Back hatch / liftgate won't open, help - Page 2 - Dodge Caliber Forums
Problems / Dealer Service If you are having problems with your Dodge Caliber and you would like to discuss it, this is the section. Have your car into the dealer for a particular reason and want to talk about it? Do it in here.

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post #11 of 20 Old 06-06-2009, 05:33 AM
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Re: Back hatch / liftgate won't open, help

So, was it the mechanism, or a loose connection. To me, it sounds like it was a connection problem, typical Chrysler from my experience. Hopefully they did do some troubleshooting to determine the underlying problem.

Glad you got it fixed and thanks for the procedure on the trim removal.


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Last edited by mopartodd; 06-06-2009 at 05:35 AM.
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post #12 of 20 Old 06-06-2009, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Back hatch / liftgate won't open, help

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Originally Posted by mopartodd View Post
So, was it the mechanism, or a loose connection. To me, it sounds like it was a connection problem, typical Chrysler from my experience. Hopefully they did do some troubleshooting to determine the underlying problem.

Glad you got it fixed and thanks for the procedure on the trim removal.

When I intially took it in, they also doubted the mechanism because they had not yet heard of any calibers with a bad liftgate mechanism. So they did a full inspection of the electrical and connections, but came to the same conclusion as I, that it was the mechanism. If it was not the mechanism, then the problem would still persist now. In any case, I will keep an eye out and will update the forum if it I have future problems with the mechanism. It has worked great ever since the new mechanism was installed.
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post #13 of 20 Old 06-06-2009, 03:36 PM
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Re: Back hatch / liftgate won't open, help

that great!!

I too had to deal with a couple of less than great dealers, before i found a great, true 5-star dealer, that also has a shuttle, etc.

I'm glad it all worked out!


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post #14 of 20 Old 01-30-2013, 04:05 AM
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Hello everyone. I finally figured out how to get the back hatch open even while the electronic locks (both on the drivers door and key fob) failed to unlock the hatch. And you can forget taking the hatch paneling off until the door is open, since the two main screws holding the panel on are only accessible with the door open.......etc...etc..
After searching the internet, the above post and instructions by Stichypoo were the most comprehensive ( if not the only) ones available to address the problem of the liftgate that won't open with the electronic keyless entry type key.

I've just had the same problem with my 2007 Caliber SXT CRD (2.0L Turbodiesel) and, thanks to Stichypoo, solved the problem but with a variance and decided to join this forum specifically to post my experience here for other members' benefit.

I removed the 5 screws on the boombox hinge and then carefully, one at a time, cut off the 4 speaker wires to the boombox and taped off the ends just in case it should touch any metal bodywork, just to be safe. I needed to get the speakers out the way for ease of access.

The small hole in the back panel was too small and finicky for my liking so I proceeded to remove the panel even though the instructions said not to bother because it won't come off. The plastic panel is in 2 sections. One is the recessed section for the speakers and the other is the surround trim to the liftgate.There are 4 screws in the recessed section where the boombox goes and I took those out. Then I unclipped all the clips that hold the plastic panels to the bodywork including the large panel that surrounds the liftgate. This panel was still attached to the liftgate at the bottom but the top half where the window wiper goes was able to be pulled away far enough from the bodywork to enable the speakers' panel to be extracted. This gave me a huge opening with unrestrained access to the lock actuator.

The next problem was that the "white plastic knob" that Stichypoo talks about is in fact a lever of some sort and not a knob. This lever was stuck and wouldn't move down at all. I then proceeded to remove the 3 small "Torx" type screws that holds the body of the actuator together. Don't be scared to undo the screws. Everything in the actuator is straight forward, well secured, and nothing will fall apart when you open it. The actuator was now in 2 parts even though one section was still firmly attached to the liftgate. There is another smaller, Torx screw to be removed inside the half of the actuator that has just been removed. Once opened, this half contained a small DC motor with a wormgear and a round plastic gear. I could see the problem immediately. 2 teeth had broken off from the plastic gear and was jamming the wormgear and preventing it from turning and also prevented the white plastic lever from being manually operated.

Once I had removed the 2 broken bits of plastic that was stuck between the gears, everything freed up. I put the 2 halves of the actuator back together and tried the white plastic lever. It worked just fine and was able to be depressed about 1/2" and I was able to open the liftgate as per the instructions. The actuator worked fine after that but I will have to replace the unit as I'm afraid that more teeth will break off the plastic gear in future.

I have attached a close-up pic of the actuator for clarity as to the location of the cable release mechanism, white plastic lever and location of the Torx screws. Unfortunately I only decided to take a picture after everything was assembled so there's no pic of the inside showing the wormgear and the plastic gear.

I hope this helps someone else. Thanks to member Stichypoo for pointing me in the right direction.
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Last edited by Seffriken; 01-30-2013 at 04:08 AM.
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post #15 of 20 Old 01-30-2013, 08:10 AM
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Great first post!

Glad you were able to get it open again.
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post #16 of 20 Old 01-30-2013, 02:55 PM
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Great first post!
Great forum.......lots of useful information....
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post #17 of 20 Old 10-11-2016, 09:50 PM
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Cool 2011 Mainstreet

I just want to say a BIG thank you to Seffriken and Stichypoo who took the time to post. Nothing apparently changed in the design between 2007 and 2011. My daughter pulled into my driveway just before dark tonight and said My hatch was broken... My name is on the title because she was unable to buy a car when she needed one. I found Stitchypoo's instructions and printed them out, not waiting for page two because we were losing daylight. We were able to get it open and take the panel off, and it was working fine once we got it open. I decided to give it a few days before putting the panel back on just in case it stops working. With an almost one year old grandson the hatch is opened daily. After my husband and I decided that it was working and could see no further issues I took the car back to her house and showed her that it is functional. When I came home I finished reading the thread and have decided to go ahead and get a new actuator ordered since it is highly likely that this one will fail again soon. Then we will put the panel back on!
If I remember to I will take our apart and see if we have the same issues with the worm gear and post the pic of the internal components.
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post #18 of 20 Old 10-21-2016, 12:55 PM
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Anyone know if you can just order the worm gear? 2 teeth are broken off and it makes an awful noise when it locks and sometimes doesn't unlock. Any suggestions on where to get the part or the worm gear?
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post #19 of 20 Old 10-31-2016, 05:05 PM
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Great Write up! It really helped me get mine open.
One thing I would change is that in Step 5
5.) A few inches to the right of this and a bit lower is a white plastic knob. This is the lock/unlock solenoid thingy. Use a screwdriver or similarly long object to push the knob down with a screwdriver an 1/2" or so to unlock the door.
Instead of pushing the knob (white plastic thingy) sticking out from locking solenoid pull it back (pushing is the incorrect direction for my 2011 Calibur.)
There should be a small hole / may have a cap about 1 inch wide in the center of the door. Shine a small bright flash light down in to the hole from the top shining down and on the right side about 2 or so inches in you will see the White thingy. Get a screw driver of similar objects and leverage to pull it back toward you. you should feel it click of pop into the unlock position.
When we did ours we found that the solenoid was making a horrid noise and order a new one. new one will run you $215 from the dealer or $153 from other online dodge retailers. A used one will run you about $50+.
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post #20 of 20 Old 12-06-2016, 07:12 AM
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I have a 2007 SXT with 91,XXX miles on it and just had the rear latch break on mine last night. I just want to say thank you to the post to help with getting it open. I found on my model since I do not have the speakers on the rear gate that my rear panel is extremely easy to remove. I crawled back there with a skinny flat head screw driver and popped the upper door panel plastics loose on both sides and then pulled the lower complete section off which is held in place by plastic tabs with metal covered tips that pop in the door enough for me to get a good look at the mechanism to where I could open the door (need two people to do this as you would guess). I discovered that my power lock works just fine and that the handle is broke at the top and not pulling the cable far enough open the latch at the bottom, I also noticed that the flat upper section on the outside portion of the door which holds the handle, tag lights and dodge emblem is actually loose and I could see the bolts on the sides that were broken out of the upper section. I was wondering if anyone has seen this happen? I searched online last night and found the upper section used but it didn't have the cable to attach to the release latch but it did have the handle in it. I would really like to avoid buying this part from the dealer because of the cost but I also don't drive the car that much and it usually sits in the garage because I just got a new car.

Last edited by jacmoose; 12-06-2016 at 08:06 AM.
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