Here we go.... This will be a long winded response. The exterior door
handles were prone to rusty internal mechanisms, on that model year. I have
dealt with this many times. There are 2 ways to go about this. I will list
Get a can of rust penetrating oil spray (WD-40,.. etc.). One with a
spray tube (that little red straw that you stick in the spray nozzle).
Insert that straw under the exterior door handle "thumb push button". If you
look at the thumb button, there is a gap under it. Spray around in circles,
and try to get it all around, inside the door, near the handle. You only
need to push the tube in about 3/4 to 1 inch. Now,... beat on the door
handle moderately, and then try the push button. If you start to feel the
push button getting some resistance, but then it feels like there is nothing
there the second time, than this is working. You may have to repeat this
many times before the door opens. When you get resistance on the full stroke
of the push button, you have fixed your problem. Beat, spray, push the
The thumb button is not connected to the "open door rod". The button is
spring loaded and merely pushes a lever that is attached to a rod. That
lever is stuck in the "open" position inside the door due to corrosion.
Beating on the door handle helps it return to it's original position, after
you have sprayed it with penetrating oil. This is also the reason you can't
open the door from the inside. It's like someone is pushing the button on
the outside, when you try to unlock the door from the inside. There is a
Remove the door panel. This is easier if you remove the back seat. This
way you have room to swing the bottom of the door panel upwards. Then you
can get at the lever at the exterior door handle and move it back.