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E34 Wagon hatch stuck

Discussion in 'E34 (1989-1995)' started by kevinheap, Feb 5, 2009.

    kevinheap guest

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    Our 1995 525it wagon now has the rear hatch/glass stuck with no sound or feel at all with the key, it just does dead nothing at the lock. We had to have the right harness for the running lights rewired because of a short about 6 months ago.

    I got inside the car and tried to access the actuator and lock but it is behind the trim and it looks like that wont come off with the hatch down.

    I did not see a fuse specifically labeled rear hatch.

    We use the car for work and the hatch sees plenty of use.

    Any kind of direction would be appreciated.
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    mda185

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    You almost certainly have a failure in one of the harnesses. Probably the one you did not replace when the short in the running lights was fixed earlier.

    I currently have the same problem with my 95 525iT. I can manually open the whole hatch with the key. I plan to remove the plastic wiring covers on each side of the rear hatch and the interior trim panel if possible. I think the trim panel has one fastener that is covered by the glass hatch. If so, I am not sure if I will try to force it off breaking that mounting tab in the process. That will be a move of last resort if I can't fix everything by working with the trim panel on. The plan is to look for obviously damaged wiring near the hinge points and replace with new sections of wire that I will solder in. I have the Bentley and BMW factory electrical wiring diagrams to guide me. If you are not comfortable troubleshooting at the level I just described, you are going to have to find an independent shop that has someone familiar with this kind of work. Good luck.

    kevinheap guest

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    Thank you, the problem appear intermittent as it is now working okay. I think I could take this job on and it would be better to do it while it is working. I heard on another forum that you can open the hatch from a relay on one side of the compartment, I think he said right.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Take the panel off NOW! DO IT! If you don't, you may find that one day you can't get it open and you have to damage the panel to get it off (two fasteners require having the glass open, IIRC.) Don't care how ugly it looks, but get that panel off and leave it off until you fix the wiring (which is the cause of your problem for certain.)
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    mda185

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    Some potentially good news. I friend told me to check fuse #44 under the rear seat. It is hidden by the plastic cover on the relay/fuse box under rear seat on the driver's side. There are two phillips head screws holding this cover down. Fuse 44 is a yellow 20 amp. Mine was blown.

    As soon as I replaced the fuse, the rear hatch lock popped. The whole rear hatch was in the full open position when this happened. I was dumb enough to close the hatch and try operating the glass after that. Neither would open. I opened the rear hatch with the key and as it got near the full open position, the glass lock popped open again. This time, I stuffed some paper towels in between the glass and its lock. I clearly have an intermittent short circuit in the glass switch circuit and the short must be near the hinge. (I also have no rear wiper function, back up lights, license plate lights or right rear running light.)

    Needless to say, I removed the rear trim panel and will continue troubleshooting the circuit ASAP. Ran out of daylight today. I was doing my taxes and killed more than half the day inside. It probably took me two hours to figure out what was going on and get the trim panel off. That is a little tricky also. Several of the fasteners are hidden under flush covers. If you don't have a guide to where all the fasteners on the rear hatch trim are, send me an email and I will send you info I found on the web that helps. mda185 at optonline dot com.

    One other curious thing. There is no obvious chafing on the braided cover on the wire bundles near the hinge. I am guessing the wires are chafed inside the bundle or further inside the car where I can't see it yet.
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

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    You usually have to pull apart the loom to find the break.
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    mda185

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    I took some time off from work today and rebuilt the left harness. I found a ground wire near the hinge with obvious break in the insulation. I suspect other wires have micro cracks in the insulation that would lead to intermittent problems. After replacing all of these wires, I still don't have an operating glass hatch release or main hatch release. I ran out of time before I could inspect the right harness. The only circuit I see on that side that seems like it could cause a problem is the glass open or closed micro switch.

    The insulation on all of these wires is old, brittle and ready to fail. Repairing these old harnesses is nasty work. If I could afford the factory repair harnesses, I would buy them but that is not an option. Does anybody know of a good source for quality automotive wiring? I am currently using surplus mil spec twisted pair wiring that is pretty good but would love to find something easier to work with.that also will last a long time.

    kevinheap guest

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    Thank you for the advice on the hatch lockout. I was better and now it is locked again. I will take that panel off for sure if I get another chance. I was buried in the ATF change when my window of opportunity opened.
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    mda185

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    Fixed

    Kevin,

    I finally fixed mine today. FWIW, all of the wires in the right harness on my car were broken. When I opened the main hatch, the wires for the glass closed sensor would make intermittent contact with either themselves or other power or ground wires in the bundle and the glass would pop open some of the time. I got the glass open to expose the wiring and make the repairs by opening my hatch and removing and replacing fuse 44 under the rear seat. For some reason, cycling power would trip the relay and the glass opened.

    One of the brown ground wires in my left harness was partially severed.

    I did not replace the entire harness. I spliced in wire from the tail light area up to the sides of the rear hatch. The wires on the sides of the hatch are under plastic covers that you remove once you have the glass hatch open. I used a combination of 12, 14, and 16 gauge military surplus wire with teflon insulation. I tried to match the gauge I used to the gauge of the OEM wires. The teflon wires are far superior to the OEM stuff and should last forever. You can find it on Ebay and from other mil surplus vendors. Mcmaster Carr also sells mil spec teflon wire. I work for the military and was able to get mine from an aircraft engine test facility that was shut down due to a base closing. You don't have to use teflon wiring. I learned that an acceptable substitute is wire with crosslinked PVC insulation. I think this is also called irradiated PVC. Don't get the stuff that is sold at auto parts stores. That is not going to handle the severe flexing these wires are subjected to at the hinge area. Most auto parts stores sell plain PVC coated wire.

    The best bet is still teflon insulated wire if you can find it. I hope this info helps.

    kevinheap guest

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    Thanks for getting back I will add this to my information to use once I get to the job. I have my work cut out for me. I did not know you had to buy exotic wire for this job.

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