Well about two months ago I bought groceries, loaded them in the rear, came home and the rear gate wouldn't open, handle was broken. I had read about this happening, so lets say it wasn't a complete surprise. Too much going on to deal with it immediately.
I considered the $1.38 repair detailed at:
which also details the interior handles and trim removal (easy, but awkward from inside) but I didn't have ready access to a drill press. I looked on eBay and there were two sellers of replacement models (one touted to be in metal) but he wouldn't ship to me. I ended up looking at www.partspros.com
and calling them. The listed a replacement (http://www.partspros.com/4002162.html
) but on phone inquiry the guy told me theirs was plastic and the Dorman model was the metal one. They arranged a purchase of the Dorman model and had it shipped to me. Think this was less than $50 w. shipping. I installed it a few days back. Wandering on the web it appeared that the Dorman part might be available "directly" through www.rockauto.com
-but I didn't verify that; just saw it.
As noted elsewhere, the new one didn't come with nuts or phillips screws so I was happy to have retained the old. I did have to remove the license plate lite assembly to remove the handle, but that was just one more nut on the inside and a squeeze on the snap in fastener on the right side. Since the plastic widgets that hold the big trim panel on are kind of fragile I hope not to do this too many more times. If these widgets stay in the door when you remove the panel, I use a pair of dikes (sm. wire cutters) to pop them off - carefully. I find that distorts the shape less then a pair of pliers.
copying from posts elsewhere the details on handle and trim removal:
1. You'll need a 10mm socket and a 10mm wrench
2. When in the van facing the back hatch, the plastic cover on the strap slides up. The covers over the handle bolts (lower left hand corner) open from the top down.
3. Remove all three before attempting to remove the back cover
4. The window trim is in three pieces. You must remove the top center part first, then the sides.
5. Pry evenly on the top center piece. There are about 6 or 7 plastic tabs holding it in place. It will sound like gunshots and/or you broke it when it comes free.
6. The side trim has metal clips holding it in place, and is hard to remove. Pull hard and evenly.
Remove the large trim piece starting at the top, working evenly down both sides.
7. Once the back trim is off, open the door .(Pull the cable that opens the latch.)
8. There are three 10 mm bolts in the middle center of the door, two on the handle, one to the left holding the license plate lights. All must come off, ideally with the door open.
9. There is a plastic tab to the right that holds the license plate lights. Try to squeeze it & push that through from the back, it breaks if you try to pry it from the front.
10. Be sure to unhook the cable (used to open the door) from the broken handle before trying to remove the handle
11. There are two small phillips screws holding the broken handle in place. Unscrew them (with everything else done) and the broken handle falls off.
12. Reverse the steps, it all goes back togethe pretty easily.
14. Line up the plastic tabs with the holes near the bottom of the door, peaking in with a flash light. Get two or three in, the door will be lined up, go around the open door pushing the tabs back into the holes.
15. In my opinion it was easier to put the side and top window trim back on with the door open.