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HOW TO - Remove and replace door latch assembly

Discussion in 'Body Work & Detailing' started by teCh0010, November 12, 2006.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. robertsc

    robertsc New Member

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    Hmm, $40 for a spring. You'd think someone would make an OEM or some such replacement somewhere. I wonder where Ford gets their's.
     
    Last edited: September 14, 2010
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  3. rydrew55

    rydrew55 Active Member

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    3 doors all have different problems

    Excuse me for jumping on this thread, but I have 3 doors with 3 different problems. Do you think this procedure will be needed on all 3?

    They all lock and unlock ok with the remote and with the button.

    Driver door - very loose outside handle but does open it. Inside handle works too. Key does not lock or unlock. Just spins 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock.

    Passenger door - everything works except the key. Does not turn at all.

    Rear driver side- will not open from inside. Does not open from outside except once in a while it will if you pull real hard on the handle.

    Just finished an engine swap on a 98 I picked up cheap, now I have a few nagging problems.

    Thanks
     
  4. robertsc

    robertsc New Member

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    Three doors, three problems. The loose handle one probably will involve taking the door panel off and fixing or replacing the handle as in the thread http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=165081 . The rest you will also have to take the door panel off and see what is happening. Somehow I think the inability to open with the key is going to relate to where the rod connects to the cylinder and where it goes down to the key lock, unlock lever. That might be the root of the problem but until you open up the panels to look you won't know. It seems that when the spring in the bottom of the latch breaks it causes all sorts of problems. Also a seized actuator can prevent the locks from working since it does the lock unlock thing on the lock unlock lever.

    It is possible that if the cylinder won't unlock (won't turn at all and seems to be still locked) your key is worn and won't work the cylinder. I would try a little oil or lock lubricant to see if that helps. Otherwise, you might want to take the cylinder out and down to a locksmith so he can make a key that will unlock it and all the others.

    Sounds like you might want to invest in three latches, three actuators, and a handle and then get to work. I'd start with fixing the driver's door since that is the most immediate safety issue. One thing I'd recommend, if there was anything I did first, it would be to make sure that all the doors OPEN with the INSIDE handle since that is the single most important thing one needs to be able to do when in an automobile, i.e., to GET OUT in an emergency!

    Make sure you open up the panels to find out what is and isn't working. Make sure you check all the rod and lock cylinder plastic clips to make sure they are still attached in the right place and unbroken.
     
    Last edited: September 22, 2010
  5. Mattb901c31

    Mattb901c31 New Member

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    Removing door panel

    Both my door handles are broken and my door will not open, how can I get my door panel off so I can replace both door handles and fix the problem?
     
  6. J_C

    J_C Well-Known Member

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    The door panel is held on with standard plastic rivets, find or make a pry tool with a 90'+ angle in it that forks at the business end to get around both sides of each rivet and pop them out. Maybe a narrow, metal bladed putty knife could be fashioned into this tool. Here is a picture of a few, bend it more than those are so you have clearance with the door shut. [​IMG]

    I don't recall how many inches of reach into the panel side you need to get around the rivets, maybe 1-2" but that's just a random guess. If the seats are in the way you might have to take them out.
     
  7. robertsc

    robertsc New Member

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    See if the instruction in paragraph number one of the very FIRST post on this thread (page 1) will help you. (Note, read ALL of the posts and understand ALL of the nuances before commencing this project for real!)
     
  8. WILL D

    WILL D New Member

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    thanks for this post, it's just what i needed.
     
  9. J_C

    J_C Well-Known Member

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    Will D, if you have some thin needle nose pliers, patience and a flashlight you do not have to take apart the door or replace the mechanism, assuming it is the same spring in the latch that *most* people have had break and that you can get the door open. You can then replace that by taking one off a new latch and sticking it in through the exterior latch opening. It may take a few minutes of trial and error to get it on but it definitely took a LOT less time and effort than replacing the whole latch mechanism.

    Just be sure to observe exactly how the spring goes on before taking it off the new latch.

    If you instead want to replace the whole latch anyway, I would suggest looking at where the spring broke and using a file and sandpaper to smooth that latch contact point with the spring then grease it liberally to decrease the wear on it. Granted, if it's a '98 now with 13 years of use on it the new spring may not fail before the vehicle is retired but I always like to try to do a *permanent* fix if reasonably possible... if it's going to take all the time to tear the door open/etc.
     
  10. rich3803

    rich3803 New Member

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    Appreciate this information... it made my work a lot easier.
    Thank you very much!
     
  11. robertsc

    robertsc New Member

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    Sometimes it is not the latch but a malfunctioning actuator that is preventing the lock unlock lever to get into the right position. Be absolutely sure the spring is broken before replacing it. I never did get the idea of why once one had everything opened up why one didn't replace top to bottom (latch and actuator) so as to avoid issues in the future.
     
  12. J_C

    J_C Well-Known Member

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    ^ well, if you have a new latch or another door working to compare, you can see IF the spring is in place or broken so it popped off where it should be.
     
  13. jbartlett67

    jbartlett67 New Member

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    I found it on Parts.com for around $65. Getting ready to tackle mine... good luck!
     
  14. railspeed

    railspeed New Member

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    my 2002 explorer rear hatch won't latch/lock
     
  15. robertsc

    robertsc New Member

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    I think I posted above a link to how to replace the rear latch or rear actuator assembly.
     
  16. kmasnowboarding

    kmasnowboarding New Member

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    Spring

    Does anyone have a picture of where the 2 ends of the spring hook onto? Mine was broken off so I was not able to see where it was suppose to hook on. I'd really appreciate it.
     
  17. J_C

    J_C Well-Known Member

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    Edit: Description below elaborates on pictures in subsequent post.

    If you look into the lock mechanism while mounted on the door still, about 1-3/4" back there is a vertical metal bar in the middle of the mechanism which is visible running from behind the upper latching pawl spring to behind the lower latching pawl spring (it is not attached to them). This vertical metal bar has a slot in it which a piece with a T-shaped end on it slides along. If looking at the driver's side mechanism, that T-shaped end is closer to the right side of the lock, also at about 1-3/4" depth inside.

    The bottom of the spring goes around the neck of this T-shaped piece, just behind the ears of the T. If I remember correctly, that end of the spring is the end with the long straight section on it. The other end of the spring is mounted through a hole in the top of the mechanism housing which is directly above the upper pawl spring, so from the outside of the door the spring looks vertical but the top mounting position is closer to the edge of the door than the rear to it is sitting horizontally in the mechanism.

    Getting the bottom end around the T-shaped piece is relatively easy, getting the top in takes a lot of patience and thin/long needle nose pliers. There is a big hole the whole top, hook end of the spring will pass through (pulling up and forward till it just about hits against the rear of the upper pawl spring, then going up 1/4" further through the hole, then pushing away from the door edge a bit to get it to seat in the second tiny hole).
     
    Last edited: June 19, 2011
  18. kmasnowboarding

    kmasnowboarding New Member

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    Spring

    Actually we fiddled around with it and figured out the spring is just needed for stabilization and got it to work. Thanks anyway!
     
  19. J_C

    J_C Well-Known Member

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    How did you get it to work? On mine, I sprayed some lube in when it first broke and it started working again (spring was definitely broken at that point), but then a few weeks later it wouldn't anymore and lube didn't help so I swapped the new spring in which is still working... don't remember when I did it, a few years ago.

    I just took a couple pics in case they help anyone...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: June 19, 2011
  20. palantir

    palantir B

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    I had the spring issue as well. However, I noticed that if you lift the arm that goes to the handle up a bit, the problem goes away. I assume that the spring takes care of that normally. I tested my theory with a rubber band, all good. So for about $3.50 I bought a spring at Lows and installed that.

    So far it works well. I had to bend the spring ends a bit and add a loop of wire but likely ACE or Dale Hardware would have had a better spring selection.

    The handle has two places for the rod attachment but only one is used since it goes on both sides of the car. I attached a spring to the unused side. The other side goes to the bottom of the rod where the plastic connector is. Just make a loop of metal to go around it and hook the spring. It only took about 5 minutes to install. Just make sure to get a light duty spring.

    Cheers
     
  21. jtanks

    jtanks New Member

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    door latch assembly

    Quick question my door opens only from door handle but locks by all ie. remote, key, etc. Is this the spring or the latch itself?
     

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