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2002 Windstar 3.8L hood release stuck open

09-23-2012, 12:18 AM
Hi all, apologies if this has been covered before. I did a search and couldn't find anything on the forum that addresses this, so please feel free to direct me to other posts.

I didn't drive my 2002 Windstar 3.8L for 3-4 months, had to psych myself up to work on a runnability problem (see other posts).

When I started to use the vehicle again, the hood release sticks in an open position. I'm referring to the primary hood release, the handle inside the passenger compartment, to the lower front left of the driver's seat.

The hood does stay mostly closed, but it is being held closed by the secondary safety, not by the primary. So it sticks up about an inch higher than it should in front (stays a little open).

I squirted a bunch of WD40 around the latch assembly and spring, but it is still stuck in the open position.

Inside the car, the pull tab stays stuck forward (like you pulled it) and does not retract.

I don't know if these's something I should lube, replace, need to work with pliers, or what.

Any advice would be appreciated. I'm concerned it is not safe to drive the vehicle at highway speeds just relying on the secondary hood catch. :eek: Thanks all.

09-23-2012, 10:33 PM
Good news, I was able to get the hood to close and latch properly today.

When facing the car, the latch has a spring-loaded part that is pushed down by the metal U in the hood. The hood was closing properly, just not latching in the down position.

I tested the spring-loaded part with big screwdriver. Pushed down on it and it seemed to work OK.

I tested pulling the release handle. It seemed to be working OK. I had a helper watch to see what happened when I pulled the release handle (inside the vehicle). He said it was moving. I then switched places with the helper so I could observe the release handle being pulled and see the cable work. That part also seemed to be working correctly.

Then I looked more closely at the latch assembly. Facing the vehicle from the front, the main spring-loaded part was central and to the left (passenger side). However, I noticed there was a smaller metal part to the right side (drivers side), I guessed that was supposed to engage the main spring-loaded part to keep it down.

I had saturated the entire latch assembly the day before with WD40 but it still would not hold the hood down tight. So the second day I saturdated the latch assembly with PB Blaster. Wiggled things around with the screwdriver, then tried to close the hood again and darned if it didn't stay down.

I suspect the solution was a combination of the PB Blaster and also using a screwdriver to pry around a little bit and try to free up that second piece on the latch assembly, the smaller metal piece toward the drivers side.

I recalled that I had had this problem with the car once before, but it had been a while. Solution at that time was also to saturate the latch assembly with WD40, then wiggle the pieces around using a screwdriver.

Hope this helps someone else down the road...

09-24-2012, 12:28 PM
If you run into this again, I'd use white lithium grease spray. Neither WD40 nor PB Blaster will hold up long-term.

09-24-2012, 10:39 PM
If you run into this again, I'd use white lithium grease spray. Neither WD40 nor PB Blaster will hold up long-term.

Thanks scubacat, I appreciate the suggestion! Makes great sense.

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