Subaru Outback Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of December's Outback of the Month Challenge!
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
2001 Outback Wagon, manual, 2.5
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the past few months that I've had my 2001 OBW the handle on the hatch was a bit stuff. I'd have to physically move it back down in order for it to lock or unlock properly. The handle wouldn't snap back down on it's own.

Yesterday after loading it up from grocery shopping I get home and I can't open the hatch. I've tried unlocking it from the remote and the door controls. I can move the handle and it sound like it's trying to lock/unlock the hatch but it won't open. I can't even turn the key in the lock for it.

I figure that something is probably just jammed or rusted in place. Is this is common issue? Also, what's the best way to remove the liner/panel for the inside of the hatch without breaking anything so that I can investigate the matter?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
2001 Subaru Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
Joined
·
60 Posts
It's pretty straight forward to remove back panel. Tools needed are pry bar/clip removal tool (preferred), or simply a long screwdriver. Basically pry panel off and you'll be there. It's held up by plastic clips. Pry on both sides. See pics for more detail. For reassembly, as a note if needed, you may need to replace the plastic clips to get them to stay once they've been removed as the plastic on them gets damaged. You can match the clip to clips at NAPA or elsewhere and buy a pack for less than $10.

Hope this helps. Hard to say what's causing your problem without seeing it. Take pictures if you can once you're in there for further troubleshooting.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
Joined
·
18,763 Posts
is there a reasonable way to help prevent problems with that thing? could I spray some at the ends of the handle from the outside that would get some lube though a nozzle or ??? to a spot that would be helpful?
 

·
On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
Joined
·
27,165 Posts
is there a reasonable way to help prevent problems with that thing? could I spray some at the ends of the handle from the outside that would get some lube though a nozzle or ??? to a spot that would be helpful?



it gets impacted with dust,...even if I clean it out it the springs only last working for a few months. I and many others here use their thumb to return the latch to its original positon before closing.
(and I use to do that on a 1986 subaru wagon too).

without going into detail:

things that collect dust like, but still need some lube should get white lithium grease spray. (as it does not collect dust like WD40).

dust holds moisture = rust. (outside of texas).

the latch is accessable with screws,

or if you are more adventureous, popping off the inside of the hatch, (ruining the 1 time use plastic fasteners), and screwing it back home with sheet metal screws.

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...little-red-dark-phoenix-saga.html#post5065962
 

·
Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
Joined
·
18,763 Posts
seems like my climate might just get me thru OK or, more practical to wait until I actually have a problem and just replace the thing.

low pressure area at the back makes dust collect in there I guess? never really thought much about it but, rain/mist is also gonna collect in the same areas.
 

·
Registered
'01 Base OBW w/5MT & AWP, Wintergreen
Joined
·
105 Posts
This just happened on my '01 Base, too, but I was able to operate the handle a few times (well, only the every limited arc it was able to go) and after about twenty squeezes, it freed up. I would bet on something inside (the actual latch lever, upon which the handle's lever acts) being gummed up, crusty, etc. I would suggest you remove the back panel to clean everything up, but you might get lucky working the exterior handle through its arc a few times like I did.
 

·
Premium Member
'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
Joined
·
2,792 Posts
Yesterday after loading it up from grocery shopping I get home and I can't open the hatch. I've tried unlocking it from the remote and the door controls. I can move the handle and it sound like it's trying to lock/unlock the hatch but it won't open. I can't even turn the key in the lock for it.

Thanks.
You probably have the same problem that my '96 had - you forgot to push the handle back down before turning the key to lock it. That will totally screw the lock mechanism from working, and give you the exact issues you described.

Once I removed the interior panel, I was able to move one of the rods that control everything ( I forget which) and everything worked perfectly afterwards - except that the handle still sticks.

Haven't done it yet, but when I get the car back into the shop next week to finish up the rust work, I'll remove the handle and submerse it in some vinegar to remove the rust, then coat it with a rust converter (to hopefully convert any inter-granular rust that may remain), then repaint it. I may also submerse it in some special nano-particle lube I have and work the handle a hundred times or so to work the particles into the joints to keep it free-moving. If all goes well, it should last for many more years.
 

·
Premium Member
2018 2.5i Limited; "Wanderlust II"
Joined
·
512 Posts
There's a short cable between the release handle and the latch that will over time accumulate a load of grime & grot inside the jacket, and either prevent the handle from opening the latch or prevent it from closing under spring tension. The cure is to either remove & clean the cable and jacket *thoroughly* and re-lube it *thoroughly*, or replace the whole affair, liberally lubing the new parts. It takes about five minutes to R&R the latch handle & cable assembly, once you get the tailgate trim panel off.
 

·
Premium Member
2018 2.5i Limited; "Wanderlust II"
Joined
·
512 Posts
Haven't done it yet, but when I get the car back into the shop next week to finish up the rust work, I'll remove the handle and submerse it in some vinegar to remove the rust, then coat it with a rust converter (to hopefully convert any inter-granular rust that may remain), then repaint it. I may also submerse it in some special nano-particle lube I have and work the handle a hundred times or so to work the particles into the joints to keep it free-moving. If all goes well, it should last for many more years.
Don't forget to clean & relube the cable, too! All the work you'll do on the handle is wasted if the cable is too grotty to move.
 

·
Premium Member
'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
Joined
·
2,792 Posts
OK - didn't see the cable in my first foray into this problem, so will look for it when I get back to that car.
 

·
Registered
'17 3.6R Touring Brillant Brown Pearl
Joined
·
2,424 Posts
You probably have the same problem that my '96 had - you forgot to push the handle back down before turning the key to lock it. That will totally screw the lock mechanism from working, and give you the exact issues you described.

Once I removed the interior panel, I was able to move one of the rods that control everything ( I forget which) and everything worked perfectly afterwards - except that the handle still sticks.

Haven't done it yet, but when I get the car back into the shop next week to finish up the rust work, I'll remove the handle and submerse it in some vinegar to remove the rust, then coat it with a rust converter (to hopefully convert any inter-granular rust that may remain), then repaint it. I may also submerse it in some special nano-particle lube I have and work the handle a hundred times or so to work the particles into the joints to keep it free-moving. If all goes well, it should last for many more years.

Been there, tried that. It'll work for a coupla mo's then you'll be back.

Just replace it and be done.
 

·
Premium Member
'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
Joined
·
2,792 Posts
Not worth replacing as I will be selling the car within the year, and you do not have access to the special nanolubricants that I have that ( hopefully) will make the difference.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top