1997 exterior door handle and lock cylinder removal question. - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 06-02-2015, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Cleveland
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1997 exterior door handle and lock cylinder removal question.

I need to swap a exterior door handle from one car to another. And possibly the lock cylinder. I've got the rivets drilled out. The handle is loose. I've pulled the retaining clip and the lock cylinders loose. I've read the tech article on updating the earlier Tbirds and Cougars to the later color matched door handles. Good stuff. The problem I'm having is removing the actual door handle and the latch rod. The door handle to latch rod attaches to the outside door handle with a simple Z bend. And there's no plastic clip or retainer at the door handle itself. There is a Yellow plastic retainer down on the door latch assembly where the rod attaches in a sort of inverted U. I assume that this yellow plastic retainer is what needs to be removed. But I've tried prying on it gingerly and it doesn't seem to want to give. Is there a secret to getting these off? Push up? Push down? Pry off? The manual simply states to remove the rod. The recipient car has as few Antitheft and RKE issues so I'm trying to not break anything I might need. What am I doing wrong here?

Regarding removing the lock cylinder itself. It's fairly obvious that the latch to cylinder link rod simply presses into a plastic retainer. And could be removed by spreading the legs of the retainer apart. Or as a alternate one could pull the E Clip off the back of the tumbler. If you could get a screw driver in there to spread it apart or remove the E clip.

I need these parts in one piece. I've kind hit a impass here. Kinda wish I'd decided to pull the motor or something simple instead

Any advice on getting the lock to latch rod out of the cock cylinder clip? And the door handle to latch rod loose?
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 06-08-2015, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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If it helps anyone. The exterior door handle latch link rod is held on by a yellow plastic clip that locates to the door latch. I broke mine prying on it and finally found the answer on a Explorer forum. You can unlatch the clip by unlatching the clip at the latch assembly. Simply by pulling the tab that points directly at the actual latch assembly towards you.

Point 2 if your unable to slide the the part of the latch rod that zigzags through the actual door handle out by gently pivoting it out the culprit is likely just enough rust built up to keep it from sliding out. Mine would move but not slide out. Even after hitting it with PB Blaster and LiquidWrench. Your going to need to dissolve the rust with something like Evapo-Rust. Drape a piece of paper towel saturated with a rust remover over the handle and latch link rod where they join. After a day or so it should remove enough rust you can slip the link out. Or if your not trying to save the door handle like I was just go ahead bust it out. Your still going to want to clean the latch link rod up so it slips into your new handle easily.

Hopefully this helps someone remove the latch link rod without busting the clip or the door handle.

Regarding the lock cylinder. Mine were corroded just enough it made it seem like they were being held in by tension on the lock cylinder to latch rod. This is not the case. Mine were simply not slipping through the lock cut out in the door skin due to having just enough corrosion to keep them from slipping out. Gently work the cylinder out by applying force the the back of the lock cylinder and rocking it out. You can also stick a thin screwdriver through the lock cylinder retainer slot and gently prying on the back. Once it's outside the door skin the lock rod will fall out of the plastic retaining clip and you can remove the lock cylinder assembly.

Last edited by 97CatMan; 06-08-2015 at 10:37 PM.
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