
Have you been able to solve the problem? I’m going to take mine (1999 2dr) apart tomorrow but a have no clue where to even start
 




Anthony675

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Joined
July 31, 2018
Messages
3
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City, State
Parachute CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Explorer 2 DR 4WD
How to open the door if your handle isn't functioning

I was completely locked out while my Sport was running, and it had a full tank of gas. I was locked out because the drivers door was the only one unlocked and the outside handle was broken. I got in through the back glass rather easily (after waisting nearly an hour trying the old coat hanger gag) Long story short Ive learned about the door latches on my 2000 Explorer Sport. I was lucky enough that day to have that opening rear window, which is also how we will get your door open and hopefully fixed.

With the back glass open pull the Interior panel away from the door
-More like pry the top of it if you are outside
-if Inside just remove the 2 screws that are under the hanging handle

Locate two Yellow and White Clips
-clips are connected to two similarly shaped long bars
-The bars should run parallel to each other heading toward opposite ends of the door.

Open the Clips(by hand or a flathead if necessary)
-Once the bar is free from the clips it can fall further down into the door so be sure to hold them onec Un-clipped

Push outward on the bars.
-You will hear a click which means the latch released on that side.

Once the door is open take the cover off completely
-6 clips you can pull out of the top part, then slide the panel up to release the hooks connecting the bulk of the panel (this is assuming that you have taken out the two screws underneath the hanging handle)

Also remove the vent and Water guard
-Pull straight out on the clip while being careful not to damage the vent

Remove the two Gold colored Screws
-They are connected to a plastic handle on the door

Look inside and find which rod/clip has broken on you
-Its trial and error but move the mechanism and look thouroughly before unhooking anything.
-Its fairly simple to diagnose your issue once the door is open and the panels are off.

Hope this helps someone

Thx
Josh
BCarSmart Inc
Thank you I will be following your directions tomorrow I will be fixing the rear window hinges defroster 3rd brake light and getting the hatch to actually open . I didn’t have a clue what I was going to be doing so thank you again
 




Anthony675

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Joined
July 31, 2018
Messages
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City, State
Parachute CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Explorer 2 DR 4WD
Thanks - saved me a lot of time!!

Thanks to Josh at BCarSmart - your instructions were spot on. My handle had stopped working and the cause was the $2.50 plastic rod clip. A few hours of sweat and swearing and it was as good as Ford new.
Do you happen to have a part number ?
 




Jori Lampe

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Joined
August 26, 2018
Messages
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Location
CA
City, State
Fresno
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Ford explorer XLT
Hi Josh,
I am going to try your instructions to open lift gate. The handle broke off right in my hand while opening it. What you are saying sounds logical and possibly something I can do or at least give it a try. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks
 




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