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Mike V.
Mike V., Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 25014
Experience:  25 years of experience, Certified Subaru Technician and Nissan factory trained.
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2005 Subaru Legacy Station Wagon Lift Gate Will Not Open

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2005 Subaru Legacy Station Wagon Lift Gate Will Not Open
Hi there,
Does this have the mechanical hatch latch or is it the one with the push button?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Mechanical latch. No push button and no key.

First and foremost, make sure the handle assembly outside the car is not stuck in the open position.
This happens sometimes and when you unlock the doors, the rear hatch won't unlock. If this is the case, push the handle down, then unlock the car and pull up on the handle. If this is what is happening, then it should open for you.
Pleas try this and let me know.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The handle operates with the normal amount of travel and releases to its proper position.


However, I get no sensation that the handle is connected to anything. Ya know, it just feels like it moves too easily.

OK,This makes me think that the lock is not unlocking the latch.Here is a diagram of the latch assembly. Try pushing down on the lever that is to the left as you look at it. Now, if that doesn't work, try pulling it up. I can't recall which way it should go.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ah -- a picture is worth a thousand words. Lever up to lock and down to unlock.


So I presume this means that the problem is electrical. The "all lock/unlock" button in the driver's door has lost connectivity to the list gate. Or the lock actuator in the lift gate is unresponsive.


That leaves the next step to check for current at the lift gate latch when operating the "all lock/unlock" from the driver's door.


Assuming no current, start back tracing the wire (ugh).


Assuming good current, replace the lock actuator on the lift gate latch. Probably going to be one of those $200 assemblies with no ability to buy the indivudal component.


You agree / disagree / have other suggestion?

lol,You are right on the money with this.try the remote, see if there is any action at all on the latch assembly, if not, then check for power and signal on the top connector, when you lock and unlock the doors. If there is signal, then replace the latch assembly, if not and the other doors are working like they should, pretty good chance you have a broken wire.Please be sure to let me know if you need further assistance, if not, then please be sure to rate my answer.Thank You
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK -- stupid question -- I'm much better at mechanical than electrical.


By the way -- all the other doors do lock/unlock properly.


The only tool I have is a simple circut tester. It's just a awl-like probe with a wire to an alegator clip. About as simple as it gets.


When I unplug the connector at the latch and stick the probe in one side and the alegator in the other, my tester lights. This should mean that I have a good circut from the lift gate to the switch (??).


But this does not necessarily mean that when the switch (either from the driver's door or using the remote) is activated, the lift gate actually gets a signal to lock or unlock (??).


How do I test for that signal? I know -- really dumb question.

Ok, the light should go out when you click unlock on the clicker, this will be the signal to the lock to unlock.
Mike V. and 5 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The light stays on steady when I activate the switch or remote. So the problem is with the switch, not the actuator at the latch. Crap. That takes me out of my relm. If you can fix it with a wrench I'm good to go. I've been doing auto mechanical repairs (up to and including complete engine rebuild) since the late 60's. But when it comes to electrical my knowledge/experience is weak.


You have been great. Thanks so much.


I can now open/close the lift gate. Lock/unlock is a bit awkward. Still, it's progress and I understand where the problem better.


You'll get a "10" and a bonus. Thanks again.