97+ Sticky Rear Hatch Latch Fix

Old 06-13-2016, 08:21 AM
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Default 97+ Sticky Rear Hatch Latch Fix

This may apply to the older XJ's with the fiberglass hatch, but i am not certain. Does your back hatch latch stick, and you find yourself banging on the door in various places to get it to pop open?
Here is the culprit and the easy fix. I had to Bang on my hatch in the lower right corner to get it to pop open while holding the handle. I could feel it "pop" the latch, but not enough to relieve the pressure on the Bar Pin.

Step .1 Open the hatch.

Step 2. Remove the plastic interior molding using a phillips screw driver and a T30 Torx Bit for the Handle. There are 9 plastic install clips holding the plastic tothe door. These can be re-used but i suggest getting new ones(any auto parts store will have them)

Step 3. Look down the door at the latch and you should see this: (not my jeep, i forgot a picture at this stage.)


Step 4. See that rod and the metal clip? that is your culprit. The clip needs to be all the way at the back of the threads. Carefully using a micro flat head, bend the tabs on the passenger side back to allow you to remove the rod.

Step 5. If you wish to Lube the latch assembly and clean the electrical connections, now is the time. Use a T40 Torx bit to remove the latch assembly and shoot it up with silicone spray or WD-40.

Step 6. After you re-install the latch assembly, make sure the rod is pulled all the way forward(but do not activate the latch). then slide the gold clip as far back on the threads as you can without activating the lever. then use a pair of needle nose pliers and pinch the tabs back to hold the clip on the rod.

Step 7. Now use a small narrow hose clamp or zip ties and cross over the clip to secure it in place. Like this:

I used yellow zippies, because thats all i have on hand.

Step 8. Test and adjust clip position on rod as necessary.

Step 9. Re-install plastic moulding with new weatherstripping and plastic retainers.

Step 10. Crack open beverage of choice and enjoy the silence in absence of significant other cussing at the door for not opening.
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:40 PM
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Very nice... I think I'll give this a go. Mine's starting to become a hassle to open
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Old 06-14-2016, 04:05 PM
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I did exactly this last year and can still open my hatch with one finger. Thanks for spreading the knowledge.
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by XJlimitedx99 View Post
I did exactly this last year and can still open my hatch with one finger. Thanks for spreading the knowledge.
I was really suprised, there wasnt a write up on this. I had watched BleepinJeeps side video on this, but it seemed to be to loaded with un needed info. So i tried to do this one short and simple. I will be switching the zipties for a narrow hose clamp tonight.
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:30 PM
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Mechanics wire would probably work pretty good as well
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Old 06-16-2016, 07:07 AM
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Thanks for the write up. My hatch has gotten to a point that it can barely be opened, I thought I was going to have to replace the whole handle assembly. Always glad to find a free and somewhat easy fix to a problem.

Great looking build btw, those wheeling pics were awesome.
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Old 06-16-2016, 07:43 AM
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i had to do this last year with my 99, but only after i installed a few nice boot dents and a couple knuckle dents. lol
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Old 06-20-2016, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeepin'_Aint_EZ View Post
Mechanics wire would probably work pretty good as well
Yes it would! I opted for a narrow 3/8's hose clamp.
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Old 06-20-2016, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by caged View Post
i had to do this last year with my 99, but only after i installed a few nice boot dents and a couple knuckle dents. lol
same here. there is now a permanent impression on the tailgate. I got tired of people staring at me weirdly while banging on it in the parking lot.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by WyoCherokee View Post
same here. there is now a permanent impression on the tailgate. I got tired of people staring at me weirdly while banging on it in the parking lot.
I've got a knee dent now near the handle. Argh!!!!
I'm planning on doing this as soon as I can.
I looked like some kind of circus monkey panning for change while trying to get it open after the parade. Hopefully no one got me on camera.
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Old 07-06-2016, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Krakker View Post
I've got a knee dent now near the handle. Argh!!!!
I'm planning on doing this as soon as I can.
I looked like some kind of circus monkey panning for change while trying to get it open after the parade. Hopefully no one got me on camera.
sometimes i can play it off as a trail scar, but not always.
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Old 07-10-2016, 04:52 PM
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Got our hatch latch back to working again. Very nice now that the rod actuates properly. Included some more pics for this thread.
It would be nice to have a lock-nut on the rod on each end to keep the clip "thingy" from moving out of adjustment. "IF" it ever gives me trouble again, I'll find out what thread it is and go that route. If anyone else has time, try it out and report back.
Attached Thumbnails 97+ Sticky Rear Hatch Latch Fix-imag0204.jpg   97+ Sticky Rear Hatch Latch Fix-imag0205.jpg   97+ Sticky Rear Hatch Latch Fix-imag0206.jpg   97+ Sticky Rear Hatch Latch Fix-imag0207.jpg   97+ Sticky Rear Hatch Latch Fix-imag0210.jpg  

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Old 07-11-2016, 04:04 PM
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i dont think that rod is any certain thread. I am guessing it is just grooved to hold the clip. at least it didnt appear to be. Perhaps a guy could fab a rod out of some allthread?
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by WyoCherokee View Post
i dont think that rod is any certain thread. I am guessing it is just grooved to hold the clip. at least it didnt appear to be. Perhaps a guy could fab a rod out of some allthread?
I've got a tap N die set, perhaps running a die over it would be enough to get some locknuts on it. This was a great DIY fix wither way. Flappy hatch?????? just do it !!!!!
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by WyoCherokee View Post
i dont think that rod is any certain thread. I am guessing it is just grooved to hold the clip. at least it didnt appear to be. Perhaps a guy could fab a rod out of some allthread?
Several years ago, I tried cranking a stop nut down the rod. It had no thread that I could tell. Just grooved. Unfortunately it didn't help much, as I still had to push in on the license plate "brow" to get the latch to open. The nut keeps the clip from sliding up, but now the rod just falls out of the clip.

My plan will be getting a new rod and clip, getting it all dialed in, than tying it down with baling wire.
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