The inside door release handles seem to be a weak spot on these trucks. I've replaced 2 in the last 4 years. Friends with this model have had the same problems.
It got so bad this time I was having to open the window and use the outside door handle.
Yes, it's winter - today it was above freezing so I decided to do the job.
This is really quite easy it should take about 45 minutes.
Step 1: Tools and Parts Needed
#2 Phillips screwdriver
Straight blade screwdriver
1/4 inch drill bit
"Big Daddy" riveter
Window regulator "banana" rivets
Panel removal fork
Tray to hold removed parts
New door handle
I bought the door handle at RockAuto ( www.rockauto.com ) for $8.60. With shipping it was about $15.00.
They are available in the various interior colors.
The big rivet gun is from my days doing collision repair. It cost about $120.00.
Maybe you could borrow one from Auto Zone, or have a local body shop install the rivet.
Alternatively you could use a small bolt and nut.
The fork is another specialized tool. It spreads the force when you pry the panel loose. You can buy them for about $5.00. Or you could use a stiff paint stick or just the a screwdriver.
Step 2: Door Panel Fasteners
Remember the #1 rule - Don't Break Anything!
Take your time and work carefully.
-There are only 2 phillips screws holding the panel in place - those are inside the pull cup area.
-Next pry out the push-in button at the top front of the panel.
-The triangular trim piece is held in place by a single "christmas tree" fastener. The same fasteners are used to hold the entire panel to the door shell. It takes some firm pressure to pry it loose. Use the flat screwdriver inserted from the front.
-The bezel around the handle is held by 3 clips. Use the flat screw driver at the places indicated to release the clips and pull the bezel toward you
You do not need to remove the light
Step 3: Window Switches and Speaker
There is wiring attached to the window and lock switches that you need to disconnect.
Use care here, plastic gets brittle over the years.
Carefully pry up at the rear of the switch panel, then pull to the rear remove it from the door panel.
Squeeze the (small) speaker connector to release it. The Large speaker stays in the door.
Rather than try to remove the switch wiring, we'll remove the entire switch assembly.
The switch module snaps into place at front and rear.
Use the flat screwdriver to carefully release the clips and free the switch module.
Once the switches are free, push them down into the door panel.
Step 4: Remove the Door Panel
Now use the fork to pry out on the panel to release the push-in fasteners.
There are about 10 around the perimeter of the panel
It will take some firm pressure to do this - You'll think something's going to break, then suddenly the fastener will give.
Once you have one released the rest are easier.
Once the panel is loose all around the bottom, lift straight up to unhook it from the top.
Hold the panel and look down at the light. The bulb socket just pulls straight out of the lamp housing.
(yes the lens fell out - someone else has been there before. I had to re-glue it)
Step 5: Remove Handle Assembly
Now we can get at the handle.
There is a single POP rivet holding it in place, along with 2 control rods.
Using the drill and bit, drill off the head of the rivet.
Now push forward on the handle assembly and pull it away from the door.
Tilting it a bit at the top you will be able to see the rods attached.
Use the flat screwdriver to pry the rods loose.
Step 6: Install New Handle Unit
Here you see the new handle ready to install.
I removed the plastic sheet from the old handle and reused it. It will stop cold air from entering.
Notice the 3 "hooks" at the top.
Reattach the 2 control rods - they will just snap into place.
Insert the hooks on the handle into the slots on the door and push the handle unit to the rear.
Make sure it is resting flat against the door.
The rivet makes sure it stays put.
These are what I call banana rivets - they peel open. They are widely used to hold door components in place.
Once you have the handle secured, it's a good idea to get in the truck, shut the door and make sure the handle works.
Once you know it works all you have to do is re-install the panel.
Start by hooking it to the door at the top, line up the prongs pop it back into place.
Bring the switch unit back up through the opening and snap it into the panel.
Plug in the speaker - pass the wire under the divider before connecting it.
The front triangular panel hooks onto the top of the door panel first.
You'll have to bend the prong a bit with your finger to line it up.
Lastly push in the button below the triangle panel.
That's it, you're done. That wasn't so hard was it?
Step 7: Broken Handle Pics
Here are a couple photos showing the old and new handles.
Also the area on the casting that fails.