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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Rear latch bracket rusted

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19 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_PAezb_*

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Posted 02 May 2002 - 04:01 PM

Hi all,

On my 96 Outback the mounting bracket assembly holding the rear door latch lever is rusting (again). I had this replaced before the warranty was up 3 years ago and now the replacement is rusting.

I bought some Herculiner (the stuff you coat pickup beds with) thinking all I would have to do is clean off the rust down to the bracket metal and then coat it with the Herc.
This of course is treating just the outside face. However, I've couple of people have told me that to do the job right I should remove the bracket assembly from the door body entirely, clean and coat both sides and reinstall.

Has anyone done this and how big of a job is it?


#2 Guest_gardenut_*

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Posted 02 May 2002 - 05:57 PM

Is the rust on 1 side only, or both? I'm experiencing the rust on the l/h side of my '98 Outback. It started at 30k miles. The dealership told me I exposed it to weather, so they wouldn't do anything about it. They said to sand it down with a brillo pad and then put anything heavy (ie: 90 weight, even vaseline) to prevent the occurance. That might work for you. I don't believe the rust is the owner's fault - my contention is the design of the car is faulty - the exhaust is designed so the condensation billows around that area, causing the rear hatch to rust. It might be a long shot, but adding an extension to the muffler might help?
Please let me know if it's 1 side or both. Thanks.

#3 Guest_PAezb_*

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Posted 02 May 2002 - 11:22 PM

I don't think that the rear exhaust really contributes much to the problem. The problem simply is the bracket is a non-galvanized strip of steel that been painted black. There is not enough protection from rusting over time from the elements. Subaru engineers should have put more thought into material selection given this is part of the car's external body hardware. Subaru touts the double-sided galavized body panels used in their cars, so why not used rust resistant materials on all external body hardware as well?

This in not an "owner's fault" type of thing. It is Subaru's fault for choosing a material, that used in it's location, is proned to rust. I got no argument from my local dealer on replacing the bracket assembly before the 36,000/3 yr warranty was up. But apparently, this part does not fall into the rust warranty, which I'm now beyond anyway.

I've read that others have this problem on their Outbacks as well so I'm faily confident this is a common problem.
But rather than fight with the dealer or SOA, I'd just as soonl fix it myself and have the fix *last* for the rest of the life of the vehicle - assuming disassembing the latch and bracket aren't too big a pain.

Yes, I thought about rubbing oil or vaseline over the bracket to add some protection, and it may still be an option. I bought the Herculiner originally to coat the aftermarket receiver hitch which is also starting to show rust. I thought I might try using the Herc to coat the entire bracket assembly as well to see what kind of long term protection it might provide.


#4 Guest_SmashPDX_*

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Posted 03 May 2002 - 12:29 AM

If you're talking about that long rectangular metal bracket that almost makes you wonder why they put it on in the first place, it's a snap to remove & replace. Also not particularly expensive, as I recall, for the part (I replaced mine). Go for it.

#5 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 19 May 2002 - 08:08 AM

We are talking about the central piece of metal which the latch handle and license plate lights attach to. It's about 1.5" wide and over a foot long. (There seems to be some confusion in a post above with the hatch strut brackets.)

My dealer had one in stock. About $12US ($18 and change Cdn). That was most likely full price.

My suggestion would be to buy a new one, then add whatever coating you want to it and put it on. Mine was pretty badly rusted. Once I knew the price and realized how easy it was to change, I put aside any thoughts of sanding or additional coating. I'll just change it again down the road in a few years time. I sprayed it down with Rust Check, but I know that won't do much for the exterior surface. It will help for the interface surfaces.

I agree that this piece should have had better corrosion resistance.

If you can change your oil, you can change this piece.


#6 Guest_orphan_*

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Posted 19 May 2002 - 09:25 AM

Might give this a try. If you have a local motorcycle shop or street rod supply close to where you live, they generally have a lot of things being powder-coated. See what they would charge you to run the piece through with an order they already have set up since it doesn't sound like color is an issue for you. Shouldn't be very much since the big cost of powder-coating is the set-up and then the cleaning of the spray booth. I just had some valve covers done and forgot to add some miscellaneous brackets and oil tubes. They ran them through with the next black order they had booked and only added about $10.00 to my bill.

Good luck,

#7 Guest_ShawnW_*

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Posted 25 May 2002 - 11:40 AM

Archive when done please.

#8 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 25 May 2002 - 03:18 PM

Since this is headed for the archives, I thought I'd add this.

Part name - LICENSE LP BRKT (per my invoice)
Part no. - 84927AC020.
Price - $18.65 Canadian (probably about $12 US)
The plastic bag it came in said Made in Japan.

You will have to remove the interior panel from the bottom of the lift gate. There are about 6 button headed plastic pins to pull along the bottom edge to loosen it. Just pull these. I was able to do it with my fingers and nails. You may need a small flat head screwdriver or something like that. Note that there is a round clip that the pins go into. They have 4 flared tabs that go through the panel and snap into the sheet metal of the lift gate. Remove these as well.

If you open the little trap doors for changing the back up lights, you can see a couple of the attachment points along the top edge (6 as well). These clips are integral (well, sort of) to the panel from the inside. Just pull straight out and the panel will come free. With the bottom edge free and once the outside edges at the top are lifted, you can reach in from underneath to help pull the ones toward the center.

From the outside, there are 2 screws, one at each end. I was surprised that these screws had a machine thread as they just screw into a plastic insert. Mine were rusted, so I bought some stainless steel screws to replace them. The originals were an 8mm hex head with integral washer. (Note - size of head, not of thread). The replacements I found are a pan head with a Phillips (star) drive. Shrug. As long as the diameter and the length of the fastener are essentially the same, the thread won't really matter since it goes into plastic.

There are the two license plate bulbs that have to be undone. These assemblies are held in with two Phillip head screws each. Interestingly, these screws are stainless steel. They fasten to the bracket itself, not into the lift gate. Be careful not to loose the little hard plastic spacer block that the screws go through on the underside of the bulb assembly. You will have to unclip the wires from the inside. There is just a short (~4" to 6") wire pigtail on each bulb assembly.

Back to the inside. Now you need to disconnect the latch handle linkage from the handle itself. The handle has a projection part at one end that goes through a hole in the metal to the inside of the lift gate. There is a vertical rod that runs from this projection part down to the latch mechanism at the bottom of the lift gate. The top end has a "pin" that snaps into the handle. Just pry or tug or tap (I can't recall exactly what I did) to separate the two. The pin is threaded onto the vertical rod. Watch that it doesn't spin around a few times on you. This would "adjust" the length of the rod unintentionally and could cause problems.

The latch handle itself is held by two nuts on the inside of the lift gate. Remove them (10mm IIRC). Now the handle and the plate will come free.

If you have made it this far, then you will have no trouble putting things back together. One minor point. I put the plate on the lift gate, then put the license plate bulb assemblies on. I don't know if you could do it the other way around. It would be easier on one hand (and less chance of losing that silly little plastic spacer), but there may be interference between the bulb and the reflector panel that runs right above this stuff. A minor point, but I thought I'd mention it.

Hope this helps!


#9 Guest_Chip_*

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Posted 25 May 2002 - 04:41 PM

Yeah, Mine's rusty also...ONLY ON THE DRIVER'S SIDE. Something to do with the exhaust gasses.
Why didn't the engineers think of making them out of something else that doesn't rust you ask ??? Well the Subie engineers didn't think of a lot of things...which is why my 98OB sounds like a diesel...why the heated mirrors don't turn themselves off, why there's no intermittant rear wiper and probably why Subarus are so damn SLOW...
.$32,000 Cdn ??? Hmmm..... a loaded Toyota Matrix is lookin' real good for a lot less $$$$$.

#10 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 26 May 2002 - 10:41 AM


Sorry to hear that some of the functions of the convenience features bother you that much...

For about $26 Cdn, you can add the intermittent rear wiper feature. (Someone on this board posted about it.) Canadian Tire has a small device that performs this feature. While you have the lift gate panel off to change the License Plate Bracket, just wire in this device and set it for the time interval that you want. There is room in there. (I installed one of these years ago on my 85 Civic for the front wipers.)

As for the mirror heater, one could probably wire in a timer of some sort to this circuit, but that is beyond what I can help you with. (Ditto for the rear window defog... or is yours on a timer? My 97 OB is not.)

It seems to me that Subaru left out some of these features when they decided to make only AWD vehicles in the mid 90's (for North America). They probably felt that they had to offset some costs somewhere. A reasonable compromise in my opinion. I believe the Limited models had many of these "missing" features.


#11 Guest_JaapH_*

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Posted 26 May 2002 - 01:01 PM

I did change the bracket for a new one and prior to installing it I did give it an extra coat of paint and a coat of anti rust (tectyl we call it here). I also replaced the door handle as that brakcet also temps to rust and might 'infect' a new bracket again.

What supprised me was that the mounting bolts, which are galvanized, also rusted badly. I changed them for stainless steel ones (add nylon spacers as to prevent additional corrosion problems.)

The partnumber for the door handle is: 62150AA211

Better check the rear hatch strut ends. They have the same problem. Replacing them is expensive and letting it go might leave you with the door coming down. And its heavy!

#12 Guest_shortlid_*

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 11:09 AM

Did they change the deign so this thing will not rust again??

#13 Guest_Legacy25GT_*

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 01:50 PM

I have experienced the same phenomenon with my bracket. As well, the two latches that attach to each side of the tailgate opening that hold the door in place when closed have started to rust. What are these called, as well are they easy to replace?

#14 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 03:45 PM

I have no way to tell if the surface treatment (paint) of the replacement is any better than the original. If I had to guess, I'd say no. Both black. Both simply look like paint.

You mean those "little-spring-loaded-wedge-positioner-stopper-thingies"... I have no idea what they are called :) . But yes, another item with less than stellar rust resistance. There is just a fastener or two holding them down IIRC. Should be very easy to replace.


#15 Guest_shortlid_*

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 04:49 PM

Maybe we should get some tougher coating and repaint the replacemnets or the ones on our cars??

#16 Guest_SmashPDX_*

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 06:16 PM

That sounds like the general theme. I haven't checked mine since replacing it about 2 years ago, as this thread is the first time I've known about it happening to anyone but poor me :)

#17 Guest_JaapH_*

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Posted 29 May 2002 - 01:06 PM

You mean for wagon:

stopper liftgate L/R 60301AC000 $9.20
ptotector stopper L/R 57253AA031 $0.59

#18 Guest_E Zap_*

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Posted 05 June 2002 - 09:04 AM

What I did about rusty tailgate hinges. . .


#19 SaltCar


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Posted 03 May 2006 - 05:49 PM

I just recently bought these parts. The local dealer charged me $27 for the bracket and $11.60 for the handle.

#20 SubaruForDan


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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:46 PM

When I push in on the latch handle and toggle the key fob lock then unlock, I can open the latch manually. Otherwise, I have to use the key. Either way, it is a two handed operation, which defeats the purpose of the keyfob.

Yes, that foot long plate is rusty, but is it the culprit in why my latch won't unlock?

*edit* '99 OB wagon. I can remove the 6 plastic thumb pins/ 4-legged receptacle plugs. Now the interior panel can dangle. What are the next points of attachment/detachment? It looks like the bottom plastic surround of the rear windshield is attached to the interior panel.

Edited by SubaruForDan, 14 September 2009 - 12:49 PM.

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