How to Replace the Hatch Opening Switch

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Patrick Wong, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. kdewester

    kdewester Junior Member

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    I really appreciated this walk though, thanks so much for posting. I was able to buy the part for $70 something bucks, printed out your walk through, and had it installed with the help of my dad (who had all the right tools) in less than half an hour. We didn't need to drill anything out, and all the screws came out just fine. I honestly think just re-installing a new one is easier than some of these other modification techniques I've seen from other people. Well, with the exception of Gorilla Tape, I suppose that is pretty easy. The only thing I'd add to be sure to have besides the 10mm socket and screw drivers is a hammer. Those blue clips were a bit tricky, and some came out with the black cover, while some stayed in place on the inner trunk itself. We had to use the hammer to pull out the clips that didn't come out and put slip them in place on the black cover before pushing it back into place, so the cover would go on right. Only took a few seconds.

    Kristin
     
  2. czechmate

    czechmate New Member

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    The rubber over the switch on my '08 was totally disintegrated, too. Unfortunately, you cannot just buy the rubber piece, but have to buy the whole switch. I intended to follow your instructions. When I got the plastic trim piece off (which houses the switches) I realized that the part the dealer gave me didn't have the extra wire for the pushbutton locking switch. It then occurred to me that I could easily peel the rubber piece off the new switch, so, I decided to see if I could just put the new rubber on the old switch. The two screws which hold the switch in came out no problem, but then one must use needle nose pliers to compress the back tabs and then push it out at the same time, which wasn't that difficult. Removing the old rubber from the switch was a very messy job. It was literally like tar and required a lot of scraping with a blade and shortly my fingers were covered with a sticky black mess. At this point it was necessary to use spirits to clean the hands. Then , I was able to fit the new piece of rubber over the old switch and put it all back together. It's like new. However, in hindsight I think it's a job best left to the dealer, as there are plenty of things that can go wrong - like dropping screws, breaking a part, or just getting the gunk all over everything you touch.

    Obviously, Toyota wanted a very flexible rubber over that swtich but it does not hold up to the moisture, etc. They should replace them all. It certainly is going to be a windfall for them on that part because the rubber on every car is going to turn to mush.
     
  3. Futureboy

    Futureboy Junior Member

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    Thanks to everyone for all the posts and instructions. I used several of your suggestions and was able to repair my handle using the bicycle inner tube idea. I captured the process on video so others can see a bit of the parts and pieces behind the repair. I hope this helps and thanks again to all of you for your suggestions!

     
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  4. smhennes

    smhennes Junior Member

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    I don't think the root cause is the hot weather. I live in Indiana and I have the same issue with my 2007 Toyota Prius!
     
  5. msratner

    msratner Junior Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the all the help. I replaced the trunk switch on my 07 Prius today essentially following your instructions. However, I bought the cheaper unit ( 84840-47010 ) without the lock switch ( $44 plus postage). Then after installing the trunk switch I cut the wire and spliced it to the old wire, thereby avoiding having to deal with the lock switch at all.

    Everything works great.

    Many thanks.

    Mitchell
     
  6. Zedhomme

    Zedhomme Member

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    Not if it has turned to goo. I tried to. The rubber sleeve comes off the new one, but I couldn't even scrape the old off with a razor blade. You really need to clean the garnish it mounts in also before installing the new switch. It took me about 20 minutes with Q-tips and some automotive goo remover being careful to avoid the painted surfaces of the garnish that show.
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. Roosterleft

    Roosterleft Junior Member

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    Thank you for this! Just ordered the part for mine. Have you (or anyone else who's replaced theirs) noticed any signs of the same problem happening with the new switch?
     
  8. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    No, after four years, the new switch shows no signs of rubber deterioration.

    Also, my 2004 with 167K miles has a perfect hatch opening switch. I really think that there was just a batch of bad rubber on some of the switches installed in 2007 vehicles.
     
  9. Roosterleft

    Roosterleft Junior Member

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    That's good to hear. I was considering stripping the rubber from the new one and replacing it with something else right off the bat to avoid the issue, but that seems unnecessary now.
     
  10. lcarl

    lcarl New Member

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    Thanks to many of the previous posters. The original post and the video were particularly helpful and I want to thank the person who suggested using vice grip pliers to remove the %$# screws holding the smart switch assembly. I did not want to cut wires since I was worried I would not be able to return the new switch if needed. But, it all worked fine.

    Tips to others: View the video posted about 6 posts before this one. VERY helpful, even if you replace the switch And make sure you have a deep 10mm socket for removing the nuts that hold the plastic assembly on. Take extra care to tuck in the rubber seal on the outside before tightening those nuts. Be careful not to drop any of those nuts - but if you do (as I did) it turns out the nuts are ferrous, so can be picked up by a magnet, while the hatch itself is not. Is it aluminum?

    Also, take care not to close the hatch before you are done - as I'm not sure how to get it open if you happen to do that. I did not make that mistake, but I worried about it.

    BTW, my 2005 Prius has never had this problem, but my wife's 2007 did have it. The rubber was soft and sticky in warm weather and too stiff for her to operate in our cold Vermont winters. It seems clear that they had a bad batch of rubber around 2007. I suspect it worked fine when new, but degraded after a year or two. I don't begrudge Toyota for making a few mistakes. It's amazing that such a complex machine is so reliable.
     
  11. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    "Be careful not to drop any of those nuts - but if you do (as I did) it turns out the nuts are ferrous, so can be picked up by a magnet, while the hatch itself is not. Is it aluminum?"

    Yes, the hatch and the hood are both made of aluminum.

    "Also, take care not to close the hatch before you are done - as I'm not sure how to get it open if you happen to do that. I did not make that mistake, but I worried about it."
    A good point. If the hatch is closed, then it would be necessary to crawl into the hatch area via the rear seat, remove the folding hatch floor, find the access panel within the black plastic tray over the spare tire, open that panel, and find the small lever that will open the hatch lock manually.
     
  12. jstruhar

    jstruhar Junior Member

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    Thanks to the OP for this, I followed these instructions and it was a great help. I too had trouble with the three screws for the lock button, and thought I would cut the heads off with a dremel rather than drill them out. I thought maybe they were screwed into a plastic boss and if I cut the head off I would be left with a bit more of a stub to grab in order to extract them once the bracket was removed. The heat from the cutoff wheel caused the metal insert underneath to separate from the plastic. While I was at the hardware store to get new screws, I grabbed some JB-Weld and reset the inserts. Worked like a charm.
    It appears that the screw is rust bound to the bracket itself, rather than the insert underneath, so I probably could have broken it free with a little patience. In any case, drilling the head off would have been a better option. Don't overheat the screw and make the same mistake I did.
     
  13. Mr Charlie

    Mr Charlie New Member

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    Great instructions. If you need a safe way to clean off the old rubber. Try using baby oil. Works great for anything sticky.
     
  14. Fifine

    Fifine Member

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    The video was very helpful for my own bicycle inner-tube conversion.
    My suggestion: once you unplug the latch-opening switch, push the rubber plug and cable outward. This will allow you to remove the garnish piece along with the melted latch unit and thus to work untethered from the lift gate.
     

    Attached Files:

    #74 Fifine, Sep 21, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
  15. Fifine

    Fifine Member

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    I was pretty impressed with my work but my Macgyver friend did not find the seal from the rubber, tape and screws satisfactory. After a day of mulling, the CalTrans engineer improvised this.
    An aluminum siding plate cut down to size (pic #1)
    pic 1.jpg
    He then drilled and enlarged the opening to fit 2-3 fingers, to have access to the opening latch bars (pic's # 2 and 3)
    pic 2.jpg Pic 3.jpg

    Fitting and filing down
    pic 4.jpg

    pic 5.jpg
    What we will be assembling. The weird looking washers are the pieces drilled out of the original siding part; they will go between the rubber and the alum. plate to minimize friction and reduce movement which can stretch and thus deteriorate the rubber in the long run.
    New chunk of innertube, pre-drilled to match the holes.
    pic 6.jpg
    pic 7.jpg
    #6 hex screws, but I could be wrong. We tried out a few sizes.
    Time to trim with the MacGyver Martian sharp blade!
    pic 8.jpg

    Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the final beauty shot. Here is the less than glamorous photo of the final product. It looks really shiny and cool, and quite spaceship worthy!!! :p
    pic 9.jpg

    So according to Elmer MacGyver, this latch is now sealed and set for the duration of the car's life.
     
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  16. Zedhomme

    Zedhomme Member

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    You must really love to do that kind of work. I love to di repairs myself too, but how much was your time and materials worth compared to the OEM part you could have purchased to replace it?
     
  17. Fifine

    Fifine Member

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    My friend had a ball doing it!

    Zero $$$$. All materials found in his workshop (he recycles a lot). It's the priceless mental challenge of coming up with a "repair" that is better than OEM.

    I'm just thankful to no longer have sticky goop.
     
  18. Yakoma

    Yakoma Active Member

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    I started on my switch repair today. Unfortunately I didn't have Elmer MacGuyver at my disposal, so I had to rely on my own self - All Thumbs McPoodledick.

    I'll post pics later. I got the switch removed using the video above and got it all cleaned up. Had some old bike innertube laying around so I cut a chunk to overlay the switch. Using Gorilla Glue, I've attached one side of the rubber to the switch. It's clamped and drying now and later tonight I'll apply the 3M adhesive noted in the video, then glue and clamp the other side. Tomorrow morning, it should be all dry and cured so I can trim down the rubber and reinstall the switch.

    If the glue fails, I think I may just get a switch on eBay and replace the entire thing. I've already got 2 hours in it now and don't relish spending another 3 trying to come up with a better way - especially when the switch assembly is only $70. Updates to follow.
     
  19. Yakoma

    Yakoma Active Member

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    Success!
    I completed the repair this morning.
    As noted, I used the video provided by Futureboy above as my initial guide. My intent was to cover as much of the switch as possible with the rubber tube.

    (1) I removed the switch and the exterior panel (aka garnish) from the car then disassembled the switch so I could work with it. By taking the switch apart from the backside, it left the lever, the spring and the rest of the mechanism in place - sorry no pic, but it was essentially prying the blue part out of the back of the switch assembly. My rubber mess wasn't as involved as Futureboy's so less disassembly was required. I used a small screwdriver and common lighter fluid to clean it up.

    (2) That left me with this which I then glued a piece of rubber innertube to using Gorilla Glue. Before applying the glue, I washed the innertube with soap and water and roughed up the switch with sandpaper and wiped it down to remove the dust. Using binder clips, I clamped the rubber to the switch and left it to dry/cure for 4+ hours while we went to visit family. When using Gorilla Glue, you have to dampen one piece and put glue on the other piece. Dampen the rubber and apply the glue to the switch. Here is a pic of the result.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (3) When I returned last night, I wrapped the innertube around the top of the switch and glued and clamped in place and left to cure overnight. The tricky part is getting the rubber tight over the switch and getting the first clamp on. After that it's easy to get the other clamps in place, then come back and reset the first clamp. Also, I would recommend using the smaller binder clips as they are easier to handle and also apply greater pressure. I only had one so I had to make due with the other larger ones.

    [​IMG]

    (4) This is the result after the overnight cure.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (5) From there it was a matter of trimming the rubber off the ends of the switch, then reassembling the switch, installing it in the garnish and reattaching it to the car.

    (6) The original screws were not stripped so I reused them. One key tip here that is not evident in the pics - before attaching the switch with the screws, I inserted a small piece of 3M Automotive Mounting Tape laterally inside each end of the tube. This essentially seals the end of the tube - just to the right of the left screw and just to the left of the right screw. I cut an X in the tube across each of the screw holes with an Xacto knife.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The question is: How reliably will the Gorilla Glue hold the rubber to the plastic switch? It seemed pretty strong but we'll see. As I mentioned before, if this doesn't last, I may simply get a new switch assembly next time rather than messing with the glue, etc. Or, perhaps, I'll try for the real MacGuyver repair if I can locate some aluminum siding plate. But it works for now and doesn't look bad.
     
    #79 Yakoma, Jan 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
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  20. allsmiles277

    allsmiles277 New Member

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