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How to get into rear hatch when catch is stuck - Interior/Exterior/Lights/Glass/Alarms/ICE/HVAC - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
johnpwalsh

How to get into rear hatch when catch is stuck

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OK guys, how the hell can you get into the boo of an S3 when one catch is tuck in the locked position. Tried all the usual tricks, have the wife pull the cable while I try lift the hatch, press the hatch down while she pulls the handle, bounce on it while she pulls, all to no avail.

Any suggestions. I need to keep a check on the oil as she has a drip from the front oil seal.

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Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

I believe the last resort is to cut a hole behind the number plate, but there may be a better way? Maybe one to pm?

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It's also worth trying the already attempted manipulation methods with one rear wheel bumped up onto the kerb as the body deflection can sometimes assist.

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I believe the two final options are. Cut hand sized hole behind numberplate somas you can put your hand in and pull the cables manually (last choice), or take the bottom floor panel out (gearbox area).

This issue has been talked about a fair while back so there should be a thread with pics hopefully.

Full guide with pics on the LEW page under maintenance/mods. :-)


Simon  (94 S4)      My Esprit will be for sale in late 2017

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Been told today if I can sacrifice my tailight then I can get in that way but got to find a spare SD1 light first.

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EBAY ITEM 281725681033

It's a pair - go and get your hammer john


Only here once

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Had to have a read on the pretty extensive page at LEW on the subject. Have you read it? 

 

Failing all that what about threading a stiff wire hook up through a hole just big enough to get the hook in. 

 

Regardless I don't think cutting a hole should be thought of as permanent damage. Even a semi decent glassing job with some good finishing would leave absolutely no traces.

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You don't even have to glass it back up. You could get one of those rubber floor bung jobbies that fits the hole and whack it in?


All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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I cut a hole in the back of my SE when this happened (behind the number plate). In retrospect it would have been smarter to remove the exhaust and remove the "infill panel" of the boot floor (if your S3 has one), or maybe even make a little hole in the boot floor, reach in your arm and squeeze the tabs closed. 

 

Don't tug on the cable, or try and hook it onto a clothes hanger or anything...like I did...you just end up more frustrated. 

 

Let us know how you get on. But like others have said, it's not a loss whatever you do - repair is easy. I'd do the boot floor personally, cut just enough so you don't cut up the carpet... 


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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Nah I wouldn't think so. In the worst case just employ child labour.

 

With a hole in the middle of the car behind the license place I was able to reach in my entire arm (with some persuasion) to squeeze together the hatch release on the left side. Lemme tell you that after that experience there is no Esprit ANYWHERE on earth with a more finely adjusted tailgate.


Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '91 Elan SE | '97 XK8

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Dear John,

 

Haven't logged in for a while and just picked up this thread

I had this problem after finally getting my car back after a total restoration. When pulling the release, like you, it partly released the hatch but not fully.

Popped over the Paul Matty to sort it. In the workshop Brian fetched a large metal bar with a hook on the end. Lifted the release lever, inserted the hook below and captured the cable. Then firmly, but without yanking he pulled on the cable and the rear hatch release.

This will usually work where the cable has stretched or the small brass nodules on the cable have slipped. If it is yanked these may slip further. Suitable adjustments were made, and all is good.

Just monitor the release lever performance. If you are having to pull it fully to finally release the rear hatch, take up the slack immediately.

Hope this is not too late to be of use.

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I fitted an emergency rip cord... a line tied to the cable between the two catches, gaff taped to the inside of the boot, with a small handle on the outside, bolted to the boot floor.  It's completely invisible unless you know where to look. If the cable breaks, unbolt the handle, pull hard and the cord pulls the catch cable.  Might only work for a broken cable, not this particular issue, but an easy addition that could save a lot of heartache later...

Cheers

Simon

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John, Simon,........ excellent tip!

 

As a precaution for this event/problem I have also fixed a spare steel inner cable wire to the release lock mechanism.

This cable routes however through the nearby rainwater drain tube which has its open end under the car .

I folded the end of the cable back into the drain pipe in order to have sufficient cable length in order to be able to fix a pull handle to this cable.

A more important/better precaution is to lower the pressure (friction) on the rear hatch lock during opening.

This is realized by pulling the release lever in the cabin with your left hand and at the same time press with your right hand onto the rear hatch close to the spoiler.

This should be a (combined) split-second action and you feel immediately that the force on the release lever is reduced with over 50% compared to standard release lever operation. This amount is considerable in "due to wear" failure calculations.

Try it and you will be surprised and convinced..........!

Of course the lock mechanism should be already greased sufficiently.

 

wkr, Ruud 

Edited by Ruud
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Hi not sure if this will work with an S3 ?

But the rear hatch gets stuck on my GT3 i insert a couple of CDs between hatch and back of body and lever GENTLY 

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if you have adjustable rear shocks set them on hard , put some extra air in the rear tyres and go down a bumpy road? mine kept unlocking due to flex in the rear body. Hence why I now have fitted locking pins. Failing that I would also go down the route of cutting a hole behind the number plate. I don't like the idea of smashing the rear light? hard to replace a pair with same age matching colouring, also the risk of hitting the car or breaking something else (my kinda luck) number plate hole will work again in the future if it happens again? if your catch is broken let me know I have a spare.

 
 
 
 
 

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Small strategic hole and a set of these bad boys

http://www.screwfix.com/p/super-rod-cable-rod-mega-set/44025

Use them all the time when working - superb for all sorts


Only here once

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CHRIST! with the size of that kit you can do it from your house! drill the hole John! Barry is just extending the rods!

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My kits even got a torch !!! You can get camera attachments as well!!!

The hook, magnet and chain attachments are best - id tell you all the uses - but don't want to get a warning!!


Only here once

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so what your saying if John shows you his hole your willing to push your rod into it? and you have a enough extensions and attachments to make his eyes water!

 
 
 
 
 

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Rob/Barry, my hole aint going to be that big or obvious. Just got back from holls this morning so job No1 is to have a good look at the options. I recon on the hole in the floor option as it would be easier plugged with a large grommet, I may try and gently prise it up first as the adjustment was not great when she came home so may just be lucky then take it from there. Will definatly be fitting a secondary device though, through the drainage tube as suggested.

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