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Discussion Starter #1
just bought 2006 legacy, tailgate worked ok when I looked at the car, now it won't lock or unlock. I plugged my meter into the connector to the actuator, the white plastic gizmo, k48-65311, when clicking to lock or unlock, it flashes 9.65 volts and there is resistance across the actuator leads, so it looks good on paper but no go with locking/unlocking? doesn't seem to have to do very much, the tab on the actuator only turns about 10 degrees and that corresponds to the same amount of rotation on the tab female, that turns when the lever is pushed up or down and yes the gate works fine when i manually move the white lever up and down manually. I'm so tempted to pry it apart and muck with insides of it thinking a new one will be something like $200
 

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There should be about 12 V for two seconds at the connector. The 9.65 V "flash" is probably as much as the meter will react to in that time. The voltage that appears on the meter will reverse when changing from Lock to Unlock.

The actuator is a small DC motor. It could be faulty, or the gear mechanism that it drives (to flip the lock) is jammed. When the fob Lock or Unlock is pressed, it should be possible to hear the motor run for about a second.

I haven't seen a thread here where someone has taken apart the hatch latch mechanism, but there is at least one for a side door actuator: See: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/80-electrical-electronics/38841-rear-door-power-lock-failed-fixed.html

Hope this helps, and please let us know how it turns out. (Some details and photos, as in the linked thread, could be helpful for others in future.)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
so if I understand, you are saying seeing the 9.65 volts instead of 12, is probably ok? because the 2 second duration does not allow the meter to fully 'see' the full 12 volts? If that is so then the actuator is probably fried even though it still shows resistance and not an open circuit. The replacement is not as expensive as I imagined, a sub dealer has it for $65 which includes the entire latch mechanism which is overkill in my case but I suppose good to have a spare. I hope the new actuator comes off the latch like my current setup as that is very easy with 2 screws, getting at the entire latch is a big deal to take off all the interior trim on the tailgate interior. Do you know of any sub parts dealers that might have parts like this and for less than sub dealer prices? will send pics and more later
 

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Some digital voltmeters can store and indicate the "peak" voltage; nevertheless, most take some time to make the measurement. The time depends on the design, but it's not unusual for a short pulse, such as 2 seconds or less, to read out as something less. Also, the actual voltage might not be a full 12 V, because there will be some drop in the keyless entry control module. I'd say the 9.6 Volts is probably a good reading.

The actuator, i.e., the motor, might have continuity, but be seized, either itself or the gears it drives.

The thread I linked to above involved a motor with a "stuck" motor shaft which the author was able to loosen. In that case, the actuator assembly could be opened and the motor accessed. I'm not sure if the motor in the hatch latch assembly is equally accessible.

There are some on-line Subaru parts suppliers, such as Subaruonlineparts.com. I checked there -- the hatch (the mechanism at the bottom of the door) is currently priced at $49.01 (List, $66.95). Shipping is additional, although sometimes on-line suppliers have free shipping. Might be worthwhile searching for on-line Subaru parts suppliers and see what's available.

Here's another thread where the hatch lock mechanism was replaced (has photos): http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/109-gen-3-2005-2009/122289-rear-gate-latch-replacement.html.
 

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Hi there!

I'm the author plain OM referenced, and I have a touch of experience with the hatch, too :) (I'm the author of both threads)

The power lock actuator is part of the latch assembly. If you buy a new latch assembly, you get a new actuator. I haven't seen it available separately.

The latch mechanism also contains the gate open switch, which helped drive my replacing it (that, and my mistaken assumption that the latch cable came with the latch instead of the handle). The plastic around the switch was cracked on mine, which would randomly decide the gate was open, and set off the alarm..
 

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Discussion Starter #7
success

I pried the actuator apart by making multiple insertions around the perimeter of the seam with the point of my utility knife blade. once apart there are 3 pieces, the motor with a worm gear at end of shaft, a gear with funky teeth, and an arm that gets moved back forth so that the tab on it opens the lock mechanism
When I pulled out the motor, one of the elec contacts fell out of being attached to the motor, not sure if that by design or if its interior connection just got busted. so holding the contacts and motor and attaching to plug and hitting lock /unlock sure enuf the motor fired up for a long second turning the worm gear quite a bit. so I bent the contact end that goes into the motor to give a chance to make good contact, put it all back together and duct taped it of course and it worked first not attached then also attached. the 2 screws that attach the actuator to the lock mechanism really hold it together pretty good probably eliminating the need for duct tape. it continues to work for a few days now so hopefully it will stay that way
thanks for the help and suggestions
 

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Excellent explanation and photos!

This thread, along with the links to jwvess00's threads, has the actuators covered. Good candidate for being bookmarked.
 

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Thanks. The rear latch on 07 has not locked in 3 years or so though it arms alarm. Like the airbag solder issue, it seems to be a common problem and I need to fix both once it warms up. Assumed an entire new latch was needed but may try your fix first.
 

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To All: You can test actuator without removing from car by sending 12v directly to one pin and grounding other pin. Reverse wires and actuator will open. Reverse again, and it will close. If you do this, problem is in wiring and not in latch/actuator.

I just started this diagnostic yesterday and have determined mine is in wiring.

Dealer wanted to charge me a fortune to diagnose, and then suggested that I go ahead and replace latch/actuator unit.

Check out this link before you buy new unit. Worked for me. http://www.justanswer.com/subaru/3jsu9-hi-2005-subaru-outback-the-back-hatch-lock-will-not.html
 

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Also, I have discovered by research, that wiring damage occurs sometimes at right roof-to-hatch location due to brittleness of wiring harness.

Check voltage to wire while grounded. If no voltage is present after performing above test, you need to check wiring.

In addition, lock control for back hatch latch/actuator is controlled from different relay. This function allows trunk to be locked and unlocked separately without locking and unlocking doors.

I will give you final results after I check wiring.
 

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So here is the outcome. I discovered broken wire were wiring harness comes through rubber boot at top-right area of body-to-hatch location. Repaired wire as seen in photos above, wrapped with electrical tape, pushed lock and unlock on remote key, and all is now working. Much easier that replacing actuator/latch, or paying dealer for wiring harness replacement.

Repair was not very difficult, and does not require removal of all trim pieces as seen in my photos. As I had no idea what problem was when I began, I removed all trim because dealer told me I would need to replace actuator/hatch.

Test as I mentioned above before removing all the trim. If actuator is ok, you can get to wiring without removing everything. However, it was nice to have everything off to see how things were put together. Will give you confidence should you ever need to get back behind trim again.

 

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Nice photos. Augments the information here about the rear hatch lock and the other threads about broken wires in the flexible boots. Thanks.

Incidentally, the first photo ("Hatch - Trim Removed View 1") clearly shows the radio antenna amplifier (gray box, above the glass, on the left side). Many have asked about its location. However, in the second photo (" Hatch - Trim Removed View 2"), there's a black, rectangular device mounted to the metal on the right side, with what appear to be fairly heavy red wires at either end. I don't recall that. Any idea what it is? (I presume the car is a 3rd gen Outback, i.e., 2005-9, but it might be helpful if you would add the year and model information, as there could be differences year-to-year.)

 

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Hey thanks for the good info. I was able to fix mine and believe it or not, it was the same white wire with the black stripe! A small piece of wire and some solder and shrink tube later, all better. Much appreciated. Pat
 

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I think I am having the same issue on my 2006, but the hatch is locked. Is there a way to get to the mechanism to unlock it with the hatch closed?
 
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