No more Yellow Handle (Mk3 Hood Release)

Recently Mario was over to hang out and we naturally wound up tinkering with the cars a bit. With about a year and a half of work into the RS at this point there’s no shortage of little details that have been addressed throughout the blue hatch, but there was one that still stood out as needing attention: the hood release.

In case you haven’t yet clued in, this is going to be nearly along the same level of “who cares” type of detail as the RS washer fluid neck, but admittedly enough of us owners despise the factory yellow release that there are aftermarket replacements available if you wish to rid your car of it. I imagine there’s probably some new vehicle regulation that requires this to be as visible as it is, but once Ford sells the cars that’s no longer an issue.

Now there’s nothing wrong with the aftermarket pieces, but maybe you don’t want a handle wearing a logo. Or maybe you don’t want to spend the money on a replacement. Or maybe you build models and therefore always have a hobby shop’s worth of paints and supplies in your workshop, perfect for little jobs like this…

A few years back now I picked up a spare handle from the junkyard, broke it apart, and painted it for Mustard. Since then the paint has held up perfectly (even where the cable end sits) and the handle looks so much better now that it blends in with the black of the bumper support.

While the hood was up on Selsun – so that Mario could adjust his short throw shift plate to an even shorter setting – he asked if I by chance had any other spare handles in my collection so that one could be painted for the RS. Naturally I did, so I ran in to grab it and surprised Mario with the fact that it was actually already redone in black! I had painted this one a little while ago and it was still sitting, so I dusted it off and brought it right out.

With no prep/paint/dry time required we could get right to the swap then, and did just that. It’s not hard at all to replace these handles but can be a bit fiddly. The first step is to unhook the release cable (push the latch to the open position to get some slack in the cable, and then feed it out of the handle) and then the handle assembly needs to be unclipped from the bumper support bracket. Importantly, remember to not close your hood while the cable is unhooked!

The handle’s base plate is held in with these 6 clips, all of which release when pushed inward (towards the center of the base). A tiny flathead screwdriver will do the job nicely from above, or you may be able to reach in under the bumper bracket with trim tools or similar and push a few clips in to get the job started.

Having pulled a handful of these apart now, the one step I’ve found to sometimes be a bit tricky is removing the handle itself. All three sides of handle’s pivot/central arm/mounting peg have to be pushed in simultaneously, and there’s just enough room to squeeze them all through. Some handles have fought more than others.

With the handle off, you’re left with the base and the spring. Incidentally, we reused Mario’s original base – instead of just swapping the whole assembly – because a couple of clips were broken on the junkyard piece.

Being careful to not scratch up the paint before it was even in the car, the spring was slotted into the new handle, which itself was then clipped into the original base.

With it back together the handle assembly could then be clipped back into the bumper and have the release cable fed back through. Job done! The fun of using this method to remove the yellow handle from the bay is that it opens up endless possibilities for finishes; with Mario’s original handle now in my hands I’ll likely be painting it for Dijon, and I think we’ll take the opportunity to try a different colour since we’re not going for a blacked-out look in its bay.

Before we close out today’s post though there is one more subtle change that Selsun saw, to share here. As shown on the site before we had shaved the RS emblem’s recess from the grille as a way to clean up and declutter the front of the car a bit. Following the major hailstorm back in June we took the shaving a bit further by also deleting the tow hook cover; this actually came about because as part of the damage that Selsun received in the storm, this grille was knocked completely out of the bumper (we had to go back and pick it up off of the road once things had settled down) and the tow hook cover was long gone. I filled in the opening with styrene sheet before smoothing the whole assembly over, and a fresh coat of black paint was sprayed on before it was then popped back into the bumper. Subtle, but worth it!

Now, it’s time to go through the paint collection and find something different for Dijon’s handle…

-Bill

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