Eventually the ends of the cables shrouds will deteriorate and pull thru the clips in the handle.
I replaced these components on my 2002 Ranger and would like to share some tips and suggestions for the job.
- T50 Torx
- T27 Torx
- 15mm socket
- Needle nose pliers
- Small thin blade screw driver
- Drill and bit set
- Rivet tool and blind rivet assortment
- Wire brush
- Grease, water proof
- Blue thread locker
Get your parts from Ford. Pay for it. It can be confusing which parts are for right or left side. Having to send back the wrong parts from “discount car parts dot com” is a waste of your time. Go to The Ford dealer and get what you need.
Order the complete set of parts. If only one cable is broken, the other will fail soon. Since these cables have stretch over time, replacing only one will leave latches out of sync. Although it is not difficult to to remove the door panel, why do it twice?
Get parts and inspect for proper orientation.
Unlock the door:
Assuming the cables have passed thru the handle wall, the door is stuck closed. Use the pliers to pull in the cables inside the handle to unlock the door. Don’t damage the handle because you may re-use it. No, you can’t do this job without removing the handle from the door.
Remove the handle rivets:
The way to do this is to first knock out the the center shaft of the rivet, the mandrel. Its not hard to do. I used a 3″ deck screw and a hammer. Don’t try to drill through the mandrel, you won’t. Drill out the rivet. If you start with a large drill, it will grab the head and the rivet will spin. Avoid this. Drill out the rivet center hole in small increments to avoid spinning the rivet. Start with the smallest drill bit and apply light pressure. When you get to the drill size that equals the sheet metal hole, the rivet head will break loose.
Remove the door handle:
With the handle loose, pinch the cable clip lock tabs and slide the clips to the side so the cables can pass thru. Remove the cable ends from the handle. These cables attach very much like bicycle brake cables. Note that the lower cable goes to the upper latch.
Remove the seat belt:
it isn’t necessary to remove the lower belt anchor point, but I did to get it to get the panel out of the way and Im glad I did. Remove the upper and lower belt attachment points and pass thru the panel hole.
Remove the inside door panel:
The panel is held in with soft plastic pins. This panel does not slide off pins like other panels do; its straight on and off. I first watched U-toob videos of guys removing the panel to see where the pins were located. I used a short flat pry bar next to the pins for leverage when needed, but with a good grip, most of these pins will break loose with arm strength. This was easier than I thought it would be. One pin broke in the process. Reuse the pins.
Top latch replacement:
The new top latch comes with a cable attached and I found out why. There is no way to remove and replace the cable on the top latch like you can on the bottom latch. Too bad because I would have re-used the old top latch as the new one didn’t fit just right. The new latch is re-designed with a stronger bracket that is slightly off in screw hole orientation for my car.
Remove the top latch mounting bracket and latch and discard. Apply some grease to the new cable at the ends and work it in. Insert the new cable into the door. loosely fit the latch screws to see if there are any alignment problems. I found the top right bracket hole to be slightly left. I used a Dremmel to widen the hole to fit. Before finally installing the top latch, use the cable slack you have to attach the cable to the handle bottom hole and secure it with the clip. Install the upper latch using thread lock on the screws.
Replace the lower latch cable:
The cable that comes with the door handle is for the lower latch. I found it easier to to insert the cable end into the latch after disconnecting it from the handle as this provided more line slack to work with.
Remove new cable from the handle. Unbolt the latch from the bottom three screws. Remove the stuffing bags from the pocket. Reach under the seatbelt reel location and move the latch into view. Disconnect the electric switch connector. Pull out the latch and cable. Discard cable. I re-used the latch. Remove the old cable end from the latch and discard. Clean latch with wire brush and air. Apply grease to moving parts of latch and new cable wire. Insert cable (ball) anchor in latch. Apply grease and re-connect the electric connector. Thread cable up to door handle. Instal cable to door handle and secure with the clips. Apply thread lock to latch screws and install lower latch. Replace stuffing in pocket.
Before putting anything else back together, you can put the seat belt into the pocket and test the door for function. Also check that the open door indicator light is not on.
If all is good, reassemble the remaining door with thread locker on the seat belt bolts.