Ok so this is my first attempt at a guide so if it is deemed not a guide or not detailed enough please feel free to move it to the relevant section or remove it completely.
As you may or may not be aware there is a big design flaw in the design of the Ford Focus bonnet lock mechanism.
If you remove the slam plate:
And this rubber boot:
You will see there is a cable connecting the key barrel:
To this white collet:
The idea is on the right turn of the key, this catch opens:
Which releases the bonnet allowing you to lift it open.
Now this is not so much a flaw but actually a tamper proof measure designed in by ford. This lies with the white collet pictured above. Basically the back of this collet is part of a + shaped male and female key, these two parts need to be clicked in together for you to be able to open the bonnet.
The idea is if a would-be thief tries to break into your bonnet, the connection behind the collet will separate rendering the lock mechanism useless and they will not be able to open the bonnet.
However, this is actually flawed as it was generally new technology to ford and it was poorly designed as well as the actual connection being very fragile. Meaning instead of thieves, the actual owners of the car was getting locked out of they’re own bonnets, because the slightest knock or bump, sometimes even taking a big speed bump too quick, or as I’ll mention shortly changing the grill can dislodge the connection. Then as the owner was none the wiser to this ‘security feature’, when it came to opening the bonnet with the key, only to find nothing happened, they was truly in the shtuck.
I unfortunately discovered this design flaw first hand when I received some front end damage resulting in needing the bumper replacing, which meant removing the key barrel from the grill.
The ‘mechanic’ slid the barrel out of the grill and let it hang freely, removed the grill, removed the old bumper, fitted the new bumper, replaced the grill, replaced the barrel and finally closed the bonnet. He then tried to open the bonnet, only to discover that when turning the key left and right, nothing happened and the bonnet was jammed shut tight.
Now I must inform you that the lock mechanism is also very fragile and can easily snap or break, If this is the case then unfortunately you will have to smash your grill in, snap off the lock mechanism and buy a new grill and lock mechanism from ford or ebay and have the barrel built up to your original key by a locksmith, this will end up costing you around a ￡100.
You can also jack the car up, get on your back under the car and reach up between the radiator and engine block where you will have to go by feel and take a ratchet spanner to the 2 10mm bolts either side of the lock mechanism. By loosening these 2 bolts you will be able to prise the bonnet up with enough force. I did try this, but unless I just have really big hands, I do not see how anyone can reach up high enough to get to the bolts without getting they’re arm trapped.
However you will most likely find you are in the same situation as I was and the connection had just become loose and not actually broken, in which case it is very easy to fix this yourself when you know how.
I actually joined this forum looking for an answer myself, a quick Google search will throw up loads of results with people in the same situation and some may mention using a long screw driver through the grill, but not in much detail so if you are not doing it right or hard enough you can waste all day with no result and end up thinking the grill needs to be smashed in when it doesn’t at all.
The common cause of this problem is actually replacing the grill and not knowing about the problem until it is too late and you are faced with not being able to open your bonnet.
After managing to fix this problem myself with no mechanical experience, a fellow member of this forum fitted a nice new ST grill to his focus found himself in the exact same situation I was in only days before.
He tried the screwdriver trick himself with no avail and thought he would be faced with smashing in his nice new grill quicker than he had actually fitted it.
I managed to guide him through what he had to do so he was able to fix it himself too. So as this is a common problem I am writing this guide for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation or anyone thinking of swapping they’re grill and doesn’t already know about this problem.
Now after a load of waffle, very simply here is how to open your bonnet if you find yourself in this situation.
First off, brute force and position is key here, if you don’t push hard enough it won’t happen, if you have the screwdriver in the wrong position it won’t happen.
First things first If you peer through the grill you will see the black rubber boot which you will need to pull off with some needle nose pliers (you may need a torch for this)
Once this is off you will be able to see the cable and the white collet:
Then what you need to do is thread a long enough screwdriver (about 300mm should do) through the grill directly above the ford swivel badge:
As I just said it is all about position. You need to position the head of your screwdriver on the face of the white collet, directly above where the cable meets the collet like so:
This had immediate results for me as soon as I had the screwdriver in this position and I opened the bonnet within minutes.
However to find this position I worked the screwdriver right the way around the cable with no avail, If you position the screwdriver to the sides or underneath the cable you won’t have much luck:
It needs to be like this:
Once you have the head of the screwdriver in this position, you now need to put all of your bodyweight on the end of the screwdriver and push the white collet back in place, while in turn turning the key left and right as normal.
A tip is to get someone to turn the key left and right for you while you push on the screwdriver. I found it also helps to have whoever is turning the key to push it in in a straight in position while turning the key.
By pushing the white collet in with the screwdriver you are pushing the male and female connection back together and much to your joy the bonnet will suddenly pop. When pushing the screwdriver you should hear a click, this is the connection clicking back together, if you don’t hear the click don’t worry, as long as you maintain the pressure you will get the bonnet open and you can deal with getting the connection to click together after.
I must stress, when you find the correct position of the screwdriver and the right amount of pressure, the bonnet will suddenly pop on the left turn of the key, it is important to not get too overjoyed at this point and stop applying the pressure. If you do, you will lose the connection and you will have to start all over again.
So remember, when the bonnet suddenly pops on the left turn, make sure you quickly turn the key to the right and lift the bonnet before you lose the connection.
By doing this instead of a ￡100 ebay spend for a new grill and lock kit, all it cost me was 5quid for a long enough screwdriver which is one of the best purchases I’ve made and now lives in my boot should this problem happen again.
A final and critical tip, If you are planning on swapping your grill, very carefully slide the barrel out of the existing grill, and whatever you do, DO NOT let the barrel hang freely on the cable, this will almost definitely lose the connection causing you to find the bonnet won’t open after closing it.
To avoid this problem in the first place all you have to do is balance the barrel on some sort of object, a can of pop would do for instance, this keeps the cable in position and prevents the weight of the barrel dislodging the connection when hanging.
If you do let the barrel hang however, it still isn’t a problem, just make sure the key still does what it is supposed to do before closing the bonnet, if it doesn’t, click the connection back together before you do.
If you’ve closed the bonnet and can’t open it, follow the guide.
So there you go, my first guide. I hope it was as informative as it could be and not too boring. If it helps other people who find themselves in the same situation it will have been worth the read.