Fixing your Trunk Release - Sticky Time?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Tommerdoo, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Tommerdoo

    Tommerdoo Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
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    Location:
    Superior, WI
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    II
    It's winter. Things are cold. And the trunk on my Prius won't open for my small, frail wife. I had to supress my natural desire to call her a wimp, that wouldn't win me any brownie points to winning her over to using my Prius more than her gas guzzling Honda Pilot. Oh no. And in the back of my mind I honestly realize that I too have had to use a death grip of steel so hard that superman himself would be hard pressed to grip any more mightily. Seriously I thought. What the heck is wrong with my Prius' rear hatch switch?


    I thought my Prius was flawed. I thought I was alone. I didn't think other's had this problem. I thought that I was supposed to suffer in silence and just open my tailgate like a weightlifter on steroids, while the arctic winds of December pelted me mercilessly with horizontal rain.

    It was just another burden I felt I would have to bear in this lifetime and alone I would have suffered on stoicly, but when my wife couldn't use my car and started slinging mud at the Prii. Hey hey hey hey, don't insult my CAR. And NO we are not driving the Pilot everyday, what do you want me to work a second job!?!?! (I thought)

    I knew right then......I had to defend my car's reputation. I needed answers.
    And so I researched. And what I found greatly......GREATLY surprised me.

    The Prius' rubber tailgate protector DOES go bad. And I mean, it get's really really REALLY nasty. In fact, for each square inch of rubber, I've never encountered more yucky, gooey, ickiness. Even poopie diapers are a WALK IN A SUNNY PARK compared to this gunk.

    Luckily, someone posted a video on how to fix this. (He used a bicycle tire to make his own protector -- this was before a company made a replacement part)


    And now thankfully there is a company that makes a nice rubber piece which is $20 (someone said they found a $10 part on ebay) but worth EVERY penny. Fits like a glove, keeps all water out as it wraps around the plastic assembly. Here's the video link....


    My Prius is normal again. I can open the tailgate with my weaker PINKIE FINGER. It's smooth like soft butter. Heck, my 2 year old could do it now! And so I tell my wife......"I'm sure glad I fixed the Prius....so now we don't have to drive the Honda Pilot tonight". The Prius is still perfect. (Though my wife will never think so, but as long as it's good enough she still has to ride in it MOST of the time!)

    I hope that someone makes this a sticky for the Repairs and Maintenance section of the forum. I would have loved to know this information earlier on and repaired it sooner. I think this rubber part is considered by most to be a design defect by Toyota across a whole range of their vehicles which was never considered for a recall. It's a terrible kind of rubber that is gooey in the summer and rock hard in the winter. It takes a lot of work to remove. I found that the tool the company gives you to remove the screws still doesn't give you enough leverage to remove the screws without stripping the outside screws on the rubber hatch switch protector. It's much easier to go from the inside of the rear hatch and remove the plastic backing then remove four nuts with a 10mm deep socket then pop off the release assembly that houses the door switch. From there you can have easy access to remove the screws by whatever means you like. Removing the rubber was as I said, very difficult. I used a heat gun initially to soften the rubber, but resorted to coconut oil and baking soda (homemade goo be gone kinda mix) and lots and lots of paper towels. Others use solvents like WD-40. Once the rubber is all gone and the switch doesn't stick to anything, you can place a new rubber protector over it and screw it in place. The video made by the guy on Youtube made it super easy to replace in an hour of work.

    I hope this post helps someone out there and I hope (again) that this is nominated for a sticky (pun kind of intended here).
     

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    WilDavis and Mendel Leisk like this.
  2. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    Tommerdoo and Mendel Leisk like this.
  3. Tommerdoo

    Tommerdoo Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    81
    26
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    Location:
    Superior, WI
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Thanks, that's a great thread! I should have commented there, my apologies. It's nice to read the long history of this story. I loved the link to the $13 Ebay part, cheaper then the $20 I bought.

    If the moderator wants combine this thread with that thread that would be fine too. I just think we need a post that describes the problem and the fix in one simple post, not 7 pages of history of the problem starting with changing out the whole assembly up to the modern fixes of just buying the rubber part. Either would warrant a sticky if it's a problem with all Prii. I would have probably fixed my trunk switch a long ago if I had seen it in a sticky notice to Prius owners in the maintenance section (or general section too).

    Or perhaps the original trunk switch tread started by Patrick Wong could be used (as a sticky) if his first post was edited with updates from the later posts in that thread to explain all the current options to owners. Whether it's the whole assembly, or just the rubber part. Anyways, just trying to increase awareness. So I now deem January, "Trunk Release Fix Awareness Month". Especially if this affects all Prii.

    I'm tempted now to look at every Prius hatch I walk past in the parking lots to see if they all have this problem!
     
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