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:mecry:Hey Guys, I have had my sxt for 37k, and all of a sudden the hatch won't unlock. Because I don't have a manual lock system, there is not key hole or any means to unlock it. And though the manual says there is a plug in the gate's interior that allows the door to be openned, I can't find it. Please help me get my caliber back to 100%. All the other doors unlock just fine. I have tried using the unlock on the drivers door and on my key fob. The manual is no help. I would rather avoid taking it in since I think I am only under powertrain warrantee now (37K). What should I do???:huh:
 

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:mecry:Hey Guys, I have had my sxt for 37k, and all of a sudden the hatch won't unlock. Because I don't have a manual lock system, there is not key hole or any means to unlock it. And though the manual says there is a plug in the gate's interior that allows the door to be openned, I can't find it. Please help me get my caliber back to 100%. All the other doors unlock just fine. I have tried using the unlock on the drivers door and on my key fob. The manual is no help. I would rather avoid taking it in since I think I am only under powertrain warrantee now (37K). What should I do???:huh:
Unfortunately, as far as I've seen on this site. No one has been able to pop the hatch open from the manual's direction. I can only recall someone accessing the latch from detrimming the hatch, not an easy job.
I have the same setup with no key entry which sucks! Though I never had this happen, I hate the idea that it has no keyslot option.
Good Luck.
 

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I've never looked into this, a quick look in the manual and i found this:



I can see a cable that should come from the handle to the latch, but if its not getting unlocked, that is probably useless...I can't seem to find anything with regards to troubleshooting the liftgate lock thus far for you...
 

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I've never looked into this, a quick look in the manual and i found this:



I can see a cable that should come from the handle to the latch, but if its not getting unlocked, that is probably useless...I can't seem to find anything with regards to troubleshooting the liftgate lock thus far for you...
Are these pics from the service manual cd? Wanted to get my hands on that.
Funny thing about removal of the panel. If the door is stuck close and locked, how does dodge expect someone to remove the panel. It's weird that they mention the plug in the panel, so much for misinformation from the factory.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
DIM (Do It Myself) hatches, latches, and thingy's

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. Before I go into the following instructions, I will disclaimer that I would only suggest going to the extreme of troubleshooting this problem yourself if you are out of warrantee and short on cash like me. If not, just take it to the dealer.

1.) Get inside the back of the car. I would suggest folding down the rear seats to make yourself comfy. May want to throw a blanket down too. I know this is already sounding bad.
2.) Pull open the boom box thingy no one ever uses (okay maybe some people do).
3.) There is a hole about an inch in diameter with a wire running through it leading from the back of the boom box. It is a dark hole with access, though not easy, to both the door latch mechanism and the automatic (or not so automatic in my case) lock/unlocking solenoid thingy.
4.) Shine a small flash light at an angle such that you light up the inside bottom of the panel. One of those keychain flashlights is perfect. You may be able to also use the flashlight on the interior roof of the car now above your head. You should see a cable wire with a pall at the end near the middle much like you would see at the end of your bike brakes. That is you latch mechanism. For now, forget about that, because until the door is unlocked, it is useless.
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.
6.) If the problem was just the locking/unlocking solenoid thingy, you should be able to jump out of the car and use the hatch handle to pull open the hatch.
7.) If it still doesn’t open, the latch mechanism may need some manual help from the inside. Jump back into the car and look at the latch mechanism again (cable thingy with ball at end). This should move when you use the handle on the outside of the car (will need someone else to do it while you are inside looking). If it does not move when someone pulls the handle, then the handle may need to be replaced. You can move it from the inside with a right sweeping motion with a long skinny screwdriver. Just be careful since there is a lot of wiring in there you don't want to damage.
8.) So by now, you should know if the problem was a solenoid or latch handle. If the door still doesn’t want to open, the latch tooth may just be jammed due to a foreign object or misalignment of something. Try pushing and pulling the hatch to loosen it and go through the procedure again.

If you got the hatch open, don’t go shutting the hatch or you will have to go through that mess again. Regardless of whether it was the handle, solenoid, or latch mechanism, you are going to need to get that panel off to make sure and to replace the part.

1.) With the hatch open, look at the base of the door for two silver screws. Take them off.
2.) Swing the boom box down again and unscrew the four black screws.
3.) The only thing holding the panel now is 6 panel latch thingy’s. Starting from the bottom of the door, pull evenly at different points with steady pressure to pull the panel off. Keep in mind that the paneling near the window overlaps this panel piece, so don’t go too hard and fast or you will take off a lot more than you need to and possibly damage something. The two latches near the window will require you grabbing the paneling at the base of the windshield.
4.) Once you have it off, you will need to disconnect the boom box wire which is the only thing preventing the panel from dropping to the ground. Support the panel so that you don’t damage this. It will help if someone is there to help you unplug it.
5.) With the panel off, you have a much better view of everything. Try using the handle to make sure the latch mechanism works well and the unlock button on the drivers door or you key fob to see if the solenoid is working (white knob should move). If both are now working as was in my case, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Once everything was apart, everything was back to working again. I guess caliber just needed some attention. I also noticed some of the plastic coating on the latch tooth coming off, so I cut the hanging piece just in case this was catching on something and jamming the latch. I will go ahead and leave the panel off a few days to make sure the problem doesn’t come back. If the problem returns, I will just be looking at the cost of the part rather than the over priced labor I was sure to get charged at the dealer. And that is if they could have even figured out what was wrong. You can tell I have had a few bad experiences with my local Dodge dealerships. Hope this helps and sorry for all of the layman talk of thingy’s, latches and hatches! I hope no one else has this problem. While you are in there, I would also suggest lubricating the mechanical parts well.
 

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Great!

I assume you have the liftgate speakers?

I was going to say that that when i looked at mine, the main screws are only available once the door is open...

But anyways, glad you got it open, lets hope that it was an isolated event!
 

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Thanks stitchypoo for spending your time making this nice write up.
I took a peek at the hole and saw what you are talking about. Makes me want to tear the panel open one day and fabricate either a larger access panel or a interior release mechanism, you know just in case.
Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Back hatch / liftgate won't open UPDATE

Great news for my car. But first the update. As mentioned in my above post, the gate lock started working after the panel was removed. But I did not put the panel right back on. I wanted to wait awhile just incase the problem came back and sure enough it did. I looked on the internet and called local dealers for pricing on a new locking mechanism (liftgate / hatch lock motor / solenoid part # 4589176AB). The part ranged in prices from $85 - $115. I also tried salvage yards, but none had a caliber. While talking to one of the local Chrysler dealerships I had not yet worked with (we have three), he suggested I contact the dealership I purchased the car from to make sure that I did not have an underwritten plan separate from Chrysler. Sure enough, found out I had gotten “preferred” coverage up to 75K with Zurich during my purchase. So even though I was at 37K, I was covered. In fact, the coverage covers everything from power train to electrical, etc. The only catch was that there is a $100 deductible. So I took the car in to the third dealership and they made sure that my diagnosis was correct. They went above and beyond the good customer service they had given be thus far by offering to call Chrysler to see if they would cover the repair since I was just barely out of my 36K Chrysler warrantee. Chrysler agreed, so $0 out of my pocket. They even offered free shuttle service during the repair which is not offered at the other two dealerships. This was a big help since we are a single car family. Best yet, I now have a new dealership that has great customer service. Not surprising, the other two dealerships were on the hack list by Chrysler while this one was not. It is sad that so many dealers area loosing the franchise and many good people will loose their jobs, but I am glad that Chrysler picked the best of the three dealerships to keep. So Cali is back in one piece and working great!:eek:hyeah::clap::beerchug:
 

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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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Discussion Starter #12
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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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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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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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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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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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.
 
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