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'97 Explorer - wierd remote/lock issues

koda2000

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I'm having some strange problems on a '97 Explorer. I've never fiddled with anything older than a 2000 before and I'm experiencing some strange phenomenon...

1. the owners manual does not say how to program a new remote. I tried doing it the same way I've done it on newer trucks, and other than it requiring fewer key turns to make the locks cycle, it just ignores the new remote. the '97 remote looks slightly different than newer remotes I have and has 2 batteries. will a newer (2001) remote work on a '97? am I doing it wrong?

update: according to ebay, a remote from a 2000 Explorer is not compatible with the 1997.

2. the remote that the truck has will work sometimes and not others. there seems to be no rhyme or reason to this. it may work flawlessly 10 times in a row and then later it wont do anything. not even the panic button will work. if it was battery issue you'd think it would fail when using it repeatedly.

3. if I put the key in the door and turn it from lock to open a few times, I hear and feel the lock actuator cycle, but just a bit. not enough to push the button up/down. what's up with that?

4. every once in a while, the drivers side door button will not pop up to unlock the door. when this happens the key will not open the door either, nor will using the keypad, rear hatch or passenger door lock/unlock buttons. the other doors work normally. I think this may be a worn latch/lock linkage problem. I've lubed the latch/linkage with no improvement. any ideas?
 
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bobflood

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1. I don't think that you can self program a remote on the 97's; a dealer has to do it. The '98 Owner's Manual is the first one with DIY instructions.
2. New batteries is still the first thing I would try. Then maybe take the remote apart and see if there is dirt, etc around/behind the push buttons.
3&4. I think you are on the right track with a bad lock/latch mechanism. Since the driver's door gets so much more use than any other, it's bound to wear out faster. It could be binding up, thus restricting movement of everything mechanically attached to it. Good luck!
 
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koda2000

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1. I don't think that you can self program a remote on the 97's; a dealer has to do it. The '98 Owner's Manual is the first one with DIY instructions.
2. New batteries is still the first thing I would try. Then maybe take the remote apart and see if there is dirt, etc around/behind the push buttons.
3&4. I think you are on the right track with a bad lock/latch mechanism. Since the driver's door gets so much more use than any other, it's bound to wear out faster. It could be binding up, thus restricting movement of everything mechanically attached to it. Good luck!

i think I figured out #2 . I opened the remote to check the batteries and assure the contacts were tight & clean. the batteries are 3 volt, and both were +3 volts. then I noticed the batteries were upside down. (+ side up instead of down, as indicated on the case). I turned the batteries over and so far the remote seems to be working 100%. I'm surprised it worked at all with them upside-down.

as for as #3 , who knows. as for #4 I think it's linkage related, but before I put the door panel back on I lubed the heck out of every moving part. if it still hangs up I guess I'll replace the latch.

here's some pics with a straightened front bumper, pink door handle now semi-gloss black, the faded rear bumper lower plastic trim painted grey and a new chrome trailer ball (came with the truck and it happens to be the right size for my trailer). oil and filter were changed today (man, the 4.0L SOHC engine makes for a messy oil change. I'd forgotten how messy). it got insured today and tomorrow it gets registered and begins its new life on the road.

109_0136.jpg


109_0133.jpg
 
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koda2000

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regarding #4 ... I'm wonder if adding the spring to the lock button rod would help the issue of the lock hanging up? I did this fix on my '01 EB over a year ago, to cure the "floppy door handle syndrome", and it's worked great. as I understand it, this fix is primarily used because the springs in the exterior handle break, but it can also be used to help lift the lock button. last night I discovered that simultaneously hitting the unlock button on the remote (now that it's working reliably) and lifting up on the door handle will get the lock to open. any thoughts?

http://web.utk.edu/~dperuski/doorfix.jpg
 
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Willcall

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#1 .) I had the same issue on my 1997 with both my fobs. I replaced the module with one from 2000 X (its plug and play) and its works flawlessly. Also accepts new style fobs.
#4 .) Also had the same problem, turned out a spring in the latch assembly broke and jammed up the mechanism. Have to replace the entire latch assembly.
 
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koda2000

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[URL=http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/usertag.php?do=list&action=hash&hash=1]#1 [/URL] .) I had the same issue on my 1997 with both my fobs. I replaced the module with one from 2000 X (its plug and play) and its works flawlessly. Also accepts new style fobs.
[URL=http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/usertag.php?do=list&action=hash&hash=4]#4 [/URL] .) Also had the same problem, turned out a spring in the latch assembly broke and jammed up the mechanism. Have to replace the entire latch assembly.

#1/#2 - since turning the remote batteries over the right way, it's still working 100% of the time.

#4 - you hit the nail on the head. there was a small spring bouncing around inside the latch. I found it this morning. after looking up the price of a replacement latch (ouch!) I decided to take a closer look and took the door apart one more time. the lock was cooperating and jamming again and while trying to determine why, I noticed something under the latch jaws that didn't make any sense being there. it was the tiny broken spring. part of the latch mechanism I'm sure, but after digging it out it seems to work fine w/out it.

PROBLEMS SOLVED!
 
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429CJ-3X2

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regarding #4 ... I'm wonder if adding the spring to the lock button rod would help the issue of the lock hanging up? I did this fix on my '01 EB over a year ago, to cure the "floppy door handle syndrome", and it's worked great. as I understand it, this fix is primarily used because the springs in the exterior handle break, but it can also be used to help lift the lock button. last night I discovered that simultaneously hitting the unlock button on the remote (now that it's working reliably) and lifting up on the door handle will get the lock to open. any thoughts?

http://web.utk.edu/~dperuski/doorfix.jpg

I did the same thing to my Sport Trac last week, and so far it's working great. There are several threads about adding a spring - just do a search. I had the same symptoms, except I didn't get a remote with the truck. Driver's door handle was very weak. Wouldn't unlock with the key, keyless pad, or power lock button. Added the spring, and it works like it should. I did find mine rather picky about exactly where the spring hooked to the latch assembly. It looked right, but wouldn't work until I hooked it to a slightly different place. Fortunately, it's easy to check with the door open before putting the door panel back on.
 
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