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Discussion Starter #1
Issue: My rear tailgate/hatch is stuck shut. It has been for months.:-(
I can't fit large items in the vehicle now and I'm tired of wedging bikes in through the side doors! I'm off today, and after successfully replacing the serpentine belt Saturday, I figured that I'd give fixing this issue a go.

Background Info: I did have the tailgate replaced a over a year ago after the Element was hit light in the rear. The tailgate was working fine for months after that repair.

Answer to other 'hatch stuck' threads on here:
Can you hear the hatch lock solenoid when you try to lock/unlock the doors from the drivers seat? Yes, and also with the key fob.
If you use the key at the rear hatch, do you feel any resistance "unlocking"? Yes.
Is the hatch open indicator light on the dashboard lit? No.
Try pressing firmly on each side of the lower hatch from the outside and see if there is more give on one side. No difference (or give) noticed.

Mo' info.
1. All the other locks and the remote work normally.
2. I hear the locking mechanism moving in the tailgate when I hit the lock/unlock button on the driver's door and on the key fob.
3. The tailgate mechanism and lock seems to feel and sound normally when I use the key to try and unlock the tailgate - but I still cannot open it.
4. I just had my wife lean on the hatch to apply pressure (and suggested in another thread) while trying to lock/unlock the mechanism. No dice.

I looked in the back of the Element, and I can't even begin to see when I can start sticking little flat blade screwdrivers or feeler gauges to try pop the latch(es) open.:|

Please, what do you all suggest that I try now???
 

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Hatch stuck

Look on here for threads on installing an interior hatch release. One of them should show a photo of where a hole was cut to install the release. Using this maybe you can cut the hole to open it and then do the interior hatch release mod.
Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No hatch joy. No drilling.

Thank you for your suggestion, but from the posts that I looked at, I would need to be able to open the hatch first before I could drill, remove the trim panels (in & out) and do those release installations.

I'd rather not drill parts of the car(let alone grind metal) just to open the tailgate...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Opened.

I thought that the locking mechanisms were all in the lower part of the tailgate. Then I looked at Heloguy's post and decided to try to take off the cover on the inside of the hatch, just below the window. I was able to wiggle part of my hand in there and gently yanked back a couple of inches, so as to try and avoid cracking the plastic. I was able to pop a couple of the trim fasteners apart.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8771731662/
I was then able to see where the cable attached to the latch mechanism. I yanked on the cable with a coat hanger, but that didn't work. I just shoved my hand in there and manually moved the mechanism to the right to unlatch the hatch. Then I was able to remove the entire panel by just removing the plastic rivet and the handhold on the bottom of the tailgate. Easy!

The system still wasn't working right however. :? I could not open/unlatch the tailgate with the fob or the handle. I still had to manually do it from inside the car.

I went out and looked at the mechanism again. I put the key in the tailgate lock and watched it actuate correctly as I turned the key. I pulled on the tailgate handle and looked inside the hatch.

:oops: Gee, I think the release cable from the handle to the mechanism should be attached.

And I spent all those months fuming and worrying about getting shafted by the dealer...oh brother. But it is fixed! I am thrilled to have it's functionality back.
 

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Thanks for posting the resolution. So often people post questions and never come back to tell us what the actual problem was or what the fix was.
 
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