Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tailgate Release Fix for Buick Rendezvous

Tailgate release switch. 
I apologize for not having more than this for a picture, as there is no fix for my camera and trying to do a step by step with pictures is more of a pain anyway. Just visualize what you need to do and the rest should fall into place. If you have a Rendezvous or Aztek, this should take you less than an hour. If you're an Equinox or Torrent person, I don't know the procedure, but the times should be similar (I did the 'Vous on the fly anyway). Haynes has a repair manual for you ladies and gentlemen anyway, so go buy one. Those with a Rendezvous or Aztek either have to subscribe to Alldata every year, or fix stuff on the fly. As always, I have no control over the quality of your work, nor the condition of your equipment, nor your mechanical ability. When in doubt, hire a competent mechanic to perform the work. Perform this and all other repairs at your own risk.

The switch itself is only about 30 dollars U.S. as of this writing from the dealer and you can get them cheaper online. However, when you're broke and payday is a week away, or you're cheap there is another way to fix  it for next to nothing. You'll need some silicone caulk or some electrical tape, a set of Torx bits and some Phillips ones as well. A small flat head screwdriver, and a pair of tweezers are also necessary. 

The switch lives underneath the handle on the tailgate. The touch pad closes a circuit and sends a signal to the body control module to open the latch. The result being you have access to your stuff. If this switch fails, you better have remote handy or you'll be taking this to a mechanic or crawling in the back to pry out a plug to operate the release. I imagine you could reach the two Torx screws holding this switch pretty easily, but I went ahead and removed the plastic body panel under the handle anyway. All you do is remove the Torx screws out from underneath and carefully work the panel from the gate. The top edge is head on by those molded in clips; DO NOT BREAK THEM or you'll have to glue this top edge in. I used a reasonable amount of care with mine and had no problem. 

You'll have to go underneath the handle and remove the Torx screws holding the switch in. Remove and look at it before you disconnect same. The neck of this should be black with no corrosion or soft spots. Also take not of how the wires on the electrical connector are hooked in. There is a black wire and a white wire. Remove the switch from the connector and look inside where it hooked up. There will be three pins inside. If you have an ohmmeter, or self-powered test light, use some alligator clips and hook it up to the to pins right next to each other. Press the touch pad and the light should light, or the meter should go to  zero. If not, try moving leads to other pins and repeat. If it works, you can save the switch. If not, you're going to have to replace it. 

If you've determined that you can save the part, you'll want to take note of which pins work and scrape out the gel from the neck of the switch. The problem with this switch is that the gel deteriorates and wherever there is salt being used, it gets into same and eats up the pins inside. One will likely be eaten up if the switch failed, but if the others are still in good shape, you can seal this with silicone and let it cure. Take the plastic clips off the connector and now you can move the leads where you need them to go. That red rubber plug in same is worth saving, so move it to the abandoned space. Push in the wires and reassemble the connector. Plug in the switch, make sure the doors are unlocked and squeeze the switch. The latch should unlock. Put the gate back together and you're done. Maranatha! 

6 comments:

Walter Grace said...

This fix is STILL working.

Mary said...

How do I get the lower hatch handle to engage?

Walter Grace said...

Mary, could you clarify where the lower latch handle is?

Vladimir Ilievski said...

Hi,

Does this work with Ford Focus MK2 tailgate switch? I think mine is not working, since I unlock all doors with the key button, but only the tailgate is still locked.

Could you explain me bit more?

Thanks

Vladimir Ilievski said...

Hi,

Does this work with Ford Focus MK2 tailgate switch? I think mine is not working, since I unlock all doors with the key button, but only the tailgate is still locked.

Could you explain me bit more?

Thanks

Walter Grace said...

Vladimir, You might have a broken wire harness at your trunk.