Rear Door Mitsubishi Sport

The rear door of my 1998 Sport will not open. It is unlocked and I can press the handle but the door will not open. I have been able to partially pull back the inside panel (not easy because the bottom of the panel is attached to the closed door) and it I can see the lock/unlock works okay and pressing the outside level works the rod to the latch connecting the door to the car body. But I cannot see where to pull the latch open and cannot locate any diagrams on the internet. I have sprayed some lubricant inside, no effect. My thought is that if I can get the door open and remove the inside panel the repair may not be to complicated.

Any suggestions or diagrams will be helpful.

Something snapped, If you can not find an online diagram, the easiest way might be looking at the other side’s door system from inside and see what you have to pull to get the door opened.

I have also used junkyards for this. Just find the same make/model and see how the inside looks like. You’ll probably also find the part you need to buy.

I’m not familuar with the Mits sport. is this a rear door or a rear hatch.

Either way, go to the dealer and ask for an exploded view and they should be able to print it out for you. They could also maybe show you exactly what rod/lever you have to pull and in what direction.


The door is the rear hatch door that lifts upward. I can only access it from the inside which is where I partially removed the rear hatch inside panel. Good points about going to a dealer or junk yard to see how the latch can be trigger manually from inside the door panel. There is a small access hole but it does not allow me to see the entire assembly without cutting some metal from the door panel.

Here is are diagrams for breakdown of the door.

knfenimore, thanks for the link to the latch diagram. I see where I can manually lift the latch. I may need to cut a small access hole behind the interior panel but that is better than damaging the door. A diagram is worth a few thousand words.

If all else fails, sometimes professional locksmiths have specialized tools than can open doors locked like this. No harm to ask at your local locksmith shop anyway.

Too bad the diagrams don’t show the inside of the door itself. Then you might be able to see where the cut outs are for your hands to reach through and operate the latch at the bottom of the door . I doubt you nedd to cut any metal away.
I’d pry that inside plastic panel away to find access. A used replacement at a junk yard that matches shouldn’t be hard to find for a 1998.


As follow up for a future reference, thanks to the diagram from knfenimore I was able to open the door. This strategy may work for other SUV rear hatch doors. Because the interior panel is secured to the bottom of the door below the deck, completely removing the panel is impossible with the door closed. I was able to pull back the upper part of the interior panel and with a long screw driver (a door panel tool would not fit into the space) carefully pop back the panel halfway down. Pulling on the lock release rod and the latch release with someone pulling on the outside the door opened. My suspicion is that after 17 years of dust and dirt in the latch assembly, releasing the latch from the outside, the rod needed to travel another 2-3 mm for complete release. I sprayed a cleaner and lubricant into the small access hole, closed the door and locked it and was able to unlock and open the door from the outside. It helps a lot to get a diagram of the assembly for specific SUV to identify the parts that need to be moved to release the hatch. Part of the challenge to unlock the door was interior panel could only be partially pulled back and access holes in the door behind the interior pane are small.

Congrats and thanks for posting the results.

Glad that you got it open.