How To: Replace All Your Locks + Ignition | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How To: Replace All Your Locks + Ignition


Well-Known Member
September 14, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Lemoore CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
91 Navajo X 2

Background: When i bought my second Navajo, it came with a busted ignition, the previous owner told me i had to use a butter knife to start the truck, and he was kind enough to give me a spare just in case i lost it. Later my daughter ended up breaking the key off in the driver door lock, and i decided it was time to replace everything. So here Goes!

Tools Needed
Phillips and Flat Tip Screwdriver
8in long Flat tip (to use as pry bar and punch)
Door retainer remover tool
Small drill bit 4in Long

Total Time Start To Finish => 3 Hours Being Lazy

First The Door Locks​

Step 1:
Make sure your windows are rolled up and that your battery is disconnected. Start removing the door panel by using a Phillips screwdriver to remove these three screws. You need to take the plastic cover behind the door handle off too, this can be removed easily by hand or with a flat tip screwdriver. Once the screws / cover are removed you can pop your door panel off. The door panel is held in place by many black plastic retainers as you can see in the second photo (bottom of the door panel). my retainers were messed up and easily came off the door. you can purchase a specialty tool to remove these properly or you can do as i did and replaced all of them, as they needed to be replaced anyway. Also there is a small slot on the bottom of the switch panel (lock / window) that you will want to take a flat tip screwdriver to to pop the switch panel loose from the door panel.

Step 2:
Once you have the door panel popped off you need to take care and not rip this bulb out. you need to twist it Counter-Clockwise to get it to pop out. Now that the bulb is removed you can twist the switch panel that you loosened in step one through its opening and remove the door panel and set it aside.

Step 3:
This is where the door lock is inside your door panel. There is a piece of metal that is a fork with a lip that holds your lock in its place, all you got to do is reach in and grab the lip and pull it off. (as seen in picture 4) It may be a PITA but it will come off, set it aside for now.


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Step 4:
Using your finger nails pull the lock out from the outside of the door. Take a moment now to understand how your lock is supposed to sit in the door. there is a white plastic clip that sits on the back of the lock and a rod that goes through it.

The white plastic clip needs to be slid off the rod, not pulled off, if you break this your screwed. when you slide it off (notice how it sits on a curve on the rod) your going to need to remember this.

Now that you have your lock off, set it next to your new lock. (there is a photo in the next post that depicts what i am going to describe to you.) use a flat tip screwdriver to carefully pry the outside lip of the clip. taking careful attention to the position this clip is on the lock, you will need to put it on the same way on your new lock. it can be put on backwards.

If you look at your new lock you will notice that there is a large lip on the bottom of it to line up with the large lip in the door.

Slide the new lock with the white clip onto the rod, get it onto the curve of the rod and twist it in. once you got it in all you got to do is slide that piece of fork metal back on and reassemble the door panel. repeat the process on the other door and your door locks are done.


Now The Hatch Lock​

Step 1:
I found it easier to do this with the hatch open. Remove the 6 screws identified in this photo.


Once the two screws are removed to the handle, don't try and yank it off, its held in place by a plastic hook that you can break. take care when removing.


The rest of the hatch panel will be held into place by these plastic hooks and the lock button, just grab hold of the panel and slide up and it will come right off. The photo depicts the importance of remembering how to put the panel back on as it can be messed up.


Step 2:
There are 2 nice big openings on either side of the lock, unfortunately for me the metal fork holding the lock in place was facing towards the driver side, which i could not get my hand in to yank it out.


So using your big long flat tip screwdriver, pry the lip of that fork metal piece until it gives, if you need to you can go through the passenger side opening and hit the hilt of the screwdriver with your palm until it pops out. For me this lock was the easiest to slide off and onto the rod. it works the same as the door locks.

Step 3:
Remove white plastic clip with flat tip screwdriver the same as the door locks, this lock has a rubber gasket on it, remove and replace onto the new lock.

Step 4
Slide the new lock onto the rod, and reinstall the metal fork to secure the lock into place, notice how i made it face the passenger side, it was easier to install it this way. if you have trouble you can use your long screwdriver to love-tap it into place. Now just reinstall the hatch panel and you are good to go with this lock

The Infamous Ignition
I did my best to do this simply and without anything crazy. i was able to do this without taking my steering wheel off. i tried to take good pictures of the illusive "Pin"

Step 1:
If you have not done so already, disconnect your battery. besides removing these two screws depicted in the picture you should remove the kick panel underneath the steering column as well. i do not recall the size star nut i used, or size socket to take them off but there are two bolts there.


Step 2:
After taking the step panel off and removing the two screws you can tilt the steering wheel all the way up and wiggle the bottom cover off. i removed the top cover as well because i didn't exactly know what i was doing. I do not think it needs to come off to remove the ignition. get the bottom cover off.

Step 3:
OK i tried my best to take pictures of this pin hole. first your going to need to turn the ignition to the "ON" Position, like your turning the truck on. Using a small drill bit, (i used a small drill bit because it can fit into this "pin" hole and not get jammed up by the remaining plastic cover behind the steering wheel) which i read is something allot of people have had trouble with.

It is stealthy but there are two pictures in this photo. the small one is the side view, showing the angle of this pin hole, while the large one is my best attempt to show you where this pin hole is.

When you slide that drill bit in there (remember that the steering wheel has to be tilted all the way up) press firmly and wiggle your ignition back and forth slowly and the sucker will literally pop right out.


Conditional Step
Now if you have been riding ghetto like my daughter and using a screwdriver to fire up your whip to cruise it like you stole it, you will have to use pair of needle nose pliers to grab hold of the ignition and pull it out, it was surprisingly easy.

Take your time and do not try and rush this, it can be frustrating at times but it gets easier. if anyone has any more input or would like to add more information just let me know and it will get put in there. if you have any questions or concerns just ask, if i cannot answer i am sure someone else will. i am not a certified mechanic and this was the first time i have ever done this, anyone with a little common sense can do this. just take it slow and think your next step through.​

Nice write up. When I did my door locks, the new lock cylinders came with a new white plastic clip already attached, which was a good thing because on the driver side the old clip was broken. I got my parts at Autozone.