1987 – 1996 F-Series / Bronco Power Door Lock Actuator Replacement

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By JBronco

I finally replaced the power door lock actuator on my 1990 big Bronco XLT.
I have seen a lot of posts on the forums about this, and I thought I’ll
tell you how I did it so maybe you can save yourself some of the grief
that I went through. The worst part of this is that you are fixing
something that you cannot actually see, and can barely feel. But even so,
it’s not too bad.

One note first these directions are for the driver’s side door. Please
reverse the "left" and "right" directions for the passenger side door.
Otherwise it is the same. Ok, first of all, take off the door panel.
It is not necessary to remove the smaller panel underneath the main door
panel. The actuator is on the lower left hand side. It is held on by a
bracket that is riveted onto the side of the door. Do not remove the rivet!!
This was my first impulse, but it is not necessary, and will actually
cause a major headache if you do. It is a large rivet, and cannot be
replaced with a standard riveting gun.

The actuator snaps into the plastic bracket that is held on by the rivet.
If you have a used actuator still in the bracket, it is helpful because
you can see and feel how it is held on. If not, here is what it is like
the actuator has two small "arms" which have rubber doughnuts on them,
about 3/8" in diameter. These snap into the plastic bracket. The openings
on the bracket point down. That is very important, since you have to know
which way to push the actuator to get it out, because you can’t see it.
What I did was to put my right arm in the second hole from the bottom of
the sheet metal, got a good hold on the actuator, and pushed hard, and it
came out. It took a few tries.

Push the doughnuts out one at a time, by using a diagonal motion. You
probably will not have enough leverage to simply push it straight down.
Then just slide the rod out of the hole, and pull the actuator out. Unplug
the connector and you are ready for the new one to go in. On mine, one of
the rubber doughnuts stayed in the bracket, and it is very annoying trying
to get it out because the bracket turns around once the actuator is out.
Try to avoid this. Now, before putting the new one in, grease the "threads"
on the bottom of the rod, or it will probably squeak when you hit the button.
I had to grease mine after the fact, so do this first.

Unscrew the rod to make it as long as possible before putting it into the
door, so it will hang low enough to get under the bracket. Then, plug in
the connector, and make sure you have the wire routed on the outside
(towards the outside of the truck) of the rod that goes to the door handle.
The tricky part now is to get the rod into the hole. But, if you feel
around while moving the lock up and down, you can find where this is, and
best of all if you put your eye in the right spot, you can actually see it
and get the rod right in.

At this point, the actuator will be hanging by the rod, and will be plugged
in. You just have to get it into the bracket. I had no trouble getting the
doughnuts up into the bracket, so I was done! I just pushed it straight up
into the bracket. Moistening the doughnuts will help make it easier.
Then I tested the lock, and put on the door panel. I have been having fun
all day watching it go up and down after all this time, and tending to the
scratches on my arm. Hope this helps someone!

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