Options for Broken Rear Garnish Fasteners?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by acadiaphile, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. acadiaphile

    acadiaphile Junior Member

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    The (apparently plastic) fasteners which hold the rear garnish (aka hatchback handle) on our 2005 Prius have broken. The piece came off in my hand completely after nearly a year of being "loose" (my DH is the primary driver of this vehicle and is something of an "absent minded professor" who leaves maintenance and repair to his gear-head spouse).

    Patrick Wong's thread on replacing the "Opening Switch" is excellent, but I'm not sure that his fix is what I need. The switch (the part you engage to unlock the rear hatch/door) functions fine. The problem is that the large plastic piece (spoiler? handle? apparently Toyota calls it a "Garnish"--which makes me think of a sprig of parsley) is no longer fastened to the hatch.

    My DH tried to "fix" this with some Crazy Glue. This worked for about 3 hrs. While I think I've found the replacement part of the Rear Garnish itself, I'm really hoping to spend a lot less than ~$250 to repair a problem which is actually two plastic fasteners.

    I'd greatly appreciate others' advice/suggestions on how to reattach the Rear Garnish (ideally, without having to replace the entire piece).
     
  2. andrewclaus

    andrewclaus Active Member

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    When I look at the parts blowup, I can see four nuts threaded onto four studs to hold the part to the door, in addition to two plastic clips. I assume you're talking about repairing those clips. What about the four studs? They look like metal. It looks like you'd need to remove the inside door trim to access those.
     
  3. acadiaphile

    acadiaphile Junior Member

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    I'm not sure. We don't have a garage, so we park our car on the street. Because of this, I'm reluctant to do to much disassembly for fear that I'll end up getting over my head/making the vehicle vulnerable to damage/theft. Do you know how big a mistake I may make if I try to do some "exploratory" surgery?
     
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  4. dpeverhart

    dpeverhart Member

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    1. Open the hatch and using a pry bar or large flathead screwdriver remove the black plastic cover from inside hatch. It's held on with plasticks clips and will come off with force once you start separating from hatch.

    2. Now you remove the 4 10mm nuts using a ratchet with short extension.

    3. Place broken bolts with mounts onto garnish like puzzle pieces, making sure they are perfectly fitted for proper alignment later. Glue pieces in place. This is to temporarily hold for permanent adhesion in next step.

    4. Buy some JB Weld Plastic Weld Epoxy Putty. Available at any auto parts store. This is a putty like play doh that has two parts and has to be needed until mixed. Now need the putty and roll into snake like piece and wrap around broken pieces one at a time. Press in around cracks and spread for maximum adhesion.

    5. Let dry 30 minutes and reinstall garnish!

    If done properly this will hold but try to get in the habit of placing fingers under hatch to lift door.
     
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  5. andrewclaus

    andrewclaus Active Member

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    Good process description above from someone who's actually done it!

    With the car parked on the street and the garnish removed for repair, you may need to figure out how to open the rear door from the inside. Look in your owner's manual or online. You need to be somewhat agile to crawl into the luggage space from a passenger door. Good luck with the repair.
     
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  6. acadiaphile

    acadiaphile Junior Member

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    Thanks! This is just the sort of info. I was hoping to get! Off to take apart the car and an off to the store (perhaps in our other vehicle).Would JB Weld "Steel Stick" work as well?
     
    #6 acadiaphile, Apr 17, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2016
  7. Stevewoods

    Stevewoods Senior Member

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    Keep us updated, but I think what has probably happened is the nuts holding the four 10mm have come loose. When I took mine apart, I was surprised that they were not fastened down all that tight == probably to prevent cracking the garnish.

    You will find out when you get it apart, but the bolts are not plastic, although there are a couple of plastic trim pieces that also hold the garnish to the car IIRC

    This page has some photos that may help.

    2007 Prius Hatch Latch REPAIR

    Anyway, if the bolts are solid, your other worry is keeping track of the nuts, they are easy to lose down the back of the hatch. I put white grease on my 10mm socket to help hold them in place when I was working with them.

    Good luck. I just did this job yesterday (for the second time -- the first time a few weeks ago, I did not tighten the bolts enough.
     
  8. acadiaphile

    acadiaphile Junior Member

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    Thanks again for the information. Three of the four points where there was a plastic/metal attachment the plastic had broken. Here're some annotated photos:
    Prius hatch lock.jpg Prius Garnish 2.JPG Prius Fx Fastener 1.JPG Prius Fastener 2.jpg Prius Spatula.jpg
    The closest I got to JB Weld Plasticweld Epoxy Putty was JB Weld Steelputty. Do you think I should proceed using the Steelputty or wait (with the car not locked up) and try on Monday to find Plasticweld? Likewise, when glueing prior to using the epoxy putty, what glue is recommended? Among my options are Crazy Glue and Gorilla Glue.
     
  9. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I would question that any epoxy or glue substance will be adequate, since three out of four mounting points are broken. However since you've got the garnish out, you can try and see.

    Garnish in a food sense refers to an item which is on the plate for decoration and not really intended for consumption. That is probably why Toyota named that trim as garnish - it is there for decoration and will not withstand any force applied to it.
     
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  10. acadiaphile

    acadiaphile Junior Member

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    Thanks for weighing in, Patrick. I respect your opinion, but boy do I hope you're wrong!:unsure: One I've reglued everything, I'm hoping to apply extra epoxy putty to reinforce/strengthen the attachments/fastener points. The notion of having to pay $250 to replace plastic broken through regular use is galling.

    I know that the "Garnish" isn't supposed to be used as a handle--yet I can't imagine how the hatch can be opened without applying at least some force while opening the latch. When opening the latch, I can hear and feel the latch open, but apparently not so completely that the hatch opens on its own without a upward little nudge. The latch's design makes it natural to give that nudge to the "Garnish".

    Seriously, did/does Toyota imagine that the hatch just opens spontaneously once the latch is gently pressed?o_O
     
  11. Stevewoods

    Stevewoods Senior Member

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    Don't get me wrong, I think Toy could have designed it a bit better, but you really should have taken action back when you first discovered it was loose, might have avoided the breakage -- or not.
     
  12. acadiaphile

    acadiaphile Junior Member

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    Yeah. I know. My DH drives the car most of the time. I didn't know it was so bad. And when I realized, I asked him to deal with it. Which was a mistake. Because his dealing with it is basically waiting for me to to fix it. Which gets tiresome.
     
  13. 69shovlhed

    69shovlhed Surly tree hugger

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    jbweld.png jb weld epoxy which comes in 2 small tooth paste tubes is meant for steel, but it will repair your garnish stronger than new. I would rough up the plastic around the cracked area with sand paper so that I could apply extra jb weld to reinforce it. jb weld is so strong I know a guy that repaired a crack in a cylinder wall in his 454 big block chevy and drove it for years with no problems. I didn't believe myself, but he did it.

    when opening the hatch, the key to not breaking the garnish is not to jerk it open, just apply pressure slowly and it won't break. but if you yank on it, that cheap plastic isn't gonna take it.
     
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  14. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I can't really describe it very well so I've attached a picture of a non broken bolt attachment, see how the bolt slides into place inside the small channel? When the thing breaks, the top part of the channel breaks off with the bolt and the bottom of the channel should still be in place. Just slip the bolt under the bottom channel, add a little glue and screw it back on to the car. This will hold more securely and won't come off like when you use only glue. The glue heats up during summer heat and won't hold. But this method will hold because the garnish is still being used as the bolt support.

    uploadfromtaptalk1460950885619.jpg



    SM-N900P ?
     
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  15. acadiaphile

    acadiaphile Junior Member

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    For those who're interested in my progress, here're some annotated pictures after using JB Weld QuickWeld Epoxy. My next step will be to apply JB Weld Plastic Epoxy Putty to reinforce the areas which broke as well as other points which look vulnerable. (I'm also planning on putting a label on the Rear Garnish reading, "NOT A HANDLE"
    upload_2016-4-18_13-28-1.png
    upload_2016-4-18_13-23-58.png
     

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  16. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    It looks really nice, but don't be surprise if it breaks off again. I've tried all kinds of epoxy glues, jb weld, etc.....once it gets really hot and somebody tugs on that garnish....it'll break. The glues just get soft/breaks down with the heat and it doesn't hold.
     
  17. Stevewoods

    Stevewoods Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting the update!

    Time will only tell, but it seems that in my experience things that I never thought would hold with epoxy are still holding strong after 20 years or more and things I thought would be a no-brainer fix, never held.

    A piece of surveying equipment, metal and plastic that was a daily fixture on my U.S. Forest Service pack for a decade held through summer-long trail treks, being tossed in pickup truck beds, etc. after I expoxed it together.

    I think the odds are on your side, as long as no one really gets gorilla with it.

    BTW, just for the heck of it, you might keep an eye out for junkyard replacements -- having said that, I am finding that recently junkyard prices have approached the ridiculous level....
     
  18. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I was able to pick one of these spare parts up on craigslist for $50. But the local junkyards here are still selling parts at a premium, quoting $150 for a used garnish.
     
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  19. acadiaphile

    acadiaphile Junior Member

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    So, here're photos after I applied the JB Weld PlasticWeld Epoxy Putty: Prius Putty 1.JPG Prius Putty 2.JPG Prius Putty 3.JPG Prius Putty 4.JPG
    Although the packaging says the Epoxy Putty has a "functional cure" 2-3 hrs. after application, I'm going to try and let it sit overnight.
    Fingers crossed for a hassle-free installation.

    Thanks again, everybody, for sharing your advice and experience!
     

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  20. Silent Killa

    Silent Killa New Member

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    This doesn't make any sense to me. The switch is housed entirely inside the "garnish" (i.e. the only screws attaching the switch to the car go into the "garnish") and when that is removed there is no other place on the trunk hatch where one could grab to open the trunk. Do you open your trunk by grabbing the spoiler? What happens when that breaks off? Both the switch and "garnish" seem so poorly designed Toyota should have done something to fix affected cars. I just took apart everything on my girlfriends Prius to install a new switch, only to find out the dealer gave me the wrong one of course. In addition to that, once I got it off, the loose "garnish" turned out to have the two left screw clips broken (seemingly beyond repair). Yet it should be the car owners responsibly to pay for all the new parts because Toyota used cheap materials and opening the trunk in the most common sense way causes said cheap parts to break?
     
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