F250 Power Door Lock Blues

Recently the power door locks on my F-250 Super Duty have begun to misbehave.  It started with the drivers door, which would occasionally not lock or unlock with either the door switch or the remote.  That condition has gotten worse, and now some of the other door locks are not behaving either.

After reading on this subject a little, I think it is the power door lock actuators which are worn or failing.  The replacement parts look pretty expensive, and that’s not even counting having anyone work on it.  So, I found some actuators online for $5 a piece (vs. $35 for the typical part).  I ordered some and I’m going to give this a try.  Even if they all fail, four of them were cheaper than a single one of the other part, so I think it’s worth attempting.  I have had to read up on how to get to the actuator, which involves taking the door panel off the inside.  It doesn’t sound too bad so long as I’m careful not to break anything when I’m prying some of the parts open/off.

More later with how it all went when I get around to it….

[Update 12/26]

The brother-in-law said yesterday that sometimes the physical devices in the door get dirty and need to be cleaned and lubricated to make them work.  Seems odd that multiple of them would get that dirty at the same time, and I still think it’s actuator problems, but it will be something to look at when I pop the door cover before replacing anything.


17 thoughts on “F250 Power Door Lock Blues

  1. I gave this a try this weekend but it was not as simple as I thought. The aftermarket part I bought might could be made to work, but it would be pretty tricky. I believe I will go for the Ford replacement part that will snap in just as the original did.

    The part that was more tricky that I thought is that taking the inside door panel off is not nearly enough to get to this actuator. You have to take the door latch out. The actuator is actually attached via a snap to this assembly. I did find an excellent write up and pictures of how to do this (on an Explorer) at http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/286640-door-lock-actuator-replacement-procedure-enhanced.html.

    By the way, I could get to enough of it to try go clean things up but that F250 door is sealed pretty well. Dirt and grime were not the problem and cleaning had no affect.

  2. I finally got back to this today and have reversed direction yet again. After fighting to get the torx screws out that hold the latch assembly in, and failing (as I was warned, they are in there tight and tend to strip), I gave up on using the Ford replacement part altogether. I never opened the box so I’ll try to return those.

    Instead, I decided to forego taking the failed part out altogether. I went back to the aftermarket $5 part and just tied its rod onto the existing rod. It worked fantastically. These parts rock. They are very powerful. It was fun to test to installation by plugging the door module into the connector with the door cover off and seeing the parts work. They just *sound* solid. I am very pleased.

    On the front doors I mounted the actuator vertically in near alignment with the existing manual rod. On the back doors I mounted the actuator horizontally and tied it not to the rod for the manual lock, but the rod that runs horizontally off the rocker that joins to the manual rod. That gave me a tremendous amount of room to work and put the wiring very near the existing wiring. It did mean I needed to put two bends in the new actuators rod since the actuator was not in alignment with the horizontal rod but was about 1 1/2 inches below it.

    Lastly, on my 1999 F250 super duty the wires you want to connect to this new actuator are the two black wires with stripes, one light and one dark. The other two wires are for the door ajar indicator. For the replacement part I used, tie the blue actuator wire into the black/light stripe and the green actuator wire into the black/dark stripe.

    The only real issue I had was where I mounted the new part on the front doors, there is a C channel support that runs laterally across the door. To mount the new actuator in near alignment with the old rod, the best place to mount the actuator put the actuator top near the C channel so that I needed to add some plastic spacers between the actuator and the door frame so it would move more in to the interior of the door and miss hitting the C channel when unlocking. Other than that, this installation took maybe 20 minutes per door and was simple to do.

    By the way, the aftermarket part I used can be found at this website if you are interested.

  3. I thought about doing that when I did the replacements. I really should have. It would not take much to remove the inside cover and snap a shot of what I did after the fact, except that it’s now baseball season and I have very little free time on my hands.

    If I get motivated I’m going to write up a page on what I did with pictures and create a dedicated page to it. Don’t hold your breath though, because I know that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

  4. I asked the service advisor at my local Ford dealer about the same problem today. First it was the driver’s side rear door, then the other rear door, now occasionally the passenger front. He said that replacing them all seems to be the way to fix the problem. Is it just me, or does it seem statically improbable that after eight years of performing without a single problem, all of my actuators would go bad at once??? Since the driver’s door is actuated seperately from the other three, could the problem be one bad one in the series that’s reducing current to the others on that circuit?

    I bought a new actuator for the left rear, since that was the first one to go and I’ll see what happens. If that doesn’t work, I may try the right front door (the first in the circuit?)

    The dealer’s solution of replacing them all makes sense – for their profit margin!

  5. I understand your thought process, but for me at least it did in fact turn out to be all of them going out at about the same time. My drivers door went out first, but the other three (crew cab) went about shortly thereafter. YMMV. This is really pretty easy to do yourself with aftermarket parts. If the dealer cost is bothering you, this is an option you might consider.

  6. TO all, there is a great fix for this on dieselstop.com! Cost is nothing. There is a thermal resistor in the locks that gets worn and a piece of aluminum foil fixes it. I have done it to all four of my door on my crew cab and it has been good for over 2 years now. Do a search on door lock actuators and you will find it. Do not by actuators!

  7. Hey this is great info! I bought my F250 brand new in 2000. Three of my four locks went out around the same time in 2003. I had Ford replace them. They replaced the solenoids. At the end of 2007 they all went out again. Some work a little or intermittently. I asked Ford if they had a new part that would last more than three years. His response was, I don’t design the parts, I just install them. Wonderful! So, I found your guy’s blog. I am going to attempt a repair suggested by Reid or John Pearson. Thanks guys! Remember to always pray to the Lord first before attempting anything. Paul

  8. To link the existing rod and new actuator, I used a metal block made specifically for this purpose that came with the after market part. The part is a block with both a channel and an enclosed hole drilled through it. Both have locking screws to the side of them. The channel allows you to place the block over the existing rod without having to take it out or do anything to it. You place the j-rod that comes with the new actuator through the enclosed hole in the block after first hooking the “J” through the hole in the working end of the actuator. Tighten the screws on both once you get everything where you want it. All necessary hardware came with the new actuator. Easy as it can possibly be.

  9. Over the past 2 months I’ve watched my power locks work less and less till this week when they stopped completely. Armed with the info on this site I went out and removed the panel for access. As I pulled the electric connection off of the actuator I put a test light to the hot side and didn’t get much of a glow from the bulb so I went the other way. I went to the switch it self and tried the the test light again, weak! I ended up opening the switch assembly and cleaning all the contact points on the switch and BAM it snapped open and closed like it was new. No money, no pieces of aluminum foil, just 20 minutes and some WD40 and I’m good to go. Worth a try!

  10. I have a 2000 F250 supercrew. The passenger front door lock started working intermittantly about a year ago and now doesn’t work at all. Now the passenger rear and driver’s front are starting to fail also. I watched a youtube video that showed using a piece of cut copper to replace the resister inside the actuator (but the guy also suggested aluminum foil). Negligible to no cost. Thank you everybody for your suggestions. I will try each of these until I get a solution that works.

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