Originally Posted by cri33
This seems like a good guide even though there are no pics. :(
The latch mechanism (that operates the rod) and the actuator come out together.
You could even go to the site where Ford mechanics tell you how to do it but that costs $29.00. Pick your poison.
I reviewed the Ford shop manual procedure because my mind was fogged. You may want to buy a $35 used service manual on ebay because it would resolve the mystery. I would never try to service my own car without mfr literature. I don't have the time to waste plus trial and error mistakes can be costly. Oh, about that $29 fee for a mechanic to tell you wnat to do....let me pop that bubble. It's really just some kid in India with unlimited subscription access to on-line repair info. Few of these folks are mechanics. They just cut and paste 5 pages of a 1000 page factory manual for you to read. You already had that summary info. If you have paypal I'll do it for $28 or read below.
The Ford factory shop manual procedure is far more complex and detailed than the procedure on the internet and includes many good pics with descriptions for each part and subassembly. The large black plastic frame assembly called a "security shield" spanning from the bottom to the outer door handle will need to be removed before the latch can be pulled. This anti-tamper hardware keeps idiots with coathangers from breaking into your car and it's shielding your view and thwarting disassembly. You can remove it as a complete subassembly with latch or pull the shield first. Ford tells you to pull the shield first so try that. The complete assembly removal approach is only possible if you've done a few and can work blind. The shield is held to the back of the latch assembly with two very small torx bolts and it's held at the outer door handle and bottom of the door with tabs or screws. Believe it or not, these two torx on the back of the latch are each different size, I'd guess T15 or T20. With shield off, you will then be able to see how to disconnect the two rods.
Now you can see stuff that's hidden which includes the rod between latch and lock cylinder and the rod between latch and outer door handle. Both rods need disconnected inside door at top near outer handle. Now the latch assembly is free, ready to remove.
In case it's not clear, the "actuator" as you called it is simply the inner door handle that you pull on to open the door or lock it and it's associated cable that extends thru the door cavity to the latch. The actuator parts are installed and removed from the door with the latch attached, as a complete system. The actuator cable can be connected or disconnected from the latch assembly once removed from the door.
Also don't forget to connect and disconnect the electrical connector during R&R job if you have power locks.