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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
DIY: Door Handle Rust and How To Fix It

I have a 2004 Camry LE with the rust stains on both rear passenger door handles. It seems this problem is widely reported by many Toyota car owners across the generations. I am a DIY person and decided to do the repair myself. I literally googled for hours for instructions with no success. Here is what I did to fix the rust/stain problem. I hope you find this write up helpful.

Warning: I am not responsible for any personal injury and/or any property damage as a result of following these instructions. You are on your own!

Tools Needed (your situation may vary):
Flathead screwdriver
Philips screwdriver
Torx screwdriver (T27 or T30)
A needle nose plier.
Polishing and rubbing compounds.

Here are the door handles with the rust stains:









I started with the left rear passenger door. It was a long learning process and took me a week to get where I am now. Once I knew how to take things apart, it was really really easy to work on the other door. These instructions are for the right side rear passenger door but can be used for other side as well.

First you need to remove six screws to get the door panel off. Start with this one. Just push the middle of the screw in and pull it off.






There is a screw behind the indoor door handle. Remove the covering with the flat head screwdriver and take the screw out. Don't pull the handle.






Next remove the screw on the power window controller.


Life the power window controller up at the location where the arrow is in the image below. Don't lift the other end. Remove the electrical wiring from the controller. If you need a screwdriver for this part, you are doing something wrong.




Next remove the screw under the controller you just took off.


Finally there are two more screws at the bottom of the door panel. Sorry don't have a picture for them. Remove them.

Now you are ready to take the door panel off. Grab the paper holder or the storage area at the bottom with your hands and gently pull it towards you. Work your way up and completely disengage the panel from the door. DON'T PULL IT OFF YET. You need to unhook the cables behind.



Once the door panel is removed, you should see this metal part. Remove it.


Next gently peel the plastic from the corner just enough to reveal the opening. Remove the latch wiring with the needle nose plier.


Now it's time to remove the latch. Take the three screws off with the torx screwdriver. Then push the latch wiring socket in and slide the latch assembly out through the hole.




You should now see the backside of the door handle. The next step is removing the outside handle. It may require two people. See the image below and note where the red arrow starts. Gently pull the rectangular black thing down until it stops. While holding it, ask your helper to pull the outside door handle out and towards the back of the car. It should come off easy. I did this myself.


Remove the two screws to get the assembly off the door.


You should see the other screw through the latch hole.



Viola!!! There it is!!!!








This pad is from the left rear door.






So the pads were the culprits. Everything else was fine. I applied the polishing compound on the rust stains and wiped it off. Stains came off easy.






Now I am waiting for my OEM pads to arrive. I ordered them through a local Toyota dealer. I will post the pictures after I put them on.

I couldn't get one of the screws from Toyota because there wasn't any part number in their catalog. So I ended up using the old screw after removing the rust with the evapo rust. Here is the door with the handles on.

Right handle:

Before:


After:


Left handle:

Before:


After:


Hope this write up helped someone!
 

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#ProjectTRDCamry
'03 Camry LE
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426 Posts
:clap: good job! now if mine ever does this (i sure hope not :D) i can fix it. very good detail and lots of pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I got all my parts except a screw. The dealership says they can't find the part number for the screw in the OEM catalog. I hope someone here can help me on this.

I am looking for these screws, one screw for each side.







The pad below goes on the end of the screw.






Here is the diagram from Toyota for my car's generation. As you can see, the diagram shows one screw but not the other one. So I was googling and came across a similar diagram for 2010 Prius. It showed a screw. I thought the parts are interchangeable and ordered two screws.

Part number: 69296-30010. I am hoping this one will fit the pad I have.




Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Well, I decided to use the old screws as they weren't rusted but had rust deposit on them. A friend of mine suggested I put them into Evapo Rust overnight. I did and it worked perfectly. I put the handles back on the car. See the update to my original post.
 

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I just did this job this morning, and thought I'd share a couple shortcuts and thoughts.

First, I didn't disconnect the cables from the mechanism in the door panel, which meant that the panel was dangling in my way for the duration of the job. I don't think that most people would want to do it my way, but it worked.

Second, the handle can be removed more easily if you take off the small, rearward body colored piece next to the handle first. You loosen the screw (behind the latch), and pop off the piece. Then you slide the handle rearward to remove it from the car, with no need to reach in and pull the rectangular piece at all.

I never removed the black plastic piece behind the handle - and in fact I left the screws intact as well. I just loosened them so that I could remove the outside pieces.

The reinstallation of the latch mechanism was way smoother than I expected. I just slid it back into the door, below its final position, and then upward to the point where I could line up the three machine screws. It magically re-engaged the back of the handle mechanism, without me really trying to line it up or anything.

Only the front most pads have metal threads in them. I replaced the rear pads (since I had ordered them), but you can reuse the old ones since they are just rubber, and shouldn't cause the same problem as the others.

I wonder if the front door handles will develop the same problem at some point?
 

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J.O.A.T, Master of none
'14 Tacoma DC/LB
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AH..HA! And my dealer kept telling me that it was grease bleading down the side of the car from the handle mechanism. I knew that he was full of it!

I wax my 2 camry door handle areas a few times a year just to get rid of the stains, sounds like that is just a temporary fix.

Nice writeup!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's almost a year and a half since I did this job. No more rust stains on the rear door handles.

@Steve_M

I guess I could've let things dangle and worked around them but I didn't want to scratch or drop the tools on the panel. So I completely removed the parts in each steps.

Luckily the front doors haven't developed this problem.
 

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I just had the driver's door apart to replace the window regulator. I thought about doing the handle pads but I decided not to since they looked fine. Hopefully they'll never go bad.

This time I unhooked the cables from the door panel to get it out of my way. I don't think I could have switched the cables during reassembly, which is the concern that stopped me from taking the rear panels completely off, so I would encourage everybody just to remove panels.
 

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Not to bump an old thread, but I'm currently in the process of doing this DIY Guide. I need the PN for these rubber pads so I can order them from a local toyota dealer. Thank you.
 
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