If your hatch doesn’t completely unlatch on first attempt and you need to pull the cable release again or turn the key once more in order to get it open, then this mod. is for you.
After a search through the forums I found several other people were having the same problem that I was with the hatch not releasing completely upon the first try. One member suggested that this was a feature and not to fix it which is not true. The trunk does have a double latching safety feature to help keep the hatch secured in an accident but this has little to do with why it opens poorly after having worked fine for years. Others have suggested the gas cylinders are getting weak which is also false. The gas lift struts have nothing to do with the trunk popping open. They only serve to hold the hatch open after it is raised up. Yes, a weak gas strut will prevent the hatch from staying open, especially on the first cold day of winter, but it does not assist in popping the trunk up those first few inches.
So now that we know what isn’t causing the problem let’s see what is and fix it. This mod was done on a 98 2G RS without factory alarm. You might have an extra wire going to your hatch release but it shouldn’t affect the fix. This repair takes less than a half hour. Tools and parts needed: Blade screwdriver, drill with 1/8” or 3/16” bit, large pliers, strong needle nose pliers and safety glasses (springs have a way of finding your face when they fly off)!
The first thing you need to do is remove the plastic panel on the rear inside of the trunk. There is no need to remove the two plastic screw access caps just in front of the latch. Those covers would only be removed if you need to adjust the latch up or down slightly if your hatch doesn’t close correctly. Gently pry the bottom of the panel out, towards the front of the car, at the lower corners. There arefour hidden clips on the back similar to door panel clips. Once the corners are loose, push the panel up and release the 6 clips hidden along the top of the plastic molding. Set aside the plastic cover.
You’ll now see the latch exposed with the hatch “pop” spring right there where it’s easy to get to. Do NOT loosen or remove the latch. On my Eclipse the spring had completely released its energy (coils were all touching) before the lid was lifted enough to clear the latch. I verified this by sitting inside the spare tire well with the lid closed and then popped the hatch. I was unable to slip a piece of paper between the coils of the spring which verified it would not be able to lift the hatch the last 1/16” it needed to clear the latch mechanism. All I had to do was increase the distance between the spring end points to gain a little extra power. To do this I bent the tab on the driver side slightly toward the driver side. To gain even a little more leverage, without over-stretching the spring, I changed the location of the hole on the lever at the other end of the spring mount to gain a mechanical advantage. As you can see in the photos I simply drilled a new hole just below the original one. These two steps fixed the hatch to pop up problem whether using the cable release, key or my added alarm electric remote solenoid. The spring could possibly be changed to a stronger one if you have added weight to your hatch. Test it out before putting the cover back on and of course, lube the latch up with some good lithium grease before putting it all back together.
I got the same problem w/ a 98rs. I usually just open it with the key though. I walk around to the trunk, put the key in and turn it to unlock it. Then with the key still turned all the way I lift the hatch up until it clears. Otherwise it will get stuck in that mechanism like you describe.
The next hurdle I have to get over is the weak struts won't hold it up.
I will give this a try this weekend, if it doesn't freakin rain again.
Whoa, bookmarked this info. I don't have this issue currently but did on my last GST, also my cousins definitely does have this problem. I always honestly thought it was a double lock "feature" but could never figure out what models it came on. Thanks for the info and clarification.
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