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Help, 1997 QX4 rear liftgate lock. All the electrical works

Customer Question
Help JA: What is the model/year...
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JA: What is the model/year of your Infiniti?
Customer: 1997 QX4 rear liftgate lock. All the electrical works fine, all other doors open, lock and unlock OK. But rear gate lock will not fully release. Trim is removed so I can access and see locking mechanisms. Electrical release, Key lock, all mechanical rod connections, handle and lock to work seem OK. But liftgate will only open about an inch and it stops and won't open further. Looks like the latch closes on hook as door if pulled open. I've tried manually unlocking and opening it from inside liftgate by hand, moving latch out of the way with a hook and screw driver, holding key in unlock position while opening with handle and having someone try to release latch. Even disconnected battery for 24 hours to see if it was a safety sensor not allowing lock to fully release. Nothing works. I'm at a complete lose.
JA: How many miles are on the car? Has this ever happened before?
Customer: Near 200,000. Never happened before while I've owned it.
JA: Are you hoping to fix this yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: I've tried manually unlocking and opening it from inside liftgate by hand, moving latch out of the way with a hook and screw driver, holding key in unlock position while opening with handle and having someone try to release latch. Even disconnected battery for 24 hours to see if it was a safety sensor not allowing lock to fully release. Nothing works. I'm at a complete lose.
JA: Anything else you think the mechanic should know?
Customer: Rear gate window opens OK with key and dashboard electrical release
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Infiniti Mechanic about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Infiniti
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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I do intend to fix it myself
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Attached Photos might help.
IMG_20160616_095044242[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160616_095202915[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160616_094454351[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160616_094443273[1].jpgIMG_201...jpg
Answered in 12 hours by:
6/17/2016
Infiniti Mechanic: Wayne Crawford, Shop Owner replied 1 year ago
Wayne Crawford
Wayne Crawford, Shop Owner
Category: Infiniti
Satisfied Customers: 4,030
Experience: General Repair Shop Owner
Verified

Hello. My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today.

It sounds like you have done everything possible to try to get it to release on its own.

When all else fails sometimes its time for a die grinder and a little determination.

Do you have room to get in there and cut the cover off the latch mechanism? Usually there is.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I don't have a dremel or die grinder available. Actually, it doesn't look like there's room to use it. I was thinking there must be some way to release this lock without cutting or grinding the gates sheet metal away. This is ridiculous. This same issue is dealt with on Nissan's and others. But this one model seems to be the one they left behind and a real pain.
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I've more recent photos if that might help.
Infiniti Mechanic: Wayne Crawford, Shop Owner replied 1 year ago

I can try. You shouldnt have to actually cut the gate.. you cut the top off the latch aqssembly so you can get into the gears inside. The whole point of that is to avoid tearing up the actual gate.

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Infiniti Mechanic: Wayne Crawford, Shop Owner replied 1 year ago

But either way Ill take the pics and see if it sparks any other ideas.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Here's more photos. I think they show the lock mechanism and area better than the previous photos.
IMG_20160616_095044242[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160616_095202915[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160617_080128403[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160617_080228526[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160617_080509685[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160617_080313924[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160617_080642287[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160617_082119706[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160617_082243935[1].jpgIMG_201...jpgIMG_20160617_082542387[1].jpgIMG_201...jpg
Infiniti Mechanic: Wayne Crawford, Shop Owner replied 1 year ago

See that black 90 degree shaped bar on the left in the second pic?

Can you rotate that and hold it depressed and try to move the striker with a screwdriver or pick or something?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
This photo? If so, that horizontal bar is actually a U shaped catch bar a hook shaped striker (bolt) hooks on to. The U shaped bar is screwed into lower door panel and doesn't move. I tried finding an offset tool small enough to unscrew it. but no luck. I did try using a tire iron and a screwdriver to move the striker out of the way while opening the gate with door handle depressed in opening position. (That explains all the scratches) But as the gate is pulled open the hook shaped striker (bolt) closes around that bar so the gate only opens about an inch.
Infiniti Mechanic: Wayne Crawford, Shop Owner replied 1 year ago

No. Not that one.. inside the door.

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Infiniti Mechanic: Wayne Crawford, Shop Owner replied 1 year ago

Its the part that the rod from the handle pushes.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I think I see what parts you're referring to. Just to note: the rod with the white and the blue securing clips are the electric and the key lock actuating rods. The lever with the white head on it is the door lock actuator from the lift gate door handle. It depresses the plate of the lever below it which operates the door latch mechanism. I've already tried depressing the lever plate and moving the latch mechanisms parts and striker (bolt) parts from inside the door panel and (with help) the sticker (bolt) that hooks onto the striker assembly U shaped catch. I'll get in there again and see if there's something I missed. But right now it's hit near 100 outside so I think I'll wait till tonight. :)
Infiniti Mechanic: Wayne Crawford, Shop Owner replied 1 year ago

I hear you. I put a starter in at 1 in the morning the other day to avoid the heat.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Got my hands in there again while actuating latch release lever and feeling which parts were moving and clicking release. Then I tried moving those parts more to increase releasing action. No luck, they all have stops blocking further movement. Also tried to feel a part that wasn't being moved but should have, and tried using a screwdriver to move latch gears. Still no luck. I'm currently traveling. So when I get home where my tools and grinders are I'll mess with it again. If all else fails then it's off to a body shop that knows this model.They've probably had to deal with this sometime or another. I wonder if this latch closing over and locking onto striker assembly could be a safety feature to keep liftgate from opening when not fully closed and latched. Just wish there was something in a repair manual about it. But there's not that I can find. Thanks for the help. At least I'm pointed in a direction.
Infiniti Mechanic: Wayne Crawford, Shop Owner replied 1 year ago

No problem. Let me know if you need anything further.

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