Rear Driver Door Lock sort of "Stuck"

I have a 97 XLT. At lunch today when I went to open the rear door after locking it with the electric button, the driver rear door wouldn't unlock
with the power lock. Pulling up on the button wouldn't budge it either.
When I returned home, I put the window down and tried the button some more. It felt jammed, not disconnected.
So, while rocking the lock button back and forth, I "helped" the door button up and it unlocked. I then checked the kid safety lock in the rear of the door and it seemed to be in the fully down position.
The short of it is the door is working fine again, but does anyone know of anything I should be looking for to prevent this again? I've done the usual lubrication maintenance, so that is not an issue that I know of. I haven't taken the panel off. I guess I could and take a look, but if it was just the kid switch getting bumped, I would hate to go through the pain of removing the panel.
Thanks,
Dave
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Ok - so strike the part about the kid lock fixing it. I drove the Explorer last night and it did the same thing again. So, it looks like the door panel is about to come off.
Dave

more.
button
usual
haven't
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Let me know what you find, my 97 just started doing the exact same thing !
Pat

unlock
the
of
just
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I will. Got tied up with other stuff this weekend.
Tried a number of times to get it to unlock, but to no avail.
This could be an interesting one.
Dave

after
either.
know
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Well, it is a pain in the wrist to replace the Explorer door latch, but it can be done, even with the door closed at first. I just finished.
The problem occurs when some dumb little spring in the locking mechanism fails. Then the little pieces parts will not move correctly and the lock won't open.
Even with the door closed you CAN get the interior panel off, unlatch the door, and replace the latch.
To begin, remove the 2 screws that hold the door handle on and get the panel loose. Remove the 2 screws that hold the switch assembly in place and remove the switch assembly. Then (I began at the rear of the door) grasp the top edge and CAREFULLY and GENTLY lift the corner up to free it from the lip on the top of the door. Then GENTLY and CAREFULLY pull the door panel inward and pull out the push pins. I used a long handled flat bladed screwdriver as some gentle persuasion. Then the interior plastic shield can be pulled loose and the lock assembly can be accessed.
I bought the lock this afternoon and it helped tremendously to examine how it works before attempting to open it. You can take loose the interior door handle (2 screws) and the loose the exterior handle and the top lock rod from the latch. Then just play with the thing until it opens. I tried to make a little tool to reach inside the lock and flip the catch free, but that didn't work. I really don't know what did, but by moving some of the little pieces around and pushing on the exterior release, the door finally opened. It took about 20 minutes or so to finally get the right combination, but it did come loose.
Make sure you carefully remove the electrical connector from the latch (door ajar and light) and the electric "pop" from its mounting and remove its wire. Remove the bolt that holds the window track and you can remove the latch assembly.
Assembly is just the reverse. The worst part was getting the lock pop back in its mount.
The latch was $28 before tax. The plastic keepers were attached. Note the position of the exterior latch release in the mounting block. Don't snap the block closed until you have the final adjustments done.
That's it. All done. Door works fine. I just hope the other 3 don't go bad before I sell the Explorer (in a couple years). It is a royal pain in the arm to replace the latch. Helps to have small hands.
Good luck,
Dave

after
either.
know
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Well, the lock mechanism is definitely jammed. I was able to get the door panel off from the inside by **carefully** pulling up on the rear corner of the panel and then sliding a long screwdriver down inside and popping the push pins free.
But for the life of me, I can't get the lock to open. It is not the electric lock. I popped the actuator out of the opening and it didn't make a difference. It's not the lock rod, I flipped it loose.
I thought I would be able to back out the locking post by unscrewing it with a torx bit because I could see it through the lock, and then just push the door open, but there is not enough clearance.
Anyone had to do this before or have any ideas? I think I can see the two rivet ends that the lock mechanism pivots on. I thought about taking a long drill and drilling them out in hope that the "fingers" would then just pop out.
Any help is appreciated.
Regards,
Dave

more.
button
usual
haven't
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