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Dodge Repair/2004 Dodge Durango Lift Gate


QUESTION: I am trying to install a new tail light on my durango and I can't get the lift gate to open to finish the installation. I have tried a few things and I found that maybe the actuator may be bad on the lock. Can you please explain what may cause the lift gate to not want to open and can you tell me how to take the panel off so that we can get to the lock. The lock do not have a key hole to access it by key. Thank you for your help in advance.

ANSWER: Hi Celeste,
I have the '04 Durango (HB body) manual on a CD. I looked into the lift gate and it would appear that the way to get this opened would be to remove the upper and lower trim panels from the gate from the inside of the vehicle. The upper trim panel goes around the window and is held in place by 'push-pins' positioned around its edge. If you take a soft popsicle-like stick and simply insert it around the edge of the panel and the metal you should be able to gently pull that panel so the push-pins release and the panel comes off. Then the lower trim panel is held in place by 2 upper screws and 4 lower screws which when removed should allow that panel to release. Disconnect one electrical connector and you should be able to remove that.
You will then have access to the latch mechanism. There is a rod between the handle and the latch which removes. Then the latch is held in place by 3 screws and once you have remove those and the electrical connectors the latch should come off and you can then open the lift gate and examine the reason why it won't operate, and also replace the tail light.
Let me know if you need to see the pages I have as I can copy and attach them to an email. But I need to know your email address so tell me that in a follow-up question but don't use the @ symbol, rather use 'at' or the address is automatically erased.
Sorry for the delay in responding but I just found the question in the 'pool' to which it had been referred by Kevin.
Please 'rate/nominate' my answer/me (see the PS below).

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I am still having trouble getting the lower panel to come off. Instead of four screws at the bottom there was two screws and two black plastic pins. There three pieces to the panel. the top one came off easily. the middle panel is held down by the bottom piece of the panel, which Is what im having trouble removing. The panel is still connected somewhere at the bottom but we can't figure out where. I don't want to damage anything.

Hi Celeste,
The '04 and '06 manuals for the Durango both show there to be 4 screws on the very bottom edge of the lower panel, two side by side about 1/4 of the way from either end. Perhaps because the  lift gate is closed this lower edge of the trim panel is not easily accessed or possibly not accessible at all unless you can get the gate to open. But those are what the words and pictures show.
I can copy the pages and attach to an e-mail I would send to you directly. I need to know your email address, but if you tell me that don't use the @ symbol, instead use 'at', otherwise the address is automatically erased from the follow-up question.
Please 'rate/nominate' my answer/me (see the PS below).

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

I answer questions seven days a week and respond to you in about 30 minutes. "Maxed Out" means I am answering another question or asleep overnight so try again later.

I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2011 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top expert" from 2010-2015 here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles.

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"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

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