self-locking tailgate/no manual release? - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2003, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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self-locking tailgate/no manual release?

I have a '02 MCS and had a couple of strange experiences last night while I was installing a set of Moss Motors driving lights.

The first instruction is, logically enough, to disconnect the battery.

So I did.

My error was closing the tailgate/hatchback/boot.

After some eight or ten hours of running wires hither, thither and yon, I wanted to re-connect the battery. That's when I made the first distressing discovery: the tailgate/hatchback/boot was locked. How (and why) it locked itself with no battery power entirely escapes me.

Remembering something about an emergency release, I looked in the ever-dependable manual. It told me to remove the lower cushion of the back seat and to pull the little ring attached to the cable.

How simple!

Now we come to the second distressing discovery; there is no ring. No cable. No nothing.

I got the tailgate/hatchback/boot open using jumper cables and another car's battery, but nonetheless it leaves me with a number of questions, not to mention a slightly bad taste in my mouth.

Does anybody have any idea why the tailgate/hatchback/boot hatch locked itself, or, more importantly, how to get it open if there's no handy source of 12V power?

Jon Marchant
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2003, 11:06 AM
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Re: self-locking tailgate/no manual release?

Quote:
Originally posted by jonmarchant
Does anybody have any idea why the tailgate/hatchback/boot hatch locked itself, or, more importantly, how to get it open if there's no handy source of 12V power?
It latched because the latching mechanism is mechanical. And to get it open, since you don't have the emergency release, you did it the only other way -- with a set of jumper cables.

You should probably take your car to the dealership and have the emergency release fitted. I have one on my '03, but many others have said they don't
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2003, 11:43 PM
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My September 02 build (03 spec I believe) came with no tailgate release cable, even though the manual clearly shows it.
My car is in for warranty work ATM and I've asked them to fit the cable, especially after reading the horror stories of people being locked in their car.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 2003, 12:48 AM
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Yes, as CurtP said, the hatch latch is mechanical, so no problems with it latching closed. But, above the rear license plate your hand encounters only a rubber-covered switch (itís not a handle of any sort). This switch activates an electric solenoid to mechanically open the latch.

So, no electricity = no solenoid function = hatch stays latched.

Quote:
Originally posted by StevePSB
My September 02 build (03 spec I believe) came with no tailgate release cable, even though the manual clearly shows it...
For the first 18 months (or so) of MINI production, all the the Owner's Manuals were simply lying. No cable release was fitted for the hatch.

I haven't heard of there being any program to retro-fit them to earlier cars....

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 2003, 08:17 PM
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These "electro-mechanical" locks with no direct mechanical access (ie keyholes/latches) still seems like one of the dumbest "design features" of the MINI, especially on the S boot. I mean, what's so hard about just giving us keyholes and handles that actually attach to the locking mechanism? Of course, I know the answer is, at least partly, the bean counters (as I'm sure Mr. Bill would point out ).

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 2003, 09:28 PM
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OK...

Here's the answer for working on your car with the battery
disconnected.Remove the battery from the boot when you disconnect it from the circuit. Then use your booster
cable temporarily as connection to open your boot.
Just remember to take your booster cables out of the boot
as well as the battery.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 2003, 09:58 PM
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Instead of disconnecting the battery at the battery...
Isn't there a disconnect under the bonnet? Like the shipping disconnect?

Some research is required...

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 2003, 08:31 AM
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my dec '02 delivery cooper has the pull cable under the seat cushion - i checked.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 2003, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Reply from MINI customer relations

Here's what I got back from the massage I posted in the MINIUSA owner's lounge (three days after I posted the question):

>Hello John. Thanks for writing into MINI via the Owners >Lounge. Where if you have mojo, then you are a VIP.
>
>I apologize that it has taken me a few extra days to get >back to you on this inquiry.
>
>To be honest, I don't have a logical explanation for why >the rear hatch locked when the batter was disconnected. >It should not have.
>
>In any event, all new MINI Coopers & Cooper S models >manufactured from mid-October 2002 are equipped with an >remote trunk release located under the rear seat cushion. >This was originally a European-only feature and it was >unintentionally listed in the owners manual for 2002 MINIs >produced for the US market. I apologize for this error >but want to assure that you were not charged for something >that you did not get. It was a publication error only.
>
>MINI Division is currently evaluating whether or not it >would be feasible to offer the remote trunk release on a >retro-fit basis. At this juncture, I cannot provide you >with a time line as to when a decision will be made. You >are welcome to check back with us periodically for an >update.
>
>Again, my sincere apologies for your dissatisfaction.
>
>LET'S MOTOR.
>
>James Frost
>MINI Division
>Customer Relations

And here is my reply to them:

>Oddly enough, the amateurs on MINI2.com came up with the >answer to the self-locking. The problem is that the hatch->latch isn't a latch at all. The thing you push when you go >to open the hatch is an electrical switch that operates an >electrical latch. There is no mechanical connection >between the two. No electricity, no switch, no latch. Funny
>that the company couldn't come up with that information.
>
>I think that MINIUSA needs to immediately figure out a way >to retrofit the manual latch and needs to offer it to any >interested owner (at least of the S model with the battery >in the trunk) at no charge. I could see the potential for >my children (twin 2-year-old boys) to lock themselves in >the trunk area while I'm working on the car. This could
>be a serious safety hazard.
>
>There is also a question of false advertising. I >specifically asked my dealer (Niello MINI in Sacramento) >if there was a manual release before I bought the car, and >the salesperson told me that there was, and showed me the >picture in the manual.
>
>I think you need to make this right before somebody gets >hurt or killed, and before somebody files a false->advertising lawsuit against MINIUSA.

I'll keep you posted on what happens.

Jon Marchant
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 14th, 2003, 01:33 AM
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Angry

We've been discussing this issue over on the MCO site now for several weeks. I have written several notes to MINI USA and the results have been less than satisfactory. The last message rec'd was an almost exact copy of the one rec'd by jonmarchant.

We need more folks to write or call MINI to complain and ask for a retrofit.

Additionally, I'm considering calling NHTSA to see if they are interested in investigating for a possible Gov't-mandated safety recall.

MINI's attitude on this issue defies logic.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 14th, 2003, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
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Angry

I'm with Satchmo. If you find a phone number that will actually lead to a human being, let us all know. I really think that (at least in my case) this is a real safety hazard. With two toddlers running around the garage, it's not at all far-fetched to see how somebody could get locked in the trunk with no way for me to let him out.

ps, Satch, I admire your taste in cars, but I don't understand how you plan to put the Union Jack on the roof with all those sun/moon-roof thingies up there.

Jon Marchant
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 2003, 01:24 AM
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Jonmarchant, you must be a mind reader..... I was thinking about ordering a Union Jack from Mini Cooper Parts that fits over the sunroof only..... Made of some kind of cling-vinyl.....

Going to the Detroit Auto Show sometime this week. Plan to stop by the MINI display and see if anyone there can tell me why the cars on display have the hatch release and my car doesn't.......

Chili Red MCS, Premium, Sport, Cold packages, white top, white 17" s-lites... Motoring since NOV 02! What a car!!!!!!
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Jan 16th, 2003, 09:13 PM
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Thumbs up

Progress!

Contacted my MINI Dealership Service Dept today about the remote hatch release. Although the service manager was unaware of the problem, he did call MINI USA and was told that a service kit should be available to dealers in approx. 30 days, and that they would retrofit my car at no charge. (Maybe I should've contacted the dealer first..... DOH!!!)

Service Mgr said he'd contact me as soon as the kits are available.

Have to say, so far every experience with my MINI dealership (Motor City MINI, Detroit) has been a good one.

Chili Red MCS, Premium, Sport, Cold packages, white top, white 17" s-lites... Motoring since NOV 02! What a car!!!!!!
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2003, 02:50 AM
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Just thought I would post an update to this thread for those who might be interested.

I recently installed a cable release kit myself. Fairly simple, took ~ 30 minutes and I took a set of digital photos. There is also another tread on this topic under my name "Ken2002s" and it links you to a 'roadfly' site with written instructions.

If anyone whats the photos just e-mail me direct @ ken95524@cox.net. I'm more than happy to have them posted in one of the areas such as an FAQ but I don't have a clue how to do that, so anyone else is welcome.

I also have the part numbers for the install

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Dec 19th, 2003, 07:05 PM
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An update. I'm having the "Tailgate Release Kit" installed in my 2002 S on Monday.

It's a free dealer retrofit.

Tony

See my "Picture" link below for specs.

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