Can't open the hood of her car!
May 14, 2008 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Both the normal inside-the-car hood release latch and the external back-up hood release cable have broken off of my friend's 98 Ford Escort Wagon, and we need to get under the hood to make the battery cooperate.

We've jabbed around at everything we can get to under the hood with a long screwdriver, but we can't seem to locate the actual latch, and the hood remains shut. What's next? Crowbar? Any advice would be great.
posted by lizzicide to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
I remember this happening to a neighbor a bunch of years ago. (My dad came to the rescue.) In that case, the hood-release cable came detached from its handle parts. What we had to do was trace the cable back to a place up under the wheel well and push on the release latch directly (it's a tight fit...use the end of a screwdriver or something). I don't know the make of the neighbor's car, so your experience might be different.
posted by phunniemee at 10:35 AM on May 14, 2008

Can you find the remaining end of the hood-release cable under the dashboard inside the car? You may have to take out a couple of nuts or bolts to get the panel off. And the cable is probably inside a protective sleeve or tube. You want to pull on the cable with a pair of pliers (not the sleeve).
posted by steef at 10:40 AM on May 14, 2008

Can you find the remaining end of the hood-release cable under the dashboard inside the car?

We'll try this. The car was given to her this way, so I'm not sure how the hood-release handle came off originally or how much of the cable it took with it when it did.
posted by lizzicide at 10:55 AM on May 14, 2008

If that doesn't work, find a similar Ford Escort and have a look at the mechanism under that hood so you can rig a tool to pop yours open.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:39 PM on May 14, 2008

Have you tried a Chilton's guide? These usually have pretty useful diagrams, so there may be something about the hood latch contraption. Not sure about your situation though.
posted by resurrexit at 12:49 PM on May 14, 2008

Awesome suggestions on both counts! Your link is blocked from work, resurrexit, but I'll check it out when I get home tonight. I had no idea it'd be this difficult!
posted by lizzicide at 1:52 PM on May 14, 2008

Unfortunately, it's difficult by design. People don't want it easy for other people to open their hoods. I actually didn't even know there were "backup hood latch cables". None of my cars had them.

I doubt Chilton's will have this info. The closest you'll get is maybe a diagram of how to disassemble the parts. But that would assume the hood is already open. Might have to bring it to a dealership or an auto locksmith.
posted by gjc at 5:44 PM on May 14, 2008

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