Question about 2003 Toyota Sequoia

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2003 Toyota Sequoia Tailgate latch - replace

The exterior latch mechanism (plastic) has broken with the tailgate closed. I have new latch part. How do I replace latch with door in closed position - can't remove interior tailgate panel?

Thank you

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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 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.

Posted on Dec 12, 2008

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It has to be opened to do so.

Posted on Dec 01, 2008

  • llincon Dec 01, 2008

    Remove the inner door panel. There will be an arm that is or in this case is not attached to the handle. There are two rods: one upper and one lower. Pull the top rod down to unlatch the top catch and pull the lower one up to unlatch the bottom catch. 

  • llincon Dec 01, 2008

    dismantling the plate on the backside of the tailgate (the side that you walk on when the gate is down). There are a number of screws to take out. Once the plate is off the latch (it is a black plastic) is exposed and can be removed with 2 bolts. 


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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...

kind regards

Posted on Dec 01, 2008

  • Lee Hodgson
    Lee Hodgson Dec 01, 2008

    and another method:
    First, take off the license plate.

    Since the hatch wouldn't open, I started from the inside and took down
    the top trim piece. After that the two side pieces come down, then the
    main trim piece which covers the bulk of the door comes out. These are
    all popped in with the white tabs.

    There are 3 access hole covers to pop out (don't forget to install them
    back in when done) and through the left hole you can see the mechanism
    to unlatch, press it down with a screwdriver and open the door. If
    anytime you close the door you will have to do this to unlatch, up
    until you disconnect the cable and pull out the handle, then you have
    to locate the cable and pull that directly.

    Behind the large trim piece you will find a metal access cover, remove
    the 7 or 8 10mm bolts holding that on and pop the 3 white tabs and let
    it hang off to the side. Disconnect the cable from the handle assembly
    by reaching in from the right hand side and popping of the cable from
    the handle assembly.

    From the left and right access holes, locate the two 10mm nuts which
    hold the license plate assembly to the door and remove them. Then there
    are 4 plastic tabs that come in from the outside that hold the license
    plate assembly on in each corner, try and locate those and using some
    pliers squeeze them together and push it through. Next locate the
    license plate lamps wire connector and release that from the left side,
    it’s the simple push in and pull out square white connector.

    After these are out, put back in 1 or 2 bolts into the large metal access cover so the hatch can be lowered (don’t close it).

    Here is where I had fun, begin to pop out the assembly that it was
    bolted to. I ended up breaking 3 of the 4 plastic tabs in each corner
    because I did not use pliers from the other side to pull them out,
    however it remained somewhat useable (hindsight 20/20).

    Now the license plate assembly can be taken to a bench to replace the
    handle assembly (Toyota doesn't sell just the handle, it is a small
    assembly). Two screws out and the assembly is replaced.

    Before pressing the license plate assembly back onto the truck, make
    certain all the plastic tabs are in the assembly and not in the truck.
    Reverse the process to re-install.

    Good luck and kind regards

  • Lee Hodgson
    Lee Hodgson Dec 01, 2008

    You can pull the panle off with your hand from the inside of your van
    but becareful because those clip that holds the panel are very easy to
    break, once off you ll see where the latch located there is an opening
    for you to open.
    get some pliers and bend the notch where the
    cable hooks into the handle lever so as to shorten the distance the
    cable had to stretch to make the connection and take some of the
    tension out of the cable

    good luck


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