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2003 Tacoma door handle

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by Wild Bill, May 8, 2019.

  1. May 8, 2019 at 10:43 AM
    #1
    Wild Bill

    Wild Bill [OP] New Member

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    Where is the best place to find a OEM door handle for a 2003 prerunner drivers door. Replaced it a couple years ago with a aftermarket one. I could tell it was cheap made when I installed it. Broke again, think I will go with OEM this time. Anywhere besides Toyota dealer to buy one. Dealer wants $130.
     
  2. May 8, 2019 at 11:22 AM
    #2
    Fatal_Paradox

    Fatal_Paradox Well-Known Member

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    My dads 98 Tacoma has had 5 door handle replacements. Aftermarket are cheaper, but don't last. If you want OEM you will pay for it, but you GET what you pay for. 130 bucks for 15 years probably? OR 25 bucks for it to break in a year or two. Your other option are salvage yards to get a used OEM handle. These trucks rarely go to those so it may be hard to find. Try Car part. com it searches all those yards at once.
     
  3. May 8, 2019 at 5:13 PM
    #3
    Glamisman

    Glamisman Well-Known Member

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    the latch assembly needs attention. there is so much old hard grease and dirt that the latch rod puts strain on the plastic lever it attaches to on the outside door handle. after cleaning it should open the door with just your little finger pulling up on it.
     
  4. May 9, 2019 at 7:01 AM
    #4
    Gyrkin

    Gyrkin Well-Known Member

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    A few years ago when mine broke I shelled out the bucks for an OEM replacement and it only lasted six months. The latch (the part that actually holds the door shut) gets gummed up over the years and it takes more effort to open. This puts more stress on the handle. If you clean and lube that latch real good, your new handle will last, even if it’s a cheap one. If you don’t, your new handle probably won’t last, even if it’s OEM. After replacing the handle several times in quick succession I took the latch out and gave it a thorough cleaning. Now I can open my door with my little finger, and my cheap, eight dollar Amazon door handle is holding up just fine.
     
    mayday likes this.
  5. May 9, 2019 at 1:27 PM
    #5
    eon_blue

    eon_blue Unknown Member

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    Dorman is the only handle I've bought so far that has lasted...they make them with a bigger plastic lip on the back that engages the handle mechanism. The OEM ones have a smaller lip and it starts to slip over time and won't engage the handle.

    After having multiple OEM handles fail I finally compared the two side by side and I can say 100% that Dorman has a better design as far as that's concerned.

    The overall quality might not be as good as OEM but I haven't had to change it out in over a year and I was having to replace my OEM ones far more often.
     
  6. May 9, 2019 at 5:33 PM
    #6
    greengaint97

    greengaint97 Well-Known Member

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    Gyrkin and eon_blue like this.
  7. May 10, 2019 at 9:25 PM
    #7
    cruisedon66

    cruisedon66 Well-Known Member

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    When you install the new handle, JB weld a thin strip of metal to the area where your old one broke.
     
  8. May 10, 2019 at 9:26 PM
    #8
    eon_blue

    eon_blue Unknown Member

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    Nice, yeah I will always recommend them after my crappy experience with so many OEM handles. I'm sure that Toyota uses better quality material but the Dorman design is superior. And if the Dorman breaks you're only out ~$20, when an OEM one breaks you're out $$$
     
    greengaint97 likes this.
  9. May 10, 2019 at 10:06 PM
    #9
    Sebz13

    Sebz13 Coconut Expert

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    a dropped one and a rusty 4wd one.
    I have the 5 dollar one chocked filled with white grease, seems okay for now.
     
  10. Jan 28, 2020 at 11:52 PM
    #10
    Bladesmith88

    Bladesmith88 New Member

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    If I make a few sets of these would anyone be interested? Making them for my own truck and a buddies, we are both sick of busted handles. They will be made using lost wax casting, solid aluminum handle units, will be polished off and clear coated to look like chrome. My inital thoughts are $100.00 a set, afterall these will be hand made handle replacements.

    20200125_164321.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  11. Jan 29, 2020 at 12:42 AM
    #11
    Empty_Lord

    Empty_Lord Wallet abuser

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    I’d probably be up for a few sets.
    Especially if you do flat black. havent broken a handle on the 01 or 02 yet, but metal would make it feel soo much better
     
  12. Jan 29, 2020 at 6:50 AM
    #12
    Glamisman

    Glamisman Well-Known Member

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    Bladesith88... do you know what year range they will fit or is the handle the same and jus the mount different?
     
  13. Jan 29, 2020 at 1:24 PM
    #13
    Bladesmith88

    Bladesmith88 New Member

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    I know for sure these will fit my 99 taco and my buddies 03 taco so I imagine they will fit most first gen door assemblies as well as some 4 runners. I am waiting for my kiln to get in and will post pics of the finished handle. Will do some testing for strength as cast, may need to solution anneal and age the handles for better longevity. If aging is required that means running the kiln for almost a week:/ the good news is I can cast probably 4 handles at a time maybe more and thermal cycle like 30 handles at a time so it will be cost effective.
     
  14. Jan 29, 2020 at 5:40 PM
    #14
    Kevin Jones

    Kevin Jones Well-Known Member

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    I just replaced my first door handle in my '96 in 24 years and 414,000 miles. I considered going with a Dorman aftermarket, but decided on the OEM ($97) and glad I did after installing it as it's kind of a pain in the ass to install if you have large hands. Don't want to do it again. I agree, you get what you pay for in Toyota parts.
     
  15. Jan 29, 2020 at 6:09 PM
    #15
    omarq

    omarq Well-Known Member

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    Here in Florida I'd be wary of a solid metal door handle in the summer.

    I remember burning my hands on the shiny metal seat belt buckles 1980s chevys we used to.have.
     
  16. Jan 29, 2020 at 11:28 PM
    #16
    Bladesmith88

    Bladesmith88 New Member

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    Yeah, here in Nor Cal its not uncommon to get 100°+ I have no doubts they will get warm lol. For my bud and I its more to get a kick out of finally having robust handles. On that note I have considered carbon fiber or g10 as a handle material bolted/countersunk to cast or machined arms. We wanted to go all metal of course lol!
     
  17. Jan 29, 2020 at 11:30 PM
    #17
    Bladesmith88

    Bladesmith88 New Member

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    I could set up my anodizing tank haha!
     
  18. Jan 29, 2020 at 11:34 PM
    #18
    Empty_Lord

    Empty_Lord Wallet abuser

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    you might be able to corner a market no one has delved into for sure if you can get them lookin good and workin good.
     

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