Introduction: Repair Ford Center Console Latch


As a Ford owner I have come across a problem that is widespread yet, has no simple fix. The center console latch on many fords, 500, Taurus and Flex come to mind, is poorly constructed and prone to breaking. When it does break, you must replace the console lid in it's entirety or deal with the annoyance of the lid popping up regularly FOREVER.
After becoming completely exasperated at the lid popping up every time I hit a bump, I decided to fix it myself.
What follows here, are the fruits of my labors, presented as my very first instructable. (Please be kind)

Step 1: Behold the Broken Latch

Behold the broken latch, either the piece which has snapped off or the one still attached to the console lid......stare at it in dismay. There will be many opportunities to do so when the lid pops open while driving.

Step 2: Resolve to Repair This Eyesore/nuisance...gather Items

We can fix it! Yes we can!   Resolve to fix this extremely annoying eyesore and restore your castle of the highway to it's original pristine   ( OK OK ...working and less annoying state)
Gather up the items needed.

1. Torx bit or torx screwdriver size T20  - Yours may differ so check first 
These can be purchased for a very reasonable price at Home Depot, Lowes, Pep Boys or Harbor Freight Tools. You should be able to get a fairly expansive set for under $10.

2. The 2 broken halves of the latch. -having been removed with the aforementioned torx bit or driver.

3. The torx screws.  -don't lose the screws!

4. Sanding block  -a nail file will do in a pinch. I keep one in my tool case for small jobs.

5. Alcohol   -Jim Beam won't work here...well ya never know but, I advise against it. Usually available at home but .99 cents at your local store

6. Something to wipe alcohol on and off. Tissue paper in this case  -Lord I hope you have some of this around

7. Epoxy putty made for use on plastic. - Can be purchased for about $4.00 at your local hardware store.

8, Small clamps would have come in handy but I forgot them. If you have clamps use them.

9. Black spray paint or gray if your latch is gray

10. Music is optional but I like it so .........

Step 3: Prepare Surface to Be Repaired

Prepare the cracked edges to be bonded.

1. wipe the pieces with alcohol

2. Sand the edges 

3. wipe again

Take a moment here to fit the pieces together and think about where you may need more, or less putty to replace areas where plastic may be completely gone.

Step 4: Prep the Putty

Kind of a stupid pic I know, but you get the idea.
Cut or twist off about a one inch section of the putty.
Knead it between your fingers until the color is even. It should get warm.

Step 5: Apply Putty to One Half of Latch

I did not have a tripod and could not take a pic of this all important step. I apologize.
Apply a thin roll of putty along the cracked edges of one piece of the latch. As shown in boxes below.
This step can be a bit difficult because the putty prefers our hands to the plastic.
You don't have to be perfect just get a nice bead along the edge.

Step 6: Build Up Putty in Strips to Form a Secure and STRONG Bond.

The pic here is after I have continued to layer small rolled strips of putty to the latch.
Leave the space between the bonds uncovered for now.

Now would be a good time to use clamps if you have some.
I neglected to use clamps which would have been very handy here since it needs about 25 minutes to firm up well.

I made due with a notebook and a socket to hold up the overhang. You can see it peeking out from under the latch in the picture.

At this point we will come back in  2-3 hours to finish up after the putty has begun to cure.

Step 7: Apply Second Layer of Putty

So about 3 hours have passed and we've had a bite to eat maybe played some video games....and we are coming back to reinforce the latch.

This step is key due to the ridiculous design of the latch in the first place.
You see, the latch is designed to secure to the lid via the 2 screw points.
Then we pull on the latch every time we open it forcing a rigid piece of plastic to "FLEX" just a bit. Over time it snaps, which brought us to this point.

SO...we use longer strips of putty applied across the FRONT SIDE of the latch to strengthen and enlarge the reinforced area. Each strip molded and smoothed to create one large very strong repair.
In theory this will allow the area to stand up much better to the constant flexing.

VERY IMPORTANT: not to apply extra putty to the underside of the latch (the side that touches the lid). We only apply more here if we see a spot that looks like it could really use some more.
AND WE DON'T GO ALL THE WAY ACROSS ON THE UNDERSIDE.
This way we ensure no difficulty re attaching the latch.

Let it sit 3 more hours or just leave it over night.

Step 8: Paint and Reattach

So we finished reinforcing this plastic latch and we're ready to reattach it. But admittedly it will look pretty ugly without some paint.
So hit it with a coat of spray paint in a matching color. Black in my case.
Let it dry.
Grab your torx screws and bit or driver, and reattach it.

Voila!

If you stare at it, it's still kinda ugly. But if you painted it no one will ever notice.

I hope you liked my first instructable.

Comments