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2003 V40 Tailgate won't open

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on S40 and V40. In this forum you'll find S40/V40-specific owners asking and answering questions on maintenance, ownership, repairs, tutorials and almost every do-it-yourself thing you can do to save money owning these Volvos.

1996 - 2004 S40
1996 - 2004 V40

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MsRed
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2003 V40 Tailgate won't open

Post by MsRed » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:34 pm

Hi guys, I'm new to the forum and glad you're here!!!

I bought a 2003 V40 with 202,000 miles from a female police lieutenant in Sept 2018. In the two years prior to selling it to me, the previous owner paid + $6k in maintenance and repairs (new engine, catalytic converter, brakes, tires, suspension, etc.) done at the dealership and by the same indy Volvo Master Mechanic that I use. The only issue that came with the car when I bought it was that sometimes the tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge don't work. I simply keep the gas tank filled. It has 220,000 miles on it now. Its in excellent condition except for the faulty instrument panel and the current issue: the back tailgate won't open .

I can hear the actuator working when I press unlock on the fob, but the lock its self feels funky. When I push on the metal part where the lock button goes into the lock, it feels as if it doesn't go as far as it used to. I'm driven by estrogen but somewhat mechanically inclined, and the mechanic's shop is closed due to the c-virus. I figure I need to take off the interior panel to figure out what is going on. Before I morph into a Keebler elf and attack the interior tailgate cover, some tips/instructions or insights on the task will be very much appreciated.

The V40 is my 6th Volvo :-) I love it and hope it lives as long as my 1992 240, which is still on the road and driven my my out of state son.

Thanks in advance!!!
Current: 2003 V40 (1.9L 4 Cylinder Turbo)
Previous: 2001 V70T5; 1996 850R; 992 240DL; 1973 1800ES & 1962 544

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alschnertz
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Re: 2003 V40 Tailgate won't open

Post by alschnertz » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:38 am

On a S40, the key position of the push-button must be either horizontal or vertical. I forget which way it needs to be, but the trunk won't unlatch unless it is in the proper position.

It's an unusual "feature" and I also forget why it's set up that way.
'60 PV544, '68 220, '70 145S, '86 745T, '95 854T, '01 S40
'84 Prelude
'06 MPV
'13 Ford Focus SE

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MsRed
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Re: 2003 V40 Tailgate won't open

Post by MsRed » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:16 pm

Working properly, the key positions for locking/unlocking a V40 (may be the same for the S40 - you might want to check it out)
Horizontal = unlocked. Vertical = locked. Vertical = 12 o'clock. If you turn turn the key counter-clockwise from 12 o'clock to 11 o'clock then the back will unlock and can be opened but one can't take the key out. Also, if the glove box is locked, then the tailgate will not unlock.

I've tried all the positions. None help. There's either a malfunction with the lock its self or the mechanisms (i.e. linkage) between the exterior and the interior tailgate cover. That's why I'm asking for help about how to remove the interior tailgate cover. Thanks for your reply though. I hope more will come. I'm an Amazon Flex driver and really need access to the cargo area to load groceries and other items to deliver to folks that are home bound because of COVID-19.
Current: 2003 V40 (1.9L 4 Cylinder Turbo)
Previous: 2001 V70T5; 1996 850R; 992 240DL; 1973 1800ES & 1962 544

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alschnertz
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Re: 2003 V40 Tailgate won't open

Post by alschnertz » Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:57 pm

Ok. Sounds slightly different from a S40.
I wasn't sure if a V40 was set up the same. Some S40 owners have been puzzled by the key position.

Regardless, I'm obviously not familiar with a V40 tailgate.
It's light on details, but maybe this photo of a portion of a Haynes manual will help.
Hope you can zoom in to read it.
Attachments
Haynes S40 tailgate.JPG
'60 PV544, '68 220, '70 145S, '86 745T, '95 854T, '01 S40
'84 Prelude
'06 MPV
'13 Ford Focus SE

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MsRed
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Re: 2003 V40 Tailgate won't open

Post by MsRed » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:12 pm

Thank you! Yes, I can zoom in and read it and think it will be helpful once I'm able to get to the lock components from inside. Is this book for S40 only or does it include V40 too? If also V40, would you mind looking for pages that describe how to expose the back end?
Current: 2003 V40 (1.9L 4 Cylinder Turbo)
Previous: 2001 V70T5; 1996 850R; 992 240DL; 1973 1800ES & 1962 544

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alschnertz
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alschnertz

Re: 2003 V40 Tailgate won't open

Post by alschnertz » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:38 pm

MsRed wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:12 pm
Is this book for S40 only or does it include V40 too? If also V40, would you mind looking for pages that describe how to expose the back end?
No, it is S40 & V40. Hence the instructions for a V40.

As for "exposing the back end", that request made me laugh.
Chuckles aside, you're going to have to be more specific on what you're looking for.
'60 PV544, '68 220, '70 145S, '86 745T, '95 854T, '01 S40
'84 Prelude
'06 MPV
'13 Ford Focus SE

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MsRed
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Re: 2003 V40 Tailgate won't open

Post by MsRed » Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:14 pm

LOL! Poor choice of words :oops: . . . . What you sent will be helpful for removing and replacing the lock assembly, thank you. But before doing that, I need instructions for how to remove the interior tailgate cover. The tailgate on the V40 is closed shut and doesn't have an emergency release on the inside. Since components cannot be accessed from the exterior, I need to be able to expose them after removing the interior tailgate cover.
Current: 2003 V40 (1.9L 4 Cylinder Turbo)
Previous: 2001 V70T5; 1996 850R; 992 240DL; 1973 1800ES & 1962 544

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alschnertz
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Re: 2003 V40 Tailgate won't open

Post by alschnertz » Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:36 pm

Got it. I get what you're trying to do.
Unfortunately, that's all I could find about removing the panel.

Haynes manual is ok, but not super detailed - as you can see. Unfortunately I never had much luck finding other repair manuals.
'60 PV544, '68 220, '70 145S, '86 745T, '95 854T, '01 S40
'84 Prelude
'06 MPV
'13 Ford Focus SE

Navservice
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Re: 2003 V40 Tailgate won't open

Post by Navservice » Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:02 am

Hi, I'm fairly new here too and just bought my first Volvo, a 2000 V40, in January. I couldn't use any of my exterior locks and I'd thought that a previous owner must have changed the ignition cylinder but not passed on the key. I removed the first cylinder intending the re-key it to match the key I had and found out someone (who knows where or when) had squirted something into the lock cylinder that gummed up everything badly. I removed, cleaned and lubed all the lock cylinders (rebuilding an engine would have been easier) including the tailgate lock assembly. They're all working great now, thanks.

To get to the tailgate lock cylinder, I had to remove the inside panel on the tailgate which gave me access to remove the exterior black panel on the tailgate. The interior panel isn't hard to remove it's mainly held in by clips which you can pry loose. There are a couple of phillips head screws under the handle on the interior panel that you use to pull the tailgate down where you're closing it. Take those out first. I'm just typing off the top of my head here and I think there might have been a third screw somewhere. I can check that out for you tomorrow.

With all the screws out you can just pry the panel off. I use some plastic pry tools I bought cheap from Harbor Freight. I think, from looking at tailgates I've seen at Pick Ur Part yards (my favorite place) you can't open the tailgate just by removing that interior panel but that was before I became intimately familiar with that lock. Again, I can check on my 2000 V40 tomorrow.

Getting complete access to the lock mechanism requires removal of the black plastic exterior panel between the taillights. I did this with the tailgate open. I suppose it could be possible to do it with the tailgate closed but it would be much harder. A few words about that black plastic exterior panel: it is prone to breaking in the center around the lock mechanism, that is it's weak point and it doesn't take much to do it so be very careful. Mine was already broken but I was able to partially repair it, as with most plastic parts on the car, by using ABS pipe cement, it works well. The other thing that may come as a surprise, it was for me, is that the taillights that are on the tailgate are part of that exterior panel. There are 10 or 11 nuts you have to take off using the access holes revealed when you remove the interior panel.

Oh, a note about the interior panel: It's not unusual for the plastic clips to fall off as you remove the panel. try not to lose any of them, you'll never find them in any auto parts store (I've tried) so check the ground, or interior in your case, and try to keep track of all of them. Thanks to Pick Ur Part I have many extras now.

The linkages to the tailgate lock are fairly complex. I was able to dope it out when I put mine back together but a photo or two would be helpful. When I take mine apart I'll take a couple photos and post them.

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