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2000 Ford Explorer: both rear interior door handles not functioning

Child safety switches on both doors are NOT activated, and both doors open OK when exterior handle is pulled. Jiggling the child safety switches does not resolve the problem. Removed interior handles thinking that perhaps some plastic tab had broken off, but both appear ok. Pulling on the linkage bar that connects handle to latching mechanism inside the door does not open the door. Indeed, the linkage bar won’t move despite tugging. Any advise? Thanks

I had a similar problem on my Ford truck – an older vintage. In my case it was the front doors, no rear doors in a truck. And in my case they’d open if you could put up enough effort, but were very stiff and awkward. Like yours, they were definitely more awkward to open from the inside than the outside. I removed the door cards on the inside of the door, so I could see inside the door, and lubed all the pivot points. That, and some time, fixed the problem.

By “lube” what I actually did was apply some penetrating fluid (Liquid Wrench) to each pivot, let it sit for a couple days, then apply some wd 40 to the same pivots, let that sit a couple of days, by which time the door was opening smoothly. Then I applied a little 3-in-one oil to the pivots before I closed the door up again.

This may or may not work for you, you may have some mechanical problem that will require removing the entire mechanism from the door to fix, or you might have to call in a locksmith, but the above might be worth a try anyway. I had to use a small and very bright flashlight and mirror to be able to see all the pivot points. There’s some in the upper corner of the door that are very awkward to see and reach.