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Nissan Repair/1996 Nissan Pathfinder - rear door stuck in locked


Pathy6996 wrote at 2007-10-19 09:32:18
I have had the same problem with my R50 1996 Pathfinder and here is what I found to be the cause and how I fixed it.


This issue is caused by the rear door handle seizing in a partly open position, which in turn makes the internal handle inoperable.


Here is the challenge, how to get the door trim off with the door closed. The answer is simple, you can't! Well at least not without breaking something. The least destructive way to get in is to ease off the padded part at the door trim. This will result in the screws pulling through the wood door card, but is easily fixed with some washers.


Once the pad is removed from the top of the door trim, there will be a small access hole near the latch. Just stick a long screw driver in that hole and lift up the lever on the latch attached to the door handle and the internal handle should then work. If this fails, push the lever down and you should be able to unlatch the door (make sure it is unlocked).


Once the door is open, removed the rest of the door trim and remove the external door handle by removing the two screws under the rubber plugs behind the handle on the inside edge of the door. The handle will pull straight out with the rod attached. Just spray a bit of WD40 in the handle pivot and work it until it moves freely and the handle springs back by itself. Repair the door trim and put it all back together. It's a good idea to pull out the door handle on the other side and oil that up to stop it from happening to that one.

Bob in Sparta NJ wrote at 2012-02-23 14:35:19
Had the same problem on my 98 Pathfinder. Solved by taking a rubber mallet and carefully pounding on and around the external handle. This un-seized things enough so the door opened. Then a simple matter of applying wd40. The driver side door required a little heavier pounding but sure enough it opened and was lubed and both doors have been working fine.

rfalcons wrote at 2013-04-19 18:29:26
Had the same problem with a '99 Pathfinder. Took Bob's suggestion and pounded (gently) with a rubber mallet on the outside door handle, but before I did that, I sprayed Kroil rust buster/lubricant into the handle openings when the handle was fully opened. The handle had no resistance before the procedure and just kind of flipped opened and closed. As I was tapping, slight resistance began to be  felt at the full opening postion of the handle. I continued to close the handle, tap some more, open the handle and get a bit more contact/resistance as I proceeded. After about 10 minutes of tapping, pulling open, spraying some more, closing and tapping again, getting a bit more resistance at full opening each time, I tapped the handle closed again and tried to open the door from the inside....Voila, she popped open.

Took the door apart and pulled the outside handle to find rusted pivot point that would not allow built-in spring to reset the handle. More Kroil and lots of manipulation freed the handle up and after reinstallation, works great!

Good luck with your sticking door lock!  

Rick150 wrote at 2013-05-11 02:46:45
Thanks for the rubber hammer idea, it worked, lots of CRC until the latch reset itself. Both doors on my wife's G3MR would not open. Now she will buy me a beer :-)

Rozey wrote at 2013-08-17 07:13:19
Bob's the man! After reading all I could on this topic and getting prepared to buy another door trim I found this gem. I used Inox (great product; and the palm of my hand instead of a mallet and within a minute I was in ... then out, then in, then ... you get the picture ;-). I have since sprayed the bejesus out of ALL the handles and will continue to do it every time I change the oil.  

Hoosier wrote at 2015-06-18 21:02:38
Bob is indeed a genius. After beating for 15-20 minutes with no results, I wedged the interior handle to the "please open" position. I then  repeated the rubber mallet beatings until the desired attitude of compliance by the door was accomplished in just a few short minutes! Thanks to all!

Shelton Lamar wrote at 2015-07-03 12:48:25
I used the rubber mallet as well. Worked like a charm on both doors. Thanks guys

Ritard wrote at 2015-07-12 02:33:57
Did the rubber mallet pounding too...took about 5 minutes...fixed ! Genious advise !!! Thanks !!!

Mitchell Pawson wrote at 2015-08-21 01:27:09
Bob is the man! I started on the door trim but didn't want to distroy it. Came on here and bam! Sorted. Didn't have a rubber mallet so used my jandel and a normal hammer. Chur chur Bob.  

1999 pathfinder wrote at 2015-08-31 14:43:38
Took Bob's suggestion, and I use my hand instead of a mallet.

I sprayed the handles with wd40, in 5 minutes the door open.

   T y Bob.

ALopez wrote at 2015-12-25 15:28:42
Thanks Bob. Works fine on both rear doors on my pathfinder 1999. Only took 5 minutes to do this Job with wd40

ART wrote at 2016-01-01 00:09:49
After calling around and everybody was telling me to go to a body shop on my 1996 pathfinder.I  got on line and did what bob said to do and in 30 seconds i was in sprayed all my doors working like a charm

Rach wrote at 2017-01-20 02:45:49
Hi, thank you Bob! I have a 1996 pathfinder with the rear door stuck, and this solution worked in under two minutes. Fantastic!

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