LR3 upper hatch latch - Defender Source
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Old August 31st, 2013, 10:42 PM
Broncoduecer's Avatar
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LR3 upper hatch latch

I know this thread is useless without pics......
But at the SLC airport a couple weeks ago my hatch latch stopped working after we had parked and were getting ready to go to the shuttle. Classic sound of the actuator working but no hatch operation.

Plenty of help on the disco3 website, but I wanted to reiterate the point of popping out the rear gate lower half carpeting to get at the controls, it feels unnatural, but its ok!
So the just of the how to:
1. Your upper gate sounds like its trying to open but doesn't, most likely the classic broken cable
2. Climb into the back and remove the lower tailgate carpet to gain access to the cable and actuator.
2a. On the upper trim of the lower tailgate where the trim drops for the signature lowered rear window on a disco, jam a couple flat head screwdrivers up in there on either parts of the lower radious bend, Dig deep. The carpet has a plastic tray backer. You want to get the screwdrivers behind that backing. At first if you don't dig deep you will only be grabbing carpet. So push them up a good ways and you can feel that you are getting behind the plastic tray backing. Now when you start to pry your better senses will be telling you that something is going to break pretty quick here, but it doesn't. I have read countless posts and this is usually a stumbling point for some. It takes a serious effort to pop the carpet out.
2b. So now you got the carpet pried back you need to work your way around and pop the trim clips off of the lower gate. You will find that the sides won't really free because the tailgate cables go through the trim on the sides. So you can't just pop out the carpet and the backing.
3. You can no clearly see the foam dust/water guard that is adhered to the tailgate body. You can cut through it cleanly and retape it or just order a new one for 20 bucks and replace it. I recommend just ripping out what you can see and it makes it easier to see what's going on.
3a. So now that you've got the foam out you can see the back side of the bracket that houses the actuator and mounts the cable to the latch.
4. Reach around where you can see the cable is mounted to the bracket. You will be able to feel the loose end of the wire dangling behind the bracket from the end where the cable is mounted. Give that a tug and you will be able to open the upper hatch. You can now also undo the 4 Phillips screws that hold on the upper trim on the lower tailgate. Pop the caps, undo the screws and yank the upper trim off. As I have been told, usually one of the trim clips breaks its mounting spot on the trim when removing. Mine did, but reinstalled fine. There are also 4 screw retainers on the trim piece and they can fly away as well, so watch for them.
5. So now you can open the bottom gate. Do so and continue to remove the tailgate cables. You need to push the clips off of the ball ends of the studs. Don't try and pry off, push them off. Be careful, the can go flying. When they are off use a 13mm to undo the ball studs. Get some cardboard to put between the tailgate and the bumper. Otherwise it will droop a lot. Now you can remove the carpet and backing.
6. Continue to remove the foam stuff. Use an 8mm to remove the 2 long bolts that hold the actuator to the tailgate frame. Reach around the back side of the actuator and undo the 2 wire clip to the unit. Now your unit is free.
7. So now that the business end is in your hand you can see where the L shaped cable end has snapped and the cable is loose. What I did is loop some wire through the hole where the end of the L shaped cable end was, reinstalled the cable to nearly its correct position and looped the wire back so that I could fasten the ends of the wire to the existing cable. We used a large lead fishing weight and a couple of zip ties over the crimped wire-weight assembly. I tell you what man that thing is not coming off.

So instead of buying the 90 dollar new latch and cable, we fixed the old one with some wire, a weight, and a couple of zip ties. But again the thing I wanted to pass along the most is, yes it does feel like you are almost going to break something when prying the carpet and backing over the trim so you can get at the actuator. So if you have this happen, the cable end breaks on you, just buy the new rain/dirt guard membrane seal thing. Everything else should be workable. But then you only need to get in there once.

I did this at some family's house one evening while traveling. I need to redo the membrane when I get home and can add some pics, but its a simple job it took us like 40 min start to finish.


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Old September 1st, 2013, 08:54 AM
nathanwind's Avatar
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Jason Lavender
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x2 on this...had the same thing happen on wife's LR3 last spring. Fixed as described, biggest pain in the arse was manually fiddling with the mechanism to release the latch after carpet was off. I also put a zip tie on the cable and left it hanging underneath the next time if it happens I can just pop the carpet and pull the zip tie.

Jason Lavender
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Old September 1st, 2013, 01:52 PM
Rugbier's Avatar
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110 Tdi - 110 N/A - D3 HSE
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Originally Posted by nathanwind View Post
x2 on this...had the same thing happen on wife's LR3 last spring. Fixed as described, biggest pain in the arse was manually fiddling with the mechanism to release the latch after carpet was off. I also put a zip tie on the cable and left it hanging underneath the next time if it happens I can just pop the carpet and pull the zip tie.
Mrs LR3 took a crap

I have beer, steaks and a pool waiting

When are you coming over? :-)
1988 110 Tdi
1987 110 2.5 N/A
2006 D3 HSE7
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