Not the usual rear hatch problem

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Gromit!, Dec 4, 2022.

  1. Gromit!

    Gromit! Junior Member

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    I expect everyone who frequents PriusChat.com is familiar with the Gen 2 hatch opening problem — the gummy rubber cover over the hatch release switch. Well, my Prius doesn't have that. But the hatch still won't open much of the time. Often it doesn't release at all. Sometimes it partially releases but will only come up about an inch and no more.

    To be clear, it had the common problem with the switch cover, but I fixed that: I actually bypassed the original switch and installed a weather-sealed pushbutton switch with more definite tactile feedback. This works a treat and I can clearly hear the mechanism actuating every time I push the button. But the problem still remains: Sometimes only lets the hatch up an inch, sometimes not at all. Sounds like the latch mechanism itself is defective, right? Good hypothesis. But I replaced it and nothing changed. Low voltage from the 12V battery? Nope, it's less than 2 years old and measures at a healthy 14V when tested with the car shut off.

    If I press the button over and over it eventually releases and lets up the hatch about an inch. Then if I push the button repeatedly while jiggling the hatch it eventually releases completely.

    I've searched all over the web and only found one instance of someone experiencing these symptoms (on another Prius forum) and that thread ended after just a couple of replies and no solution.

    Have I missed something on Prius Chat? Or elsewhere? Anyone have any further suggestions? It's a 2007 Prius Touring Edition with 120,000 miles and in generally great condition other than this one annoyance.
     
  2. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    When was the last time you replaced the hatch struts?
     
    #2 SFO, Dec 4, 2022
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2022
  3. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    This would be a good thing to look into... It's also possible someone hit your rear bumper hard enough that it bent in that rear panel the latch bolts to and its no longer properly aligned and you need to remove the latch and take a big hammer to the mount so it's bent back further and lines up better.

    PS: Can you post a photo of your replacement switch as well as where you can buy them?
     
  4. Gromit!

    Gromit! Junior Member

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    Well, the hatch struts were replaced last year (and applying manual upward pressure when pressing the switch doesn't help).

    The rear bumper has never been hit, so I'm pretty sure the alignment is OK. I've already tinkered with it a little but I'll have another go at that.

    I bought the switches on eBay — pack of 5 for $6.95!
    (I do a lot of electronic work so I'll use the rest eventually)

    BTW: You can get the switches on eBay, item number 382593121812
     
    #4 Gromit!, Dec 4, 2022
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2022
  5. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Thanks for the link... So you're saying it clears the latch and gets an inch high and gets stuck? What happens when you force the issue?

    Once it's clear of the latch it's just the struts and hinges and if you've never washed your car you could have lots of debris around those hinges causing this. Or maybe the metal where hatch connects to the roof... has been damaged?
     
    #5 PriusCamper, Dec 4, 2022
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2022
  6. Gromit!

    Gromit! Junior Member

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    I'm confident it's not related to the struts or anything else above the latch itself. When it does stick, the latch behaves a little like the hood latch: after you initially release the hood latch the hood releases and springs up an inch and you have to manually release a secondary safety catch. The rear hatch is behaving the same way except that of course it doesn't have a secondary catch to release. It appears to be the main latch mechanism itself that's catching something and not allowing the hatch to release all the way.

    When it does stick this way I can hold in the release button and jiggle the hatch up and down (and I can hear it catching on something) and it will eventually come loose.
     
  7. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Well if it's not entirely clearing the latch then it's not opening an inch first, but less than that. Clearly your problem is the latch. And because you already replaced that once, you'll have no problem pulling it out and cleaning and inspecting and greasing. I bet that's the only problem. Or perhaps your replacement latch is still under warranty?
     
  8. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    It doesn't have a separate, finger-operated catch the way the hood has, no, but it does have a two-stage latch. If you have the hatch open and use your pinky to push down the latch, you'll notice it has two clicks.

    Sometimes I use too brief a touch on the open button for mine, and get it unlatched just up to the next click. Then I pull on the hatch, it goes bonk, and I have to look a little sheepish and push the button again.

    If something is slowing down / gumming up the motion of the latch or your lifting of the hatch, that could happen more often.
     
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  9. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    As someone who's Prius is loaded with gardening tools full time and I'm constantly moving trees and plants and debris around, this latch wears out and fails real quick if you aren't constantly cleaning it out. I pulled my latch and cleaned and lubed it so many times that I finally had to replace it because it was worn to broken in multiple ways.
     
  10. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Try putting a little bit of downward pressure on the hatch with one hand while pressing and holding the latch button with the other. Works for me. Other times it's just the weather stripping stuck to the paint.
     
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  11. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Where's Wallace? :whistle:
     
  12. mr_guy_mann

    mr_guy_mann Senior Member

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    +1 to ChapmanF

    The tailgate latch does have "2 stages". If you close the T/G too gently the latch won't fully seat ( to the 2nd stage) and won't turn off the interior light or dash indicator ( which = dead 12V battery).

    So it's possible for the latch to release only "part-way". My first thought would be to check if striker loop on the T/G is rubbing on the side of the receiver slot on the latch. Maybe the latch mounting needs adjustment or the striker is slightly bent?

    I use a screwdriver to manually close the latch with the T/G open. Then trigger the opening switch while lifting on the screwdriver to test how well the latch releases. (Maybe the voltage to the latch release solenoid is low and doesn't work correctly?)

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  13. T1 Terry

    T1 Terry Active Member

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    I'll second that one, with a larger sized phillips screwdriver, push the round shaft through the latching mechanism to get the two stages of latching, then press and hold the button while trying to pull the screwdriver back out to open the latch. If that works ok, check that the aligning pads aren't pushing the tailgate to one side as it locates in the latch and that is what is causing it to jam.
    Mine has the opposite problem, sometimes the latch will close into the first step while the tailgate is up, the door section then pushes the the latch to fully locked position and no tailgate latching .... I have to continually flick the hatch opening bit while pulling the screwdriver back through the latch to get it back in the open position.

    T1 Terry
     
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