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97 rear seat latch

07-24-2006, 07:37 PM
My rear seat latch just broke. :banghead: Its the one on the larger of the split rear seats. This one apparently has two cables that pull with the latch. The cable that goes to the center latch (by the seat belt catches) broke down near the latch mechanism. Is there a way to release this latch with a screw driver or something? Also, is there a way to get the seat out without folding the seat down? This latch has been difficult to release for some time even after oiling the latch and such. I can probably re-thread a new cable but getting to the latch (i.e. removing the seat) with the seat up is my main issue (I can't seem to get to the seat bolts by the door with the seat up). Ideas/comments?

Chris Stewart
07-25-2006, 06:35 AM
I just did mine manually...
From the passenger side, look down at the center latch by the seatbelt you just mentioned.
You see the round pin at the forward part of the latch? Under and just to the rear of that pin is the latch lock. To the rear of the latch lock is the spring loaded piece that releases the latch lock or holds the latch lock. I pushed the spring loaded piece down with a small screwdriver which released the latch lock and let that side of the seat down. I'm guessing the seat release you normally use is releasing the driver side ok.

07-25-2006, 02:31 PM
Thanks Chris. Unfortunetly, it is my drivers side seat that won't go down. (the wider of the two rear seats) The drivers side appears to have two cables to release the seat (as opposed to the single cable for the passengers side). More unfortunetely for me is that it is the center cable that broke. That latch seems a bit different than the side latches like the single one on the passengers side. The center mechanism is sandwiched between two metal pieces of the hinge. It's hard to see what to push (and it was real 'sticky' before) to get it to let loose. I've poked and prodded with no luck so far. I thought I'd just remove the seat and get access to the cable pull point (bottom of the hinge and totally hidden) but I don't seem to have access to all the seat bolts - the back ones by the door are under the seat ... and I can't fold the seat to get to them!! All ideas - short of dynamite - appreciated! (on second thought, maybe that dynamite ....)

Chris Stewart
07-25-2006, 08:48 PM
The drivers side is the one I unlatched with the screwdriver, I approached it from the passenger side of the car.

07-29-2006, 10:28 AM
Chris, Sorry for my previous post. Read your reply late at night and totally misunderstood. I finally got the time to get to this. I hit the latch with some penatrating oil last night. This morning I got a hammer to supplement the screwdriver. And with two fair taps the latch moved - gee, no wonder the cable broke! A few shots of spray lithium grease have done wonders for that latch. I would HIGHLY recommend that folks hit those latches with some spray lubricant. It'll save a broken cable. Wish I'd done it years ago.

On another note. I need to praise and thank this forum. It is simply the best and has saved me dozens of hours (at least!). I am very mechanical and can fix most anything on a vehicle. I'm sure I would have figured out that stuck latch eventually - after bending, poking, prodding, cussing, and disassembling way more than I needed to. What you guys bring to the table is invaluable - experience! I've used this forum many times (although I completely forgot my user name and password so I had to re-register this time!). I've also used the camry forum for my wife's car. I won't spend anything more than a few minutes trying to fix something without consulting this forum. BTW, the instructions on the steering column wiring harness are great - and glad someone added the note on how to release the key tumbler so you did not have to cut the plastic. Just one more example of the great advice available here. Again, THANKS! I spread the word of this forum to everyone who even mentions a car to me. It's great for the non-mechanical too. You can go into a shop having a good idea of the problem and what it takes to fix.
Now I'm off to replace my wife's left front axel again. The new boot on the axel split at the manufacturing seam within 200 miles! :mad:

Chris Stewart
07-29-2006, 04:29 PM
Glad you got your latch freed up Greggreg, lubing them up is a real good idea, mine had a small bit of residue...grandchildren I guess.

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