My 99 OBW's hatchback has refused to open 2 different times in the past year. I've tried PB Blaster, WD-40 and some other lubricants on it, in the keyhole and into the release lever area. I don't know if I got it to open the first time this way, but I did this just now and it worked fine. It hasn't opened for the past 2 months! While I haven't located the exact problem (everything looks good and is screwed in firmly from the factory), this info may help you.
Start out by sitting on the backseat after folding it down. If the toneau cover is in place, pull upward from the handle end. If you lift the roll-up end, the spring will pull it towards the back of the car, scratching your window tinting, plastic interior panels and just generally being a real nuisance. Once the cover is retracted, lift it out and put it to the side or across the leg area of the back seat.
At the base of the hatchback are plastic caps locking the interior panel in place. Put a flat head screwdriver beneath the cap and gently pry it out. Set these off to the side. The interior panel is snapped into place along the top. Open the bulb replacement doors and pull the panel towards you. The entire panel will pop off, set it aside.
The silver vertical rod connects from the handle outside to the latch. I pulled up on that rod and pushed outward on the hatchback and it magically popped open. I can't see anything wrong with it, or anything catching, but I lubricated all the moving parts this time around and I think it should be fine now.
I hope this helps you if you have a problem getting your hatchback open.
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Guest Message by DevFuse
Opening jammed/stuck hatchback
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