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jsmcdo

Cannot Unlock Driver's Door

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The power door lock actuator in the driver's door on my 1993 ES300 apparently has failed. The door is locked and will not unlock at all (the other three doors work fine).

I get two answers from the nearest Toyota dealer: one is that it will cost ca. $300 to fix; the other is that the replacement part alone costs $421.

I called the nearest Lexus dealers (ca. 500 miles). The answer I get is that the only way to fix this problem is to remove the door panel from the inside at a cost of ca. $800! Apparently, the rods that connect the actuator to the lock knob and to the latch itself have disconnected/broken?!

Which leads me to my next question that remains unanswered: why am I not able to mechanically unlock that door?

Can anyone help with a cheaper fix and/or some other way to open that door? Crawling across from the passenger side is really convenient.

Thanks in advance.

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If you can't get the door unlocked by any of the usual methods, then you are going to have to remove the inner door panel to get at the lock and rods.

This in itself is going to be difficult and extremely awkward for whoever attempts the fix, sitting in the seat and trying to turn sideways to get low enough to get at fasteners, etc.

I'm sure it can be done, but unless you are a wrencher with some experience, you're going to be very frustrated.

Your problem sounds like a control rod has come disconnected and could be jammed in the lock mechanism. Or the lock mechanism has become so worn that its internals have seized. Regardless, getting the door open could be very difficult, and expensive if it doesn't come easily and a service tech has to spend hours on it. Good Luck!

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There is no way to remove the upper door panel. Its all one unit.

As for parts, call a wrecking yard, and try to find out if the same year/generation Camry part would cross reference. Otherwise, go online and buy used from eBay.

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Okay, I got my door open believe it or not. I actually don't believe it myself at this point. I am posting my reply on this thread instead of my own in the hopes that someone else with this problem can fix theirs as well. I will post pictures when my actuator comes in and I install it.

First, I took off the part of the door panel that goes around the inside door handle. Mine is the taupe interior and the part I removed is the lighter color part. It attaches with metal tabs to your door panel.

I then cut a hole in the panel underneath to access the lock and handle rods.

I then used a reciprocating saw to cut the piece of metal in between the two access holes to better access the door lock actuator.

I then used trial and error to find the latch that opens the door. Door opened and I screamed my victory cry. (It took three hours to get this far!)

From there I took the whole door panel off, and was able to see the broken spring that caused all of my woes.

I still need to install the new actuator and when I do so I will take pictures of my work and explain where the latch is to open the door!

Can anyone help with actuator installation tips or tricks?

I hope I helped someone with this. The only tip I can give is that the latch moves DOWN to open the door, so don't waste your time trying to pull anything up!

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Installed an actuator today and the car is good as new. It took about 6 hours all together but well worth not entering from the passenger door!

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