I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

Postby jsvr-4 [OP] » June 27th 2010, 9:00pm

When I press the unlock button on the remote of my '99 Astro, I hear the rear unlock. But when I push the button in, nothing.

I insert the key and it inserts freely and turns the lock, but I can't get the rear hatch to pop open. Is there a common issue with why this doesn't work?


Even though the hatch doesn't release I can pull on the dutch door handle and it pops open a bit (as much as the closed rear hatch will allow) so I know the rear dutch doors are unlocking... so I'm assuming that is the clicking I'm hearing.


Any direction on this issue would be appreciated. Loading groceries in the side is a pain! :banghead:
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Re: I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

Postby astroturf » June 28th 2010, 1:45am

jsvr-4 wrote:When I press the unlock button on the remote of my '99 Astro, I hear the rear unlock. But when I push the button in, nothing.

I insert the key and it inserts freely and turns the lock, but I can't get the rear hatch to pop open. Is there a common issue with why this doesn't work?


Even though the hatch doesn't release I can pull on the dutch door handle and it pops open a bit (as much as the closed rear hatch will allow) so I know the rear dutch doors are unlocking... so I'm assuming that is the clicking I'm hearing.


Any direction on this issue would be appreciated. Loading groceries in the side is a pain! :banghead:


I do not have Dutch Doors. I have Barn Doors. It seems that the linkage in that latch assy can fall off internally. You will have to remove the internal body panel to access and inspect those linkages. Mr_Bowtie did/reconnected his yesterday.

Good Luck and Keep us posted. Thanks, Jim
My Cup is neither half empty nor half full... But has a hole in it. Holy Cup Holders Batman. LOLz, Jim
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Re: I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

Postby Mr_Bowtie » June 28th 2010, 3:09am

OK I will take a crack at this...I'm no expert on this, but I was able to fix mine. :D

You gotta climb inside take the two little phillips screw out you can see on each side of the hatch & then pop the end caps of the handle in the middle of the hatch. There are 10mm bolts under those end caps. Then the handle comes off. Then the bottom of the plastic trim should be able to be pulled back away from the hatch. Then you can pop the hatch and see if the actuator is moving and if the rods are hooked up to the actuator still(that was my problem). If anything you should be able to open the hatch by moving the rods that go to each side of the hatch. Then you can take a couple more phillips screws out and pop that whole trim piece off the hatch to get a even better view of the actuator and assembly to see what is going on.

HTH! :chevy:
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Re: I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

Postby jsvr-4 [OP] » June 28th 2010, 3:18am

Ok. Sounds like a plan.


I'll take a crack at it tomorrow when there's some daylight.

Thank!
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Re: I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

Postby Mr_Bowtie » June 28th 2010, 3:20am

Good luck! Take a wrench w/10mm socket, phillips screwdriver, flashlight, & your remote with you in the back of the Van. Fold the back seat down and its almost perfect sitting area to work on it. :D
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Re: I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

Postby castle_Rock » June 28th 2010, 4:06am

Mr_Bowtie wrote:Fold the back seat down and its almost perfect sitting area to work on it. :D


A seat ontop of a seat! brilliant Bowtie! :chevy:
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Re: I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

Postby jsvr-4 [OP] » July 1st 2010, 4:28am

Long story short...... check your fuses.


:whack:
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Re: I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

Postby Mr_Bowtie » July 1st 2010, 4:29am

jsvr-4 wrote:Long story short...... check your fuses.


:whack:



Ah........thats a good place to start! :P
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Re: I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

Postby BeachWalker » August 1st 2010, 4:42pm

The left (driver's) side of the rear hatch on my 94 Astro didn't release last night. After reading posts here, this morning in daylight I removed the two phillips screws on each end of the interior panel of the hatch door, popped the caps off both sides of the handle in the middle (broke one of the caps), and removed the 10mm bolts on both sides of the handle.

After pulling the handle off, now I can see the plastic fitting in the middle behind the handle, and the rod connected to it, which goes toward the driver's end of the hatch. When we pop the hatch, the rod moves OK, but it seems to be lying loose and rattling around at the end I can't see (on the far edge where the hatch won't release).

With the two phillips screws removed, the inside panel on the hatch pops partially loose at the bottom, but I can't see anything behind it to tell what's going on, or reposition the floppy rod. I can't get to the phillips screws on the upper edges of the inside panel of the hatch.

Is there anything further I can do? In order to better access the inside edges of the hatch, is the next step to pull down the housing around the rear air conditioning? (At first glance I can't figure how to do that.) Or do I need to seek professional help from a body shop somewhere?
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Re: I hear the rear hatch unlock... but won't open.

Postby BeachWalker » August 1st 2010, 10:53pm

To answer my own question, yes, a lot of stuff had to be moved. I was about to abandon the project, but my intrepid mechanically-minded daughter forged ahead to success.

First we removed the overhead A/C vent panel, held in place with four rear-facing phillips screws along the back edge, and spring clips hidden overhead. We removed the screws, then popped the panel down.

We thought that now we could get to the upper phillips screw along the edge of the hatch, behind the A/C up-duct, but no, the A/C up-duct was held in place by the A/C panel under it, and that was held in place by the panel in front of it. So to remove one, we had to take out all three.

The forward panel is held by two hex-head bolts in the outside wall of its storage compartment. We removed those with a ratchet wrench, and that panel came loose. The rear panel is held by one allen-head bolt in the outside wall of its storage compartment. We removed that with an allen wrench, and that panel came loose (after popping loose the spring clips along the back edge), exposing two hex-head screws holding the bottom of the A/C up-duct panel. We removed those two screws, the A/C upduct came loose, and now the long-sought-after phillips screw on the hatch's edge was exposed. I realized that with the correct screwdriver (L-shaped or even S-shaped), we theoretically might have loosened that screw, but it was extremely tight, and required a lot of weight and torque to break it loose with a regular phillips screwdriver. (When we replaced it, we left it just a little loose, just in case . . . )

Once that screw was removed, the entire inside molding on the hatch could be popped off (it took a little effort -- the spring clips were stiff). The upper screw on the other side of the hatch was still tight, still obscured by the panel in front of it. The final effort involved wedging the edge of the panel by the door gasket, gently using a flat-headed screwdriver.

With the molding pulled out a few inches, I could get my fingers inside a little window at the corner of the hatch, in front of the malfunctioning lever assembly. After a few minutes' fumbling, I was able to slip the L-shaped end of the rod (extending from behind the hatch handle in the middle of the door) into the socket at the end of the lever that trips the door open. It had apparently simply fallen out. Now the door worked fine.

However, I was concerned -- the end of the rod fits through a nylon split-grommet in the hole in the end of the lever. It seemed to me that the rod was too slack in the hole, which would probably explain why it fell out. The rod/grommet assembly on the opposite corner of the hatch seemed considerably more snug. The end of the rod had a groove around it, so I decided to make an additional washer contraption to grip the end of the rod at the groove. The only thing at hand was a plastic boxtop off an oats box. I drilled two holes in it, trimmed it out as two strips with a hole in the end of each, and popped both of them over the end of the rod. (I would have used just one, but it still seemed to have a little slack after I mounted the first strip.) Now the assembly seemed snug, and still worked fine.

Then we reassembled everything, in reverse order. I used crazy glue to repair the broken end cap on the hatch's inside handle. It seemed to pop back into place and hold OK.
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