Hatchback Trunk Won't Close / Latch actuator problem?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by learning2fix, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. learning2fix

    learning2fix New Member

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    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
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    Touring
    My trunk is not closing securely. There is no click; the U-bar on the lift gate it is not properly locking into the actuator mechanism located in the back of the trunk. This is the mechanism:
    s-l1600.jpg
    I detached the plastic cover to inspect the actuator and saw it was pretty gunky, but the parts were still moving and I was able to manually latch it (and manually pop it back open with the release button on the part). Either way I sprayed some lubricant on it in case something was jamming it, because it is a little rusty. Nope. That didn't work.

    When I watch the lift gate come down, it looks like the U bar is pressing the rotating part in the actuator down rather than latching into it and engaging the latch to rotate and lock.

    Should I try taking the mechanism out to see if something is loose? Anyone else have this problem? There are replacement parts for >$50, should I just try replacing it myself? I know it'll be an overpriced repair at the shop, and I want to learn how to do easy things like this myself. I haven't seen any repairs of this part online, everything typically directs me to the replacement of the gunky hatch release button on the handle, or handle repairs (both of which I also need to do but this is more urgent!) You can get a good idea of the part I'm talking about in this video showing how to manually open the hatch when it's stuck in the closed position:


    Fortunately this issue made me inspect the hatch and find a huge water leak (another really common gen 2 problem), but I am dying to get this trunk fixed, as I can't lock my car since the trunk alternates from registering as open and closed and it will prompt the car alarm (which it did at 5am the other night and killed my battery.)

    Grateful for any help, videos, or similar troubleshooting!
     
  2. Kelsuhh

    Kelsuhh Junior Member

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    @learning2fix
    Hey if you’re still around — did you figure something out? I think I’m having a similar problem. My car locks fine, and the 12v is normal, but my trunk can only be opened with the manual switch on the inside.
     
  3. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Is your dash looking ok or has it gone dark?
     
  4. Kelsuhh

    Kelsuhh Junior Member

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    @dolj
    Thanks for the reply! It’s got the “intermittent dash cluster goes out” issue (the one described on priusnotworking), but this trunk problem is happening independently of that. I’m unable to open the trunk at all, whether the dash lights are on or off.. actually, I haven’t had the dash lights problem for a month or so.

    could those issues still be related?
     
  5. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Sorry about the delayed reply.

    If the dash is dark, then yes, definitely they will be related.

    However, if you dash is functioning correctly, it likely to be some other issue.

    I have had a failed latch unit which I replaced with a used unit from a wrecker/dismantler. I felt comfortable with this as I don't see these as a high failure part. The original part failed in 2016, and the replacement is still working fine.

    The attached images show:
    1. The rear panel in place;
    2. the rear panel lifted off;
    3. the part I replaced; and
    4. the pins I tested to confirm 12V was present when I activated the hatch latch switch.

    1. Prius 1 latch repair - latch cover.jpg 2. Prius 2 latch repair - latch cover 2.jpg 3. Prius 3 latch repair - latch .jpg 4. Prius 4 latch repair - test pins.jpg

    You will need to do some diagnosis to determine where your circuit has failed. I tested the plug picture above and found I had B+ (~ 12.xV) for approx 0.5 sec every time I activated the hatch latch switch. From this I was confident the latch unit had failed.

    The cover panel in the rear just lifts up vertically. You need to pull on it with a very firm upward tug starting at one end. A panel removal tool might be useful, but I did it without. As you get one end released, move along lifting incrementally as you go. Don't just try and pull it up from one end only.

    Other than that, you should be able to fix it like I did.

    I hope that helps.
     
  6. Kelsuhh

    Kelsuhh Junior Member

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    That’s more helpful than I can say — seriously, thank you so much! The idea to grab whatever part has failed from a pick n pull is a great one too. Guess I know what I’m doing with my next long weekend :)