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post #7 of (permalink) Old 19th December 2009
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Re: stuck tailgate on espace expression

I had a stuck tailgate on my Espace (1998 RT Auto), strangely enough on the near side, same as everyone else seems to get - but I have solved it!!!

You cannot remove the interior panel with the door closed, so do not be tempted to cut holes in it etc, as there is really no point. The manual I have (Renault workshop distributed CD) says there are torx screws behind the fog lamps - again, no point because the interior panel will not come off anyway until the tailgate is open... The fault (if it is not a central locking one (listen for the solenoid)) is the rod for the latch from the handle coming off on the handle end or slipping to where it is ineffective... but HERE is the way I found to get it open:

(material/tools required) :-
flat headed screwdriver - torx driver, size 20 - magnetic 8mm socket on an extension - flashing/duct tape - 2" hole saw on a drill and mug/mugs of coffee/beer.

(process) :-
start by popping off the black textured body trim acoss the lower part of the tailgate until you reach the centre, where it is attached to the handle surround (if you cannot get the drill in, in the next step - you may want to crack it off one side of the mounting here as I had to).

Directly below the 'Renault' badge (or 'Espace' badge if the offside is jammed) in the area covered by the trim strip, punch a hole through with the hole saw, allowing you to reach the lock control rod with a pair of pliers and pull it inwards to release the lock - voila, the tailgate is open! Cover the resulting hole with the flashing/duct tape and replace the strip, then you can deal with the interior panel.

With the tailgate up, you can now remove the interior panel. Check behind the fog lamps for size 20 torx screws (not there on mine) and remove if necessary. Remove the plastic plugs on top of the interior panel and reach in with the 8mm socket to remove the bolts in here (you will soon see why I recommended magnetic tools). Then remove the screws in the four corners, with someone to support the panel and finally unscrew the interior pull handle (little flaps over the screws are prised off from the hinge point).

Once the tailgate trim panel is off, you can repair the rod mech/central locking solenoid etc... On mine, there was slack in the tailgate handle as one of the rods had slipped and the other had come out entirely... Don't try to unscrew the rods, but pop the little nylon covers off and re-seat them that way - I am pretty sure you are capable of figuring the rest of this stuff out ;o)

WHY OH WHY they figured that the Espace didn't need an interior door release or some kind of mechanical release inside the car is completely beyond me - ESPECIALLY when the interior trim is impossible to removed with it closed!? How did they anticipate repairs to be made!?? - Annoyed the hell out of me for a short while, but hey - meant I got the car cheap ;o)
Currently in Lazarus's garage:
1998 Espace (MkIII) 2.0 Petrol Automatic RT
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