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Replacing hood latch cable on 2001 XJ

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Old 10-02-2011, 03:56 PM   #1
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Default Replacing hood latch cable on 2001 XJ

So, one day I went to pop the hood, and the hood release handle came off in
my hand. The cable had rusted through right where it met the handle.

Contemplating my mechanic's hourly rate ($85), the price of the part ($44),
and the state of my bank account, I decided this was gonna be fixed by me.

Summary:
Remove the handle bracket, cut the sheathing and open the hood,
then pull the old part out, thread in the new one, check for operation,
and clean up.

Vehicle:
2001 XJ Cherokee Sport

Time: If working solo, about 40 minutes and/or one beer.
With help, 30 minutes. Beer consumption may vary.

Tools:
Stubby Philips head screwdriver
7/16 deep socket, 3" extension, and wrench
T30 torx bit, 1/4" socket, 3" extension, and wrench
Vise Grips
Knife (or hefty wire cutters)
WD-40
Nut bowl (for holding/cleaning screws, nuts, bolts)



Part:
Dorman Hood Release Cable #912-006 (got mine from AutoZone.com)

The part is completely assembled - don't take anything off.
It will go in pretty smoothly, with a minimum of grunting.

As stated above, my cable broke with the hood closed.
The hood had been trouble before, but I didn't suspect the cable.
If your hood release system is working, open it before you start - you'll save a couple steps.

Step 1: With the Philips driver, remove the two screws holding the interior molding just inside the door:

Pull both to get enough play so you don't bend the piece when extracting the kick panel.

Step 2: The kick panel is held on with a one of the low-panel screws and a 7/16" panel nut in a recessed well:

With a deep socket and extension, it's pretty easy to remove.

Knowing what the connection-well looks like, you can see that the nut doesn't need to be completely removed,
since the panel has more of a hook than a hole:

See? You're ahead of the game already.

Step 3:
The handle bracket is secured with three T30 Torx screws:

it's not under any tension, so pull them all in your order of preference.

Optional - opening the hood
The cable sheath has two plastic layers, black and white with a copper wire mesh between.
Take it easy and cut-n-bend until the steel cable is exposed:

Then grab with Vise Grips and pull slowly, holding the sheath:


Step4: The cable is connected to the release system on the hood with a bead:

The bracket is riveted on and pretty sturdy, so it will flex enough without bending
that you can give yourself room to wiggle the bead free.
Resist the temptation to use a lever - it's not necessary.

Note the clips and path of the old cable:

The clips aren't fragile, but you don't get replacements with the new part, so 'romance' the cable out, don't yank.
Note that the lower clip below the insulation attaches to a steel collar on the cable:


Once the old cable is completely free, it's just a matter of pulling the old cable out and threading in the new one.
Cutting the cable at the bracket will save some time here, since you can pull from the engine side,
but this will strand the firewall gasket:

While if you pull the old cable into the cab you'll get a preview
of the angles and gymnastics you'll need to push the new cable through.
With one person, this will involve hopping from cab to engine compartment, but move carefully
(watch the foil wrap on the insulation ion the firewall hole-edge) and it won't take long.

With the new cable fed through, secure the bead and sheath end:

and clip the new cable in.

Seating the firewall gasket will also require some hopping,
and I'd used the opening for an inverter direct-line so it was a bit more snug than yours might be.
Push it up as far as you can from cab side, then pull from engine side
until the notch in the gasket meets the edge of the hole.

This is an excellent time to check and clean (soak with WD-40) the two latches and fulcrum (cable connection).
As mentioned above, I had hood-latch problems in the past, and upon examination found that the fulcrum joint was frozen.

Liberal application of WD-40 and some gentle coaxing with Vise-Grips got it moving again.
I suspect this might need regular attention and maybe a new return spring on the passenger side latch.


The three Torx screws go back in with no struggle.
Test the latch and cable operation several times before restoring the kick panel and screws.


The Philips screws holding the interior panels might be at a slightly weird angle,
but patience is rewarding.

I hope this helps!
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