Focus Feat

Nov. 15, 2004
A Florida locksmith developed an affordable approach to opening a Ford Focus trunk.

When a customer was unable to open the trunk of a newly purchased Ford Focus, a dealer wanted to slice open the trunk to get to the lock. A Florida locksmith came up with a less invasive and less expensive approach. Once again, the ingenuity of a locksmith saved the day.

The 2000 and up Ford Focus (photo 1) has become a popular car because of its price and economical performance. From the viewpoint of the locksmith profession, some of the reduction in the cost of this car is due to modular lock assemblies and more then a few plastic parts.

One of these plastic parts, in the trunk lock-latch assembly, can break and cause a complete lock out of the trunk. Neither the key nor the electric trunk lid release will work. The key cylinder does not stop working nor is the latching mechanism broken. It is a plastic part which actuates the latching lever that is the problem. The part with a rounded or ball like shape interacts with the forked or "Y" shaped end of latch release lever to unlatch the trunk lid. Photo 2 shows the two halves of the lock-latch assembly split apart and facing each other. The broken piece is under the piece of the large spring in the upper right corner of the photograph. Imagine, the two pieces fitted together and you should be able to see how the latch lever should be actuated.

Up until now, the only choice seems to have been to cut open – destroy - the trunk lid to get access to the interior. But John Zanni of Zanni Locksmith Services in Riverview, Fla., recently discovered an elegant and somewhat less expensive solution. I say somewhat less expensive because the suggested retail price of the truck lock modular (P/N YS4Z5443150AA) is $62.48 and it will have to be replaced no matter what method of entry to the trunk is used.

John discovered this trunk opening method after a customer brought a recently purchased, used Focus to him. The customer was unable to open the trunk. A dealer wanted to slice open the trunk to get to the lock.

Once again, the ingenuity of a locksmith saved the day. The rear seat backs in the Focus can be folded down. With the seat back or backs down, access to the truck and the lock assemble can be achieved. However, there is a stumbling block; the seat back release knobs are only accessible with the trunk open. John discovered a way to insert a common car-opening tool into the trunk to operate one of the seat back release mechanisms (photo 3).

Behind the rear seat backs is a shelf beneath the rear window. There are several child safety seat anchor points in cups in the shelf and covered with plastic covers. The hooks within these latching points are fastened to the body forming the top of the trunk space. The center cup has holes in it. Take any short legged, common auto-opening tool you can push with and measure and mark a line 10 3/4 inches from its working end. Feed it into the hole in the cup. Rotate the tool until the leg is facing forward. As you slowly feed it past the brace (photo 4), feel for the lever arm which holds the seat back. A gentle push is all that is necessary to release the seat back latching mechanism. An inspection light fed through the hole in the cup helps position the tool. The light does have to be removed before the tool is inserted.

A hole drilled through the left hand cup would give almost direct access to the seat back release mechanism. A screw driver could then be used to trip the release. Drilling a hole in the cup is not recommended except as a next-to-last resort. Our object is to get into the trunk without doing any damage.

Then again, once a seat back is folded forward, all subtlety must be discarded. You or your slender assistant is going to have to crawl into the trunk and literally tear the trunk lock assembly apart. Remove the upholstery from around the lock assembly. The metal part of the lock abutting the trunk lid and the plastic housing of the lock assembly, facing you, have to be separated. This cannot be done with finesse. Using a flat-bladed screw driver, break any points you can see where the metal and plastic parts are snapped together. Insert a hook-shaped tool between the metal and plastic parts and pull the assembly apart. When you can see the "Y" or forked shaped end of the latch release lever, simply move it toward the center of the assembly and the lid will unlatch.

The lock-latch modular can now be removed and replaced. Two Torx type bolts (photo 5) hold the assembly to the lid and are readily accessible once the lid is opened. The existing lock cylinder is removable, with the modular out of the car, and can be reused. If a new lock cylinder is required, the part number for an unassembled lock, with tumblers is YS4Z5443503BB. The suggested retail price is $46.02.

Education, experience and ingenuity combined to solve this most interesting lockout problem. No amount of imagination could have solved the problem without some education or lots and lots of experience. Of the three, the quickest, easiest and most effective is continuing education. Continuing education is, through books, articles such as this, classes, seminars and trade shows, a very important element of our profession. Without it, we would be ignorant of the seemingly endless, annual changes in designs and features to the automobiles we so much like to "work on."

Learn and earn.