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You may have a broken/disconnected release cable from the release handle to the lock mechanism. If there is no pressure on the release handle when you activate it a cable would be suspected. If handle feels like there is resistance on it ( cable connected ) try pushing back on the top of the seat while pulling the release handle. The cable could have some stretch and not release the latch properly
there recline on a seat is operate by a rod that goes the width of the seat and when handle is lifted the rod release's the cam that holds the seat back in position, the handle breaking has let the rod fall to the bottom of the seat back
It sounds like the inside of the recliner knob is stripped out. If
you go to your local GM dealership and give them your VIN number they
can order you a new one. Here is the removal and installation
directions. Driver or Passenger Seat Recliner Handle Replacement Removal Procedure
Use a flat-bladed tool to remove the plastic center cap from the center of the recliner handle.
you have to remove seat cover on back and bottom of seat . there is a long plastic clip sowed to seat covers . push in and un hook then you can pull seat cover up to see bolts. dont pull to hard or you will rip seat cover .
I TAKE IT YOU CAN'T USE TILT ON YOUR SEATS MOST LIKELY TO BE BROKEN CABLES YOU WILL REQ CABLES & BOTH SEAT HANDLES TO DO JOB OULD NOT RECOMMEND IT THOUGH AS ITS A PAIN OF A JOB TO DO.RECOMMEND BOOKING INTO LOCAL FORD DEALER AS THEY PROBABLY HAVE PARTS IN STOCK.