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Sticky hatch on Outback wagon


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12 replies to this topic

#1 burke615

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 11:01 AM

Greetings:

I have a 1999 Legacy Outback Wagon, and the rear hatch has been giving me fits of late. It will refuse to open "occassionally" (i.e.: it works when I leave home to go pick up the wood for my new floor, but won't open once I get to the store!) When I depress the latch, I can't feel or hear a click or anything.

I had a trustworthy (non-dealer) shop look at it, but they saw nothing obviously wrong so they just lubed it up. Unfortunately the problem continues.

Has anyone else seen this? Any tips on what to look at?

Thanks,
Burke

#2 frag

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 11:42 AM

Presuming the latch on your car is the same as on mine (good chances), here's what you can do next time the hatch refuses to open.
1)Lock the hatch.
2) Push the hatch handle towards the car and hold it there.
3) Unlock the hatch, still holding the handle pushed.
4) Pull on the handle.

Follow that to the letter and if that works. report back and I'll give you the rest of the infos.

#3 burke615

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 12:25 PM

Thanks, Frag! I'll give that a shot and let you know what happens. (Of course, Murphy's Law being what it is, now I'll probably have trouble getting it to stick again...)

- Burke

#4 burke615

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 02:41 PM

Hi, Frag,

Sorry this took so long to reply to, but I had some "other issues" I had to deal with (death in the family + holidays...)

Anyway, my hatch stuck this morning. I couldn't remember exactly what you said here, but I remembered it had something to do with pushing the handle. This is what I did:

1) Unlocked car with fob. Hatch was stuck.
2) Locked and unlocked car with button on door. Hatch was still stuck.
3) Pushed the handle in and pulled it out. Locked and unlocked car with button on door. Hatch opened!

So from that can you tell me what is going on/how to fix it?

The only other possible wrench in the works is that the car was running with the heat on while this was going on, so it is marginally possible there was some de-icing or something going on. The thing sticks in warm weather, too, though so I don't think that is related.

Thanks a ton!
Burke

#5 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 06:57 PM

OK - got NO IDEA if this would relate to your problem. We once had Colt Vista wagon (I know, I know...) and the control rod from the solenoid was adjusted TOO tight. When it was switch locked it would load up the rod and when the solenoid was inactivted it would actually 'bounce' back enough to unlock the hatch. Using the key though always worked. I took the panel off and saw what was happening, made an adjustment and never had another problem.

I doubt this is helpful but hey - what did it cost ya?

#6 Lesbaru

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 12:16 PM

My 96 Legacy had the same problem. Apparently quite a few of the later 90's wagons do. The "license lamp bracket" and latch handle rust. Then you end up with a misbehaving hatch latch that eventually refuses to open at all.

Commuter posted a wonderfully detailed explanation on the old ezboard 5/25/02 of how to replace the two parts. It took me a while, but turned out just perfect. I got the bracket and handle (the part with the spring) from 1stsubaruparts.com for about $30-$40. I can't remember the price exactly.

LICENSE LP BRKT: part no. 84927AC020
LATCH HANDLE: part no. 62150AA211

-Kaja

#7 Lesbaru

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 12:23 PM

Here it is. I used the search button (top of screen, far right) and looked for "hatch and latch". This link is to the thread by Commuter that I used.
http://usmb.ultimate...latch and hatch

(I hope the link works. I've never tried to paste one into a post before.)

#8 frag

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 03:35 PM

Burke, on my car the only problem was that the hatch handle's spring would'nt make it go back towards the car after being pulled cause it was rusted and needed lubrication. Use of an anti rust lubrican solved the problem.
You might try this simple solution first and if it does'nt work you should try Lesbaru's advice.
I'm not sure I understand exactly the procedure you used the last time it stuck but I gater you have an electricaly activated lock on you hatch.
My procedure is all manual but should also be applicable on your car.
The problem is that if the hatch handle's spring cannot bring back the handle towards the car after having been pulled, the next time you use it it will not «catch» and the door will not open. Represent yourself the working of this handle this way: when you unlock the hatch you put a lever in front of the handle mecanism. It's this lever that the handle is supposed to catch to open the hatch. If the handle has not gone back towards the car first this lever is behind the handle mecanism and the handle will move freely without catching anything.
Hope this explanation is not too complicated.
Good luck

#9 joybell

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 11:53 AM

I had that problem too on our old Loyale wagon. I just had to make sure that after I slammed the hatch shut that the handle was completely pushed down. If it was sticking evenl slightly up it wouldn't open next time I unlocked the power locks.

#10 4FOR4

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 11:01 AM

98 OB same problem. Rusty return spring doesn't get handle back to correct position

I sometimes can't understand why the galvanize, paint and uncoat everthing except the handle mounting piece on the lift gate. My 98 has no other corrosion other than that piece which is nothing but corrosion.

I had an 88 Chrysler van that had the same thing happen.

#11 burke615

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 12:33 AM

Thanks so much for the replies, guys. So if I understand this correctly, some WD-40 sprayed liberally in the hatch handle might clear up the problem? And if not, then I get to take the thing apart, which just might have to wait for warmer weather (supposed to be around 15 F here for a few days!)

And frag, that explanation was great - I think I actually know what is going on now. :)

Thanks again,
Burke

#12 99obw

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 12:40 AM

I had the same problem and used some penetrating oil to free it up and then white lithium spray. It has worked ever since.

#13 Commuter

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 12:59 PM

Thanks lesbaru for the compliment on my write up.

My 97 OB is now over 7 years old (and 370k km). I bought it at 2 yo and have been having it sprayed with Rust Check (rust inhibitant oil spray) annually ever since. While this product's primary purpose is to save the body, it keeps moisture out of 'stuff' and acts as a lubricant to a degree. I've been using it on my cars since 1986.

As time goes by, I'm becoming more and more convinced that it helps in preventing the problems described in this thread. I have not had any sticking latch issues. (Note that I did not change my latch. Just the exterior steel bracket plate was changed.) Another thread spoke of common failures of rear wiper motors. Again, mine is original. And I live in Southern Ontario Canada where they dump tons of salt on the road in the winter.

As another quick comment, I had all 4 strut / shocks changed on 85 Civic when it was around 8 yo. The mechanic booked me for the day and no one else. He was done by noon. Everything just "broke free" he said. None of the usual rusted, frozen, sheared off fasteners that he usually would encounter.

I don't mean to hi-jack the thread, but I thought it worth mentioning. It reminded me to spray the bracket plate again. I've done it from time to time. Even though it is exterior, I can see that the oil does stay on it for quite some time, since it is slightly under the overhang of the taillight strip.

Last I looked, there are a few Rust Check centers in MI / upper NY I think. Do stores carry the spray can product at all in the States? (Largely red in color.) Do you have Krown in the States or not? Similar product / application.

Now... If I could just figure out what is making the squauking rubbing noise in my hatch area. :( That's a new noise that I haven't tracked down yet. And probably won't while it is this cold! :eek:

Commuter




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