Locked out, dead battery?

JazzyJazzbo

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Summary: I need to unlock (or maybe get under the hood of) my 2004 Lincoln Towncar, but the neither the remote or key are working.

Details: The car has been sitting in the driveway about 3 weeks without even being cranked at this point. I was going to clean it out to trade in, but the car will not respond to the remote at all (lock, unlock, trunk, etc). Lights won't even flash. The probelm is compounded by the fact that nothing will unlock by using the key in the door either. The driver's door had issues previously and would ONLY open by remote, but using the key would unlock all the other doors until now.

I suspect that the battery is just so dead that nothing electronic will work, but I can't recharge the battery since I can't get inside to pop the hood. If I could at least do that then I might have a chance at unlocking the doors though.

So, aside from a pricey locksmith or breaking a window, how can I get back into the car, or at least under the hood?

Thanks
 

bbf2530

Junior Member
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Summary: I need to unlock (or maybe get under the hood of) my 2004 Lincoln Towncar, but the neither the remote or key are working.

Details: The car has been sitting in the driveway about 3 weeks without even being cranked at this point. I was going to clean it out to trade in, but the car will not respond to the remote at all (lock, unlock, trunk, etc). Lights won't even flash. The probelm is compounded by the fact that nothing will unlock by using the key in the door either. The driver's door had issues previously and would ONLY open by remote, but using the key would unlock all the other doors until now.

I suspect that the battery is just so dead that nothing electronic will work, but I can't recharge the battery since I can't get inside to pop the hood. If I could at least do that then I might have a chance at unlocking the doors though.

So, aside from a pricey locksmith or breaking a window, how can I get back into the car, or at least under the hood?

Thanks

Hi jazzy. The lock mechanism can get very stiff after many years of non-use. Try applying/spraying some lock lubricant on the keyblade and into the keyhole itself. Then slowly work the key and see if you can get it to turn.

You can use WD-40 in a pinch, if you have no lock lubricant. Use the red plastic straw to more accurately spray the WD-40 into the keyhole itself, pushing it past the key doorway that blocks the keyhole until the key is inserted. This should work, unless the key was/is not cut correctly.

Additionally, have you tried using the key in the passenger door lock (if there is one) and/or in the trunk lock? Also, do you have a second key and have you tried that one? Silly questions I know, but never hurts to ask, just in case.

Let us know who you make out and good luck.
 
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CuttingToolGuy

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Interesting delimma....

I would:

Jack up the car on the front passenger side.

Disconnect the hot starter cable.

Put jumper cables on the end.

Make sure the hot isnt touching any metal.

Ground the other jumper on the frame.

Then apply voltage to the other ends of the cables from a jump box or another car or even a battery charger.

Go have lunch.

Come back and hit the remote.

After getting things open disconnect the hot cable from the battery & reconnect the starter end.

Reconnect the battery end.
Etc.
 

JazzyJazzbo

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Many thanks for the responses.

I failed to mentioned before, the key will turn, but I will try the lubricant in case it isn't turning enough.

The car is also parked on a 30 degree driveway, so not sure if jacking it up would be an option. (I have heard of the starter cable method before, but never tried it).

Might be a few more hours before I have a chance to try anything, but I'll post how it goes when I get the chance. Everyone please feel free to keep spitballing ideas.
______________________________
 

Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
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Northern Illinois
Hi jazzy. The lock mechanism can get very stiff after many years of non-use. Try applying/spraying some lock lubricant on the keyblade and into the keyhole itself. Then slowly work the key and see if you an get it to turn.

You can use WD-40 in a pinch, if you have no lock lubricant. Use the red plastic straw to more accurately spray the WD-40 into the keyhole itself, pushing it past the key doorway that blocks the keyhole until the key is inserted. This should work, unless the key was/is not cut correctly.

Additionally, have you tried using the key in the passenger door lock (if there is one) and/or in the trunk lock? Also, do you have a second key and have you tried that one? Silly questions I know, but never hurts to ask, just in case.

Let us know who you make out and good luck.

Hi, bbf2530.

The physical lock cylinder on the front passenger door was discontinued prior to 2001. Testing the key(s) in the trunk cylinder would prove the physical cut in the keys was correct, at least if the trunk lock cylinder was the original one, or at least re-pinned to the original pin combination if a replacement.

The driver's door lock cylinder may have been replaced for whatever reason by a prior owner. However, one would assume that if @JazzyJazzbo had owned the car for any length of time that they would have known this.

As for @JazzyJazzbo, try @bbf2530's suggestion with lock lubricant first. If that doesn't work, then try CuttingToolGuy's suggestion, keeping in mind that you are going for the cable on the starter solenoid, and not the starter itself. At least the starter solenoid is down low enough that you can get to it from the underside of the car with some effort.

There are two "heavy" cables on the solenoid. One goes to the starter. The one you want is the other cable, which is part of the "octopus" positive cable, and runs to the positive terminal of the battery. Depending on the room available, and the size of the clips you're using, you might not have to disconnect anything to charge the battery from there.

In previous years, when Ford products had more steel under the hood, that solenoid was typically about a foot away from the battery, and you'd never get to it if you couldn't open the hood.

Good luck.
 

bbf2530

Junior Member
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Hi, bbf2530.

The physical lock cylinder on the front passenger door was discontinued prior to 2001. Testing the key(s) in the trunk cylinder would prove the physical cut in the keys was correct, at least if the trunk lock cylinder was the original one, or at least re-pinned to the original pin combination if a replacement.

The driver's door lock cylinder may have been replaced for whatever reason by a prior owner. However, one would assume that if @JazzyJazzbo had owned the car for any length of time that they would have known this.

As for @JazzyJazzbo, try @bbf2530's suggestion with lock lubricant first. If that doesn't work, then try CuttingToolGuy's suggestion, keeping in mind that you are going for the cable on the starter solenoid, and not the starter itself. At least the starter solenoid is down low enough that you can get to it from the underside of the car with some effort.

There are two "heavy" cables on the solenoid. One goes to the starter. The one you want is the other cable, which is part of the "octopus" positive cable, and runs to the positive terminal of the battery. Depending on the room available, and the size of the clips you're using, you might not have to disconnect anything to charge the battery from there.

In previous years, when Ford products had more steel under the hood, that solenoid was typically about a foot away from the battery, and you'd never get to it if you couldn't open the hood.

Good luck.

Hi Brian. Thanks for the passenger side door lock info. Wasn't sure if there was a keyhole or not. And I agree 100% that there are a whole load of if's, ands and buts when it comes to what people have done to their cars as far as keys, locks, re-keying etc, over the years. Especially if the vehicle was purchased used.

Hopefully the simplest solution will work for jazzy.
 

JazzyJazzbo

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Not much luck with any other methods, but I was able to finally "Slim-jim" the lock open. This however has led to a new dilemma; I still can't open the hood.

The hood release inside the car works to crack the hood open, but I can't open it beyond that. The "arm" that usually protrudes when you pull the hood release was already out before that and it will not let me open the hood any further. Any tips or tricks on opening a hood with a broken mechanism?
 

bbf2530

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Not much luck with any other methods, but I was able to finally "Slim-jim" the lock open. This however has led to a new dilemma; I still can't open the hood.

The hood release inside the car works to crack the hood open, but I can't open it beyond that. The "arm" that usually protrudes when you pull the hood release was already out before that and it will not let me open the hood any further. Any tips or tricks on opening a hood with a broken mechanism?

Hi Jazzy. Not exactly sure from your description as to what is still holding the hood down.

However, the secondary safety release is simply a hinged hook. So have a friend hold the hood up slightly while you look under with a flashlight to see what is sticking, and try to move the lever in the correct direction.

If you need some extra leverage, try using a long, sturdy screwdriver. Wouldn't hurt to also spray some lithium grease or WD-40 (in an emergency) to lubricate and loosen up the hinge.

Let us know how you make out and good luck.
______________________________
 

JazzyJazzbo

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Secondary is holding it down (unless there is some random object jammed).
I have tried poking and prodding, but can't get the hook to release.

From what little I can see through the slits of the grill or cracked open hood, it doesn't look like a "simple hinged hook".

The secondary release arm is completely broken and does nothing when pulled (and nothing can be seen moving when pulled)
 

CuttingToolGuy

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Sometimes just being able to visualize what you can't really see helps.

I searched for a 2004 Lincoln Town Car Hood Latch and these first two pictures kept popping up.




It didn't look exactly like mine which is a 2002 so, I took a couple pics. It may be the 2003 redesign caused a change.


Perhaps someone with a 03+ could pop their hood and confirm which set of pictures is correct.... Screenshot_20201012-075608_DuckDuckGo~2.jpg Screenshot_20201012-075600_DuckDuckGo~2.jpg
 

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CuttingToolGuy

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In either case you want to move that J shaped thing with a screwdriver or wire. You may have to slightly depress the hood if it is somehow getting caught up in the J part.

Worst case you may have to unbolt the lower bracket from the radiator support. I would be guessing on how to start that with a closed hood.
 

bbf2530

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Secondary is holding it down (unless there is some random object jammed).
I have tried poking and prodding, but can't get the hook to release.

From what little I can see through the slits of the grill or cracked open hood, it doesn't look like a "simple hinged hook".

The secondary release arm is completely broken and does nothing when pulled (and nothing can be seen moving when pulled)

Hi jazzy. Yes, like anything made for vehicles nowadays, perhaps "simple" was not the best word. But it is an automotive engineers idea of "simply a hinged hook". ;)

However, the point I was trying to make was that the secondary latch is a spring loaded hook (or J shape) mechanism, which is attached to the hood. And that J-shaped hook secures to a bar which is attached to the body/radiator support. And there is a lever on the opposite end of the hook/J-hook that needs to be moved laterally to release that hook from the bar.

If the hood partially pops as designed when the interior hood release is pulled, then ye, you are correct and it is the secondary/safety release which is holding it down. So broken, rusted , etc.

As mentioned earlier, I have used a long screw driver in the past to open broken latches on family or friends vehicles. However, every car is designed differently, so you may need a mechanic in this case.

Hopefully CTG's photo will help you visualize things and you may be able to pop it open now. Also, pay attention to what he said about not pulling the hood all the way up when trying to pop the safety latch. Doing so will tend to lock/jam the safety latch.

Let us know how you make out and good luck.
______________________________
 
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Sorensontx

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Interesting delimma....

I would:

Jack up the car on the front passenger side.

Disconnect the hot starter cable.

Put jumper cables on the end.

Make sure the hot isnt touching any metal.

Ground the other jumper on the frame.

Then apply voltage to the other ends of the cables from a jump box or another car or even a battery charger.

Go have lunch.

Come back and hit the remote.

After getting things open disconnect the hot cable from the battery & reconnect the starter end.

Reconnect the battery end.
Etc.
What a great idea...... I would never have thought of that........
 

JazzyJazzbo

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The "wire" connecting the secondary release arm (through the grill) is severed, but pushing on the top of the "J hook" where it connected isn't working. With the hood wedged up or in the natural position of having just pulled the hood release inside ...no difference; the range of motion seems the same and it won't open.

Considering going as far as cutting the bracket entirely to let it loose; though, that's not an easy feat given the space I have have to work and distance a blade would have to reach to cut it.
 

bbf2530

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The "wire" connecting the secondary release arm (through the grill) is severed, but pushing on the top of the "J hook" where it connected isn't working. With the hood wedged up or in the natural position of having just pulled the hood release inside ...no difference; the range of motion seems the same and it won't open.

Considering going as far as cutting the bracket entirely to let it loose; though, that's not an easy feat given the space I have have to work and distance a blade would have to reach to cut it.

Hi jazzy. Trying to picture in my mind what you are describing.

Not sure how much room you have to work. Can you get a good angle and enough leverage to push/force the actual hook itself off the safety bar, instead of trying to move the top of the "J-hook"?

Or as a last resort before cutting, going to a local shop and seeing if they have a less costly/destructive solution?

Keep us updated and good luck.
 

JazzyJazzbo

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The room I have to work is the finger width spaces in the grill or 1"-3" gap in around the hood from the first hood release.

Images attached of what I mean...
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Brian J. Patterson

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Northern Illinois
The room I have to work is the finger width spaces in the grill or 1"-3" gap in around the hood from the first hood release.

Images attached of what I mean...

Hi, JazzyJazzbo.

I would try using a wire coat hanger straightened out with a hook formed on the end from the side you want the hook to move towards, I.E. the direction to have the "j-hook" clear its opening. When you pull on the "j-hook," make sure you press down slightly on the hood so there is no force on the "j-hook" other than you pulling on it, rather than the force of the hood springs pulling the "j-hook" into the latching point or bar.

If that doesn't work, you should only need to cut the grille if anything. While not cheap, the grille is not ruinously expensive, either. More importantly, it can be replaced with simple hand tools with no paint, body filler, or sheet metal welding required. With the two or three "slats" nearest the latch removed, you should be able to manipulate the "j-hook" directly.

Good luck.
 

CuttingToolGuy

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A couple more ideas pulled from youtube video comments:

"yeah i got the same problem on my crown vic p71 2008, I just couldn't open the hood in order to lubricate it, I saw in the comments below, Thank you. At first I wasn't sure If it was the interior hood release lever or the hood latch in front. turns out it was the exterior one, with a pry bar to lift the hood enough to get to the lever, but i encountered one problem: it was stuck, so I took a hammer and a bar, gave it a couple of hits. It was now free! Following that i gave the latch a good greasing and also lubricated the hood hinges as demonstrated in the above video, now works as new. thanks!"

I gather they positioned the prybar against the J from the driver side and hit it the passenger side direction.

And:

"For future viewers (since your comment is 2 years old)... I used to use an ice scrapper to wedge in between the hood to pull it up after pulling on the hood release. But if you crawl under the front of your care you can actually reach up (if you have skinny arms) and grab the hood release cable (looks like a bicycle break line) and push up on the hood at the same time to open it."

Here the part about being able to reach up from the ground and us a pair of vice grips to pull on the cable might be useful.

If you can get to the latch mechanisim itself from under the car, I would still try unbolting the latch from the radiator support before breaking the grill.
 

JazzyJazzbo

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Just to be sure, if I'm going in though the grill to the top of the j-hook, should I be pulling or pushing it? There is no way for me to tell which way it is oriented, and I haven't had much luck either way before.
 

bbf2530

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Just to be sure, if I'm going in though the grill to the top of the j-hook, should I be pulling or pushing it? There is no way for me to tell which way it is oriented, and I haven't had much luck either way before.

Hi Jazzy. I am not 100% familiar which way the latch is oriented on your particular vehicle.

However, it is usually press a lever laterally (left or right)...or vertically lift/depress a lever. I have never had a hood safety release that was push towards the rear or pull towards the front.

Then again, the release direction can change course through the mechanism.

Hope I understood your question correctly. Good luck.
 
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