Explorer, Sport Trac, Mountaineer & Aviator1991-1994, 1995-2001, 2002-2005, 2006-2010 Ford Explorer
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The locking mechanism on the passenger door on my 97 Ford Explorer is broken. The door is in the locked position and I cannot open the door. I've been able to remove the interior trim but cannot find any way to unlock the door and there does not seem to be any broken rods or parts. Any suggestions?
most rear doors have child safety locks making it like a cop car. you should be able to pry out the grommet around the lock and pull it up with pliers. if you have the pannel off everything should be in plain view. if the outside linkage has slipped or stuck in the open position you won't be able to pull the lock up.
Are you sure it's not the door handle that is broken?? When the door is locked, then of course the door can't be opened from the outside nor the inside. If the child proof lock isn't engaged and you can open the door from the outside and not from the inside, then your interior door handle is broken. A new handle at the dealer was about $12 for me.
There is a small lever located on the latch mechanism on the side closest to the door skin. In order for the door latch to unlock, this lever must return to a position toward the interior of the vehicle. This is normally done with a small spring in the door latch mechanism that is most likely broken. You can reach around the latch and press this lever with your finger and the door will then unlock and open so you can reach the screws that attach the latch mechanism to the door. I have a '97 with the same problem. The only fix is to replace the latch mechanism. The cost is about $28 at any local Ford dealer. Removing the latch mechanism is quite a task due to the many rods attached to it from the handle/lock mechanisms.
Wendy, after you have taken the screws out of the arm rests, you should be able to snap the door covering off. It is held on with plastic button type devices with rings around the shank that act like barbs when they are snapped into the door. I use a stiff putty knife to find the snaps and pop them out. If you damage these snaps, they can be found at any auto parts store on the "HELP" rack. Most stores have a red colred rack full of common fasteners and items for all cars. The brand name is "HELP'.
Once you have snapped the cover loose from the bottom up, unscrew the button on top of the door lock button and tip the cover out at the bottom and lift it off the top of the door panel. It helps if the window is down and you press the top of the panel toward the window. When you have the panel off you can remove the window switches, etc.
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