1. for access to reviews and discussion of the 2016 and 2017 Ford Explorer, Tech Tips, How to Articles, Off-Road Modification, Events, and more!

    Register Today It's free! This box will disappear once registered!

How To: Replace a defective sliding door latch.

Discussion in 'Aerostar Forum' started by BrooklynBay, January 26, 2010.

  • Searches ExplorerForum.com
    1. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      50,937
      Likes Received:
      22
      Trophy Points:
      58
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year and Model:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
      The latch that locks the sliding door is the same on all of the Aerostar vans as far as I know. The spring on my 95 van's latch broke. Tuckman (a member on this site from Canada :ca:) was nice enough to send me one from his Aerostar. This is a diagram from my Ford CD:
      [​IMG]
      This is the description:
      [​IMG]
      The software has the following instructions:

      Body: side sliding door (Aerostar).

      Removal and Installation.

      1. Remove sliding door trim panel, watershield, and access hole cover plates.

      2. Unlatch the sliding door.

      3. Remove latch actuator rod retainer from center door retainer hole.

      4. Disconnect the rear door latch actuator rod from the remote control assembly by opening the clip.

      5. Open the door sufficiently to gain access to the three bolts attaching the rear latch to the sliding door. Remove bolts.

      6. Remove the sliding door rear latch with the remote control actuator rod attached to the latch, from the sliding door.

      For installation, follow removal procedures in reverse order. The three latch retainer bolts must not be tightened more than 9-14 N-m (6-10 lb-ft) when installed.

      Some things are not so straight forward such as removing the 3 bolts. The vehicle come with T-30 bolts, and not hex head bolts as the shown in the description. The second thing that I wanted to mention is that it's not necessary to remove the inner panel. It's a lot of extra work which isn't necessary. I was able to replace the latch after removing the 3 bolts. The latch has a bushing which holds the linkage. The next part of this thread will go into more detail about replacing the latch, and how to get around the difficulty of removing seized torx bolts, and broken left over studs.
       
    2. Support EF


      Join the Elite Explorers for $20 a year

      Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose and fix problems yourself, and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see practically no ads, add your own profile photo, upload photo attachments directly to your posts and Media Gallery, create more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.



      to hide adverts.
    3. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      50,937
      Likes Received:
      22
      Trophy Points:
      58
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year and Model:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
      The broken latch is being removed:
      [​IMG]
      Notice the top part hanging down. The spring inside of it broke. Lets begin with the removal of the old latch.

      I started with the bottom bolt because Tuckman said that it was the easiest one to remove. It was easy on mine as well. He had a difficult time with the 2 upper bolts, and had to grind the heads off. The middle bolt on mine was very stiff, but it eventually came off. I was not so lucky with the top bolt. My torx socket broke, and my spare socket was not budging it either. I hammered a bolt out socket from S-K tools onto the top of the bolt, and attempted to turn it. The top part of the bolt snapped off.
      [​IMG]
      A propane torch was used to heat the broken stud, and the inner nut:
      [​IMG]
      The bolt turned very easily to my surprise as long as it was hot. It was gradually getting stiff as it cooled down, and was very difficult to turn in less than a minute (it's cold outside). New bolts with a hex head were purchased from Autozone since I didn't want to reuse the torx bolts, and I was missing one bolt anyway:
      [​IMG]
       
    4. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      50,937
      Likes Received:
      22
      Trophy Points:
      58
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year and Model:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
      This is the replacement latch:
      [​IMG]
      The rod inside of the door connects into it:
      [​IMG]
      The 3 holes in the sliding door have 6 MM nuts for the 3 bolts in the latch:
      [​IMG]

      Installation:
      Connect the rod from the inside of the door to the new latch, insert the three 6 MM bolts, and tighten the bolts 9-14 N-m (6-10 lb-ft), and that's it. Here is the final picture with the latch installed:
      [​IMG]
       
    5. tuckman

      tuckman Active Member

      Joined:
      December 20, 2009
      Messages:
      158
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Elk Point, Alberta
      Year and Model:
      92 Explorer XLT
      Looks very good at its new home. Did you use any lock tite on the install?
      As you can see I could not avoid hitting the latch a few times with the cutting disk (green areas on the latch). I even tried a flexible attachment on the rotary tool but still had a bugger of a time getting the heads off of the top 2.
       
    6. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      50,937
      Likes Received:
      22
      Trophy Points:
      58
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year and Model:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
      I used green touch up paint on those areas to prevent rust. I didn't use any locktite on the bolts. The bolts have a threaded area which stops right under the latch. I made the bolts tight, so the non threaded area is pressing against the inner nut. It's very tight, and I doubt that they will get loose. I thought about using lock washers under the heads of the bolts, but I don't think it's necessary. They could always be added.
       
    7. Malk67

      Malk67 Member

      Joined:
      March 16, 2010
      Messages:
      86
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      6
      Location:
      Salisbury
      City, State:
      North Carolina
      Year and Model:
      96 Aerostar XLT 3.0L
      Yet another project I'll be undertaking in the next few weeks. I'll let ya know how it turns out.
       
    8. savagefan

      savagefan Active Member

      Joined:
      December 9, 2005
      Messages:
      176
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      16
      City, State:
      Calgary Alberta
      Year and Model:
      98 XLT
      Nice but what do you do if you can't open the sliding door? (My current dilemma)
       
    9. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      50,937
      Likes Received:
      22
      Trophy Points:
      58
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year and Model:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
    10. Malk67

      Malk67 Member

      Joined:
      March 16, 2010
      Messages:
      86
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      6
      Location:
      Salisbury
      City, State:
      North Carolina
      Year and Model:
      96 Aerostar XLT 3.0L
      That was part of my problem, I had to remove the inside panel and manipulate it in order to get to the latch assembly. If your latch isn't completely shot (like mine was), opening the door shouldn't be too hard.
       
    11. savagefan

      savagefan Active Member

      Joined:
      December 9, 2005
      Messages:
      176
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      16
      City, State:
      Calgary Alberta
      Year and Model:
      98 XLT
      Steady pressure gave way to putting the boots to the door and slamming the disconnected link at the same time but she popped. All good now thanx.
       
    12. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      50,937
      Likes Received:
      22
      Trophy Points:
      58
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year and Model:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
    13. savagefan

      savagefan Active Member

      Joined:
      December 9, 2005
      Messages:
      176
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      16
      City, State:
      Calgary Alberta
      Year and Model:
      98 XLT
      No, everything is fine, cleaned and lubed latch, tracks and rollers and showed the wife how easy it is to close the door without slamming it.
       
    14. heirw

      heirw New Member

      Joined:
      November 3, 2010
      Messages:
      1
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Fremont, CA
      Year and Model:
      97 Aerostar
      Hi guys, newbie here. I just bought a 97 Aerostar. The latch is toast. Where can I find a replacement?

      =D
       
    15. tuckman

      tuckman Active Member

      Joined:
      December 20, 2009
      Messages:
      158
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Elk Point, Alberta
      Year and Model:
      92 Explorer XLT
      You could try a Ford dealership and see what the price is like. If not you are most likely going to have to hit up the junk yards or post in the want to buy section here.

      Good luck and welcome to the site!
       
    16. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      50,937
      Likes Received:
      22
      Trophy Points:
      58
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year and Model:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
    17. Malk67

      Malk67 Member

      Joined:
      March 16, 2010
      Messages:
      86
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      6
      Location:
      Salisbury
      City, State:
      North Carolina
      Year and Model:
      96 Aerostar XLT 3.0L
      I'd personaly recomend going to the dealer, the parts weren't that expensive when I purchased mine plus this way you know it's new.
       
    18. rv4fun

      rv4fun Active Member

      Joined:
      December 18, 2010
      Messages:
      124
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      16
      City, State:
      St Louis
      Year and Model:
      97, 96 & 97 Aerostar 3.0L
      My problem is the latch won't release. The rod which should trigger the latch feels like it slips right past the release point. I've tried pushing in on the door to take the pressure off the latch while trying to open the door and still it won't trigger the latch.

      I think I'll end-up using a saws-all to cut the stud off the latch captures to get the door open. I can't think of any other way to get the latch to let go of the stud.

      It was working great after I found the forward-most anchor for the roller channel was broken (on both of my Aerostars!). It kept the door from pulling in far enough to latch properly without really slamming it. After I pulled it back into position, things where working great - for about a week. Then the latch began acting up and refuses to open.

      Any advice would be very welcome - I hate to take the saws-all to it but I see no other way. I hope someone else has a better idea.

      Update - 8/16
      (I've been trying to get back on this now that the heat wave has broken but I've had too much catching up to do.)

      I'll respond when I get back on this. This van had its interior gutted and tool boxes run along both walls. I've been doing my my access through the back door.
       
      Last edited: July 6, 2015
    19. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      50,937
      Likes Received:
      22
      Trophy Points:
      58
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year and Model:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
      Remove the door panel, and grab the release arm directly on the latch (the part where the rod connects). You could remove the nut on the upper roller guide to give yourself more room to work (the door will disconnect from the top track).
       
    20. rv4fun

      rv4fun Active Member

      Joined:
      December 18, 2010
      Messages:
      124
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      16
      City, State:
      St Louis
      Year and Model:
      97, 96 & 97 Aerostar 3.0L
      I finally got it open!

      This van has been gutted and panels have been removed making it easier to work on the door. I was able to grab the release rod from the beginning but it wouldn't trip the latch. I cut a hole in the inside sheet metal big enough to force my hand all the way back to the latch so I could move the release lever and the door popped open - what a relief! :D It wasn't easy getting all the way back to the latch's lever. With the door closed, it's well protected.

      The grommet on the latch's release lever to keep the rod from rattling must have been slipping on the rod's bends and not moving the release lever. I could feel the rod push on the lever and then slip. It would stay extended till I pulled it back - I tried pulling it back several times and pushing it again without any luck. I'm still not sure why it was slipping but I put another (used) latch on and carefully slipped the rod onto the release lever. Anyway, it's working as good as ever again.
       
    21. pdknz

      pdknz New Member

      Joined:
      February 18, 2011
      Messages:
      10
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Galena Alaska
      Year and Model:
      95 Explorer, 91 Aerostar
      OK, so I'm not the only one with a door latch problem. I got the sliding door latch off not just once but twice. The first time I welded some hex nuts to the Torx bolts after they stripped out, then did some fancy grinding to make new bolt heads when I put them back. That worked for a few weeks, then the latch jammed again. It seems to be some internal interference that keeps one of the jaws from releasing, and it means that about once every ten cycles or so it refuses to open. I got the latch to release by manhandling the push rod while, uhh, applying the mechanic's secret words and prying on the back edge of the door. No, I'm not proud of that technique...

      I've been through the parts threads, and it looks like I need a junk yard part, but junk yards are kinda hard to come by around here. I guess I will do some calling around, but meanwhile, I think I'm gonna take that latch apart and see how much fixing I can do on it.

      I have a couple of bungee cords from the passenger seat back to the door, and it's almost better than new--just pull the door open, shove the g'kids under the bungee, and let it slam back shut. The arrangement is a bit more hillbilly than I might prefer, but better than having it stuck shut.
       
    22. rv4fun

      rv4fun Active Member

      Joined:
      December 18, 2010
      Messages:
      124
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      16
      City, State:
      St Louis
      Year and Model:
      97, 96 & 97 Aerostar 3.0L
      Be sure to check the channel the roller in the center of the door rides in. I have two Aerostars and I found the forward end of the channel was broken where it fastens to the body on both of them. The door was very hard to close and then refused to open. I blamed the latch and thought the door alignment might be causing problems. Once I reattached the front end of the channel, both doors opened and closed a lot better and the rear of the door was aligned better. I cut a small piece of metal a little less than 1/8 inch thick by about 1 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide to replace the broken piece that came loose when I took the bolt securing it out. I bent it sharply about 45 degrees in the middle and drilled a hole in one end so the bolt would pull the channel back into position when I slid it inside the channel and tightened it down.
       
    23. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      50,937
      Likes Received:
      22
      Trophy Points:
      58
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year and Model:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
    24. pdknz

      pdknz New Member

      Joined:
      February 18, 2011
      Messages:
      10
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Galena Alaska
      Year and Model:
      95 Explorer, 91 Aerostar
    25. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

      Joined:
      November 11, 2005
      Messages:
      50,937
      Likes Received:
      22
      Trophy Points:
      58
      City, State:
      Brooklyn, NY
      Year and Model:
      88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars
      Sliding door latch modification.

      There is a way to modify the sliding door latch to prevent it from jamming. I've been trying several things for a while with much trial & error until I devised a rock solid repair. I didn't want to post this earlier until it was thoroughly tested (about a month or more of use). Here's is the basic sliding door latch (not modified):
      [​IMG]
      The spring in the upper corner pops out of place, and needs to be held down by a small metal L bracket:
      [​IMG]
      The L bracket keeps the spring in place. Here's the top view with the metal L bracket installed:
      [​IMG]
      This is an important update on 2/24/2013. The lower part of the bracket has a hole which goes into the latch. Insert the spring into this hole instead of using the bracket to wedge the spring to the side. This will hold the spring in place, and prevent it from slipping out. Here's the photo with the new modification:
      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: February 24, 2013
    26. Jose A.

      Jose A. Active Member

      Joined:
      August 16, 2008
      Messages:
      271
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Florida
      Year and Model:
      1997 Aerostar XLT 4.0
      great job! I assume the added bracket and screw do not interfere with the latch mechanism movements under any conditions? What happens if you slam the sliding door hard? will it open from inside and outside after slamming the door?
       

    Share This Page








    We Support Our Troops!