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Jay, Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 20484
Experience:  20+yrs experience with Nissan & Infiniti Trained & Certified.Currently still working for Dealer
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How do you access the 89 Nissan Maxima door insides to fix

Customer Question

How do you access the 89 Nissan Maxima door insides to fix an unopenable door when the panel access screws are blocked by the dashboard at the front side and the door jam at the back side of the panel?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Nissan
Expert:  Jay replied 8 years ago.

Hello and thank you for using


The door panel has to be removed to replace that mirror, do you feel you can remove it? If so I will give you a image on how the door panel comes apart.


Let me know, Thanks Jay!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Jay, thanks for replying.


I'm not trying to replace a mirror. The door latch is not opening. To fix the latch on other vehicles, I typically remove the door panel. My problem is that in order to remove the door panel, I must be able to first open the door so I can get to the screws that undo the panel. I am in a catch-22 situation.


Ever come across this or have a suggestion?


Expert:  Jay replied 8 years ago.

Hmm. Yeah, that does become a problem. You could damage the door panel when trying to remove. There are one or two screws that sit towards the front part of the door panel towards the hinges. Well, if you can wait till I am on later this evening, I will give the you break down on how to remove the panel. Hopefully that will help. The only thing you may have to damage is the weather strip towards the hinges to get at the screws.


I will be on later this evening to continue to assist you.


Thanks Jay!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks. I will be on very late this evening, so if I miss you, please don't give up. The front screws are blocked by the side of the dashboard, so not sure what to do other than removing fabric portion, cutting hole, and trying to unlatch.


Another thought was to obtain a string/wire saw and work that around the bar that the latch engages. I could then cut that U-shaped bar to free it from the door jam, but not sure how hard it would be to obtain a replacement piece.


Thoughts on best approach or another approach would be appreciated.

Expert:  Jay replied 8 years ago.
Ok, I do remember running into this problem in the past. Here is the image on the door panel.graphic

What think I remember doing, is unfastening all the screws and so for the door panel except that one, and pivoting the door panel up, like a lambo door so I can access the latch to pop it open.

You can give that a shot.

Let me know if you have any more questions on this, and I will do my best to help. Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks for the response, but this solution will not work. There are two screws at the forward side of the panel that are blocked (see screwcap H in your diagram, look below it, and you will see the second one). This prevents the panel from being able to swing upward. Also, to even swing it upward, I'd have to be able to pull the rear side of the panel toward me first so that it could swing upward. However, the rear side of the the panel is overlapped by the door jam preventing me from pulling it inward or upward.



Expert:  Mark replied 8 years ago.
Have you tried to get the door open with a slimjim? usually when your door won't open from the inside or outside door handles,the door handle rods have come out of the latch somehow. This happens a lot when people lock their keys in their car then try to slimjim it.If you get a slimjim and push down on the latch release you might be able to open the door otherwise it is very difficult to remove the door panel,I have just pulled the top of the door panel off the door then using a long skinny screwdriver been ablto pop the latch open
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

How do you get to the latch release? Do I get to it from the inside of the window or the outside? Where is the latch release lever located (toward the front, the outside, the inside, or the back of the latch mechanism)? Do you have a pic?
Expert:  Mark replied 8 years ago.
I don't have access to a picture for you today but can get one tomorrow at work,If you remove the A-pillar trim between the front door and the rear door it might help a little,there is no easy answer for your situation I have had to deal with the same situation on a number of different Nissan vehicles and they were all very difficult to get opened. I think the easiest way is by trying a slim jim,most tow truck driver's are experts at this. Do you have AAA ? The door panel hooks over the door at the top I have pulled that part of the panel off the door and put a wedge in there so I cou7ld access the latch mechanism from the inside the car, use a flashlight to see the latch open lever and try to release it. this is a last resort tho.I'd hate to see you damage the door panel.Slim jim is best bet
Customer: replied 8 years ago.




I won't be able to try this until Thursday evening. Did you obtain a pic of the door? Also, do you know if the latch is accessed easiest from the inside or the outside using a slimjim?

Expert:  Jay replied 8 years ago.
Hey still trying to get this door open? The slim jim is almost a good idea. That catchs the rods that goes to the latch to open the door. But if you latch is the problem, that won't work. I could have sworn you could get at one of those screws so you could pivot the door panel. Double check and let me know.

Thanks Jay!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.



There's no way to get to either of the sets of screws for the door panel.

Can you possibly get me that latch picture? You had said "I don't have access to a picture for you today but can get one tomorrow at work." That sure would help.



Expert:  Jay replied 8 years ago.
I am actually on vacation and will be back to work wednesday. There is no picture of the latch. I had said, that if the problem is the latch, that it won't work ( meaning the slim jim idea ).

When I go to work on Wednesday, I know we have a 94 in the lot, at least it was there when I left for vacation. I will take a look at the door panel and see what I can figure out for you. Some times just sitting in the seat and looking at the door will bring back the memorys on how to get it off.

Thanks Jay!