2003 Ford Explorer Door Ajar Light Stays On

This 2003 Ford Explorer came in with several complaints; the door ajar light stays on with the doors closed and the engine running, the dome and puddle lights stay on for ten minutes after exiting the vehicle, when locking the doors the doors will lock then unlock on their own and the alarm will go off for no reason. This was pretty easy to isolate to the driver’s door ajar switch with the aid of a good scan tool. Once I found that the driver’s door ajar switch was reporting an open door no matter what position the door was in, all I had to do was confirm that it was a switch and not wiring or a computer problem.

In removing the door panel the first step is to remove the interior door handle trim panel. At the forward edge insert a small flat prying tool and release the retainers.

After removing the panel now you can lift and remove the switch trim panel assembly. There is one screw under the panel that has to be removed.

There are two screws that have to be removed from the lower edge of the door panel.

After removing all three screws lift the door panel up and towards you. Then you will need to support the panel and remove the wiring from the power mirror switch. This can be a little difficult so take your time. You will need to slide a small screwdriver blade under the retaining clip in order to release the harness connector.

Peel the left hand side of the vapor barrier back and locate the harness connector that I did not get a picture of.

Update October 21, 2011.  Well, I finally got another one of these Explorers in and took some extra pictures to show the harness connector and the wires. Note the change in paint colors

Disconnect the harness connector and with an ohm meter check the resistance of the door ajar switch,two small wires yellow/black and black. The resistance should change from an open to a closed circuit with the movement of the latch assembly. If it does not change the switch is faulty.

You may also take a jumper wire and connect the small yellow/black to the small black wire and see if the lights and locks respond properly now. A closed circuit indicates a closed door and the lights and locks should now function properly. Roll a window down before doing this so that you will not lock the keys in the car.

The backside of the harness connector. I looked at the color codes to locate the two needed wires.

In order to remove the latch assembly and or the door ajar switch the lower window track will have to be removed. There are two screws at the rear of the door.

There are three screws that hold the latch in place. There is also linkage that will have to be removed. Pay careful attention to positioning and adjustments so that reassembly will not be a problem.

After gaining access remove the harness connector and twist the switch to release and then pull. To install the new switch push the switch into position and rotate until click is felt. Reassemble door and test system as you go.

89 discussions on “2003 Ford Explorer Door Ajar Light Stays On”

  1. I do not have a post on that type of repair on your vehicle. Basically the wiring harness needs to be removed from the door and the cabin far enough to install a new wire. The splice joints need to be inside the door and inside the cabin. If the splice is made in the door jamb it will break again very quickly.

  2. I have a 02 4 door explorer with the ajar light always on I will take your advice on checking it with the above pics now if that is not my problem and it is the broken wires in the door is there a how to on how to do that fix?

  3. Thanks for the blog, my Haynes manual has no wiring for these door sensor switches. However, after pulling every door apart and checking every switch, including tailgate switches, nothing. All the switches work just fine yet my door ajar lamp is still on. The only odd thing I could find is while the voltage to the drivers side and tailgate is 10V, to the passenger’s side doors it is only 4V. Guess there is an oxidized connection or the central security module is shot.

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