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How do you Change, Replace, or Install Broken 1988-2003 Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer Door Lock Actuator Replacement

Fits Years: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003


Tools required:

  • Phillips screwdriver (2, regular and large)

  • Flathead screwdriver (2, regular and small)

  • Drill with 5/16 inch bit

  • Hammer/Punch

  • 11mm socket/ratchet

  • Wrench (small)

  • Bolt/nut to replace removed rivets

  • Door Panel Clip Tool (or putty knife)


Step 1: Open the vehicle's door.

NOTE: For this particular installation, the removal of the door panel may differ, depending on your model year. However, it should be similar to the steps outlined here.

Step 2: Using the flathead screwdriver, pry and remove the bezel that surrounds the interior door handle. Loosen and remove the Phillips screws (2) exposed by removing the bezel.

Step 3: Pry and remove the mirror control switch. Disconnect the wiring harness attached to the back of the switch.

Step 4: Using the door panel clip tool (or putty knife), pry and remove the interior door panel from the door frame.


A series of retaining pins holds the interior panel to the door frame. Slide the tool between the panel and the door, slide along until you feel a pin, then pry out to release the pin. You will hear it "pop" as it disengages.

Step 5: You can now lift and remove the interior door panel.

Step 6: Disengage the power window panel by releasing the tabs, and slide this switch-plate from the interior door panel.

Step 7: GENTLY peel back the water shield.

Step 8: Using the hammer/punch, knock out the center of the rivet (1) located just below the door latch. Use the drill with a 5/16 bit to drill the rivet, allowing for its complete removal.

Step 9: Loosen and remove the 11mm bolt (1).

Step 10: Disconnect the wiring harness (1) attached to the lock actuator. You can now slide the track down, moving it out of the way.

Step 11: Using the large Phillips screwdriver, loosen and remove the Phillips screws (3) that secure the latch mechanism to the door frame. You can now slide and remove the actuator from the assembly.

Step 12: Transfer the locking rod from the OLD actuator to the NEW actuator assembly. Also, transfer the mounting bracket to the new lock actuator assembly.

Step 13: Slide the lock actuator rod into the latch mechanism. Secure the component by tightening the Phillips screws (3).

Step 14: Reconnect the actuator's wiring harness (1). Slide the track back into place inside the door frame.

Step 15: Tighten the 11mm bolt (1). Use the bolt/nut to replace the rivet we removed.

Step 16: Reattach the water shield.

Step 17: Reattach the power window switch-plate.

Step 18: Reattach the interior door panel by re-engaging all of the retaining pins.


A firm strike on the door panel just over each pin should do the trick! Don't damage your door panel, though, as it doesn't take much force!

Step 19: Reconnect the mirror control switch's wiring harness.

Step 20: Tighten the Phillips screws (2) near the interior door handle.

Step 21: Reattach the interior door handle's bezel.



These Part Change / Installation Instructions Apply to
03 2003, 02 2002, 01 2001, 00 2000, 99 1999, 98 1998, 97 1997, 96 1996, 95 1995, 94 1994, 93 1993, 92 1992, 91 1991, 90 1990, 89 1989, 88 1988 Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer Door Lock Actuator Replacement Instructions
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