How to: Fix sticky/seized manual door lock


aaronhahn777

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My ranger's door locks have been getting worse and worse over time. I had to sometimes jiggle the key in the lock for 2-3 minutes before I was able to successfully unlock my vehicle. Then, they stopped working all together. This is a tutorial on how to get your locks back to new condition

TOOLS REQUIRED:
-flat head screwdriver
-torx screwdriver
-phillips screwdriver

PRODUCTS/MATERIALS REQUIRED
-ultra-fine graphite lubricant
-CLR (that Calcium Lime Rust cleaner from Canadian Tire/Lowe's/etc)
-Alcohol (Isopropyl)



Repair Attempts:

(1) Lubrication
First I assumed that it was because the lock needed lubrication. As suggested on this site and other sources, I used a ultra-fine graphite lubricant powder. Didn't Work.

(2) New Key
Since lubrication didn't work, I assumed it was my worn out key (other suggestions on this site). I went to ford and got a new key cut using my VIN#. They charge about $10-15 for the code lookup and then they will charge you for a new key/fob/etc. This didn't work.





Solution:

After exhausting many attempts, this is what I did and I am a very happy camper!
(1) Remove the door lock cylinders. (remove 3 screws in plastic door panel, pop/swing window crank & remove torx screw, pull the panel assembly upwards & off, peel back vapour barrier, pull lock retaining clip from the outside of the metal door body, pop the plastic clip off the lock lever, pull door cylinder).

(2) Before removing the cam on off the cylinder, take note of how the cylinder is situated. Notice the drain hole is at the bottom and the cam always faces the door mechanism (faces to the rear of the vehicle). Take a marker and mark a P or D (for passenger/driver side) on the plastic part so you know which is which. Although they are identical, this will enable you to switch the cylinders during re-installation (the passenger side will be much less worn due to the excessive use on the driver side).

(3) Pop off retaining the cam retaining clip. Safely store the loose pieces where you will not loose them.

(4) Take a glass jar and pour ~2 inches of CLR (Calcium Lime Rust cleaner). Drop the cylinders in there for about an hour. You will notice lots of bubbles. This is normal. CLR will dissolve only the calcium lime and rust. So the more bubbles, the better (it will not dissolve your door lock).

note: When using the CLR, I found that wedging a wooden BBQ skewer into the lock opening worked well. The allowed me to keep dipping the lock into the liquid while holding the flip flap open.

Warning: The vapours from the bubble are not good for you to breath. Use common sense and keep your nose away. Also, you may want to use gloves. CLR can be sensitive to the skin and eyes.

(5) Once the cylinders are pretty clean. Start cycling your lock with the key. I found it difficult at first, but then I started working like butter!

(6) Remove the cylinder and dry it off as best as you can with a paper towel.

(7) Dump the jar of CLR down the sink (this is okay for septic systems as well). Now refill the jar with about 2 inches of alcohol. Drop the cylinders into the alcohol and mix around for a few minutes. This ensures that the CLR is getting flushed out of the lock and hopefully only a clean lock will remain.

(8) Use tin foil or an old cooking pan. Place your alcohol-wetted lock into the oven and bake for ~10 minutes. Alcohol evaporates quickly so this will ensure that the lock is absolutely dry and clean.

(9) Remove/cool your locks. Now take the graphite lubricant and dump it into your lock. Cycle the key again several times. You may want to dump some lubricant into the bottom drain hole as well. Shake out excess lube once it is sufficiently lubricated.

(10) Now re-install the door locks (probably want a new rubber gasket... I used a rubber o-ring). I recommend switching the driver side with the passenger’s side. The passenger side is probably in much better shape.

(11) Enjoy your new Locks
 
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alwaysFlOoReD

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Nice write up. I moved the thread to tech submissions with a one week re-direct.

Richard
 

Mark_88

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Nice...except I'm wondering if this is model year specific. Sounds like they are a bit more complicated than my 88 locks because I don't recall having to worry about what side they went in...the key actually fits both ways...

If you could clarify that (if needed) and maybe check the spelling and grammar you probably have a Premium Membership in your future...but that is for the Mods or Jim to decide...based on acceptance of the article...:icon_thumby:
 

aaronhahn777

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Thanks Mark. These door locks can probably go back in either way too... the reason I suggested marking them is so that you can swap the passenger/driver side. that way you have put the one with less use back into the driver side. :)
 

Alexis

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Professional Lock Repair

Of course, you are thinking now that there is nothing special in DIY lock repair. It you have some skills, you can manage it yourself. But there is no guarantee that a lock repaired in an unprofessional way will work properly. The second reason, why you should call a professional is that he will try to do everything not to mar your door. You really see that quality and, by the way, comparatively short terms, are worth the price you will pay to a professional company in Vaughan (Ontario).

So, I extremely recommend Locksmith Vaughan (Ontario). What kinds of locks they specialize in? These are the locks of various complexity levels and sizes. The locks to interior, entrance metal, steel or wooden doors are in the field of our activity. Besides, repair or replacement of digital security locks, as well as electromagnetic or electronic locks, which cannot surely be repaired by yourself, is also possible for company of aware and just great professionals. If you have some problems with your garage or car door lock, these specialists will fix it after estimating the situation and the means of repair. You can order mortise lock repair at any time.
 

aaronhahn777

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...or you could save yourself the commute and do it yourself in 20 minutes. Not to mentions save $$$. If this was a complex car with difficult access etc or a complex lock mechanism... I would X2. But that is not the case with ranger. It's like a few screws and the whole door panel lifts out. The lock is about the simplest flip lock I have ever seen in my life.

We blog on sites like this so we can save $$ and or customize what we already have. If you have some "professional advice" to add... please provide.

FYI. If I have something more complex... I'll bring it to Locksmith Vaughan (Ontario):icon_thumby:
 

bjurke

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there one thing you can try. i had this problem with a 2002,2010 but not with a 1989 rangers that i have had. the lock is not well sealed and allows dirt and dust to build up and then your lock to slowly seize up. i flush the lock out with a non graphite lubricant ideally with silicone. you don't want to use one that foams. insert the tube to the very back of lock and spray until it comes out front of lock. it will take a few tries. not sure if it will work on locks that are totally seized. never let mine get that bad
 

bcbrogan

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removing door lock cylinder

Thank you Aaronhahn777 for the tip and instructions on freeing up the door lock cylinders. On my 1999 Ranger however there is no need remove the door interior panel to access the door lock cylinder. There is a black metal clip on the inside of the door jamb that slides out (even has a curved end to get a finer grip) and you can then pull the lock cylinder assembly forward. You have to twist and turn the cylinder assembly some and pull the bent rod to which it is attached out of the cylinder hole in the door and in removing the plastic connector at the back of the cylinder from the bent rod you do want to be careful the bent rod does not fall back into the door, otherwise, do proceed with removing the interior panel to re-elevate the bent rod:icon_twisted:
 

work2do

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2010 Door lock cylinder refresh

Excellent write up !

I followed general procedure and appears to have been a success !

Wanted to note a few things of significance...

2010 model now. Had similar issues with other Ford's so nice to know this is a brand-wide fix. I checked into replacement cylinders, decided to try this first. Different part #'s on 2006-11 models. Driver/Passenger are non-interchangeable (color coded black=L, white =R) . Like a DA, I tried the wrong way first ! Take a closer look at your parts !

I used the same solvents in order. Soaked a little longer, used a heat gun after a long drip dry. Kudos to the OP. I will report further.

My conditions of this lock issue is not too big in normal weather. 20 Fahrenheit and below, I need a blow torch. Below 20 after a warm day of rain, worked great !
 

Mike Tonon

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I was having a problem with mine freezing. I kept using wd-40 but it never lasted. Then someone on Scotty Kilmer video comments, told me that I probably pushed all of the factory grease out and needed to replace it. So I had this tube of something like PTFE Motorcraft grease. I worked a ton of that in there and no more freezing.
 

work2do

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Please update over time. I'll do the same !. Wanted to mention my truck is a former fleet vehicle, valuable equipment often stored inside relating to communications trade. No power locks/key fob...140k of field use will take it's toll on manually operated locks.

Had the truck in the dealership Jan 2019 for the air bag recall. Had an estimate for the drivers door Lock alone that made me (____ fill in the blanks).

If anyone knows of the majic potion, let us know !!! (if the ford dealer has it, it will be likely available after-market), chime in with the product/part #...years of de-icer, WD-40, silicone, grahite, etc...you may not know what's been in there. Had excellent results from great advice on this site. Can only hope to return the favor to others.

Best luck !
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Have used a product called "lock-ez" or something similar, works pretty good.
 


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