Another sticky hatch switch solution

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by red07gen2, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. red07gen2

    red07gen2 Junior Member

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    So by this time all of us, well most of us have experienced the sticky surprise of the melting rubber rear hatch button.
    I have read on the forum and tried some of the solutions
    1st attempt .....everyone is covering the switch, I was no different ....I looked around the garage and about that time the neighbor was throwing away one of those desk mats that you put your office chair on ....lightbulb.....I slip into ninja stealth mode and hack off a piece...later back at the safety of my garage i trim it to size and drill a couple holes in it .....presto ....it was fixed ...well this material is kind of thick and I was the only family member that could make it work .......so the search continues
    2nd attempt.......I figure that the problem is now that the thick material is preventing the flex I need(well what everyone else needs) to open the trunk.I search around and find a scrap on thinner plexi glass .....same process cut drill install..............now i have fixed the problem , or so I thought
    Again wife cant make it work and is getting frustrated at me and the hatch switch...she is really wanting to just "take it to the dealer and have them fix it" ......well A..I cant bring myself to go to the sealership
    and B....they did not want to replace the cover or the rubber they wanted to replace the WHOLE SWITCH mechanism....over 200 hundred dollars
    With brings us to my new brain storm
    Attempt 3: I was looking at the setup to open the rear hatch and all i really need is a small momentary switch ...
    Also I noticed there is one of those next to the rear toyota emblem from the factory .......Do you see where I am going with this ????
    You guessed right ......I opened up the rear hatch plastic disabled the rear lock button and turned it into a rear hatch open button.......I left the plexi on the old goopy switch to contain the mess....but now to open reach under like you normally open the hatch apply gentle pressure to lift and then touch the use to be lock button and presto open like a dream every time .....
    Now I just did this mod and the wife LOVES it .....I mean LOVES it ....
    pictures and wiring available if anyone wants the details really pretty easy.....
    Please let me know what you think of this out of the box solution ...Dont know if anyone else has done it but I find it a great solution
    So far the only con is that you cant lock the prius from the hatch but with the smart keyfob I can just lock from the fob or one of the front doors ....I think it is a small price to pay for a solution to this problem
    thank you

     
    #1 red07gen2, Nov 13, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
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  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    well done! of course we want to see pics.(y)
     
  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    All good. Of course, you could have bought the correct replacement hatch opening switch for ~$60 or so - but I guess that would be too easy for you...
     
  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    ^ Do you think they've changed the spec of the rubber on the OEM switch? Or is it at least good for a number of years? I've read having some oils on your hands can start the deterioration process, like sun tan lotions for example.
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    '07 seems to be the biggest problem. maybe they switched to cheaper and back again.
     
  6. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I think there was just a bad batch of switches with defective rubber, impacting late 2006 through early 2008 models.
     
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  7. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    I have an '07 with a really goopy rubber switch covering. It's disgusting to touch, but works fine. What are the optins for fixing it? A new unit from the dealer? I also have a smart switch so the handle reacts to my touch to unlock the car. Is there a part number for this? Is buying used okay or are they all like that?

    Thank you.
     
  8. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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  9. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    I ended up fixing my switch using a product called Sugru. Sugru is silicone stuff that you can mold to your needs and then let it cure over 24 hours when it becomes hard, but flexible rubber-like (but not rubber, it's silicone). It comes in various colors. I happen to have a bunch of it on hand, mostly in black and white colors. I have used it before for various projects (mostly fixing broken china). The black colored sugru ended up being just about perfect for this. I used 3 packets (3 grams each) to cover the whole switch. I first removed the switch and cleaned off all the old goop. It was a very messy, but not very difficult job. I wore disposable exam gloves and took my time removing most of the good using a bamboo chopstick I whittled to a flat blade screw driver shape at the non-pointy end. It worked great as a scraper that did not dig into the plastic parts of the switch. I did not go crazy with removing every molecule of the old stuff. Just most of it. I knew that the Sugru will cover the old stuff anyway. I then opened up my packets and combined the contents to make a larger amount. I kneaded it for a while to warm it up (I keep it in the fridge to make it last longer) and then rolled it out to a more or less consistent thickness. Then applied it to the switch by molding it all around just like the old rubber material was molded. Sugru is completely pliable and moldable before it cures. It's really cool stuff. I then left it in my garage to cure for about 12 hours after which it's pretty set, but 24 hours is what it takes to make it final. After 12 hours I reinstalled it in the car because I had to take it on an 80 mile trip. After 12 hours the stuff is pretty much usable. It works great and from my previous experience with Sugru, it's pretty durable as long as it's left to cure for at least 12 hours before stressing it. It feels great to the touch and everything seems to work as before. Cost was about $10 - $15 (Sugru is not cheap, but worth it in cases like this).

    Hope that helps someone. I have no affiliation with Sugru, just a happy customer.
     
  10. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    New rubber switch covers are available as a kit on ebay for about 15 bucks. I've done a few of these. Remove the switch, scrape away most of the goo, use AutoZone brake cleaner and a rag to wipe away the rest. That brake cleaner is awesome stuff. Install new rubber cover and reinstall the switch. Rubber cover has to be installed with switch removed because the switch flange slips into the rubber cover to make it water tight when installed.


    Trunk Hatch Liftgate Switch Latch Release Button rubber cover Toyota Scion Lexus
     
    #10 TMR-JWAP, Oct 1, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
  11. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    That's a great solution! If I had known about it I would have probably gone that way. However, I already had Sugru at home and I just could not stand that goop any more.

    Is there information on how well the eBay cover holds up?
     
  12. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    They are an exact fit, and I have them on my son's 2005 (it had a tear in it) and my 2007 (it had the goo issue), plus a few others with no complaints. I believe the goo issue was mostly limited to a bad batch of rubber in 2007.
     
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