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Guide To Fixing Common Focus Bonnet Lock Problem.

181 posts in this topic

Just to add my experience.

Son in law has bonnet problem, tried screwdriver but no good. I also have a mk2 Focus so decided to take mine apart to see how it works and hope it helps solve problem on other car. On reassembly I wisely tested my catch before closing the bonnet and horror of horrors, it was not connecting. Studied parts and could not get the male cross to engage in the female collet connecting to the key. Read thro this thread and followed advice to cut off sprung lugs on white male cross, did not cut off completely, just the removed "catch" feature and also chamfered front edge. Parts now engaged with no problem and working perfectly, still have to tackle son in laws car but now happier knowing how parts are assembled.

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Hi all,

Reading this thread with interest. Just picked up a mk2 a couple of weeks ago and feeling damn unlucky to encounter this problem right away.

A couple of days ago the bonnet opened OK by pressing down above the catch mechanism. I ordered a new lock to try and pre-empt the inevitable, plus an "upgraded" white cross part that's longer and doesn't have the catches. It arrived today.

Spent the morning assembling the new lock barrel.

I go to install it, what do you know. Bonnet doesn't open. Tried it a hundred times. How unlucky is that?

Going to try the long screwdriver trick tomorrow but I don't have much hope because from studying the mechanism it was flex in the system (maybe cable starting to go) that wasn't moving the latch across far enough. So I'm not sure if applying pressure will help... it might though.

By the way, I found with my skinny arms I could actually get my arm through the larger holes below the number plate and reach up to grab the rubber collet around the white part. I could also unclip the lock barrel from the grill this way.

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Update from today.

Jesus holy christ. I'm in.

Screwdriver trick didn't work.

Jack up the car, remove the panels, reach up and unscrew the 10mm bolts on the lock. The right one is ok with a spanner, the left one was very hard to reach but you can get two hands up to guide a small ratchet onto it, then it's plain sailing. Then I removed the grill by prising the bonnet slightly ajar with a bit of thick cardboard, reaching in an leveraging the two plastic rivets at each corner, by the headlights. Then poking a screwdriver through the grill and getting the 4 rivets at the front by popping up the inner screw, followed by the sheath. This was not an easy task and made some dents in the grill plastic. But the grill came off eventually. Unclip the 2 clips on either side of the white shaft... but I'll be buggered if I could get it through. Not a chance. Also couldn't remove the lock mechanism from the white shaft. People describe simply "withdrawing" the lock cable through the hole by lifting the bonnet... this sounds like fantasy to me. Maybe some managed it. Maybe if I really pulled on the bonnet but I didn't want to force anything.

So I tried a different approach. At this point I had full access to the lock barrel. The idea being if I can remove the lock barrel then I can get to the end of the cable and manually turn it more than the 90 degrees required to unlock the catch. I removed the bigger pin by pushing it through, but the two smaller pins were more challenging. Ended up drilling them out, and again this was not easy. Finally got the lock barrel out and used a pair of forceps to manipulate the metal cross end of the cable. Heard that magical click and lifted the bonnet to the upper catch. Got that open too and finally lifted the bonnet.

Real blood spilt, real tears almost shed. What the flipping hell ford... I'm going back to Japan for my next car that's for sure!!



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Now it's all back together I could see that the reason I couldn't push the white collar through to the engine bay was the large white triangle on the engine side of the white collar was impinging on the coolant hoses. This is impossible to see when you're under the car but once you know...

Also it's worth mentioning that the alarm cable is underneath the lock mechanism on the right hand side and you has a clip have to depress on the left, as you look at from in front of the bonnet. Disengage by pushing the clip and pulling downwards. Should come quite easily. This information is very useful when you're under a car trying to see by feel.

I've now set mine up to make this easy to do in the future. My grill is now only held in by the 2 plastic rivets at the side which can be removed relatively easily by prying up from the shut line at the corner of the headlights. After removal, the grill can be wiggled free. Then, with the new lock barrel, I only inserted the larger of the pins and left the two smaller ones out. This way the lock barrel can be removed very easily by pushing out the big pin, and from there the bonnet can be opened by manually turning the metal cross that the lock barrel couple with. That is, if your problem is wear in the cable not turning the mechanism enough.

The upgraded white cross part I got on ebay was actually too long, so I cut it down to about 1mm longer than the stock part. But it is more robust and doesn't have the catches on it at all.

For people in the future I would recommend taking the following steps.

Identify the problem. Turn the key to the right with your ear on the bonnet. If you can hear a small click, this is the upper catch moving across and this means your white cross is engaged properly so the screwdriver trick probably won't work. If you don't hear anything, either the white cross has disengaged (screwdriver trick may work) or the mechanism is totally seized.

If you do hear the click, it's likely that wear in the cable is simply not moving the lower catch far enough over to release the bonnet. In this case, I think by far the easiest way to fix this is to remove the lock barrel as I described above and manipulate the cable end by hand. No need for jacking or getting your hands cut up in the engine bay. Hopefully that will work for you.

If you don't hear the click and the screwdriver trick doesn't work then you could either move to jacking and undoing the 10mm bolts on the lock mechanism and trying that as described elsewhere.

Alternatively, if you have the grill off, it might be worth cutting the cable and manipulating the inner cable by hand. The weak spot may be at the lock barrel end, and so by cutting it off you'd be bypassing it.

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Aargh really struggling with this issue.  Got the long screwdrivers and putting all my weight behind it but nothing doing.  

One question I have is when I turn my key in the lock I can't see the cable turn at all when I'm looking through the grill (the cable leading up to the white socket).  Does this suggest my issue is actually in the lock, and therefore I will need to break though my grill?

Cheers in advance for any help!

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OK, a few things not made clear in previous posts that may prove useful.

Inside the white plastic cylinder is a plastic "plug" which takes the white plastic cross shaped piece that's previously been mentioned. It links the inner section of the cable to the catch mechanism so when the key is turned it works the catch. As previously mentioned it's designed to detach if tampered with, however there are a number of other ways in which it can detach which aren't so obvious. The lock housing is crimped on to the outer sheath of the bowden cable, which in turn is attached to the circular white plastic "plug" in the white plastic cylinder. This plug is free to move forward and if it does the cross shaped link will detach. The ONLY thing stopping it moving forward in use is the fact that the lock housing is in the grille. At the other end of the link is the catch mechanism, bolted to a cross member. The lock housing/bowden cable, white cylinder is sandwiched between the grille and the catch mechanism. It follows that unless everything is firmly secured it's quite possible for the grille to move slightly forward, making the link release. The integrity of the mechanism depends on the grille being securely fastened and its original shape, i.e. not distorted by age. This is how the thing comes undone if you go over a bump.

It is VERY easy to let the plug/cable/lock assembly move forward when fitting it to the car, so disconnecting the link.

Any rotation of the lock casing/bowden cable sheath assembly will also cause the plug to move forward and disconnect the link. Again it's very easy for this to happen when assembling to the car. This all seems part of the design. If someone tries to forcibly rotate the lock using a screwdriver jammed into the key slot the sheath will rotate and disconnect the link. Similarly any attempt to smash the grille or rip it out will allow things to move forward and disconnect the link.

The cross shaped link is designed to latch firmly into the catch but release easily from the circular white plug in the white cylinder. My suggestion for assembly is that you pull it out of the catch and fit it into the white plug. As mentioned by others it will only fit in one of two positions at 180 degrees to each other, if you can't fit it try rotating it 90 degrees and have another go.This leaves the whole thing in two parts, the complete lock/housing/bowden cable and white bits is one part and the catch mechanism is the other. Fit the lock housing, bowden cable and white cylinder into position, making sure the lock housing is right way up and securely clipped into the grille. Key slot should be vertical. Make sure the grille is securely fixed and can't move forward.. Now align the catch mechanism with the white cylinder and clip it on by pushing it forward against the cross member. Keep the catch firmly pressed forward against the cross member so it can't move back because this will disconnect the link. Fit the two 10mm screws. Bowden cable assembly should now be firmly sandwiched between the grille and the catch and not able to move back or forward. TEST IT! Use a screwdriver to take the place of the bar that engages with the catch and make sure it wil lock in place and can be released using the key. If it can't you'll need to take it apart and have another go.

In my case there seems to be a problem with the bowden cable. With the key slot vertical the cross piece that fits into the catch should also be vertical, i.e. one arm vertical and the other horizontal. In my case it's not, I think there's been some slippage. The catch works fine if operated with a screwdriver in place of the white link so I'm waiting delivery of a new bowden cable assembly to complete the job.

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