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    Power sliding door works but needs a nudge

    Just bought a 1992 Ford Econoline Van. The power seat, lift and door opener all work. But the door opener needs a nudge to get going.

    The door moves out then slides over. It needs manual assistance to move out. Then it slides over on it's own. When I push the button to open the door, the chain bunches up like it can't get any traction to move the door out. Once I give the door a push outward with my hand, the door opener slides the door on it's own.

    My mechanic thought the chain was being pinched and a realignment would make it work. But he gave up and said I should take it to a mobility van shop. I hesitate to take it there because I know they will want to sell a new system when it appears it could be repaired. Any ideas?

    #2
    I had a 98? Ford van as a work truck once (same thing). If I recall correctly, it did take some effort to pull it out before sliding it sideways. If the chain mechanism is just pulling sideways, I'd bet that any sort of hinge or roller or door latch lack of lubrication or wear might increase the load to open beyond what the actuator could provide. Maybe disconnect the opening device and see how the door actually feels opening it manually and go from there?

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      #3
      Good idea Andy.

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        #4
        Originally posted by August West View Post
        Just bought a 1992 Ford Econoline Van. The power seat, lift and door opener all work. But the door opener needs a nudge to get going.

        The door moves out then slides over. It needs manual assistance to move out. Then it slides over on it's own. When I push the button to open the door, the chain bunches up like it can't get any traction to move the door out. Once I give the door a push outward with my hand, the door opener slides the door on it's own.

        My mechanic thought the chain was being pinched and a realignment would make it work. But he gave up and said I should take it to a mobility van shop. I hesitate to take it there because I know they will want to sell a new system when it appears it could be repaired. Any ideas?
        Is the opener a Braun? That's what 2 of my vans have. They're pretty simple, but more than likely what is happening on your van is the arm that kicks out the door in the rear needs lubrication, or something is sticking. You need to use the straw on the lube spray can to get lube to it. The rollers on the bottom and middle need periodic lubrication too, they are kind of tricky to get to as well. On my older Ford van I just help the door manually while operating the opener, because I believe the rollers need to be replaced, which will necessitate removing the door.

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          #5
          It is a Ricon. The first thing I thought was the door resistance was too great. It could have been just in need of lubrication, or maybe there was something stuck in the tracks. Perhaps the rollers need to be replaced. I am doing exactly what you did - give it a nudge manually. While I am inside, I can operate the switch while I am next to the door. Easy enough. But when I am outside, the switch is at the rear of the van so I can't operate it and reach the door at the same time.

          Doesn't seem like a difficult problem to solve. Maybe replace the manual switch with a wireless switch so that I can nudge the door from the outside. But then again, do I want to do this all the time? After all, the purpose of getting the van was to take some load off the shoulders. Ideally, I find a fully automatic solution where I don't need to do anything other than push a switch.

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            #6
            I think this is your sliding door service manual: https://www.riconcorp.com/pdfs/32ddo02/32ddo02A.pdf
            Page 3-2 has a trouble shooting guide, but that is just a start. It will take more info to find the parts referenced.
            I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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              #7
              Thanks. I called Ricon to buy parts. They told me to go to a dealer. You know what the dealer will say. Buy a new Van.

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                #8
                Most of the working parts are off the shelf components. If you have it apart look for numbers on the part itself and google them. A heck of a lot cheaper that way and it is not like you are voiding the warranty.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by August West View Post
                  Thanks. I called Ricon to buy parts. They told me to go to a dealer. You know what the dealer will say. Buy a new Van.
                  The dealer will shread your wallet, that's for sure. Does the lift have a RF remote control? If not you should be able to build one from an eBay 6 channel system that are really cheap but work fantastic.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Lone Beagle View Post
                    Most of the working parts are off the shelf components. If you have it apart look for numbers on the part itself and google them. A heck of a lot cheaper that way and it is not like you are voiding the warranty.
                    Exactly, the Braun opener uses a GM window motor that can be had for next to nothing on eBay or the local auto parts store. I suspect Ricon is similar.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Rustyjames View Post
                      Exactly, the Braun opener uses a GM window motor that can be had for next to nothing on eBay or the local auto parts store. I suspect Ricon is similar.
                      Maybe, but I scoured Ebay for ricon sliding door parts and only came up with one for a mini van. I suspect Braun being more common it may be easier. It was extremely easy for my Grand Caravan slider which is essentially Chrysler factory.
                      I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Rustyjames View Post
                        The dealer will shread your wallet, that's for sure. Does the lift have a RF remote control? If not you should be able to build one from an eBay 6 channel system that are really cheap but work fantastic.
                        We're thinking alike. All I have to do is follow the wires from the control switch to find the contacts. Then I can short the contacts with a remote system. Easy fix. But that's a bandage solution. I would like to find the root cause. It may be as simple as replacing the motor and/or clutch. Trick is finding where to buy it. It's encouraging to know that standard window door opener motors may work.

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                          #13
                          As previously mentioned, more than likely it's the door rollers that need work, not the motor or related items. If the stock door assembly isn't functioning correctly, then the Ricon motor assembly isn't going to function the way it's supposed to. There's at least 4 rollers involved in these sliding doors, if just one is dragging then it can cause the door not to operate as it should. I've looked around before and am pretty sure the rollers are only able to be had through a Ford dealer. For as common as the E series van is not easy finding much info on the sliding door, or diagrams.

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                            #14
                            Found a pic of what you should try giving a good shot of cleaner/lube, if it's sticking then the door would need a nudge to open. When I get a chance I'll search for a diagram of the complete door assembly with all the rollers.
                            Attached Files

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Rustyjames View Post
                              Found a pic of what you should try giving a good shot of cleaner/lube, if it's sticking then the door would need a nudge to open. When I get a chance I'll search for a diagram of the complete door assembly with all the rollers.
                              Makes sense. The first thing I thought was mechanical resistance of the door itself. My mechanic was thinking the door opener system needed realignment. But that didn't work. I'll go over there now and give a shot (pun intended).

                              By the way, based on my description of the problem over the phone, the mobility dealer said he thinks it's the motor and/or clutch. But he doesn't think the parts are made any more.

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