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Guide To Fixing Common Focus Bonnet Lock Problem.


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#1 Brigante

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:37 PM

Ok so this is my first attempt at a guide so if it is deemed not a guide or not detailed enough please feel free to move it to the relevant section or remove it completely.

As you may or may not be aware there is a big design flaw in the design of the Ford Focus bonnet lock mechanism.

If you remove the slam plate:
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And this rubber boot:
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You will see there is a cable connecting the key barrel:
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To this white collet:
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The idea is on the right turn of the key, this catch opens:
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Like so:
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Which releases the bonnet allowing you to lift it open.

Now this is not so much a flaw but actually a tamper proof measure designed in by ford. This lies with the white collet pictured above. Basically the back of this collet is part of a + shaped male and female key, these two parts need to be clicked in together for you to be able to open the bonnet.

The idea is if a would-be thief tries to break into your bonnet, the connection behind the collet will separate rendering the lock mechanism useless and they will not be able to open the bonnet.

However, this is actually flawed as it was generally new technology to ford and it was poorly designed as well as the actual connection being very fragile. Meaning instead of thieves, the actual owners of the car was getting locked out of they're own bonnets, because the slightest knock or bump, sometimes even taking a big speed bump too quick, or as I'll mention shortly changing the grill can dislodge the connection. Then as the owner was none the wiser to this 'security feature', when it came to opening the bonnet with the key, only to find nothing happened, they was truly in the shtuck.

I unfortunately discovered this design flaw first hand when I received some front end damage resulting in needing the bumper replacing, which meant removing the key barrel from the grill.

The 'mechanic' slid the barrel out of the grill and let it hang freely, removed the grill, removed the old bumper, fitted the new bumper, replaced the grill, replaced the barrel and finally closed the bonnet. He then tried to open the bonnet, only to discover that when turning the key left and right, nothing happened and the bonnet was jammed shut tight.

Now I must inform you that the lock mechanism is also very fragile and can easily snap or break, If this is the case then unfortunately you will have to smash your grill in, snap off the lock mechanism and buy a new grill and lock mechanism from ford or ebay and have the barrel built up to your original key by a locksmith, this will end up costing you around a £100.

You can also jack the car up, get on your back under the car and reach up between the radiator and engine block where you will have to go by feel and take a ratchet spanner to the 2 10mm bolts either side of the lock mechanism. By loosening these 2 bolts you will be able to prise the bonnet up with enough force. I did try this, but unless I just have really big hands, I do not see how anyone can reach up high enough to get to the bolts without getting they’re arm trapped.

However you will most likely find you are in the same situation as I was and the connection had just become loose and not actually broken, in which case it is very easy to fix this yourself when you know how.

I actually joined this forum looking for an answer myself, a quick Google search will throw up loads of results with people in the same situation and some may mention using a long screw driver through the grill, but not in much detail so if you are not doing it right or hard enough you can waste all day with no result and end up thinking the grill needs to be smashed in when it doesn't at all.

The common cause of this problem is actually replacing the grill and not knowing about the problem until it is too late and you are faced with not being able to open your bonnet.

After managing to fix this problem myself with no mechanical experience, a fellow member of this forum fitted a nice new ST grill to his focus found himself in the exact same situation I was in only days before.

He tried the screwdriver trick himself with no avail and thought he would be faced with smashing in his nice new grill quicker than he had actually fitted it.

I managed to guide him through what he had to do so he was able to fix it himself too. So as this is a common problem I am writing this guide for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation or anyone thinking of swapping they’re grill and doesn't already know about this problem.

Now after a load of waffle, very simply here is how to open your bonnet if you find yourself in this situation.

First off, brute force and position is key here, if you don’t push hard enough it won’t happen, if you have the screwdriver in the wrong position it won’t happen.

First things first If you peer through the grill you will see the black rubber boot which you will need to pull off with some needle nose pliers (you may need a torch for this)

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Once this is off you will be able to see the cable and the white collet:
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Then what you need to do is thread a long enough screwdriver (about 300mm should do) through the grill directly above the ford swivel badge:
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As I just said it is all about position. You need to position the head of your screwdriver on the face of the white collet, directly above where the cable meets the collet like so:
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This had immediate results for me as soon as I had the screwdriver in this position and I opened the bonnet within minutes.

However to find this position I worked the screwdriver right the way around the cable with no avail, If you position the screwdriver to the sides or underneath the cable you won’t have much luck:
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It needs to be like this:
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Once you have the head of the screwdriver in this position, you now need to put all of your bodyweight on the end of the screwdriver and push the white collet back in place, while in turn turning the key left and right as normal.

A tip is to get someone to turn the key left and right for you while you push on the screwdriver. I found it also helps to have whoever is turning the key to push it in in a straight in position while turning the key.

By pushing the white collet in with the screwdriver you are pushing the male and female connection back together and much to your joy the bonnet will suddenly pop. When pushing the screwdriver you should hear a click, this is the connection clicking back together, if you don’t hear the click don’t worry, as long as you maintain the pressure you will get the bonnet open and you can deal with getting the connection to click together after.

I must stress, when you find the correct position of the screwdriver and the right amount of pressure, the bonnet will suddenly pop on the left turn of the key, it is important to not get too overjoyed at this point and stop applying the pressure. If you do, you will lose the connection and you will have to start all over again.

So remember, when the bonnet suddenly pops on the left turn, make sure you quickly turn the key to the right and lift the bonnet before you lose the connection.

By doing this instead of a £100 ebay spend for a new grill and lock kit, all it cost me was 5quid for a long enough screwdriver which is one of the best purchases I've made and now lives in my boot should this problem happen again.

A final and critical tip, If you are planning on swapping your grill, very carefully slide the barrel out of the existing grill, and whatever you do, DO NOT let the barrel hang freely on the cable, this will almost definitely lose the connection causing you to find the bonnet won’t open after closing it.

To avoid this problem in the first place all you have to do is balance the barrel on some sort of object, a can of pop would do for instance, this keeps the cable in position and prevents the weight of the barrel dislodging the connection when hanging.

If you do let the barrel hang however, it still isn't a problem, just make sure the key still does what it is supposed to do before closing the bonnet, if it doesn't, click the connection back together before you do.

If you've closed the bonnet and can't open it, follow the guide.


So there you go, my first guide. I hope it was as informative as it could be and not too boring. If it helps other people who find themselves in the same situation it will have been worth the read.

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#2 Lenny

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 09:28 PM

So there you go, my first guide. I hope it was as informative as it could be and not too boring. If it helps other people who find themselves in the same situation it will have been worth the read.


Excellent guide mate,
i may need this myself if i dont take due care and attention when changing my front upper grill.

#3 Preee

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 09:38 PM

Great guide and very help full to a lot of people who have been in this position.

#4 Stoney871

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 10:07 PM

Good drills Sir.

#5 Brigante

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 11:21 PM

Cheers lads.

Had a spare 5 minutes earlier lol so i darted outside and removed the slam panel to take a few quick snaps then come inside to type it up trying to be as detailed as I could.

My reasoning for doing this is when it happened to me I ended up driving the car around for close to a month without being able to open the bonnet so if I'd of broke down driving back from a night shift I'd have been screwed cause the AA wouldn't have even been able to get the bonnet open to jump start it or do anything to get it going again.

Searched all over google and couldn't find much detail on the matter, a few people mentioned a screwdriver through the grill, I tried it but it didn't work and again there wasn't much detail on what to do with it apart from stick it on the grill and push on the collet.

Found myself here seeking help, I got some great advice on the matter from the likes of yourselves but unless you experienced the problem yourself you wouldn't be able to advise on somthing you don't know much about.

I was determined not to smash my grill so I set about it again and kept at it till the bonnet popped and I found the bonafied angle to open it within seconds when you know how.

I found it strange how such a common problem (cause unless you know not to, anyone who has removed the grill for what ever reason, would have naturally let the barrel hang freely then found themselves in this situation when the key wouldn't open the catch to release the bonnet) wasn't discussed in more detail so that people would be able to find the answer easier.

Now if anyone comes to this forum looking for an answer they will find a guide telling them exactly what they have to do, so that they do not think they have to pay an extortionate fee to ford for a new grill and lock kit and having to smash they're perfectly good grill in when they didn't need to.

Read stories of people on google who took the problem to ford and the first thing they did is smash the grill in without even trying a screwdriver cause it's money straight in their pockets.

#6 Rh1no

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 12:23 AM

Good work buddy!

#7 UltraSBM

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 05:40 PM

Thanks for this greatly!

A well known Scottish garage, whilst replacing my intercooler pipe, managed to dislodge the locking mechanism.
This guide has saved me so much arguing with them, and now it's all good!

PS - On mine, I had to remove the rubber gromit in front of the white thing which others may have to do.

#8 Brigante

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 08:27 PM

Thanks for this greatly!

A well known Scottish garage, whilst replacing my intercooler pipe, managed to dislodge the locking mechanism.
This guide has saved me so much arguing with them, and now it's all good!

PS - On mine, I had to remove the rubber gromit in front of the white thing which others may have to do.


Oops sorry mate I forgot about that, I never put the rubber gromit back on after fixing the first time so I forgot to take pictures of it when writing the guide. I'll take a snap tomorrow and add it, nice one for reminding me lol ;)

#9 Stoney871

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 02:10 AM

I'm pretty sure that the lock mechanism disconnecting is designed in as a tamper proofing measure.

#10 Brigante

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 02:28 AM

I'm pretty sure that the lock mechanism disconnecting is designed in as a tamper proofing measure.


It is mate tried to explain that by this 'The idea is if a would-be thief tries to break into your bonnet, the connection behind the collet will separate rendering the lock mechanism useless and they will not be able to open the bonnet'

But no one seems to know about it, even some mechanics. So every time anyone has work done on they're car or changes the grill, or even sometime a little bump to the front will dis-lodge it so then when people go to open the bonnet they ain't got a clue why it's not opening, then they take it to a mechanic and even they don't know and end up smashing the grill.

There is obviously method in ford doing this but at the time it was a pretty poor work around and they did make it rather fragile and is flawed, I believe they came up with a new way for later models but don't take my word on that. I can go into more detail on this after I did some research a while ago but right now I'm absolutely shattered lol and I my head don't wanna work :(

#11 Brigante

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 09:04 PM

Thanks for this greatly!

A well known Scottish garage, whilst replacing my intercooler pipe, managed to dislodge the locking mechanism.
This guide has saved me so much arguing with them, and now it's all good!

PS - On mine, I had to remove the rubber gromit in front of the white thing which others may have to do.


Guide now been updated with pictures mate, thanks for reminding me ;)

#12 SteveandMichelleFocus

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 06:46 AM

Great guide! Saved us a lot worry of woundering how we could get open the bonnet! After reading this guide we were in within5-10min!

Well explained and easy to follow!

THANK YOU :D

#13 emlynkide

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:11 PM

thanks brigante for a very informative reply, i am shore that it will be very helpfull for focus users, but it looks like the mondeo is differant, after all the hard work you put into the reply, i find it very hard to have to to have to say it,but thanks a million anyhow,
a very gratefull emlynkide

#14 Brigante

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:14 PM

thanks brigante for a very informative reply, i am shore that it will be very helpfull for focus users, but it looks like the mondeo is differant, after all the hard work you put into the reply, i find it very hard to have to to have to say it,but thanks a million anyhow,
a very gratefull emlynkide


Thoughtso mate, so sorry I can't help. Just when I read about you trying to open the bonnet with the key I thought it might be worth a shot in case the mechanism is similar.

#15 aimeeV

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 02:51 PM

hi

I have followed the guides posted here, but ... without results. All i managed was to take the grill lol

Still I am at the same point

Q: How to open that bonnet?

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