Unfortunately the panel will have to be removed if the handle has come loose from the inner rod that actuates the release.
If the handle itself broke and there is part of it left and still connected internally, then it depends on how much of the handle is left. A pair of vise grips will suffice or you might be able to get a pry bar behind it and pop it open.
If you have to remove the panel, it is not as bad as it seems. It is retained by platic clips that can be purchased in the, "HELP!" Section which can be found in most auto parts stores. There is a tool that can be purchased to help pull the panel without damaging it.
To remove it, first fremove all trim which is reatained by phillips head screws which are sometimes covered by small plugs.
Then you can usually start at a corner by hand or with a chisel or screwdriver to pull it away from the door frame.
Start pulling it slowly and the panel clips will pop out and sometimes they will pop out of the panel and have to be pulled later. Ussually they can be re-used as long as they are not broken.
With the panel off there is a sound deadening material that is glued in place with adhesive silicone. You can get the silicone at a parts store to glue it back in.
You will be able to see the inner part of the handle and rod. They are geberally held together with a metal clip or a plstic ball joint.
Remove the handle and then you can either eplace it, (call local salvage yards as they will deliver the part to you for about half the price of a dealership), or you can see if the release rod can be acessed abd pulled from the outside with vise grips or other plyers. However, the lock can be accessed as well so the truck will be easy to break into.
Don't be intimidated by emoving the panel as a body shop will remove it the same way and charge you several hundred dollars
Sunday, March 6th, 2011 AT 4:59 AM