If the handle mechanism is flopping loose and not opening the door but won't come out of the door, the bracket might have pulled through the inside metal door skin.
The handle and cable are attached to a bracket, bracket is attached to inner door skin. I forget if the bracket is attached with one bolt or one sheet metal screw. There's not a lot of skin metal around the hole and the bolt/screw pulled through the skin on mine. The cable kept the handle and bracket from coming out of the door; they just kind of flopped around more or less in place. Pulling on the handle just moved the whole mess around, rather than pivoting the handle on the bracket, pulling the cable, and unlocking the door.
If this is what happened, the fix is to pull the plastic panel, get a backing plate behind the torn hole in the metal skin, and bolt/screw the bracket to the backing plate. Pretty easy to fix with the plastic panel off.
It's worth having plastic panel pry tools to pull the feathered plastic stud things in the door skin that the plastic panel attaches to. Any pry tool will work, but the plastic ones are less likely to do damage. You also want extras of the feathered plastic stud things; you will damage several beyond repair when removing the panel, especially if it's cold. Usually find packs of them at parts stores, cheap. Keep the new studs inside and warm, so they're not brittle when you install them.
Panel is attached by several of the plastic stud things around the bottom and sides, I recollect one screw in a recess in the top of the arm rest, and a couple of ridges that slide down into the window opening.
If you just need to put a new handle on a sound bracket and cable, not pulling the plastic panel may work if you can see the bolt. If not, it's not too big of a deal to pull the panel so you can see everything clearly. And you might want to put some insulation or sound deadening under the plastic panel while you have it off.
97 F-350 PSD E4OD 4x4, Crew Cab, 8'... Banks Power Pack, 6637 air filter, ARB air lockers front & rear, PIAA 959 fog & 1100 driving lights, 12" VisionX X-Mitter LED bar
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