01 Tonneau Cover Problem | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

01 Tonneau Cover Problem


New Member
August 9, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Fresno, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2001 Sport Trac 2WD 4.0V6
I might have a hard time explaining this, but maybe someone can get the picture.

On the front lock it stopped pulling the steel cables through the clamps, allowing them to release from the actual truck. So when i needed to take the tonneau off, I would simply use a key, or a pair of pliers to pull the cable through and thus unlock the cover.

Unfortunately after doing this for a few months one of the cables snapped and now I can't get the cover to come off w/o pulling on that steel cable with a pair of visegrips to unlock it. Is there any way to fix this? maybe clamp the two broken ends together or re-run the steel cable?

Any help is appreciated.

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

The cables are similar to those used for motorcycle and bike controls. I would take off the damaged cable and go to a m/c shop and have them make up a matching one. Be sure they really put the ends on securely. Crimping and silver solder is a must, or the ends will just get pulled off due to the high stress placed on them when engaging the lock mechanism.

While the cable is out, hold it vertical and lube it with something designed for lubing control cables...you won't usually get a chance to hang cables in this way to lube them.

I don't know if there is an OEM replacement cable, but if there is that would be preferable to the above.

The oem cables are ridiculously over priced. I have the same problem with my 03 trac and a auto shop wanted 145$ for the cables straight from ford plus labor. I laughed in the guys face and walked out. Thanks for the tip im gonna try to do it myself.

Contact Torrie McPhail and have him quote you prices on the cables. Can't hurt and he responds quickly!


the OEM cables werent too bad you are right. Do you know how difficult it is to replace these cables? What else do I need to buy to replace them? I am looking into doing it myself

Easy to do once you figure out that prying the cup shaped part of the cable that attaches to the lock IS the correct way of removing it.

Then there's a push-in cable clamp to remove where it goes inside the cover and just remove the cable end from the latch. I removed the latch to do this but it may be possible to do without taking the latch off.

You can definitely do this without removing the latch as I just ran into this problem TODAY. If you hook the silver cable end into the cam lever first, then you can install the cable retainer collar into the latch housing bracket second.

I found this forum looking for the replacement cables as it appears someone pulled the "emergency lever" and the cables are now "frozen" into the open position preventing the latches from locking. I had to remove the retainer collars from the housing bracket, but, of course, I can only unlock the front of the cover by climbing into the bed and releasing the latches manually.

your replys have been very helpful. I actually bought some bicycle cables and used them and they actually work fine for temporary use. My only problem is finding the right tension on the cables to open and close the lock. I have to pull the cable manually to open and push the clip on the lock manually to lock it. Does anyone know the exact specs or length of the OEM cables? Or I think it may even be even easier to just buy a new lock for it and get a seperate key. what do you think?

You don't have to buy the locks just to get the cables.

I tried to pri open the stem part that comes down from from the key hole entery. There seems to be small rivets keeping the stem piece closed. Is this something that should be opened a certain way so it will not break? I do not want to use too much force.


Hello everyone

I am having the exact opposite problem as what is listed here. The front latches on my Tonneau cover are stuck in the open position. I have had to use a small come-along to keep it from flopping over and ripping off of the truck when I'm going down the hi-way. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance

forget about it

im not getting involved with a hard cover ill just go ahead and have a soft cover with snaps and bows ,cost is about two hundred, thats what i paid for LINCHERO. no hassle with cables,wires,if a snap breaks no big deal just buy another one. it happened to LINCHERO so i went back to the guy who made the cover and got me one for free.

i have a similar problem, but i think mine is that the actual lock mechanism doesnt work... any ideas there? :p