I just fixed mine yesterday, the first thing I did was to remove the bottom part (about 6 or 7 phillips screws)then tilt about 1/2 inch of a butter knife and I stuck it between the plastic cover on the rear door metal and pulled carefully ( the entire plastic interior is joined with plastic staples). then remove the plastic covers from the window poles and last the upper part.in order to remove the entire cover you have to lift it because the window's rubber sealant goes inside the door frame. after you do that you have to unplug the electrical connectors from the black plastic box ( you will see it as soon you remove the plastic cover) remove the a black metal plate about 8 hex screws and 3 plastic staples, above the metal plate there's 2 rubber covers ,remove it and you will see trough the holes the bolts that hold the latch from the inside.
On your left side you be able to find the key lock, remove the phillips screw, make sure you check the position of the lock. on the right side you'll see the black wire that connects to the latch, on the middle it has another plastic staple, pull it,behind the latch there is a white plastic cover to remove it you just pull it, however before you do it ,note the position of the cover, after you do that where the cable connects to the latch move it to the right and the door will be open.
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Re: 2003 Toyota Sequoia Tailgate latch - replace
Just use an FYI to remove the door handle surround/insert if its like the
lexus, tundra...look between the top of the lock button above the door
handle and the plastic insert surrounding it...u will see a slight
indentation inside there...push a small flatpoint screwdriver up there
between the locking button and the insert and the top of the insert
will pop out..sometimes u have to do the same to the bottom of the
insert between the door handle and insert...
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I had the same problem with my 02 Sequoia. To get the tailgate open and replace the broken handle you will have to remove the tailgate's panel cover.
The panel is affixed to the tailgate with about six to eight plastic stays on the back side of the panel.
You will need a "L"-shaped tool (The tool looks like a screw driver with its tip bent one-to-two inches.) that can be inserted under the panel's edge. Start @ the right, or left bottom corner.
After you pull the panel's second plastic stay away from the tailgate you will be able to use your hand to pull the rest of the stays away from the tailgate then push up on the panel to remove it.
After the panel is removed you will be able to see where the cable feeds into the broken handle. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to pull the cable and open the tailgate. Toyota charges $100.00 for a new handle.
you have to make sure the strikers are lined up to the latch. The latches get dirt in them and dont move easily. You may have to remove the latches and clean them and grease them up make sure the action is working. There is a spring on the latch if it is broken you will have to replace the latch. Make sure as you before you shut the tailgate the the latches on the tailgate are open and not latched closed. You can put a screw driver in the latch and pull the handle and that should release the latch in the position ready to accept the striker when you close it Next make sure the plastic clip retainers are not broken on the handle
The door handle might be broken, you need a new part. I got mine online for $40. keywords: 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Toyota Sequoia Metal Lift Gate Exterior Door Handle for Rear Outside Van Tailgate Handle. You need to remove the back door panel to replace this.
You either have a rusted latch assembly, or a seized latch release cable, which connects to the release handle. Either can be the cause, this is a very common failure., Try some WD-40 on the latch, and see if you can work it with a screwdriver. If that does not help, you will need to replace the release cable.
I had the same problem. I figure that dirt/rust may have accumulated inside the latching mechanism. I was able to fix it using the following steps.
1 - Remove the plastic cap that covers the top of the gate.
2 - Remove as many of the remaining torx bolts from the inside cover (you will need to do this to get inside the gate).
3 - Next, try and get some WD40 on/in the latch mechanism.
4 - Using a large screwdriver, you will need to pry the lever attached to the cable in order to release the latch.
Not a pretty process but it seemed to work. I give the latches a good lubrication frequently now, until I get around to replacing them.
Mine just did the exact same thing. The latch may be moving freely because it is not hooked to the latching mechanism anymore. In my case, the handle had broken where the handle hooks to the rod that operates the mechanism. Go to the Ford dealer and buy a new handle. Here in S.C. it was $24. You can't get this at the parts houses. Start by removing the plastic "Ford" cover that is over the liscense plate lights. You then have to remove the aluminum rivets that hold the handle to the tailgate from the outside and remove the broken latch. Remove the pull handle loop on the interior side of the tailgate (2 screws), unsnap the inside plastic tailgate interior panel, and pull down the black plastic sheeting that is underneath the panel to make access to the mechanism inside of the tailgate. There is also a hard plastic cover that you will see that needs to be pulled loose to open another access hole. Install the new tailgate latch handle by sliding back into the mounting holes and attach with two 10-32 screws and nuts. The new handle will come with a new yellow rod attachment piece on the handle. You will see inside of the tailgate a small rod hanging down, most likeky it will have the same rod attachment piece as the one on the new handle. Note the position of the yellow piece on the rod, as you will connect the new piece in the same place. Once the rod is hooked up, relubricate the metal mechanism with a light machine oil, replace the black plastic cover, replace the black plastic sheeting, (secure with a small amount of duct tape), replace the tailgate interior panel, replace the pull handle loop, shut tailgate, replace "Ford" cover over lights, and you're done!
Remove your tag bolts and remove the cover by pulling easy as not to break the tabs. The tag lights can but do not have to come out. At this point you can access the handle. You will find that the handle has a plastic arm that trips the latch by pulling a cable it will be broken. To open the door just pull on the cable. Once I open the door I removed the inside door panel and a metal cover which has about 8 10mm bolts it gives you more room to work.
I have the same problem, I pull on the cable, the metal piece moves on the lock acuator but tailgate does not open. Seems like the ACUATOR is stuck in LOCK position and pulling on the cable does not help. Any way to manually force the ACUATOR to open? I can replace the ACUATOR if I can lift the tailgate up but I can't.