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door latch problem solved - temporarily maybe??

Discussion in '2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac' started by bdmaash, February 13, 2008.

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    1. bdmaash

      bdmaash Active Member

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      So I've been reading about the door latch issue a bit now.

      my drivers side door fails to unlock with the RKE (remote keyless entry). The key itself has problems unlocking (like there's something jamming in there).

      I had observed at one point, that pressing the door handle while unlocking helped (spring on door handle is broken), this pressing action doesn't help any more.

      So I've read how bending the door handle spring and re-clipping it where it needs to be fixed the door handle problem, but the unlocking issue would only be solved with a new latch mechanism.

      In Canada the latch is $83ish + taxes from Ford, unlike the $29 - $35 I've read in the US, guess the canadian dollar is worth about 40some cents US.

      I took off the door panel last night to take out the latch, there was a small spring (one side broken) in the latch - accessible from the striker area, - removed that.

      Unfortunately I don't have a service manual, and couldn't figure out how to remove the latch assembly. So I started to play with it.

      After about 10 minutes of molesting the door lock/latch assembly I discovered that the rod that comes from the door handle to the latch assembly needs to be lifted up (which forces/keeps the handle down). After a little more verifying, it definately needs to be up and things (unlock) worked perfectly - this is what that little spring I found must do.

      Went to the hardware store and bought a spring kit (101 springs for $4), bent the ends of the spring so it would catch on the end of the rod, and clipped the other end into the clip that holds the lock cylinder on the door. This keeps the rod in the up position and the door handle against the door.
      The door handle spring is still broken/unclipped, but the handle behaves as is the spring is there.

      The unlock function works great now with RKE and manual key operation.
      the fix was time + a 4 cent spring.

      Hopefully this helps others.
      [​IMG]

      edit:attached is a pic now, unfortunately you will not see where the spring is clipped to the rod, but when you take your door panel off, and feel around there you will figure it out.

      EDIT: door panel removal
      buy a service manual and read how to do it!!! If you can't spend the $20 or whatever on e-Bay to get proper instruction on how to service the truck, you really shouldn't service it. More often than not you will break more stuff trying to fix stuff.
      instruction:
      1 - disconnect battery
      2 - remove switch panel for controls in door and disconnect electrical connectors, probably pops out (check manual)
      3 - remove door handle cup screws (shows 2 screws)
      4 - remove door handle cup
      5 - *for low series door trim panels - remove the screw and window regulator handle
      6 - remove 2 screws from bottom of panel, remove door trim panel, if equipped disconnect the exterior mirror control switch.

      the panel clips in with those push pin things, and also with integrated hooks, so it needs to be pulled out in the lower section then lifted up.
      most likely you will break some pins and hooks if done improperly or with the wrong tools.
      Use instructions at your own risk, buy a proper manual for complete instruction.

      EDIT#2:
      just wanted to reply to a post (maybe #51 or 52)
      Ford is justified in charging $200+ dollars, since they don't add a spring when they fix the door latch, cost is for a new latch mechanism and for replacing it. I just discovered a very cheap fix and decided to share it.


      Edit #3:
      Thanks to everyone that who signed up just to say thanks :), that's all I need.


      Edit #4:
      06/26/2012
      thought I'd update this thread again (slightly different problem)
      A few days in a row I've got stuck in my truck (unable to open the door from the inside)

      There ise a post or two regarding the clip on the rod which is used to actuate the latch, the clip will move and not fully open the latch....

      I decided to spray the latch (the area exposed which when the door closes, goes around the door pin/striker pin??) with silicone lubricant instead of taking the door apart to adjust the clip.

      - it appears the mechanism was binding due to dust/grease... and not letting the latch mechanism open/close properly.

      - the problem is fixed, and one of my rear doors required extra pull on the inside handle also, spraying that latch mechanism (where it clips around the pin) fixed that door also.

      In the end I sprayed all 6 mechanisms (4 doors latches, and 2 latches in the tailgate)

      This is most likely standard maintenance which is done at the dealer if the vehicle is taken in for routine service.

      ..happy lubing :)


      Edit#5 8/23/2013
      There's a post regarding actuators not working and trying to use the spring to fix it.
      If you cannot hear your power door lock actuators working, this fix will not cure a non-working actuator
       
      Last edited: August 23, 2013
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    3. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      Thanks for the post. I have the same problems you describe but am waiting for the weather to warm up a little bit before I attack it. Pics would be great.
       
    4. BigBoom

      BigBoom Active Member

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      wow...i've had this same problem also. recently took the door panel off (for a lil fiberglassing) and looked up in there and saw the same spring broken. can you post the links to the pics? like on photobucket or somethin? i think i know what you're sayin...but pictures are work a thousand words :)
       
    5. alohamonte

      alohamonte Active Member

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      Wow

      wow... i found this broken spring in the door jam today... my door does not UNLOCK with the key... althought it will lock with the key and both lock/unlock with the interior switch.

      I'll get a box of random spring sizes and see what fits. I'm nervious about taking the door panel off but this lock thing is really annoying so its worth it.

      Thumbnail of my broken lock spring...

      [​IMG]
       
    6. bdmaash

      bdmaash Active Member

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      looks like the same spring I found. I updated the original post to sort of show how/where the replacement spring was placed.

      Get a trim panel removal tool to help pop off the door panel. If you start at the bottom corner, you should be able to see all the push pins (don't know their real name) one by one as you pop them out.
      Service manual really helps.
       
    7. alohamonte

      alohamonte Active Member

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      Fixed

      :thumbsup:

      I used a generic spring and like you secured it to the lever/rod and the other side to the lock cyclinder.

      worked like a charm. :salute:

      Total time 35 mins, and this was my first time removing a door panel.

      What you'll need:
      Assorted Springs
      Needlenose pliers
      Flash light
      door panel removal tool

      ~ Monte
       
    8. dannyboy72

      dannyboy72 New Member

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      Hardware store spring trick really works

      Hi. Longtime reader, first time posting.

      Like others posting in this and similar threads I had a similar problem with the door locks on my 2000 Explorer Sport. Actually my problems were twofold. I will recap my problems and the solutions in the hopes that someone else might benefit from my experience but I will try to keep the duplicate info to a minimum.

      A little over a year ago my key stopped unlocking the driver's side door which didn't really matter since I still had a clicker and the keypad entry. Then two weeks ago the only way I could get in the truck was to open the passenger side door and reach over and pull on the door latch. So I came here and looked for solutions and you guys came through for me.

      After some simple investigating, I determined that the rivet holding the lock actuator to the inside of the door had failed. The lock actuator was still working no matter what buttons I pushed so I set out to reattach it to the door.

      * Start by removing the door panel. It isn't necessary for the job, but I suggest getting a door panel remover tool as it makes the job so much easier. I found an excellent photo tutorial on this, click here to see it.

      * The next step I suggest following is removing the window track from inside the door. Someone else here describes how to do it. There's a wiring harness attached to the window track inside the door -- you'll need to unhook it first. Then all you have to do is remove the one bolt holding it in (its brass-colored and located near the bottom of the door). I should note that it bolts back up fairly easy when you're all done.

      * Because my lock actuator was swinging freely inside the door cavity, all I had to do was remove it by working the hook end out of the eye in the latch assembly -- but be careful not to break off the plastic insert in the eye. One quick look inside the door, and you'll see what I mean.

      * For those who don't know, there is a steel U-shaped clip riveted to the door that hugs the lock actuator in place. I gently pried the clip off the actuator then pounded out the remnants of the failed rivet. There's a rubber pad here and you may have to coax it back on to the clip before you continue.

      * After a short trip to my local hardware store, I had all the fixins to finish the job. You'll need to get a half-inch-long screw or bolt, place it in the center hole of the clip where the rivet was and replace the U-clip so it's hugging the actuator assembly again.

      * Now, reinsert the hook end of the actuator in the eye of the latch assembly and push the screw/bolt through the hole in the door where the old rivet was.

      * Attach a washer and a nut (size appropriate to the screw/bolt) to the end of the screw/bolt now sticking through the door and you're in business. I bought some blue gunk to prevent the nut from coming loose later on but it isn't necessary.

      I suppose a rivet gun of some kind would have worked here somehow but I don't own one and I am not really sure how to use it properly anyway.

      PART II

      Others here have suggested using a hardware store-bought spring or a piece of wire to get that latch assembly in order. All I can say to that is follow those other posts! It is really easy to do. The photo posted by another user here is good but the window track is blocking the view of the door latch and lock workings. Play around with the inner workings of that assembly and you can't help but figure it out.

      Keep in mind when doing this that there are two thin metal rods that run up and down way inside the door. If you gently lift the one on the right and hold it there, you'll notice your key can unlock your door with ease again. Figure out a way to use the spring to hold that rod propped up permanently and you've found your fix. It's actually more simple than you might think.

      I spent a total of 3 hours working on things but if you're more experienced than me, it will be far less.

      Total bill for fixing two problems -- $2.50 USC.

      Hope this helps!
       
    9. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      Great 1st post! I still haven't taken mine apart. I have been too busy stripping my other Explorer for my 5.0 swap.
       
    10. dieselmonkey16

      dieselmonkey16 New Member

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      Just wanted to say thanks for the great tip. It worked like a charm!

      This forum is a money saver! Keep up the great work!!!
       
    11. lucidwave

      lucidwave New Member

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      Explorer door latch problem resolved

      Hey all,

      posted to other auto forums but never this one. Anyways wifes explorer was acting up with the latch and used the info in this thread to fix. Just a couple of observations from when I did it.

      1 look for the broken spring in the latch itself, this could be causing problems of it's own

      2 what you are looking for is a rod directly behind the power window tract and at the same height as the door lock cylinder itself.

      3 The key to all this is upward pressure on that rod behind the track, stick the key in the door and lock it then use the interior door handle to open it and force the rod up feel back there as you are doing this and you will determine what rod we are talking about. Once you id the rod put a bit of upard pressure on it on the interior side of the door then use the key to lock and unlock it. If this works then your prob is the broken spring and this is an easy fix.

      4 get a spring about 1.5 - 2 inches long and the trickiest part is finding a mounting point at the bottom of the rod that needs upward pressure.. I used a mirror and looked for one but honestly I just opened up the end of the spring in a nice wide claw and grappled around at the bottom of the rod for a nice secure grab point (20 mins) once you have done that then there is a little triangular gap on the flange between the lock cylinder and the door's sheet metal. Hook the other end in there and poof there is upward pressure on the rod and things should work normally.

      5 totally easier to do this with the window up. It is super easy to get the door off just take out the two screws by the handle and pop out the plastic mounting nubs and lift up. also BE CAREFUL that nothing ou have done interferes with the window track big pain later if it does.


      good luck!!!
       
    12. wheats

      wheats New Member

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      Ford Explorer XLT 2001. Started to have the same problem with the lock. It was easy to remove the door panel. Sure enough, the spring was jammed in the lock mechanism. My wife located it when I was messing with the inside feeling around in bottom of the door for the spring. I tried to use the same spring (reshaped it with needle nose) but it was so small and my hands so big it was tough to hook and stretch it to the door lock area. So I went to the local auto parts store and bought a throttle spring for a few bucks. The spring was less taught and bigger, easier to hook and stretch. I trimmed it a bit and it worked like a charm! Thanks everyone!
       
    13. TracSport

      TracSport New Member

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      Good post! I was just about to take the truck in to get fixed. I found the broken spring in the door jam along with a broken spring in the door handle. I applied the spring fix as explained. However, my door automatically locks as soon as you unlock it. Do you think I attached the spring to the wrong rod or did I use to heavy of a spring? I think I attached the spring to the lock actuator's arm. The door now unlocks with ease though.
       
    14. bdmaash

      bdmaash Active Member

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      the only thing I can think of is the top side of the spring may be hooked on the linkage at the lock cylinder (where you put the key in), it needs to be hooked to the metal clip that holds the lock to the door. <-this would pull the door pin down as if you manually locked the door with your hand (pushed the pin down).
      check against the picture in the first link.
       
    15. TracSport

      TracSport New Member

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      I know for a fact I connected the one end to the metal clip against door panel. Oh well, I'm happy. I can now lock my door with out worrying if it's going to work or not.
       
    16. 832stevens

      832stevens New Member

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      awsome thread

      i joined just to say thanks for this thread i just saved a customer a lot of money. i run a repair shop out of my drive way and dont know what i would do without people posting things like this.:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
       
    17. Project_Sparta

      Project_Sparta Active Member

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      I had a broken plastic clip the other day. Wouldnt let the rod move up and down. Fixed with duct tape! lol
       
    18. jeremyc653

      jeremyc653 Active Member

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      i think someone deserves some elite privileges
       
    19. sbjlib

      sbjlib New Member

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      Thanks for this thread. I fixed this on my wife's 98. She is happy that the driver door works like it should, and we all know if SHE is happy than i am happy. Thanks again for this $2.00 fix.
       
    20. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      Fixed w/pic

      I finally got to this today. Still need to find my door ajar problem though. Must be a switch somewhere...???

      Anyway, here is a pic of the fix folks are talking about. Throttle return spring from auto parts store. I haven't bent it clean yet, but I thought this would be a good way to see where you can set the spring for it to work. This is a shot of the driver's side door.

      It is nice to be able to lock the doors. Haven't been able to do it since I owned it.

      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: February 4, 2012
    21. bdmaash

      bdmaash Active Member

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      Here's a picture of where the switch should be
      C526a, and C526b go through the switch
      [​IMG]
      image is of the door internals, connectors should be around the top side of the latch mechanism area.
      either the switch is broken or the wire is broken (or bad connection) somewhere

      I think if you put a ground on C526a the door ajar light should come on if all the wiring is good, and if that happens that means the switch is bad.
      [​IMG]

      most likely this will be in the latch assembly.


      edit: 1 - much nicer picture of spring install BTW, 2nd - fixed switch numbers
       
      Last edited: July 20, 2009
    22. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      Thanks bdmaash. Dangit. Well, in my picture...you see the yellow wire??? That is the door ajar wire. I figured for sure that grounding it would make it act like the door is closed. If that circuit diagram is correct, having the wire hang open should act like the door is shut... right? So, a broken wire would not trip a door ajar. I guess I need to remove my short to ground. That worked backwards from what I thought. I accidentally broke the passenger door ajar switch connector, so I just shorted it to ground. DOH! Now I have to remove the panel AGAIN. See, after I fixed the driver's side lock problem, the passenger side did the same thing! I ended up putting a spring on that side too.

      Do you know if we have am ajar switch in the tailgate somewhere???

      Thanks,
      Don
       
    23. thannon

      thannon Member

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      my passenger back door on my 98 x wont shut tight and every time i hit a bump it rattles and drives me crazy went soo far to even taken the whole door off... any body kno how to fix this or had this problem? i think it might be a bad latck
       
    24. bdmaash

      bdmaash Active Member

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      no door ajar switch in the tailgate for '01
       
    25. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      Well...I only have one door left that it could be then. Thank you for the info!
       
    26. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      Thought it worth mentioning...that last door I had to check was the problem door. Figures. YES...the system sees an "open" circuit as a door closed and a "closed" circuit as a door open! If your circuit is switched closed like mine was, cutting the wire makes it think the door is shut.

      It is nice to have my interior lights work properly and not see the door ajar light on all the time. I guess I have to get used to the doors locking automatically when I start to move now. I almost feel like I have a modern working truck now!
       

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