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Re: How to replace '96 Ford Explorer driver side exterior...
You will need to remove the door panel to gain access to the handle. Roll the window up or down as needed to get to the nuts that attach the handle to the door. You will also need to remove a rod the goes to the door lock. You will see the rod after the door panel is removed. Good luck.
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You can loosen the bolts that hold the hinge to the door and to the body and make some adjustment. I would suspect that you'll need to replace the hinges, most likely part of the hinges may have bent. Also check for any damage to the door where the hinges attach.
Most likely a $2 plastic clip broke or fell off the actuating rod. No site that I know of, but the library should have a service manual for your vehicle. In any case, you will have to remove the inner door panel and/or the exterior handle. Check for screws on the outside handle. If ya get lucky, you can remove the handle from the outside and fix it there. If not, remove the door panel and replace the clip and rod from the inside.
Door handle seems loose and not connected? Then the plastic clip broke inside the door. Take off the door panel, 3 screws, and door lock cap and plastic insert around inside door handle. pry around the bottom first, and go up, when you reach the top, pull up, please be carefull to not break any more plastic. you will see a squarish opening midway up the door toward the latch. reach in and pull a rod toward the opening. You see a broken piece of plastic on the tip? if so take it off and get the replacement part for it at an autoparts store, install the new one and your set. I have broke to many of these so i ended up bending the end of the rod and using a nut to hold it in.:]
Common problem on 2001 Ford Explores. The reason why your door handle doesn't unlock the door(can't be unlocked by remote either)is due to a broken spring located on the backside of the door handel INSIDE the door.
True that your one(or two) of your small exterior springs on your door handle are broken(will cause your handle to flap) but this IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM.
The door locks will work if there is a bit of tension holding the handle bracket up. I know it's hard to explain without pics. but here's the ONLY WAY TO FIX THIS.
It's not that hard..........
Remove the door panel, only a few screws and a few more holding trim around exit handle then, pull out "snap in" clips on bottom.
With a flashlight you'll see back side of door handle. To get to that area you'll have to remove one bolt holding a window frame.
Do that(with window in up position) then slide down rail, out of your way.
Now, get back to handle.
With your light aimed at the backside of handle left slowly the door handle as normal, and you'll realize(while looking at the mechanism) that tension(pulling down of bracket) needs to occur in order for locks(manual and remote)to work properly.
Trust me.....you'll figure it out.
Once you do, get a spring(pen spring, 30 cent hardware store spring, any small spring!) and hook one end to bracket and the other end to ANYTHING(OUT OF THE WAY) below the door handle thus, causing SLIGHT tension.
Try your locks...THEY WILL WORK! YEAH!
Replace that one window frame bolt(try your window...just the make sure), replace door panel and your done.
TOTAL COST: 30 cents or FREE(if you have a small spring)
Ford dealers will charge $150 to $285! Yikes!
Ford had a problem with the door handles not working properly. They are cheap plastic. If the exterior door handle is broken, you will need to drill out the rivets that hold it in, and then get the door open and the panel off. You have to disconnect the rod going to it. Then, remove the handle. If you don't want to drill again, I suggest replacing the rivets with a bolt and nut easily obtainable at your hardware store. I've found that a M7 bolt works very well. If you are having a problem with the interior door handle, it's the same problem. Remember to check your door latch because if your exterior handle is broken, then your latch isn't working properly. I got one at Ford for about 40 bucks.