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2011 Kia Sorento
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I went to get into my wife’s car yesterday and the door wouldn’t open from the outside. Upon disassembly and inspection, it was a small cheap spring inside the actuator assembly that keeps tension on the locking bar for the exterior door handle latching mechanism.

It isn’t a serviceable part, you have to replace the whole actuator.

Amazon has it for around $50, but I didn’t want to wait 3 days to get it so I went to the stealer and paid $100….I guess one on the counter is worth two in the warehouse! I have links at the end to the Amazon parts.

Here are the steps to get to this part, with some pictures attached:

Remove the door panel...I have another post where I explain those steps.

Roll the window down.

Remove the window rubber/felt strip on the inside top of the door right above where the door panel was.

Disconnect the cables going to the power mirror, and disconnect the two cable clips that hold it to the door, see picture circled in magenta.

Pop out the two nipples to the cable holders under the speaker, see picture circled in purple.

Remove the two rubber plugs on each side of the angle brackets that hold the door panel up, see picture circled in red.

Roll down the window slowly until you see the window clamp bolts inside the holes where you removed the plugs from above, again, see picture circled in red. You want to line them up in the holes so that you can loosen them. I removed them, but you may just be able to loosen them. Don’t worry about dropping them inside, you can retrieve them in a minute.

Slide the window up and out of the track carefully, don’t force it, be gentle.

On the door jamb side, where the latch mechanism is, remove the 3 hex head bolts holding the latch assembly.

Same area, above the latch is another rubber plug. Remove it to get to the bolt that holds the lock assembly.

You can loosen this bolt all the way and it can be retracted and should snap into the plastic fingers without removing it from the door.

Once that bolt is out, you can remove the lock assembly from the door handle.

To remove the door handle, slide it towards the rear of the vehicle and it should click as you move it rearward towards the space where you removed the lock assembly.

At this point you should be able to pull the door handle towards yourself and it will come out without any force. Don’t lose the little black gasket piece that goes around the handle/lock assembly.

My handle has a button for locking the doors, and the connector for the cable is a nifty little piece of engineering.

Carefully pull on the wire until the connector becomes will come out and lock with a click into a little clip. This is the neat engineering part. It clicks there to make it easier to re-install later.

After disconnecting the cable going to the door handle, remove the screw/bolt next to the connector you just clicked in place in the step above, see picture circled in red.

The whole window motor/cable assembly WITH THE DOOR/LATCH LOCK ACTUATOR comes off after removing the 10mm bolts circled in green in the attached picture.

It is the whole panel complete with the speaker and everything.

After removing the bolts circled in green, you will need to carefully wiggle the assembly down and forward so that you can clear the window tracks and the door latch mechanism. This is where removing the cable clips (circled in purple) earlier will give you some extra cable flexibility to get the panel forward enough to clear the window tracks and the latch actuator assembly.

The panel is still connected to the door wiring harness, so lay it on the floor resting on the may want to cover your seats to keep it from scratching them up.

Disconnect the electrical connector going to the actuator, circled in red in the picture mentioned above.

The actuator needs to be removed from the panel.

First, start by removing the cables from the interior door handle. There is a little finger release that will let you remove the handle from the cables. See the picture circled in green.

After separating this housing, you need to carefully remove the cable termination points from the housing. There is white grease all over the place. Try and save as much as you can because my new part didn’t come with replacement grease.

I got lazy about pictures at this point, but it is pretty straight forward:

The black actuator box has slots that the white plastic on the metal panel snaps into. You can look it over and see how it works. You want to disconnect each of the pieces until you can remove the actuator and get it free from the metal panel assembly.

You can look at the picture I posted below of the new assembly to get an idea what to do.

I removed the door lock button connector and cable from the white exterior door handle mounting piece and removed the white piece and the actuator together so that I could remove the exterior door handle cable easier on the work bench.

Once you have it free from the car, the white exterior door handle mount assembly has a cable that goes to the actuator. It terminates in a ball. The cable will snap out of the white plastic housing, and then you can move the cable in a way that allows you to remove the ball from the termination point where the door handle would manipulate it. See the picture of the assembly with blue circles.

You can then separate the white external door handle mount piece (white), from the door actuator. It should still have the bolt that held the lock assembly in it, you can see now how it is captive. My picture shows the bolt missing.

My new part didn’t have any grease on the cable ends so I salvaged the grease off the old part to put on the new.

Assembly is in the reverse with some points to remember:

Make sure to pull the rubber grommet boot on the door handle cables out and snap it into the hole so it makes a good seal.

Important, route all the cables properly like they were before you took them out. You don’t want the door lock cable getting hung up in the window.

Also, don’t forget to re-connect the cable retention nipples below the speaker from behind before you mount the metal panel back on the door. They were circled in blue in the picture of the metal panel.

I didn’t know what I was doing after removing the door panel, and this operation took me a little under two hours to complete.

Here are the part numbers and their links on Amazon:

Door actuator, driver side Kia PN# 81310-2P000, Amazon US:

Door actuator, passenger front side Kia PN# 81420-2P000 , Amazon US:


2011 Kia Sorento
8 Posts
This happened to my wife's care this past fall. Both the drivers side door and rear drivers passengers side door were not able to open from the outside of the car. I was that dumb .50 spring that was faulty in the actuator of the door and as stated Kia doesn't have just the spring you need to order the WHOLE actuator. My father in-law ended up replacing the actuator in the driveway after ordering it off of Amazon. it works but when rolled down it now stops with 1/2 inch of the window still extended. lol. Currently the right rear passenger door still only opens from the inside.

2011 Kia Sorento EX
7 Posts
Thanks for this write-up paulsstaf! i had to perform this little piece of surgery on my wifes 2011 Sorento yesterday. In the grand scheme of things it wasnt overly difficult - just kind of a pain having never torn into a modern era door before. (and i used the Kia assembly part purchased on ebay with no problems) the most difficult part for me had to do with removing and re-installing the outside handle/lock. it just didnt want to go back together right for a while! Your instructions were a huge help... thanks again - this was a huge help!
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