2nd row seat fold-down handle/mechanism broken

My 2015 CX-9 2nd row fold down handle quit working (the one on the top of the seat back). I removed the plastic handle to find the collar holding the release cable had broken. Thought I'd found the problem but it seems the cable quit working, hence the broken latch when someone pulled it.

Strange thing is that it works if you first release the lower handle that moves the seat forward giving access to the third row. i.e., pull the lower handle, the back of the seat moves forward, then pull the upper handle and the seat folds properly. But the fold down cable doesn't function first.

Does anyone have any ideas what to look at? Can't find anything on the interwebs regarding disassembly and I don't want to replace the handle until fixed as it will surely break again.

i would disassemble the side of the seat to go to the mecanism as there must be something stuck in there. It might be something that slid there and is jamming the mecanism. If the cable doesn't work than something is preventing it from moving, either the cable is stuck in it's sleeve (which i doubt) or the thing that the cable pulls is stuck which would make more sense. This is the first time i hear this though, if you have kids you might have a lego or a toy stuck in there or something.
LOL, no kids. But the cable is loose, in the sleeve but won't release. It feels like it's hitting something quite firm at the end of travel, probably metal so something is stuck or stuck in the mechanism.

I started to do just that. I removed the lower handle that that moves the back for third row access and can't see anything but the cable running by the hole.

I started to go at the hinge of the seat and back but the plastic trim is quite tight. I think they snap on but I don't really know how it comes apart and don't want to break them. Likewise I think the whole seat cover should come off with a couple zippers attaching the back to the rest of the cover and a snapped seam at the bottom, but again, can't figure out how to do it and may damage it if I try. Dealer sent me an exploded view of parts but it doesn't show how anything goes together.
Update... the cable will move and release the seat if you put a pliers on the cable end barrel. So the mechanism works but is very tight. So still a problem.

Found the zipper ends of the seat cover tucked behind the seat back and can open them up the sides. It would create a flap to lift up but looks like the bottom of the seat back fabric connects to the front at the bottom with a long compression clamp. It doesn't want to come apart easily, I'm afraid I might not be able to get it back together. Anybody removed a seat back cover?
2013 CX-9 Sport
I know this was posted a while ago, but this sounds like the same issue I had and I'll share how I fixed it for my 2013 CX-9 Sport.

The biggest problem is that Mazda doesn't sell this cable. Their catalog suggests that they do (TDaa-88-287), but it's not the same one. It is too long, the snap in connectors are the wrong length, and the end is an S shape instead of a barrel, so it won't fit into the handle. Neither of those were things you can work around with the cable they say is the right one. After working with two dealerships and Mazda directly, I was told I had to buy a new seat back that would come with the cable.

I was able to find a simple solution at Advance Auto Parts. I got the Dorman cable stop assortment pack for $5 and one of them was the right size.

I did take the entire seat apart to remove the cable when trying to fix this and it wasn't bad to remove and put back together, but if you have the same issue as me with the cable breaking at the handle at the top of the seat, you probably don't need to take the seat apart at all.

Attached are pics of the cable stop that broke off and how it connects to the handle. I don't have a pic of the replacement after I put it on, but it worked like a charm. 6+ months later and my kids haven't re-broken it.... yet.


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