Mazda Tribute This low-priced SUV allows the driver the versatility of an SUV without the big fuel bill of many of the vehicles in the SUV class.

Broken door handles--within door

Old 04-10-2011, 03:54 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2
Default DIY Tribute Front Inner Door Handle Repair

I repaired our 01 Tribute driver's door handle by disassembling the handle and epoxying the broken molded plastic cam back into place. I'm not sure how long the repair will last. But it's time to sell the car.

Clearly the early 01 and 02 Mazda Tributes have a few hidden defects that were fixed in later versions.

The plastic door handle cam is one of them.

To fix the handle, I needed to remove the door panel and then the handle assembly. Then I carefully removed the long rivet hinge pin that the door handle hinges upon. To remove this hinge rivet, I squeezed and repeatedly crimped the deformed end of the rivet with a vise grip until I could reshape its mushroomed head into a column. Then I filed it until it would pass through the hole and allow the handle to be removed.

When I took than handle apart I found the broken chromed plastic cam piece lodged inside the assembly. I used epoxy to glue the cam back into place. And then reassembled the handle assembly.

If this hadn't been a Sunday, I think I would have gone to the dealer to purchase the new handle. But we'll see how long this lasts with gentle use. And maybe it will last long enough to trade this lemon in for a new car.

Here are some other problems we've had with our Mazda Tribute (2001 ES)

Headliner has sagged above the rear hatch back window and will no longer stay in place.

Hatch back struts no longer hold the door up.

Then there are the seat belt retractors; their electrical connections repeatedly failed and raised a dashboard airbag warning light. The dealer fixed these 3 times under warrantee before a final repair (out of warrantee) involved soldering the connections.

The rear hatchback lock solendoid has failed and no longer locks/unlocks the hatch.

The OBD warning says the throttle body has an issue. It keeps raising a check engine light suggesting that it needs to be disassembled and cleaned.

The leaky brake master cylinder needed to be replaced at 80K miles.

The power steering hose assembly where it attached to the power steering pump failed due to vibration. The fix included a new supporting bracket assembly. Clearly a Mazda re-design necessary due to frequent failures.

The factory sunroof electric switch has become intermittant, sometimes failing to close the sunroof, and thus untrusted. A web search reveals many other folks have also suffered this problem.

But our biggest repair was a complete transmission rebuild at 75K miles ($3500.00). Our is the 4WD with electronic overdrive. The transmission repair included a new recommended but optional rebuild kit that improves the deficient distribution of transmission fluid inside the transmission. we alsoreplaced all new transmission solenoids and torque converter (the transmission left my wife stranded 40 miles from home. The repair shop told us it was full of metal filings. A web search als reveals that many folks have experienced the transmission failure in the 01 and 02 model year.

Lessons learned for me personnaly are to never again purchase a first model year of a new car design. And this will be our last Mazda.

Last edited by DaveB; 04-10-2011 at 04:01 PM.
Old 04-15-2011, 11:33 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 53

I have issues with the driver side rear door. Both inside and outside handles are broken. How do I get the door open to replace both handles?
Old 04-24-2011, 11:17 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2

DaveB, The surfmaz too has a case of brokenhandlelitis! I have taken a looksee
at the area in question coz i plan to pull a tonyP on it. But my question to you-or anyone else is that the interior handle body (as in your photo) seems to be attached to the door body rather securely, with what looks like double sided tape?? or something. can't see anymore screws etc. How did you pop this part off please? I dont want to force it if i am missing something.

Old 07-04-2011, 07:53 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5
Default Thanks, tonyp

Another happy tonyp customer! Worked out very well indeed.

2001 Mazda Tribute inside door handle fix, thanks to tonyp. The angle(s) may not be clear unless you're holding the assembly in your hand (very easy to remove, btw). I shot these to illustrate the general area where I drilled and inserted a screw. I just happened to have on hand enough of these Phillips-head machine screws with a plain shaft, no threads, on the first 1" or so out of a 2"screw. It took just two tries with a Dremel to get the right length and the head cut roughly in half to fit just so (although I'm sure many could get it on the first try). I used a small blob of epoxy to hold it in place, probably optional if you're better than I (not difficult!). Again, this will make much more sense if you can actually hold the entire assembly in your hand, completely disconnected from the door.

I can see the zip-tie method working very well, too. I prefer metal -each to their own

Very easy fix and took maybe 1/2 hr. Very glad to have my door handle back; it completes the project. I just installed all new speakers and used expanding foam to further insulate all the doors - what a difference!!

Hover over thumbs to view, click to enlarge.

 Broken door handles--within door-door-handle-fix-002.jpg  Broken door handles--within door-door-handle-fix-003.jpg  Broken door handles--within door-door-handle-fix-005.jpg

Last edited by DigitalJer; 07-05-2011 at 01:16 AM. Reason: added photos & extra karma, spellcheck-o-rama
Old 07-04-2012, 02:47 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2
Default Tribute door not opening / broken handle in & out

thanks to Zekeindc! This trick of using the manual lock to open the door works great. About 2 years ago the same thing happened to the driver door & I paid better than $500 to have it fixed---because I could not open the door to get at the mechanism. I am very well mechanically inclined. the dealer made a BIG issue of opening the door. LOL.
I can now shop for the parts I need to repair. Thanks again.
Old 04-09-2019, 03:27 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Saskatoon
Posts: 1

Hi: i to am having trouble with a broken handle off a 2001 Tribute.
could i get a copy of the original info sheet on what TonyP did up.
Thanks GordS
Old 04-13-2019, 09:27 AM
djkelo868's Avatar
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
Posts: 14

I'm no professional, but i changed out all my interior door handles myself.
Check out this vid. It will guide you accordingly.

To find the parts, click here..
Might need slight modification.
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