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Removing 92 Corolla Outside Door Handle Ass'y

I’m repairing or replacing a faulty front door lock cylinder, so I need to remove the outside door handle (passenger side, front). It’s simple enough to remove, 2 bolts from the inside after removing the door panel, except for one problem that’s puzzling me: How to remove the metal actuating rod from the door open/close lever? The rod fits in a plastic bushing in a narrow plastic ear. See the photo below. As far as I can tell that rod has to be somehow pushed out of that hole before I can unbolt & remove the ass’y. Simple enough on the bench, but in the car there’s little to no access in that area inside the door. All I can think of is to try to pry it out with a screwdriver. But when I try, it’s stubborn as all get-out, and there’s so little plastic material there I’m afraid I’ll crack the plastic around the hole levering it out with a screwdriver.

Any ideas? Is there a special tool for this?

Photo 3 shows the ear with the hole

There’s probably a door handle rod clip that needs to be removed.

If you’re working inside the door. I recommend arm chaps.

Otherwise, your arm can get cut all to hell.

Ask me how I know?


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Yes , there’s a gadget that looks like this. The pronged part sticking down is what I need to push out of the hole without breaking the black plastic ear.

You have to swing the clip off the rod, then the rod can be removed from the handle.


The rod has a 90 angle at the end. Do you mean the first step is to remove the rod from the top horizontal section in the photo? Then the second step is to push it out the hole?

You got it!


Thanks I’ll give that a try tomorrow.

How do you know? :grin:

You can get those plastic parts . . . the 2nd picture . . . at pep boys in the “help” section

It’ll be in section with window crank handles, generic throttle cables, and other such things. It’ll be marketed under the Dorman “Help” line


As soon as I was the picture of the latch…it brought back evil memories.

I think I replaced three of those for the same girl over a three year period.
Poor design, and are made flimsy enough that if a door latch is frozen shut it will break pretty easily.

When she called me for the third one…I happened to still have the old one around.
I don’t remember exactly where but I drilled a small hole and installed a small screw to keep it working properly and not rolling over a little stepper piece.
Worked good, and she hasn’t had a problem for about 6 years (her daughter now drives it).


I dunno but it seems to me you just need to compress those prongs a little while you push it out of the hole. You have to override that groove. Maybe there is room to slip a socket or something round over the prongs to compress them a little but once you are out of the groove it should come out easily.

Ok, did some more work on this problem. Good news and bad news. I’ll start with the bad. Being careful as possible to push/pry that rod/bushing out of the hole, following all the good advice offered above, oops, cracked the black plastic ear plumb off!! Damn!!! @Yosemite 's post above is right about this part, a questionable design at best :slight_smile: I think I must have weakened it when I tried to remove it earlier in the week, before seeking advice here. Well, I gave it the old college try anyway. Worse case, I can always buy a new one.

The good news is I was able to repair the passenger door lock cylinder so now the same key that works all 4 locks. 2 of the wafers on the passenger door , one on each side, were sticking up quite a bit too high, preventing the cylinder from turning. My solution was to dremmel-grind those uppity wafers down to size to match the others. Voila, key works now.

FYI, “Wafers” serve the same function as ordinary house door lock “pin tumblers”, but wafers are used in car locks for some reason. I don’t have a theory how the wafers on the passenger side could get unaligned like that, since presumably the wafers were all the same dimensions in all four locks (two doors, ignition, and trunk) when the car was new and the key was new. But somehow over the years with the key wearing and unequal use of the locks, it happened. What I don’t understand is why the seldom used lock is the one that failed, but the locks I use all the time are still working fine.

Next job, I started to repair the broken off plastic ear. The simple fix, super glue the broken part back on, that didn’t take. So I JB Weld’ed and clamped a robust strip of sheet metal to the moving part of the arm, with an oval shaped hole drilled in it to fit the bushing. I think the oval shape will make it easier to insert the bushing via the bushing rotation method suggested by Tester above. JB Weld is now setting up. I’ll give it a few days before testing it for enough holding strength to open the door latch.

On one of my cars, the seldom used lock on the passenger door had a couple of the tumblers frozen so I just pulled them out and didn’t use them. It would make picking the lock easier but who would know that. If they don’t get used, they can corrode.

That’s a good idea @Bing. I’ll keep that in my bag of tricks. The only problem I can see with that method is that to remove the wafers means you have to remove the key from the cylinder, so you risk all the wafers and their springs falling out, getting mixed up in a big randomly oriented heap of parts. Then you have to put it back together again, like the Humpty Dumpty story? lol … hmmm … I could take a guess at how difficult this might be. Let’s see, there’s 8 wafers, and each of them can be oriented 4 ways (up vs down, and front vs back) and the 8 wafers, even if you got all of their orientations correct, they can still be arranged in 8! different ways. This is giving me a headache!! :wink:

George, it’s not a questionable design

Those plastic parts commonly break with age

That’s why they’re readily available at parts stores, as mentioned earlier

That’s what makes it it a questionable design … lol …