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  1. #1

    Question New power door lock actuator won't unlock

    I will admit that I am not a mechanic & apologize if I sound ignorant. But, I'm a female trying to take care of her toy.

    I'm restoring the doors of my '86 Capri. The driver side actuator was not consistently reliable prior to the replacement. But, now with the new one in place, the door will lock but it won't unlock unless I pull the post up manually. I can see that the rods that make up the mechanism are fairly loose, but no looser than those in the passenger door.

    The lever which the actuator moves will go up the rod when I lock via the power lock button. But, it won't slide back down when I use the same switch to unlock the door. However, it will move appropriately when I pull up on the lock post in the top of the door. Compared to the passenger side, it seems like the mechanism is "sticking". I have applied a spray lube into the mechanism from inside and outside the door. The lube is what finally got the lever to move up the rod initially.

    Do these mechanisms routinely stick or freeze with time? Is there a hack to get it to respond appropriately to the new actuator? Can the mechanism be rebuilt, refurbished, replaced? I appreciate any insight you can offer. Thanks.
    Kapri

  2. #2
    FEP Senior Member gt4494's Avatar
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    If the Dew Wipes (rubber on outside of window) gets old/stiff or broken water can get into the door and the lock. The rubber flexible seal at the top of the locks will not keep all of the water out of the lock.
    That being said the lock is just an electromagnet. If the lock needs help the attaching linkage may not be long enough to align it in the magnet correctly. I also started putting a dielectric grease under the boot when I change the lock. Water that gets into the door has even more obstacles getting into the lock magnet.
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  3. #3

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    I tried lubing the crap out of my passenger door lock electromagnet and all the other bits but I have the exact same issue. Just doesnt have the oomph. Mine is old though. I was planning on replacing it but now I may look elsewhere for fixes..
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  4. #4
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
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    I have not had great luck with original nor replacement lock actuators. When they work right, they are fine, but otherwise they are generally weak. Part of the issue is the wiring harness and the low voltage that the actuators actually get when activated. I want to add keyless entry to a couple of my project Foxes, so I my plan is to add the aftermarket actuators that come with the keyless entry kit and see how they work out instead of stock replacements. Hopefully they will be a better option, but no guarantees.
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  5. #5

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    Thank you all for your responses. It sounds rather hopeless, though. The good news is that for as long as I've owned her, she's been garage-kept & hasn't seen any rain. So, the water incursion into the doors has been minimal. But, I don't know her complete history & by the looks of the door internals, she did catch water along the way. Hence, my desire to replace/improve the internals of the doors.

    I'll keep lubricating the lock mechanism & hope I can eventually succeed in getting it to unlock. At least I won half the battle by getting it to lock. Right?
    Kapri

  6. #6
    FEP Senior Member gt4494's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kapri View Post
    At least I won half the battle by getting it to lock. Right?
    At least the most important part. You can always use the key to unlock... But alone at night its easier to hit one button to lock in, then try to get to the door lock pin.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
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  7. #7
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    It sounds like you lubricated the lock actuator to get it moving but that's not good enough. You will need to replace the lock actuator. They just don't seem to work well after jamming up. I had to do this on my 92. The mechanism is actually a spinning shaft not just a solenoid moving up an down. The easiest way to replace it is to drill out the rivet.
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  8. #8
    FEP Power Member Ray Dog's Avatar
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    Kapri the lock motor works in lock, if you know your way around a digital multi meter check
    the polarity when the door is locking. when it unlocks the will reverse.
    This tells me the wire to the lock motor are good in lock mode.
    If the right motor unlocks and the polarity on the left reverses disconnect the linkage and
    see if it moves. If it does you may have binding somewhere.
    If it does not the wire from the unlock side of the switch has an issue going to the left door.
    Hope this helps.
    Ray
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  9. #9

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    Thx Raydog
    I have played with a multimeter, but I'm no mechanic. I think your test is above my paygrade. But, I will try.

    Careful watching while working the switch leads me to believe the mechanism is binding and that the spray lube hasn't loosened it yet. Or, as you suggest the voltage is low.

    I appreciate everyone's advice. More to come.
    Kapri

  10. #10
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    I have replaced all of the door lock actuators on my LTD with NOS Ford actuators (do not waste your time with the cheap Chinese aftermarket parts) and the rear passenger is always a little sluggish on unlock. I have to hold the knob up an extra second or two and watch the rear passenger knob to make sure it goes all the way up. Old actuator did the same thing. No amount of lube seems to do much.
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  11. #11
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    I removed all the power door lock actuators and the extra linkage from my Oldsmobile 4 door cars . The power door locks looked like they went up and down . But the doors some times would not lock or unlock , they sounded like they had , but did not . So everytime i got out of the car and wanted the doors locked i had to go around the car and check each door . So for me having power door locks was not faster than doing it manually. On my large cars its a big reach to get at the manual door lock pin . Kapri you say try to care for your car , but is this an item that needs fixed or replaced . Any Fox body i would think is an easy reach to the other door to lock it or unlock it . If this option was on my Capri i would remove it. Kapri you also talk about the linkage , yes extra linkage for the power door locks , i noticed the linkage loose and sloppy on my cars . Removing the power actuator part inside the door also reduces weight of the car , maybe not a big deal , but is less weight on the door hinges as well . I would think if your car has power door locks then it also has power windows .On my GM cars the electrical plug for the power windows is the same electrical plug for the power door lock . Even if you remove the power door lock actuator you might be able to use the electrical connection to trouble shoot the power window motors .
    Last edited by 1981 Capri; 01-28-2023 at 12:49 PM.

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