Nissan pathfinder rear door won't open
I have had this issue twice on my '98 Pathfinder. The hinge inside the exterior door latch rusts over time and sticks. As suggested in some other answers, the BEST way to get it open is as follows: Pull the latch open and spray WD-40 into the handle openings using the spray tube that came with the WD-40. You may need to repeat this. Note, when I use the word 'latch', I'm talking about the part you pull to open the door, not the lock, which is a separate part inside the door connected to the latch by a metal rod.
There are many ways to then hit the latch to jar the stuck hinge loose. To prevent damage, I folded up an old dish towel, placed it over the latch, and pounded it with medium force with a rubber mallet. It may take just a few hits, or it could take literally hundreds. Initially, the exterior latch will flop loosely. You can see if you're making progress by checking the latch periodically. It will gradually start to break loose and this will be reflected in restored tension in the previously floppy latch. The longer you hit, the tension will eventually be felt through the whole range of motion in the latch. Once full tension is restored, it will open the door.
The first time I did this repair, I simply considered it fixed and stopped working on it. Big mistake, because the locks stuck again in just a couple months and took a lot more work to get open the second time. These latches are cheap and easy to replace (check rockauto.com or other sites - I got my new latches for $12 each).
You must be VERY careful when changing them, otherwise you'll be opening up the door, which isn't necessary if you do it right. To change the latch - remove the two grommets from the door jamb at the latch. Use a 10mm nutdriver to remove the two nuts holding the latch. Care must be taken not to drop the nuts inside the door, but the nuts are angled slightly upward, so gravity is on your side.
Next, CAREFULLY pull the latch out of the door the minimum amount necessary to clear the opening and expose the latch rod that runs from the latch to the lock. IMPORTANT: Before removing the rod from the latch, get a pair of small locking pliers (long hemostat or needle nose vise grips) and attach it to the rod about 1/2" below the latch to hold it in place. This is necessary because once you remove the two nuts holding the latch to the door and the nylon grommet that attaches the rod to the latch, the only thing holding the rod in place is gravity. If you lift the rod more than about 1" while doing this work, it will disengage from the lock inside the door. I learned this the hard way on my first door and actually dropped the rod to the very bottom inside the door. Once the rod is secured with pliers, remove the rod from the nylon retainer clip on the latch and pull the latch free from the door. Installation of the new latch is the opposite procedure.
The second door was a breeze to fix since I didn't have to remove the door panel to retrieve the rod - the whole replacement took less than 10 minutes.
Oct 15, 2012 |
2001 Nissan Pathfinder