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Old 02-17-2014, 10:12 PM   #1
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Hatch release problems! Help!!!

I've got a 96 formula firebird but got no help on the firebird forum so thought I'd try here. First off I have no keyless entry remote and the doesn't work for my hatch either. So the interior button is all I have. With that said, the button only work every once in a while and when it does work it only releases the hatch while the button is pushed. In other words you have to lift the hatch and push the button at the same time. Does this sound like the button is bad or the hatch release itself? And could I replace the button with a regular toggle or a momentary toggle switch and it work?
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:51 PM   #2
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

This is common. The spring that pops the hatch out of the latch has gotten weak. I have the same problem, but my key fob still works, so I haven't been motivated to fix it. Usually, two or three consecutive presses is enough time to let the weak spring get the job done.

A trick that might help in the meantime: open your driver door. Press the button, and while the latch is released, shut the door. The air pressure inside the car will push the hatch up. Note: this only works if the windows are closed and the t-tops (if you have them) are in place.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:04 AM   #3
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

Ok that makes perfect sense. Can you get a replacement spring and also where is it located. And I still have the problem also of the button only working every once in a while. Any suggestions for that?
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:50 AM   #4
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

Unfortunately, having not replaced one myself, I don't have the rest of the answers you need. Hopefully someone else can chime in and help you out. Have you tried Googling?
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:56 AM   #5
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

Here's the fix I had in mind:

Rear Hatch Release Fix

It says it's for 99+ cars, so you might have to improvise a bit. People are just getting generic springs from the hardware store.
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2002 NBM Camaro Z28 M6 - best ET 13.21, best MPH 108.9, best 60' 2.14 - 325hp/343tq - Lid, Corsa, SixSpeedsInc T56, Pro 5.0 w/ short stick, STB, SFC, 17x9 wheels
1987 Buick Grand National - 13.66@101.5 on old build - 355hp/424tq @ 20psi - FAST XFI, WB02 with full-time closed-loop operation, Precision 58mm + wastegate, too much to list
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:27 AM   #6
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

That sounds like the perfect fix. I then just have to figure out the problem of the button only seldom working.
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:29 AM   #7
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

Replacement release buttons are available on ebay. Before replacing it, make sure the wiring harness connector is in good condition, and tightly connected.
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:49 AM   #8
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

I was going to replace it with a momentary toggle but I accidentally grabbed a regular toggle. I thought it might still work so I tried it but nothing. The light on the toggle comes on but nothing happens with the latch. So I'm kinda stuck at this point.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:16 PM   #9
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

The hatch release system got complicated in 1996 model year, when they added the body control module (BCM). The push-button switch supplies a ground to the BCM. The BCM then supplies 12V to the hatch release relay. The hatch release relay has a ground supplied through other devices, including:

-(manual trans) the park brake switch, DRL module (if you have DRL's)

-(auto trans) the transmision range switch (P/N), and an isolation diode

So at this point, you could have an intermittent problem with the switch, the harness, the BCM, the hatch release relay, the hatch release actuator, ground to the actuator, and whatever devices are used for the type of trans in your car.

Helpful hint - add a "Signature" showing the key info about your car - year, model, trans, and any major mods. That makes it easier for us to provide the correct information for your specific vehicle.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:26 PM   #10
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

Dang I didn't realize it was so complicated. Is there any way to bypass all the other stuff and simplify it all. Possibly wire the hatch alone to work off of a switch by itself? And I'll try to get a signature later also.
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:34 PM   #11
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

The hatch release is wired so it can't be released unless the vehicle is stopped - either via the P/N switch on the auto, or the parking brake switch on the manual trans cars.

You could retain that feature by using the push-button to provide 12V to terminal C2 of the hatch release relay. The ground would continue to pass through the tranny/brake switched to terminal A1 of the relay.

To bypass everything, just run 12V power through a heavy duty momentary switch to pin A on the hatch release actuator. But you would run the risk of the hatch flying open at speed if you bumped the switch accidentaly.

You might be able to track down the source of the problem by scanning the BCM.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:34 PM   #12
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeRobb View Post
This is common. The spring that pops the hatch out of the latch has gotten weak. I have the same problem, but my key fob still works, so I haven't been motivated to fix it. Usually, two or three consecutive presses is enough time to let the weak spring get the job done.

A trick that might help in the meantime: open your driver door. Press the button, and while the latch is released, shut the door. The air pressure inside the car will push the hatch up. Note: this only works if the windows are closed and the t-tops (if you have them) are in place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeRobb View Post
Here's the fix I had in mind:

Rear Hatch Release Fix

It says it's for 99+ cars, so you might have to improvise a bit. People are just getting generic springs from the hardware store.

So I figured out the problem with the button not working all the time it was just a loose connector in the latch. And as for the worn out spring solution, my latch does not have this setup like shown in the pictures. There is no spring nor is there a place for one. So I'm back to square one as to why the hatch doesn't pop up when the button is pushed.
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Old 02-18-2014, 05:33 PM   #13
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

Are the struts weak?
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:13 PM   #14
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Re: Hatch release problems! Help!!!

Yeah they are, they don't hold it up when the hatch is open. Would that prevent it from popping open?
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:13 PM
 
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