Boot / Tailgate Not Closing / Locking - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2008, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Boot / Tailgate Not Closing / Locking

Hi all,

I had a search round on the forum, and found a couple of topics about this, but instead of resurrecting a 3 year old topic, I thought I'd post a new one in the hope that someone will be able to help...

Earlier today my other half closed the boot, but it didn't shut properly. I jumped out and tried to open it, but it couldn't - although it was like it had half caught on the latch, as it was caught, but not shut fully. After a couple of tries it opened, and I *cough* slammed it shut (we had had a 'lovers tiff'...), but it didn't shut properly again, and half caught.

I left it alone and drove home, only to find that I couldn't open it at all once I'd got home. I did a quick search on here, and found the manual release under the rear seats, so I tried that - it released it, but now it wouldn't close at all...not even half latch.

I messed around with locking the doors, unlocking, opening the boot and locking etc etc, but still nothing.

I left the boot down but unlatched, and locked the car to go inside. When I came out again, to go to BMW, it had half latched again.

I went to Sytner Nottingham (don't know why I bother going there...) and they said they'd need to book it in, and would charge me 30 mins labour to take a look - said it could either be the actuator or something else (motor / switch, I think). However, they can't have it in until a week on Monday, and would need it all day to get round to taking a look at it - GREAT! The next Saturday space would be 3rd May - AWESOME! As expected, I'd have to pay for the diag, parts and labour to fit, due to it being out of the 3 year warranty (2003 MCS).

Has anyone had this before, and found a cure for it? Be it take something apart and WD40 it, or play with locking / unlocking etc?


I give up with Sytner Nottingham - the times I've been in there, they've been right ****holes, and not friendly in the slightest. It's as if they're looking down at their nose at me. Only decent people there (that I've had the pleasure of speaking to), are the receptionist and the young guy on the parts desk.


Cheers all - any help / ideas would be appreciated! Currently the boot is half latched, which means at least it's shut and can't open, but means I can't use it - the manual release won't open it anymore.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2008, 02:29 PM
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In 90% (and I've done a few) of the cases that I've had this problem on (either opening, not shutting etc... etc...) it's always been down to water ingress somewhere, either in the switch in the tailgate or the Body Control Unit connections, another 9% has been down to a faulty lock mechanism, some of the parts in the mechanism are only plastic and easily get damaged (normally after a bump! , but could happen slamming tail-gate when the lock mechanism wants to open), another possibility is that the catch has moved but this is unlikely but not impossible, open the tail-gate & use a screwdriver etc... etc... to try and lock the catch if it locks easily, properly again-&-again with no prob's the catch could have moved, if it's still playing up it could be electrical due to water, remove the rear panel panel (If you know what I mean) and then disconnect the electrical connector if the catch starts to work it's down to electrics & water ( either boot switch or BCU, electric & water don't mix, they do but they don't like each other ), if it still doesn't work it's possibly down to the catch mechanism (do these checks with the MINI unlocked).

One last scenario (the last 1% or so) is this one, the tailgate could've moved through seizing hinges, which is becoming more & more common, have a read through this post but also check the whole thread .

(Snapped or broken tailgate hinges (solid roof), worth a read!)

Don't want too scare you but it's a possibility and worth checking .

I know what you'll be doing tomorrow .

It's hard to advise on this fault as there are so many causes and you could have more than one and all need checking .

Destined to live life 5 behind. Disclaimer Any advice given is my opinion only, if you decide to act on any advice / info I've given, it's at your own risk!
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2008, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Cheers for the info! I forgot to mention that with the boot open, and using a key / screwdriver, the catch mechanism doesn't lock close or even latch - it's just free to push in and spring back.

I'll give the other things a go tomorrow if possible - it's hailing at the moment

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2008, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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PS - What DO you mean by the rear panel panel Do you mean the lip over the rear number plate / where the boot solenoid is?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2008, 03:45 PM
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PS - What DO you mean by the rear panel panel Do you mean the lip over the rear number plate / where the boot solenoid is?
The plastic panel in the boot that covers the locking mechanism (where you've been poking the screw-driver, it has approx 7 clips holding it in place), the lock mechanism will have a plug on it, if the catch works with this removed the problem is elsewhere and you'll need to find out where, if it's still not working it's the catch / lock mechanism .

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2008, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Weird thing...just been out to my parents, and on the way back stopped off at the Co-op and thought I'd try the boot - hey presto, it opened and locked like it used to! How weird!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2008, 08:48 PM
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Weird thing...just been out to my parents, and on the way back stopped off at the Co-op and thought I'd try the boot - hey presto, it opened and locked like it used to! How weird!
Just from that comment I would say your problem is more than likely to be something to do with water (intermittent, but don't count out the lock mechanism, it could be a sticking motor etc... etc...), water can short & confuse the system either at the BCU or the micro switch in the tailgate-handle, causing shorts & activating the catch (open) when you don't want it too (most electrics in modern cars work at lower voltage than they used too, ie, old days = 12v, these days it can be 3v & signals etc... etc... making the parts more delicate ) if the micro switch in the tailgate-handle or the BCU connections get very wet it wont work (closed), ie, the switch wont work or the power wont get too the switch from the BCU or too the lock mechanism from the BCU or micro switch and then as it dries it can start working again or start shorting again .

Basically don't just think it's working OK again (it still needs sorting out), you'll get stuck when you least need it too happen (intermittent fault's can be harder too trace though ).

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2008, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I was going to say - how do I find out where the problem is now, when there's no longer any fault? . Doh!
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2008, 10:41 PM
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Yeah I was going to say - how do I find out where the problem is now, when there's no longer any fault? . Doh!
Hmmm! not to sure on that, hard to advise, it's down to experience really (there will be signs there and the catch / lock mechanism could still be at fault , It's like you trying to tell me how to do your job in a few posts, I already tell people too much at times .

It'll start doing it again if it's down to the water issue or a sticking lock / catch motor (at least you have an idea of how to trace the fault ), if your stuck, PM me or ask on here, I'm on most days when I can .

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 2008, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Cheers mate - will keep all the info in mind, in case it happens again. Might get a bungee cord to put in the boot to hold it down if it decides to unlock.

Thanks again
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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This old thread below has some useful info on the BCU (Body Control Unit) and water ingress problems. (I eventually solved random unlocking in wet weather on my 2002 MINI by fitting the later plastic cover over the top of the BCU which is behind the drivers footwell plastic side panel.
http://www.mini2.com/forum/faults-fi...ml#post2828957
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old May 2nd, 2008, 10:16 AM
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Hi all,

I had a search round on the forum, and found a couple of topics about this, but instead of resurrecting a 3 year old topic, I thought I'd post a new one in the hope that someone will be able to help...

Earlier today my other half closed the boot, but it didn't shut properly. I jumped out and tried to open it, but it couldn't - although it was like it had half caught on the latch, as it was caught, but not shut fully. After a couple of tries it opened, and I *cough* slammed it shut (we had had a 'lovers tiff'...), but it didn't shut properly again, and half caught.

I left it alone and drove home, only to find that I couldn't open it at all once I'd got home. I did a quick search on here, and found the manual release under the rear seats, so I tried that - it released it, but now it wouldn't close at all...not even half latch.

I messed around with locking the doors, unlocking, opening the boot and locking etc etc, but still nothing.

I left the boot down but unlatched, and locked the car to go inside. When I came out again, to go to BMW, it had half latched again.

I went to Sytner Nottingham (don't know why I bother going there...) and they said they'd need to book it in, and would charge me 30 mins labour to take a look - said it could either be the actuator or something else (motor / switch, I think). However, they can't have it in until a week on Monday, and would need it all day to get round to taking a look at it - GREAT! The next Saturday space would be 3rd May - AWESOME! As expected, I'd have to pay for the diag, parts and labour to fit, due to it being out of the 3 year warranty (2003 MCS).

Has anyone had this before, and found a cure for it? Be it take something apart and WD40 it, or play with locking / unlocking etc?


I give up with Sytner Nottingham - the times I've been in there, they've been right ****holes, and not friendly in the slightest. It's as if they're looking down at their nose at me. Only decent people there (that I've had the pleasure of speaking to), are the receptionist and the young guy on the parts desk.


Cheers all - any help / ideas would be appreciated! Currently the boot is half latched, which means at least it's shut and can't open, but means I can't use it - the manual release won't open it anymore.
Had a very similar problem the other day (tailgate wouldn't shut / lock again once it had been opened), while doing the checks that I indicated in the previous posts I found that it was the boot-lock solenoid sticking, I found that while having the tailgate open (while the lock-mechanism is playing up), if you push the tailgate button (under the handle) it seemed to free of the solenoid & the lock mechanism started working again! however this will only be until next time it sticks , so it may be worth a try next time it happens (the solenoids on the bottom of the locking mechanism can be opened up & greased etc... but you should only attempt this if your mechanically minded & careful as the bits & pieces can fall out / apart .

Could be another more & more common problem as the MINIs start to age .

So basically if it does it again (wont shut / lock) lift the tailgate up & push the tailgate button, it may just work if only temporarily (& it depends on whats causing the fault though), it's worth a try 1st.

Destined to live life 5 behind. Disclaimer Any advice given is my opinion only, if you decide to act on any advice / info I've given, it's at your own risk!
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old May 2nd, 2008, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Cheers Randall. I think I tried that, and it didn't work, but I'll keep it in mind in case it happens again!
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2008, 07:33 AM
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Boot wont unlock

My 04 Mini Cooper has an intermittant fault whereby it decides that the boot lid will stay locked when everything else has unlocked from the key. It has happened once before but went away when I released it manually and then lubricated it with silicone. This time its not interested in responding to that treatment. Any ideas what else could be at fault. Is the mechanism in the boot door electronic?
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2008, 06:04 PM
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Fortunately, I located a post describing a white, plastic sliding mechanism at the top/right of the latch that can be moved to the left to reset the latch and it worked like a charm to make my boot latch again. A piece of plastic also pops out of the right side and pushing it back in also resets the latch.
Unfortunately, I lubricated the mechanism and excercised it several times and found that it still refuses to latch intermittently, so I've put a screwdriver in the boot and will remove the right plastic plug in the cover above the latch to push in the white piece of plastic when the latch stops catching.
I wish I knew exactly what's malfunctioning internally and how I could correct it.

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