Ford F-150/F-250: How to Replace a Locking Hood Release Cable

A bad locking hood release cable could be a safety issue. Here's how to replace it yourself at home.

By Bassem Girgis - December 15, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014), and the F-250, F-350 Super Duty (2005-2014).

The locking hood release cable is the cable that allows you to unlock your hood by pulling a lever inside your truck. It is a simple mechanism that uses no electronics. The handle you pull is connected to a metal cable that is in turn connected to the latch that holds the hood closed. When you pull the handle, it pulls the latch to the side, and it releases the hood. If it breaks, you won't be able to open the hood from the inside the comfort of your interior. Instead, you will have to insert a screwdriver under your hood to unlock the latch, which is not something you want to do if you are on the side of the road. Here's how to replace a locking hood release cable at home.

Materials Needed

  • 10 mm wrench or power tool
  • 8 mm socket
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver (if needed)
  • Safety glasses
  • Replacement cable

Step 1 - Remove latch mechanism

If the hood is closed, open it by inserting a screwdriver to move the latch's tongue to the side. When you move it, pull the hood open with the other hand, secure the hood, then remove the hood latch mechanism (2 8mm bolts).

Figure 1. Remove the 2 bolts holding the latch mechanism in the radiator support.

Step 2 - Remove the cable

Remove the cable from the latch mechanism. Hold the cable with a pair of pliers, and pull upwards until the cable comes off the latch mechanism. Once the cable is released, remove the plastic cover from the cable, slip the cable loop off its post, and remove the cable from its holding clips along the top of the radiator support and the fender.

    • Figure 2. Remove the cable from the mechanism.
    • Figure 3. Hood release cable route.

Step 3 - Remove the release handle from under the dash

Remove the two bolts holding the hood release handle from the bottom of the dash. Once the handle is free, unscrew the cable off of it, and feed the cable through the firewall and into the truck's cabin.

Figure 4. Remove the hood release handle with a wrench or a power drill with a socket end.
Step 4 - Install the new cable

After you screw the new cable in the hood release handle, feed the new cable in the same way you pulled the old one out. When you see it under the hood, route it the same way it was routed before along the side of the fender. Then, bolt the hood release handle back in place.

Figure 5. Screw the cable on the handle.

Step 5 - Re-install the latch mechanism

Plug the new cable into the latch mechanism, and bolt the two 8mm bolts back on the radiator support.

Figure 6. Hood release mechanism diagram.

Pro Tip

Understand the simple mechanism of a hood release latch in case the cable fails. If you ever need to open the hood and the release handle isn't responsive, just insert a screwdriver or anything thin to move the latch's tongue to the left. And that's how the mechanism works.

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