Suburban Rear Liftgate Won’t Unlock – How To Fix

Categories: news — Tags: , , , , , , , — Posted by: Grant @ June 13, 2008 : 5:45 pm

Update: This post is incredibly popular and has over 240 comments from various owners all with the same issue. Most of the issues seem to be caused by a faulty actuator (link to supplier at bottom of post), but please go through the comments and see what everyone has done to fix their rear liftgate. Thanks to everyone that has contributed!

I apologize that car repairs for a Chevy Suburban are totally off-topic for the Chef Seattle blog, but I ran across this issue the day before going kayaking and saw that it’s apparently a major issue with Chevrolet owners (Tahoe, Yukon, etc) with no documented fixes. In fact, I’m pretty sure this needs to be a recall issue (are you listening GM?). But, I believe that I found a fix for my particular problem, so hopefully this can help any other Suburban owners out there who are / have experienced the same problems with their liftgates / rear doors not unlocking.

Replaced lift gate handle the culprit?

My Suburban was working just fine up until about 3 weeks ago when I noticed that my lift gate handle had broken. One of the hinge pins had snapped (cheap plastic does that) so I had to find a whole replacement handle on eBay for $70 (dealer wanted a ridiculous $150). It didn’t help that some dealers called it a rear door handle, trunk handle or lift gate handle depending on the model year.

After I got the part, installation was easy enough: pop the panel, unbolt existing handle, pry off and install new handle, reattach handle wire and that was it.

Or so I thought.

Fast forward six hours later. I’m now at REI in downtown Seattle, where I’ve just purchased a brand spanking new 12′ kayak. The store has closed and I’m now in the garage, walking up to the ‘burb, kayak in tow, when I point my key FOB at the car as I usually do and hit unlock. Lights flash, I hear the usual “thump” sound, yank the handle and nearly fall over on my ass. I try again and realize with dread that my lift gate is stuck. Down but not defeated, I try the button to open the rear window. No luck.

I spend the next 10 minutes alternating between randomly hitting the FOB’s lock and unlock buttons, until I give up in a garage-filling string of expletives as I realize my kayak and I are SOL. Luckily, I did have a friend and an incredibly helpful REI employee there, whom all pitched in and managed to jam the kayak into the Suburban through the side door. I love my Suburban for reasons like this, though I’m slowly starting to hate GMC. More on this to come.

Chevy Suburban 2005

Here’s the Suburban with kayak inside and the lift gate panel on the floor. If you have a Suburban / Tahoe / Yukon in the same situation where your lift gate won’t open, the only way to get it open is to pry the lift gate panel just enough to access the locking mechanism. Take a long flat head screwdriver, slip it into the top section of the panel and start pulling away. The panel is made of a flexible plastic that will bend a fair amount, so don’t be afraid to put a bit of elbow into it. Seriously, I thought I was going to break my panel, but it just flexed back fine.

Once you see the locking mechanism, you’ll want to grip the back side that moves and twist counter-clockwise until the door pops open. Once you’ve done this, call GM customer service and tell them that their engineers should be fired for not having a manual release. If there is an accident, wouldn’t you like it if you or the kids could escape out the back? Yeah, me too.

Tailgate panel for Suburban

If you’re lucky enough that you can open your door (or maybe it doesn’t lock to begin with), then it’s a little easier to pull off the panel. First, take a socket wrench (9mm, I think) and remove the bolt under the leather handle on the inside of the door (the one you pull down on when your lift gate is up). After that, insert a flat head into the space between the panel and the door and pry open. There will be around 4 or 5 contact points to disconnect.

Removing the tailgate panel

The two last things that stand in your way are plastic hinges that hold the panel to the door frame. With the lift gate open, push the panel toward the car, then spin it an entire half-circle around the hinge in the picture. After that, the panel should pull right out. Now the locking mechanism should be nicely exposed.

Unlocking the tailgate

Here we see the lift gate handle at the bottom, which is connected by a tension wire to the locking mechanism. Pulling on the handle causes the wire at the top to retract toward the right, turning the locking mechanism counter-clockwise.

Why tailgate won't unlock

However, pulling the handle does nothing when the mechanism is in the locked position, because it doesn’t engage the other tension wire / tailgate release – it just simply moves by itself. When the mechanism is unlocked, pulling on the handle will engage the release mechanism and pop open the door… when the locking mechanism is working, that is.

Properly engaged door lock

Here is a properly unlocked door: notice that the black plastic piece (on top of the copper) is slid all the way to the right. You can see that if you rotate the lower copper piece, that it will force the black plastic piece to turn, thus engaging the door release.

Tailgate won't unlock

Here is why your Suburban tailgate won’t unlock. I’ve just pressed the unlock button on my key FOB and you can see that the black plastic piece has NOT slid over to the right. This means that the door is still LOCKED as far as the mechanism is concerned. No amount of yanking on the handle will open the lift gate at this point.

Stuck locking mechanism

Zooming in for a close-up, you can really see where the problem is. Gear heads will realize this is a major problem for all sorts of reasons. First, if your door lock actuator is banging against this metal part every time you unlock your door, it will wear out the part extremely fast and you’ve got yourself a busted door. Second, even if you replace your actuator, you’ll just bust it again if it keeps ramming this part. Most importantly, the question is how this is happening to begin with? My Suburban was working fine until I put in a factory replacement handle.

My opinion is that the factory GM replacement was defective and not built to spec, because the tensioner was now pulling a few millimeters more than it should have, which resulted in my lift gate not closing or unlocking. While millimeters might not mean anything to GM, it means a whole lot of difference to the Joe Schmoe who wants to have a car that works. It may also be due to a small and very important spring that resets the lock back into place.

Door lock actuator replacement

I’ve read a whole ton of reports about Suburban lift gates, along with Tahoes, Yukons and other GM cars failing and drivers stuck with unlockable doors. I believe this type of careless “few millimeters off isn’t important” BS is likely to blame. That’s why some people may have locks that work only half the time, or some work after their actuators are replaced, but fail soon afterward. My two-cent opinion – back to fixing cars.

Relieve handle tension on lock

So what we need to do, is make some space for that locking (technically, “unlock”) mechanism to engage fully. On my Suburban, this meant giving the metal tensioner just a little more slack – 2mm would be all I need.

Removing handle wire

First, I pushed the handle wire mechanism over to the right and then pulled out the metal ball and wire. After that, I pinched the blue wire cap and pushed it out of the metal holder.

Unlocked tailgate

You can now see that there is a lot of visible space between the locking mechanism and the metal. Pressing lock and unlock on my key FOB easily moved the unit back and forth successfully, so I knew it wasn’t a problem with the actuator. Now comes the disclaimer part.

Bending the wire holder

DISCLAIMER: Attempt this section at your own risk, you are responsible for your own actions!!! Not seeing a lot of options, I decided I would take a somewhat drastic approach and bend the wire holder closer to the locking mechanism with a pair of pliers. I only needed about 2mm, so I felt this was acceptable without busting the car too much. Needless to say, this is not a graceful fix nor one I really wanted to do, but there appeared to be little other options other than cutting your own tensioner line (adjusting the line would be the most logical method, but I pinching and pulling got me no results) or finding some concrete way of bracing the line closer to the locking mechanism. If you come up with an elegant solution, please let me know.

Fixed tailgate lock

Phew, finally – the fixed tailgate lock! You can see there is just enough room for the mechanism to engage and that the handle tension wire is snugly seated into its new home. I tested the lock about 100 times to be sure that everything was working as it should and I advise you do the same once you get to this point.

Now, simply put the panel back on the same way you took it off (don’t forget to screw the bolt back into the handle) and you’re done. Have a beer and go pat yourself on the back.

If this blog post has helped at all, I’d appreciate if you left a comment to share you experiences so others in the same situation can hear what you did. Thanks.

Note: Over 80% of the commenters have reported the fault with their actuator. If you go to the GM parts department, they can be ordered for $350 (plus $150 labor to install). However, this seller on eBay is currently providing replacement actuators for around $70-$80 plus shipping. They’ve sold many actuators to people that came across this post, so if you tell them you saw them on Chef Seattle, they’ll throw in a discount. Good luck with your fixes!


  1. Thanks so much for your very helpful comments, photos, and suggestions. My 2006 Chevy suburban liftgate wasn’t unlocking and has no keyhole for a manual unlock (definitely a safety issue!). Anyway, my husband found your comments and after some wiggling and finesse we finally got it open and PRESTO bending that little thingie back did the trick. Appreciate you taking the time to put this on here for folks like me.

    Thanks again!

    Comment by Chris Venable — July 13, 2008 @ 7:09 pm

  2. Thanks man!! If your ever in Austin Tx i owe ya a beer!!

    Comment by chris — July 15, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

  3. OHH and just to add: If your door is stuck locked, at least on our tahoe, it’s easier to get to the latch from the split in the back panel. It is exactly the right place to get to the latch.

    Comment by chris — July 15, 2008 @ 6:07 pm

  4. Wow. Thanks. My 2006 Tahoe is stuck right now, and I’m going to give it a try and come back to read more.

    THEN, I want to organize some action media on this issue.

    To me, this is as big as the Ford Pinto gas tank explosions of the 1970′s or the Ford Explorer rollovers in the 90′s.

    I cannot believe:
    1) there is no internal manual release
    2) there is no keyhole activated handle (external) release.

    Fire, flash flood, smoke, electricity hazards. GM should do something now in the way of recall or they will hit critical mass on class action lawsuits. It’s only been since the 2005 split gate tail, and many bad things have certainly happened because of this design and manufacturing flaw.

    Great work. Thanks a million. I will keep you updated as to my plight.



    Comment by Dan Blackledge — August 4, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  5. I’m happy this has helped guys. It’s actually pretty eye-opening that this blog post is probably one of the most popular on the site. That means this problem is *big* and it’s a potential tragedy waiting to happen..

    Comment by Grant — August 4, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

  6. My 2006 Suburban hs been having intermittent problems with the lock not unlocking, and an awful noise when it tries to lock. It finally unlocked at lunch today and I have removed the panels as far as I can. I can now at least unlock the gate from the inside if necessary…


    Comment by Will — August 14, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

  7. Just found this site and am so frustrated with my 06 Yukon Denali…. I’ve had a few things go on it and of coarse now my back liftgate won’t unlock. Surprise!!! So it is right now at the dealer getting a new actuator. Does around $450 sound a lot to have it fixed? Wish I had found this article earlier….

    Comment by Pattie — August 26, 2008 @ 5:40 am

  8. Well, it’s a bit hard to say depending on what exactly is going wrong. Most shops charge $70 for the diagnostic, about a 50-100% markup on manufacturer parts (actuator goes for about $60) and another $70/hr for labor.

    So, estimating on the high side, if it took two hours, you should be looking at $330 or so. Two hours should really cover just about anything going on back there (the actuator itself is straight forward and simple). If they’re doing anything else, that might make the difference — if not, then you’re probably overpaying. Get an itemized breakdown for parts and labor and make a stink if they’re saying it’ll be over a single hour just for the actuator or $120 for the part.

    Comment by Grant — August 26, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  9. I had my ’06 Suburban tailgate to stop opening last weekend and had to then access through the back glass till in stopped opening as well. Today I finally got the time to run by the dealer. I was told I’d have to leave it for a day. I said I’d have to come back next week to leave it.

    When I got back home I decided to see if I could find any answerers on the web to this problem. And so here I am. If so many people are having this problem then it should be a recall issue. I am getting ready to see if I can fix this thing and will post back. BTW thanks for taking the time by starting this thread we all owe you one.

    Comment by David — September 19, 2008 @ 10:32 am



    Comment by Mike Campbell — October 2, 2008 @ 8:48 pm

  11. have a 05 denali that does nothing when you lock or unlock doors, for the lift gate that is. took off rear panel and there is juice going to the locking part but it doesnt do anything or make a noise , would that be a bad actuator. thanks joey

    Comment by joey — October 11, 2008 @ 4:27 pm

  12. thanks, this was exactly what i was looking for cause i cant afford the dealer fix. this has been driving me crazy every time i go shopping or need to load something. good work.

    Comment by tim zimmer — December 5, 2008 @ 7:09 am

  13. @joey: Yeah, if it’s got juice and you’re not seeing any movement (e.g., your actuator arm isn’t engaging) then you need a new part unfortunately.

    @tim: Cool, glad it helped!

    Comment by Grant — December 5, 2008 @ 9:10 am

  14. What a thorough and professional presentation you did here, you should be doing it for a living and making a good living for doing so! :-)
    I am having problems w/my ’91 GMC Suburban rear split doors not opening with the key or the auto lock; not the same issue as yours, but you gave me some direction and motivation to dig into the rear door panel and try to get at the lock mechanism from the inside anyway. Thank you!

    Comment by Leo Horishny — January 17, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

  15. Thanks for making the post. I actually have the opposite problem with my door staying unlocked and the glass won’t open when you push the button. Your detailed information has given me enough detail to take it apart and try to fix it myself though. Great job and thank you for taking the time to do it.

    Comment by Bobby Reiter — March 10, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

  16. My 05 Escalade just did this.I have a sub box that hides low behind the 3rd row and blocks there removal from the inside.This haults any ideas of removing the panels from the inside but all I did was unbolt the 2 11mm nuts that hold the glass handle on.That gave me access to the panel and the lock slider.

    Unfortunately my actuator barely moves with the arm completely off.

    Easy fix though considering.Much rather do this than a door actuator.

    Comment by Terry — March 22, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

  17. Thank you for taking the time to share your insight with us. You saved me a bunch of money. The last dealership I called said it would be around $350.00-450.00 to replace the whole unit. Thanks to your post, I am 350.00 richer!

    My Suburban was haveing the same issues as stated above (Back liftgate was locked shut). Once I got everything pulled appart (Thanks to your Pics) I was able to see that my little black lever wasn’t moving when I pushed the unlock button. When I manually pushed on it to get it to slide all the way as the pics indicated above, something was binding? I ended up unscrewing the little black box, and there was a spring inside that had got stuck in one of the gear wheels (the spring looked like a tangled up slinky). I simply snipped off the tangled portion of the spring, rebent the end of it to catch on the black bar in stead of the gear, and put the black box back together. Everything worked great after this, the black slide had the full range of motion on both the lock and the unlock. Thanks again for the insight. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

    Comment by Rory — March 23, 2009 @ 8:01 am

  18. RORY, I’m in the same boat as you.My delear wants to charge me $285 for the whole assembly!!!!!

    My motor barely moves even with the arm off.I already had slack in the cable so that did not help.If you can explain your process any more in-depth that would be great.

    Thx Terry

    Comment by Terry — March 23, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  19. I took the black box apart and everything looks good in there.Grease where it should be and put it back together.It just won’t turn the gear enough when back together.I let the truck run to make sure voltage was up also.

    I see no signs of damage in the box on the gears or any type of electrical short.All the springs are intact and grease.

    Update and for anyone having my issue.

    My motor would not turn the gear near enough to throw the lock.Here is what i did to make it work right.

    There are TWO springs inside the black box.One is under the wheel and the other is part of the arm.When you see inside you will understand.I removed the spring that is part of the arm assembly.It provides resistance.It is green/black.I took that out and put everything back together and it works like it should.

    Comment by Terry — March 23, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

  20. I can’t beleive I actually found someone who had the same trouble. My tailgate stopped working last month, right after the warranty expired!!! I’ve had to put large things in the back through the back doors with a little manuevering. I was checking for recalls and nothing. Then I found your blog. I just took it into my mechanic this morning and he wasn’t sure what to do. I’m going to show him this. I don’t want to do it myself, because it would probably cost me more to fix it is I screw something up. Anyway this should help Steve out. Who knows someone else may come to him with the same issue and he’ll know how to fix it. I know it will cost me less at my mechanic than the dealer. I totally agree this should be recalled!!!! Thanks again for the post. :)

    Comment by Terri Romine — April 17, 2009 @ 4:08 am

  21. I am having the same problem but with this information i’m set. i am going to do it myself when i get home tonight. It should be a recall, we shouldn’t have to be going through this trouble after paying $36.000.00 for the unit.

    Comment by Marty Lopez — May 18, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  22. Thank you for sharing this. If it weren’t for your blog – we would have ended up at the dealer spending $450. Although I didn’t have the exact problem – it was extremely close. I just needed to apply some pressure to the plastic locking mechanism to move it into the unlock position. It was stuck in the lock position and the remote was not triggering any activity to the actuator. Once I slightly forced the locking mechanism into “unlock” position – the liftgate began to open and close properly. We tried the remote again – low and behold it started working again. All is back to normal – at least for now. Thanks for sharing all this information. I had the problem resolved in 20 minutes or less.

    Comment by DK — May 23, 2009 @ 7:12 pm

  23. Very helpful … GM should repair these under warranty … what a safety hazard!

    Comment by BDG — May 25, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

  24. Thanks for taking the time to do this in detail. YOU are a person that cares and I really admire that!

    Comment by larry — June 6, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  25. Thanks to the guy who removed the spring! I took apart the gear motor casing and took out both springs. The green one on the cam pivot and the black one on the worm driven gear. It was too weak with either one still there. Works slick now. I wonder if any other lock mechanisms use that same motor? Simple fix to swap the motor out. May have to look around for one.

    Comment by Dennis — June 9, 2009 @ 1:57 am

  26. Hello All,

    Thanks for the info. My 2006 Suburban tailgate hatch just stopped working 2 weeks ago. I was going to hit the dealer today and then saw this blog. Great post.

    My window back there wont open either when I hit the button tab. Why there is not a key entry lock or a handle inside is beside me. What a poor piece of engineering. I am going to crawl back there and see what is going on today.

    This site gave me a start. Thank you all for the info. I will post back when I get it over with.



    Comment by Matt — June 30, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  27. Mine had also stopped working, but could hear it trying. I saw this post and decided to remove the one internal round spring on the gear. Works slick. Saved $286. I recommend leaving the smaller (harder to reach) spring and that keeps the lock engaged or not engaged. Removing both springs could allow the arm to move during driving vibrations and either locking or unlocking the liftgate unintentionally.

    Comment by John — July 2, 2009 @ 11:56 am

  28. same problem 2006 chevy suburban, all of the sudden the trunk won open, it cliks but it just wont open…I think trying to fix this by myself is alot of trouble…I hope they make this a recall..I dont know if it has warrnty still so they can fix it..

    Comment by jesus aguirre p — July 2, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

  29. Well, my 05 Suburban hatch would not lock. The security was engaged, if you opened the hatch the alarm would go off. A few days later, of course after filling the rear of the truck the hatch is locked and won’t budge. Its off to the dealer tomorrow AM and hopfully they will fix it and the fix will be covered by my extended warranty that I paid for.

    Comment by Diane — July 10, 2009 @ 6:51 pm

  30. Like comment #22….. with the help of this site, I got my tailgate up, took off the panel and started ‘moving’ things around. It’s working for the time being, both the window and the liftgate. I have left the lower inside panel off…. so that if it ‘jams up’ again, I can manual unlock it. I’ll probably keep the panel off for a week and then make the determination if I need to do something else. My brother has an ’05 Z71 Tahoe and he suggested that I log into the site and look for help. I get frustrated trying to find the threads…. I found this site on a Google search!

    Comment by Mark — July 11, 2009 @ 1:01 am

  31. Thanks so much for this help. What great detail and the pics are great.
    What a surprise when I tried to open the back hatch of my 06 Tahoe Z71 and NOTHING happened. Cannot open the back! I have been dealing with it thru the weekend. Will let you know how it worked once I crawl into the back and take it apart! Anything to avoid the dealership. As so many people have said….ought to be a recall. I am contacting GM. Maybe if everyone else does,too…they might do something. (They might have other problems these days, though!) Thanks

    Comment by Debi — July 14, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

  32. See my comment # 29. I took my 05 Suburban to the dealer and was told in order for them to diagnose the problem they would have to remove the rear panel and would not guarantee that they would not damage the panel becuase it is not ment to be removed when the door is closed. They informed me that if they broke the panel I would have to pay to have a new one ordered and that would cost a few hundred dollars. I followed up with GM and they would not acknowledge a problem and would not offer warranty coverage. I told them this was not only unacceptable it is a saftly hazard. They said he understood my point, however I was SOL I will file a formal complaint and ask that everyone that may be experienceing the same issue contact GM and insist they recognize this design flaw and stand behind their product. It is issues like this that turn consumers off. Good luck to everyone and thank you so much for staring this tread. Keep it going and hopefrully GM will listen.

    Comment by Diane — July 15, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

  33. Please note I have filed a complaint with the NHTSA please do the same by calling the Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236

    Comment by Diane — July 15, 2009 @ 6:05 pm

  34. Chalk another one up for spring removal. Mine did NOT have the tension issue, just a weak motor I guess, I too was able to remove just the round spring under the gear and everything works smoothly now. Thank you!!!

    Comment by Poz — July 17, 2009 @ 2:10 am

  35. Hello All,

    I posted comment #26. I got back there the other day. Humid as hell here in Virginia so it was not fun. I managed to get the glass window to release after taking the panel off. I have to manually lock and unlock it however. Its nice to know that I can open it without giving my dealer a dime.

    Also, I will tackle the lift gate handle this evening and am glad to see a few more people posted recently about the spring removal. I will go ahead and give that a whirl. I should be back on to tell how it goes. Keep spreading the word. Good posts and good awareness.



    Comment by Matt — July 22, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

  36. My mother-in-law has a 2005 Tahoe Z71 and it wouldn’t unlock. Did all the suggested and got it to open but it seems that the actuator needs to be replaced, which I am pretty confident I can do myself, I just don’t know where to order the part from. If anyone has a link they can post so I can order the part it would be so much help! Thank you!

    Comment by Kyebotx — July 22, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  37. GREAT POST!! A real $$ saver!
    Out of the blue my liftgate would not unlock. Found this after some modified “googling” and it was just what the doctor ordered. I think it should be noted that climbing in the back of my 06 Tahoe Z71 and attempting to pry the panels enough to get may hand near the mechanism to release it was a chore!
    I can’t believe there is no key access on the liftgate. We are stuck hoping that the keyring or door panel buttons work 100% of the time? Like an electric motor or little battery is never going to run out of juice No wonder GM had to go bankrupt! It is this kind of short sightedness that can make even a die hard Chevy fan say “W.T.F. ??”
    I hope this fixes it, but I am a pessimist so I used my heat gun to heat the panel and re-mold it enough so I can stick a screw driver in and trip the mechanism if it gets stuck again.
    Also like previously mentioned in another post, I filed a complaint with the NHTSB. Couldn’t hurt.

    Comment by S.U.V.RoadRage — July 23, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

  38. Hello All,

    I posted #26 and #35. I got back there again last night and got to lift gate handle and saw it all. I pulled the little trip mechanisms on the left and right side of the handle that releases the lock and pushed the tailgate open. I am relieved to get it open but its a one way deal. My actuator must have went bad also as I don’t hear any noise when I hit the unlock button. Where can I get a part for this 2006 Chevy Suburban LTZ lift gate handle? I don’t want to go to the dealer and talk to some idiot who just wants to tell me its going to cost a lot for a little.



    Comment by Matt — July 28, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

  39. Great post Grant from Seattle!…living in Korea, GMC dealers are hard to find, & it seems your advice/technique will be a big money saver….my 98 Yukon & 06 Suburban are both experiencing these symtoms….will give it a try; thanks again!!

    Comment by Dave — August 19, 2009 @ 2:54 am

  40. Fantastic post and responses. I have the same problem with my ’06 Suburban. Took it to the Chevy dealer I bought it from and they want $380 for the actuator part (#15808595) and $270 for labor. This was after they charged me $115 for the diagnosis. AND it looks like they charged me $10.95 to tell me the part number!

    I’m having a hard time finding the part without going to a dealer. GMpartsonline seems to have it for $171, but they don’t identify it as an actuator, but a “latch.” Anyone purchased this recently? Usual sources come up dry.

    And of course my truck is 8000 miles beyond warranty.

    Comment by Andrew — August 25, 2009 @ 12:58 am

  41. My 2005 Yukon XL experienced the same problem, two days before we had to take my daughter and all of her stuff to college. I had to have my truck, my husband was out of commission due to recent knee surgery, so I took it to the dealer. $517 later, with a new actuator, we are leaving for college tomorrow. I tried to contact the NHTSB, but was cut off while trying to file the complaint. Will try again, but does anyone know how to contact GM?

    Comment by Becky — August 27, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

  42. Exactly the problem I had with my 2005 Escalade.
    Thanks for the pics!

    Comment by Eric Redman — September 11, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  43. Finally some answers!

    Comment by Jane — September 11, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

  44. Thanks adjusted the tab just a bit to relieve pressure on the cable and presto!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Todd — September 19, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  45. tkank you so much what a great help. i wont be putting my kids back in this tahoe beacuse it is not safe. i will be trading a s a p thank GM for indangering my family thank you luchi

    Comment by luchi — September 23, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

  46. Great write-up. I haven’t had the problem with my recently purchased ’06 Tahoe, but have heard about it on plenty of websites. Now I’m armed with the necessary knowledge in case it does strike me!

    Looking at the pics also gives me a bit of knowledge to start working on a permanent modification that will allow me to manually unlock and open the rear hatch (or at least the window) from the inside. If I can come up with a nice clean mod for that, I’ll post details here.

    Comment by Gary — October 2, 2009 @ 8:26 pm

  47. I am definitely on board for a class action lawsuit. I have granddaughters that I will no longer put in the back of our tahoe. Nor the “extra funds” for GM to just diagnose the problem. Just pathetic. Someone probably has to die first before GM will fix this problem. Thanks for the helpful pics to self fix!

    Comment by Travis — October 21, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  48. Thank you soooooo much for posting this!!!! I drive a 2000 GMC Yukon XL, and I was incredibly frustrated after finding my liftgate would not open. I am moving next weekend, and the truck is great for cargo space… except when you cannot open the liftgate! I pried open the plastic from the inside like you said, put a little force on the actuator, and presto, open! Thanks again for creating such a detailed explanation of everything, and for relieving my frustration!

    Comment by Tony — October 25, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

  49. If nothing happens when you push unlock , no noise ect. is that a sign that my problem is the actuator? I did get the panel off and the door open but it is still stuck in the locked positions. Any info on replacing the part yourself?
    Thank you for this site , very helpful.

    Comment by cory — November 5, 2009 @ 4:28 am

  50. thanks for this post. I was about to pay $472 dollars to fix this same problem. I did everything as you instructed and once the door was opened i actually found out it was the actuator because nothing is moving. I didn’t quite understand the other guys moving the springs around, so if someone can explain a little more in depth i would greatly appreciate it. as for now i’m searching for an actuator. My dealer quoted $284 for the part but i saw where you stated they go for about $60, so i’m still searching.

    Comment by Alton — November 14, 2009 @ 4:10 am

  51. ,..] is another interesting source of information on this subject,..]

    Comment by Trackback - Cheap Internation Call >> How to make cheap international call — November 19, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

  52. Additional info for troubleshooting. My ’06 Tahoe liftgate/liftglass quit unlocking. No noise back there but everything else unlocked. When troubleshooting electrical, the current going into the right side of the little black box changes polarity so quickly at the connection, it’s hard to verify without a fast meter to pick it up, so don’t jump to the bad wiring conclusion too quick. My problem was the little black box. I paid $312 for the assembly, which included cables and changed it myself. Pretty straight forward. Cable ends are quick to slip out/in. Remove the three highly visible, easy access flanged screws that hold it in place. The whole thing comes out. One trick parts was getting the push button off the old assembly. Remove the retaining clip (C shaped ring) and washer (do not lose these), push the little pin that protrudes through a hole in the plate and rotate the push button cylinder until it lines up with the plate cutout and arm clears the black pin on the black box assembly. Be patient; it will clear everything without tearing up anything. It took me about 15 minutes to completely remove and reinstall. My mechanic’s front guy quoted me $520 to replace it for me. My 15 minutes was well worth $200. Thanks for your details and a lot of the comments. Couldn’t have done it without them.

    Comment by Valerie E — November 20, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

  53. I found the acuator for $225.00 w/ shipping at or 877 498-7278 part # 15808595. Dealer wants $288.65

    Comment by cory — November 20, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

  54. Excellent, excellent pictorial and presentation. We, being in the limo business had a very embarassing moment at the airport with the guests lugage trapped in the back of the Escalade. We also could not open the glass tailgate to get to the bags but managed to get them out the doors by lowering the seats. We did follow your instructions and made the the repair to the tailgate.

    HOWEVER, not to have this occur again, we did an additional modification such that by pulling a aviation type steel cable you could pull both levers seen in last bottom photo of your presentation to open the tailgate. The cable is somewhat loose to have a portion of exposed thru the edge of the interior panel and long enough to be exposed thru edge of the tailgate just above the tail light. Now we have alternate pull handle to open the tailgate whether from the inside or the outside. Every time you close the the gate you have to however tuck the exterior portion of the cable in the crevice between the tail light and the tailgate edge.

    As for the glass panel, the push button is jamed due to all the salt and calcium they put down on the roadways in the winter. We have lubed the interior parts of the push button and will it sit awhile until next week to see if our efforts will work.

    Once again. Thank you for presentation. Great work!!!

    Joe. Quartz Limousine Inc., Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Comment by Quartz Limousines Montreal, Quebec, Canada — December 26, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

  55. Dude…u rock!! My actuator is fried but thanks to you I new how to get it open from the inside and open the back to take it apart. THANKS!!

    Comment by Joe Boos — January 13, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  56. 2006 GMC Yukon XL; exact same symptoms as everyone above. Took apart and removed spiral spring from the actuator and it now works perfectly. Thanks for the posting and thanks to google for finding this!

    Comment by Joe Fazzari — January 17, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  57. 2003 suburban 3/4 ton. Thank you for the information!! Great Job!! Now have hatch unlocked, all parts seem to be working. Next up is working on freeing up stuck pushbutton for glass hatch due to salt/corrosion in upstate NY. Again, I appreciate your efforts!! Thank You.

    Comment by Mike — January 18, 2010 @ 10:22 pm

  58. I really appreciate the advice. I can’t say I was able to find an elegant fix for the problem however acting like a savage definetly has its advantage sometimes!lol Good luck to the next unlucky person.

    Comment by Larry — January 21, 2010 @ 3:53 am

  59. thanks for the imfo.another success story depriving Chevy of robbing another loyal customer.advance auto parts had the part for 40.00.tried filing a complaint at above number but the woman discouraged me to do so saying it takes 25 min.and only sometimes causes a recall.thanks again

    Comment by jeff — January 22, 2010 @ 2:32 am

  60. Don’t replace the parts! After much time and data on diagnosis the conditions above are largely a lack of lubrication problem. Use a dry slide type lube on the mechanism and cycle the lock system. This fixes many. Enjoy.

    Comment by GMC Fix — January 24, 2010 @ 2:43 am

  61. Thanks for doing all the homework! I’m going to dig into my Yukon XL liftgate this weekend. Your blog is the best info I’ve found on this issue. Thanks again!

    Comment by Blair — February 23, 2010 @ 6:27 pm

  62. Dude, you rock! Incredible work-around — Love my 07 Suburban — but this is fucking retarded! My liftgate is, naturally, locked. Why oh why isn’t there a manual release inside? And, for that matter, why isn’t there a manual release outside (instead of the electronic, multi-relay, multi-fuse, piece of crap)? Anybody have any idea how to replace this electronic handle with a manual one?

    Thanks again!

    Comment by Matt Funk — March 8, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

  63. GREAT POST!!!!!!!!!!!
    My Sister-n-law came over when she was unable to lock her rear hatch. After 1 hr of diagnostics I came to the conclusion that her actuator was bad. Shopping the net for an actuator I ran across this blog (Thank god). I choose to remove the black box (actuator) and remove one of the springs.
    To remove the actuator you need to remove the 3 10mm bolts that secure the plate to the vehicle and flip over. You will need to remove the 1 torx screw that holds the actuator to the plate. Gently slide the actuator up w/out breaking any plastic tabs. Once removed from the plate you’ll need to remove the 3 torx screws on the actuator cover. There are TWO springs inside the black box. One is under the wheel and the other is part of the arm. When you see inside you will understand. I removed the spring that is under the wheel and put it back togeather wih no success. I then removed the spring which is part of the arm assembly.(It provides resistance and is green/black).I put everything back together and it works, though sometimes I have to push the FOB unlock several times. The actuator is weak and will still need to be replaced at a later date when she gets some extra cash.

    Comment by Mark Seitz — March 12, 2010 @ 6:33 am

  64. I googled ” replace rear lift gate handle on 2005 chevy suburban ” and found your blog! (I added the text here to help with others find it as well from an SEO perspective.)

    Thank you! I have had the dealer replace the handle on the rear lift gate on my 2005 Chevy twice – this time we were stuck! What happened this time – (other than the cheap plastic handle breaking) is that the one of the two pins that hold the handle and act as a hing when opening the lift gate, fell out. I followed your directions to remove the panel (my door was stuck closed) – I was able to get it open and actually found the missing pin on the plastic on top of the bumper. When the pin fell out – the “tongue” on the handle that works to leverage the cable/latch assembly, slipped to the underside of the lever…rendering the latch inoperable.

    Using needle nose pliers, I was able to put the pin back in its place — I noticed the pin was hollow – I happened to have some copper wiring and was able to thread it through the hole on both pins to create a “retainer” for the pins — now I know they will not fall out again, but of course it is only a matter of time until the handle breaks again.

    Comment by Doug — March 14, 2010 @ 12:35 am

  65. You are my new hero. After my wife said the lift-gate on our 2006 Tahoe would not open I checked the fuses and key fob to no avail. I immediately “Googled” the problem and found this blog. I was able to quickly ascertain that my Tahoe’s problem was inside the actuator and used the comments from others w/ the same problem(take out the spring underneath the white plastic circular gear dealy)to rectify this shoddy piece of engineering. Thanks to all of you who wrote comments here-you helped me save $250-$400. Here’s a good example of a Chevy product:My 1971 Malibu convertible has 235,000 miles w/original rear-end, trans.,interior, glass,all electronics,etc. My Malibu dates from the time when GM still made the best engineered cars (for the money) on the planet. The old GM, in this situation, would have at the very least made this ‘lift-gate’ problem a recall to help their customers. This is just another example of why GM is tanking;front-wheel drive Impalas, no inexpensive coupes, $40,000 trucks, D.O.D,KILLING PONTIAC, and the worst interiors in the industry. Their saving graces, the Cadillacs and Corvettes are truly great American cars but, I can’t afford either of them, yet. But I digress. Now if I can only convince my wife that a 1966 Chevy Biscayne w/ a 427 and 4-speed will make a very good ‘family truckster’.

    Comment by Derrick — April 5, 2010 @ 3:37 am

  66. Just started having the same problem w/ my 06 Suburban. Found this site and got it fixed for now. It seems the biggest problem is lack of strength of the actuator. The clearance has its placed in the issue, but if they would have put a stronger actuator on it in the first place, it would be able to push past the clearance problem. This is just one of the numerous reasons they had to take our tax dollars to stay afloat!!!

    Comment by Shane McVay — April 14, 2010 @ 3:33 am

  67. Grant,

    Thanks for the article, not only was it helpful and made me laugh. Which is more than I can say for the freakin door. So not only do I have a good cheap fix (saved $450) on my 2006 Denali but now I even got a good chuckle out of it. You are a good writer and should peform some more sitcom writing.

    Again thanks

    Comment by Jason — April 16, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

  68. Just following up on a post, I removed the panels and the unit acted like it didn’t have enough juice to move the arm. The part it was actually strugling with was the push button cylinder. It hits it add an odd angle so it has to work hard to get it turned. There is a C-Clip on the end of the barrel and under it a washer. It looked like these were binding slightly so I removed them added the dry lubricant, reinstalled them and now it works like a charm. I left the panels off for a few days to keep trying and so far all is good.

    I also called the dealer that wanted $450 and explained that it was the last vehicle we were buying there. Something about kicking somebody when they are down, none the less, thanks for your efforts Grant. If your in Maine, I owe you a oak cooked steak. You might have to make a cross country trip to collect all of your rewards.


    Comment by Jason — April 22, 2010 @ 12:25 am

  69. Hey Grant, Thanks for the post! This happened to me just this week, for no apparent reason and when I called the dealer to ask if this was a common problem, the service man said no, at least not on the 2006′s. Also he quoted around $400 to get it fixed!

    To be frank, there’s no way in hell I can afford that! I am a single Mom of two young boys and I also doubt very highly that I can follow your instructions to fix it myself as I am not very mechanical and don’t want to end up doing more harm than good. I just don’t know what to do about this problem. Living without the use of the back is very FRUSTRATING to say the least! And now I am worried about the safety issue inherent in this that had never even crossed my mind!

    Do you have any other thoughts or ideas of what else I can do? I think we should all team together and force Chevy to do the right thing… or else!

    Comment by Suzanne Reegan — April 29, 2010 @ 6:00 am

  70. Great Site…thank you,
    Hey so Ive got the same problem…when my 2006 Tahoe locks…there is a loud/humming grinding noise from the lift gate. Before I open it…does the noise indicate what is wrong? or could it be any of the problems mentioned. Thank you.

    Comment by Andrew O — April 30, 2010 @ 2:59 am

  71. Thanks for the well done post. You saved me not only a lot of money, but probably a few hours of horsing around to find the problem. I have a 2006 Yukon with the same problem. I could barely hear the actuator making a slight noise when the lock\unlock fob pushed. I took out the actuator, had to remove both springs, thanks to the tips in the comments, and now it works great. I did notice the plastic gear wheel had a few broken teeth on it, so I may end up needing a new actuator down the road sometime. Thanks to all of your pics, it was no problem. You did a lot of people a huge favor by posting this, thanks for the time it took. Anyone know where to get a good price on new actuator?

    Comment by Pete — May 15, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

  72. I had driven around with a locked rear lift gate on my 2006 Suburban for over 3 weeks trying to muster the courage to climb in the back area with some tools and get to work. Then, early one Sunday morning I heard my car alarm going off. I went out into the driveway to find my 16 year old son struggling to get the alarm turned off. He had accidently set off the alarm while playing basketball. We turned off the alarm and I started the Suburban, don’t ask my why, it’s just what I do after an alarm in triggered. Suddenly, I heard the back lift gate open. My son just innocently opened the door completely forgetting that it was “broken”.
    It has worked flawlessly ever since. Now I am not saying that this will fix all rear lift gate issues, but it is certainly worth a shot before embarking on a mechanical repair just in case.

    Comment by Jeff — May 19, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

  73. Thank you for taking the time to post this. It was very helpful!

    Comment by Lisa — May 23, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

  74. Hi,

    You are a great man , In the end I now found a solution to the complex puzzle.

    Thank you.

    Comment by nouh aly — June 3, 2010 @ 1:14 am

  75. Grant:

    Nice presentation! Kuddos to ya my man. My 2005 Surburban rear door presented me with a similar problem. It would not lock anymore. Finally one day it decided to lock and hence would not unlock. GM failed to provide a key entry for the back door so I was stuck. Your analysis was spot on. I took off the plastic cover from the inside of the truck which reveal the locking mechanism. Here I was able to unlock the door via your thoughtful presentation. The actuator seems to be the culprit so I will have to replace it. Everything else seems to be in good working order and never having a problem with the rear door before I suspect the actuator was just tired and worned out.

    Thanks so much :)

    Comment by Bill Moffatt — June 4, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

  76. This was extremely helpful I have been ridind around with the rear of my 98 yukon for months and I kept getting stopped cuz my tail liight was out an I couldn open the hatch to get to after reading ur post I ended up cutting a square out with a hammer an I flat head screwdriver right behind the lock mechanism ( what luck ) now it locks an unlocks manually an I fixed the tail light thanks a million

    Comment by rob — June 6, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

  77. Thanks for the explanation and detailed pictures, but my problem was a little different Plenty of clearance but servo motor was being overpowered by centering spring and cam over spring inside of mechanism. I relaxed the cam spring and removed the centering spring. Lock mechanism working fine now.

    Comment by Joe LoVerde — June 14, 2010 @ 2:03 am

  78. All I can say is WOW. This is one of the most helpful fixes I have found posted on the internet. It’s 98 degrees here in the shade and I was dreading going outside tomorrow trouble shooting this problem in my wifes Denali. Thanks to you, my life will be a ton easier and fixing will only take a few minutes.

    Thanks again. If you ever make it to SC the beer is on me!

    Comment by Boulware — June 20, 2010 @ 4:06 am


    Comment by Shelly Mathews — June 24, 2010 @ 7:56 am

  80. i have a 94 suburban that i bought 15 months ago and evry1 has seen the movie money pit, disregarding my evry 3rd month under the hood expenses, the hinge pin on driver door, lock on passenger door, back left window only goes down half of half way, back left door locks only when chooses, and back left door hinge busted,… good thing many other suburban owners own lemons, or is that the only flavor they offer. but this advice and pics were awesome, i guess manually opening back door is better than not at all, they know how to set the bar extremely low, buy american?

    Comment by bart shankles — June 25, 2010 @ 12:03 am

  81. I’ve had this problem twice with my 06 Tahoe, but this time no warranty. The cost of repair is just short of $600.00. I see this problem as a potential fire trap in the event of an accident involving a fire in the front of the cabin. How do you get your kids out of the car? Is GM waiting for something like this to happen before anything is done about it. No manual release, No key hole. All Tahoe owners will face this problem sooner or later. It is an inherant problem. Do what is right and call the National Highway Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 like I did. If enough people call there will be a recall on these vehicles that may save lives. Don’t put it off or expect the next guy to do this for you. Take responsibility and the the right thing.

    Comment by Cornelio Adams — July 2, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

  82. On 07-09 models there is a TSB that shows where a premrked dimple is on the panel, you drill a hole to access latch then buy a colored plug from GM to plug the hole. Why don’t they just fix the problem? My 07 has a power liftgate, when you push the button it grunts, clicks and groans but doesn’t open. My wife knows what noise to listen for and when to pull.

    Comment by Mitch Wolfe — July 4, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

  83. Thanks Grant for the pics. My 06 Tahoe just broke this weekend. We will get in there with your help.Thanks again.

    Comment by Scott Goodman — July 7, 2010 @ 3:57 am

  84. As for safety/put a hammer in back and tell the kids to break glass in emergency. Then call highway safety admin and be heard.Thank Grant for awesome pics and info.

    Comment by Scott Goodman — July 7, 2010 @ 4:00 am

  85. I own a 2005 Yukon XL and out of the blue with no warning the liftgate would not open. With your help I was able to climb in back pull off the lower panel to give me access and open the door. Thanks

    Comment by David S — July 8, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

  86. ok. my 06 tahoe has a two piece panel and the top one had to come off first. I slid a thin pry bar up the center and hit the latch for the window(by accident). after the window was open the panel had two pop pins facing the glass. broke those plastic buggers and the rest was easy. Sorry I dont have pics but it looks just like Grants. I checked out a few things and concluded that the lock solenoid(the black plastic part) is not working. After a couple calls I found auto parts stores dont have em yet, dealer part only. Well my local dealers want 312.62 for the parts. I havent bought em yet but with the door torn down, I can open it up if I need it. Just gotta get the cash.

    Comment by Scott Goodman — July 9, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

  87. Surprise surprise, I am having the same issue as everybody else. I have both panels off and have a clear view of whats going on. It looks like my issue is the actuator. After reading everybody’s comments about the two springs inside the actuator, I have decided to go ahead and try to get in there but am having issues. Is there a way to take it apart without having to take the brass plate off the tailgate? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Comment by David Story — July 13, 2010 @ 3:03 am

  88. OK. I feel better. For some reason there is comfort in finding others with the same issue. Even more when there is some hope! Wife’s 06 Denali stopped unlocking today after she picked up her mother at airport with luggage. Now the two of them are taking 6 year old and newborn to hockey game in the am and have to load everything through the side door. (I have an early tee time).
    Can’t wait to get after it tomorrow and see if I have the same luck fixing as everyone else.

    Comment by Scott — July 17, 2010 @ 3:30 am

  89. I had the same problem with my 06 Tahoe. My liftgate would not lock. I took off the inside panels and checked to see if I had power to the plug and yes I did. I then took the the whole locking mechanism off. Then I took the black actuator box off and plugged just that in to see if it would work. I could hear it click but would not move. I then took it a part and removed the 2 springs mentioned in an earlier post and that worked. I ended up finding a different motor to try. It was a 1112324 or FC 280PC 22125 I found on ebay for $12. I took the worm gear off the old motor and and used epoxy to hold it on the new motor. The old motor had a longer shaft with splines on it. I just put it back together tonight and it works like a champ. $12 and a little work is a whole lot cheaper then $300.

    Comment by Kevin — July 21, 2010 @ 4:24 am

  90. I just had the same problem

    Comment by Jeremy — August 2, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

  91. I just had the same problem on my ’05 Tahoe. Called local GM stealership and they quoted me $312 for the whole lock assembly (actuator & steel plate). Searched Craigslist for someone parting out a Tahoe, Denali, Yukon or Escalade. Found a local wrecking yard with an ’02. They charged me less than the dealer wanted for the actuator alone. Turns out the bad one on my truck looks to be an aftermarket part as it is shaped a little different then all the ones the yard had. If anyone needs one, I can get and ship it to you.

    Comment by Jeremy — August 2, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

  92. This really sucks! My liftgate and rear window are not working too. This seems to be an epidemic, has there been any movement on this issue?

    Comment by Christina — August 2, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

  93. Just wanted to join the club, specifically, the “oh crap my wife says the car is broken and now I have to fix it”.

    Comment by gregg — August 9, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

  94. Thank you Very much i have an 06 yukon denali xl, and also the window and liftgate was stuck locked. will try this in the morning.

    Comment by Jim — August 15, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

  95. Thank you Very much like i said i have an 06 yukon denali xl,and also the window and lift-gate was stuck locked. i had to climb in the back screw the handle pop the lower slide panel push the black arm to the actuator to unlock the door and open. the old one worked but barley. played with the springs a bit still not enough power,So i called around and found the part # 15808595 (actuator & steel plate)for 300.00. Came home and thanks to this page had it in the truck in less then 5 min. everyone on the site saved me $200.00-$300.00 in labor for just 3 11m bolts.

    Comment by Jim — August 17, 2010 @ 10:05 am

  96. Thank you so much for putting this wonderful information out here for others. We just went to Austin to get college kid on campus. Turned shut the tailgate and decided to leave a box behind tried the tailgate glass to place it in the car and the glass lift is stuck locked and the button pushes in while the tailgate is jammed unlock open and unable to secure the rest of the contents for the rest of the weekend. Now I am back home and found this blog of information and others in the same position. I will show my husband and he, I am sure will want to fix it instead of throwing out hundreds of dollars that our family needs. I am still now very concerned about not having the kids able to exit the back if in an accident…what if’s like ran off the road into a lake/water and they end up back there…had not thought about that before. Thank you again so much for the information.

    Comment by Pat — August 23, 2010 @ 6:59 am

  97. Grant,
    thanks for posting this. about 6 weeks ago my 2005 suburban tailgate just stopped unlocking…havent been able to access the rear cargo area through the hatch since. no warning just one day wouldn’t unlock. i have been putting off taking it in to the dealer for repair. i just ran accross your blog and now this weekend i will give it a try. I’ll let you know how i make out! THanks for excellent detail in your photos and narratives. this is awesome!

    Comment by Steve — August 23, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

  98. Dear Chef,

    Thanks for posting… My problem is tail gate with separate window. I have 97 chevy tahoe, great truck, took the back screws out, cant get the panel off as it seems there are screws at the top whter the window closes. Called dealer, service writer asked a couple of mech’s, and all i heard was laughing in the background. Great Guru, am i doomed?

    Comment by Dan — August 25, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

  99. Thanks for the post. my ride is a little older 2000 suburban but had the same problem and after the high estimate from dealer to replace we just let it go for way to long. after reading this we just dug into it and 20 minutes later it was fixed and we now have use of the rear hatch again.

    Thanks for the great info and taking the time to post it.

    Comment by 2000 chev sub — September 4, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

  100. First off, great info and presentation.

    Any ideas as to why the rear wiper on my 2004 Yukon XL might not be working. It will cycle from time to time, but I think I have some sort of ground fault. When I swithc the rear wiper on at the dash, the only way I can get the wiper to cycle is to open the reag glass by pressing the outside button. There is some sort of switch under the rear glass latch that I will be looking at tonigh.

    Thanks again!

    Comment by 2004 Yukon — September 8, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  101. Thanks for the information – we went through the entire process and found that a small plastic piece was broken in the actuator (the part that holds the spring in place!). Had to buy the actuator including all the related cables from a GM dealership as non of the parts places carry what we needed. In Canada, the parts cost $425 but at least we saved the labor cost!

    Comment by 2006 Yukon — September 11, 2010 @ 8:00 am

  102. Add our 2005 Suburban on the list! CRAZY! I’m at work right now, but am anxious to get home and examine things closer. I’m sure this post will be our solution!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Love the writing style, too.
    “BOTTOMS (or at least our hatchback) UP!!!”

    Comment by Chevy Sub — September 13, 2010 @ 7:52 am

  103. Grant, Thank you for starting this blog. All it takes is for one person to say enough is enough. I to have the same problem but the cheap plastic gear is chewed up, so I need a new assy. If it wasn’t for your blog on a cooking site, I would not have found it. thanks again.

    Comment by Mike Lankenau — September 17, 2010 @ 7:45 am

  104. Wow … 2006 Yukon XL with the same problem.

    I happened to read something about the button between the sunroof and rear-seat lift on the 2007 Yukon’s acting as a release mechanicsm. While my 2006 doesn’t have the rear seat button — I went ahead and pushed the sunroof and all three gargare door buttons (they aren’t programmed) and my hatch began to work immediately.

    Just a coincidence or is there something to this ….????

    Comment by Sean — September 19, 2010 @ 7:26 am

  105. Thank you very much! Very helpful and detailed explanation, also great pictures.
    Muchas gracias

    Comment by Ramon Zablah — September 19, 2010 @ 9:15 am

  106. Fantastic feedback – 2005 Suburban. Incredibly frustrated wife trying to manage 3 kids and our life with no tailgate. Refused to pay $500. Found this site, an hour later, we’re done (although my solution was slightly different than others).

    When I engage the locking mechanism, I hear a bad sounding, grinding noise. Sometimes the unlock mechanism works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    I don’t have the tool to open the black box. What I have done in the meantime is to disconnect the electrical feed to the black box (keeping it in a permanently unlocked position). While I can’t recommend this for everyone, it is going to work for us.

    Thanks for your great work.

    Comment by Craig — September 25, 2010 @ 9:00 am

  107. Just read your blog…am hoping that we can follow your directions enough to get the hatch open on my 2006 Chevy Tahoe. My fingers are crossed.

    ….BTW why hasn’t GMC had a recall on these models for this problem…?


    Comment by Monica — October 6, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  108. Whew. What a mess. So…for starters…thanks so much for this blog….saved me $500-600. Secondly, don’t hold your breath….GM won’t issue a recall for this. We’re stuck….but fortunately…we all have each other. :)

    So….I have an ’06 Tahoe and the rear locking mechanism stopped working “overnight” about 4 months ago. Wife ready to sell car for $20. Perplexing issue, until I read this blog. I read the original post….no need to bend metal pieces….my actuator (motor) was simply dead. Read through many of the posts with great apprehension…and finally found post “#89 from Kevin”. Yeehaa…you da man, Kevin!

    I had the same issue. I “unhooked all the junk”….and quite simply…the black actuator box would make a clicking noise….but didn’t move the arm mechanism…i.e. motor is shot…need a new one. I ordered the same motor part number off of Ebay as #89 above for $12.

    Disclaimer: This path is an arduous one…and isn’t for the faint of heart. If you ain’t got any mechanical skills…..this might be a tough route to go.

    I unfortuantely didn’t take any pix, because I have no easy way to post them, but a few key hints:

    1) Just kinda sorta need to “yank ” on the plastic panels on the rear hatch to get them off. Seems excessive at first….but once you get them started…they come off easily. I had to take off the “window frame” plastic piece…as well as the flat piece that the “pull-down” closing handle goes through.

    2) Get a digital camera and take lots of pix so you can see where the various cables feed to the gold plate. These should be disconnected and marked with masking tape to figure out what goes where.

    3) The gold plate with the black actuator box needs to be removed…think there are 3 bolts. Don’t take apart the black push button glass hatch opener thingy…this one isn’t the issue.

    4) The black actuator needs to be removed form the gold plate. Take a digi-pic or two. There is one “Torx” screw to remove…and then need to push on a little black button latch located within a groove on the gold plate…to slide the whole black actuator box out of the gold plate. Did I mention to take a digi-pic?

    5) Once the black box is disconnected form the gold plate…a good idea to plug it into the electrical connector (if it isn’t already connected)…and push your lock/unlock button on your key remote. If it makes a clicking noise, but doesn’t move…your motor/actuator is bad. If the linkage moves…the motor is okay and you have a “mechanical linkage/binding problem” that is discussed in the first posts.

    6) Again…taking the black box apart and replacing the motor from #89 above is not for the faint of heart. This is a disclaimer. Should you accept this challenge…go to Step 7.

    7) There are 3 Torx screws that need to be removed to open the black box. There is also a silly linkage arm that needs to be rotated to remove it. Take a digi-pic before removing.

    8) As you separate the two halves of the black box….the small motor wants to stick to one side. I found sticking a small razor blade in between the two halves helped keep the motor in place as I opened this “clamshell”.

    9) Once you have the black box open….there’s a bunch o’parts inside…don’t worry…you won’t have a bunch of springs shooting everywhere when you open it….but do take it apart slowly so stuff stays where it’s supposed to. Once you have the small motor and worm gear out….I needed to use vise grips to lock onto the shaft of the motor…and then catch the worm gear in a “V”-groove of a pry bar. The motor eventually came off…with the shaft still stuck into the worm gear. So…clamping the vise grip on to the lonely shaft (without motor)…and then banging a hammer on the vise grip gripped to the small shaft….eventually allowed the shaft to come out of the worm gear. Hardest part of this project….but it eventually came out.

    10) So I had to replace the small motor with the $12 Ebay motor. The worm gear needs to be removed (see above) and then placed on the new motor. The shaft on the new motor (from #89 above) is shorter…so you need to be careful about where you cement the worm gear on the shorter shaft of the new motor. There’s a small hole that the far end of the worm gear needs to fit into within the black actuator housing. Once you know where it needs to be (I would use a “sparkplug gap” shim thingy to set the distance from the bottom of the worm gear to the top of the new motor. I used “JB Weld” epoxy to cement it in place…you can’t use glue…use JB weld. Let it set and dry for 24 hours!!!!

    11) OK…time to reassemble. The black actuator box is a bit magical. The part of the white plastic gear with all the grease in it….should be pointed away from motor…and fits with a “white key/arm” on the other half of the black box. A HUGE key learning was that there’s a small spring that needs to go onto a small black “nub” when you reassemble. If you don’t do this…it won’t work.

    12) Once black actuator box is back together with Torx screws tightened…you need to reassemble black box to gold plate. Two key things…1) the black arm mechanism needs to go back into the grooves…and 2) there are two fingers that stick out of the part and need to capture a small “round bar” between them. Tough to explain without pictures, but critical to make this pig work. If there are enough responses…I will take mine apart and post somewhere so this makes more sense. So….anyway…the black actuator box needs to click back into the “slides/grooves” on the gold actuator plate….and then one Torx screw to screw back together once the black latch clicks back into place.

    13) Mount gold plate with black actuator box attached…back onto rear hatch panel. Reconnect all cables and try your remote key locker. If it ain’t working now…then something ain’t right. Don’t put all the plastic “fascia” parts back on unless it’s working correctly.

    14) Funny thing. When I reassembled everything and used the remote key locking/unlocking buttons… I had issues (imagine that). The 4 front doors would lock when I pushed “lock” on the remote, but the rear hatch would unlock. When I pushed “unlock” on the remote….the 4 passenger doors would unlock….but the rear hatch “locked”. Sigh. Turns out the small motor I received is “reverse polarity” (is that right?) from the original motor. In the end…no big deal….just needed to swap the two wires/leads going into the easy connector. I had to use a hard thin wire to push down the little auto-locking mechanism on the wire lead…and then just reversed/swapped them…and then ….everything worked BEAUTIFULLY! Whew. After doing the victory dance in the driveway (and drinking a bottle of wine)…I put the plastic fascia pats back onto the inside of the tailgate. Was truly magical.

    15) A month later….all is well….I have a “permanent fix” here for my issue. Sorry I don’t have more pix to share to make this more straight-forward, but again…if there’s enough interest…I’m willing to take it all back apart and take detailed pix with detailed instructions….just to spite Chevrolet….but will need someone to help post my pix/instructions.

    16) E-mail me with any questions at “”….put “Chevy/GMC Rear Window Issue” in the Subject line…so I know it’s not junk mail.

    17) Whew. Good luck. Time for some more wine.

    Comment by Rick C — October 14, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

  109. 2005 GMC Yukon with the same rear door problem. This does seem like a safety issue. I will be taking it apart this weekend.
    As someone noted before… at least we have each other.

    Comment by Jeff — October 27, 2010 @ 11:39 am

  110. First Thanks for help/tips on what to try on my 2006 Tahoe, with no key on the button, found out it was the motor was bad called dealer on part and cost over $300 for it, I asked about changing it to a key type they said it would cost over $400 to convert it, well i told them no thanks so I looked on graigslist and found a rolled 02 Tahoe with a key with electric lock, compaired the two side by side and found the electric motor a little different but the plug still the same and it works, and the whole bracket was the same, but the button had a key thats the only difference, the accuator was all the same so i got the whole set up for $75 and now if the motor gos out agian i will have a key to unlock the doors. So if anyone else ask you can change it with out very much hassle. So once agian Thanks for your post it help me.

    Comment by Alex Cantu — November 1, 2010 @ 11:12 am

  111. Thank you very much for this post! It made it very easy to identify what the problem with my 06 Yukon was. My solenoid is pretty much gone but removing the tension springs from inside the black box (that moves the lock/unlock arm) allowed it the unrestricted freedom to move back and forth. Hopefully it’ll hold on a little while before I need to replace it… but definately saved me a few hundred dollars right before Christmas!!

    Thanks again for the excellent post!

    Comment by Brian — December 5, 2010 @ 8:16 am

  112. Does anyone know which year models have the keyed feature? I have a 2006 Yukon XL and the actuator is shot so i’d like to go with the Keyed version while i have it all apart.

    Thanks the fix described above worked for about 3 months before the actuator went guts up. Also, does anyone recall the orientation of the white gear wheel which is in contact with the work gear on the motor?

    Thank you – James in Texas

    Comment by James — December 10, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

  113. My ’03 Tahoe just had this problem. Your instructions and pictures were very helpful. I believe that my actuator is out since it doesn’t move when I hit the FOB button or the unlock inside the vehicle, but atleast now we can get the rear access open if we need to until I order the part and replace it.

    Thanks again,
    Alan in Ogden, UT.

    Comment by Alan — December 10, 2010 @ 11:52 pm

  114. thank you for the fix , i got the door open so the handle works now I think mine might be a power problem ….. but thank you for taking the time with your pictures and description.

    Comment by dan — December 28, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  115. At James in Texas (post on 12/10/10)…see Step #11 in my post dated 10/14/10 for proper gear orientation. Rick

    Comment by Rick C — January 3, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  116. My daughter had a similar problem with the rear hatch/tailgate on her 2005 Tahoe…hers would’nt lock. She had no idea how long it’s been that way. I told her she was lucky nothing got stolen during her Christmas shopping. I had it a little easier pulling the panel away since the door was open to get access to the locking mechanism…it’s obviously a pain in the butt if you have a bunch of cargo in the way and it’s stuck in the locked position.
    After I removed the lower panel completely and carefully pulled the upper larger panel away, I was able to remove the metal locking mechanism which is held on to the door by three 10mm bolts. There are 3 latch release cables hooked to it and have enough slack to move it around to gain access to the back side of the BLACK PLASTIC box, which is held on with a very small Torx screw. Unhook the electrical connection, and the BLACK BOX will slide right out.
    Remove the 3 Torx screws that hold the case together and you will find a small motor with an inch long worm drive gear meshing with a WHITE PLASTIC gear. This motor is no bigger than the SlotCars I used to have as a kid!!
    I then experimented with removing the short GREEN SPRING ( about 3/4″ in size) after removing another small Torx screw that holds the BLACK LEVER on. I put both halves together, hooked up the power, and hit the remote…NO LUCK. (You can hold the unit in your hand to test it without bolting it up each time)
    Then I removed the spring UNDERNEATH the WHITE PLASTIC gear,…put both halves together and…. VICTORY !!! IT WORKS!!! It seems that the small motor does’nt have enough torque to override both of the springs tension. It just has to slide the BLACK PLASTIC LEVER enough to make contact with the mechanism.
    When sliding the BLACK BOX into position to bolt everything up, make sure you ENGAGE the part that makes the REAR GLASS LATCH work!! Yeah, Chevy should have come up with an inside emergency release of some sort.
    Oh…one last thing…you might want to pull the fuse for the DOME lights…(having the rear door open so long caused the battery to go dead.) But after a quick jump start, ALL the doors lock and unlock like they are supposed to.
    Oh….one last

    Comment by Michael K. — January 5, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

  117. I would like to thank you very much for all the info that you put on this site it was so very helpful and I talked to all the dealers up here in Burlington Vermont and they told me for very large fee and promises they would look at it. I followed your site to a tee and it worked for us. I found that 1 cable and a broken spring on the latch is my problem now I have to find the parts to fix it right so for now I unhooked the power to the latch. Again thank you very much

    Comment by chuck — January 24, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  118. Thank you so much for posting this info and your step by step directions! We ordered our new part and had it changed out in about 15 mins. The local dealership wanted $330.00 for the part and $170.00 for labor, OUCH! We were able to order the part ourselves for $227.00 + $20.00 shipping, so saved us about $250.00. Thank you again!

    Comment by mandy — January 31, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

  119. Thanks Grant, you rock. I got it opened up, unlocked it and disconnected the power so it can’t be locked again. All is well, just have to remember to not leave any power tools in it until I get a new assy. Thanks again.

    Comment by Eric — March 5, 2011 @ 8:22 am

  120. Where can you buy the tailgate actuator for my ’05 Suburban?

    Comment by jerry mcneill — March 5, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

  121. OMG!!! How frustrating! I am a daughter of a mechanic so I get what you guys are talking about. However, when I took apart my panel (yes I am a girl) my actuator is not clicking or making any noise. Being that I don’t have the money for the part let alone the service, I will be driving around like terminator with my panel off until I can get the part and the tools to fix. Thank you so much for your in depth pictures and instruction. Also all you bloggers thank you for your additional comments to help guide me. My dad would be proud :) . I am just glad that I can pop open from the inside in the meantime. I do believe that it is a serious safety concern. Like the lady said “what if we are in the river and in the back of the vehicle with no way to open.” I am a big “buy American” advocate; however, Chevy not addressing this issue fuels to debate to not buy American. I hope Chevy will be responsibe. Will be talking to my service writer on Monday and see if there is any thing that can be done as far as responsibility for future Suburban. My burb is my dream car and will never give it up. And this blog is now on my favorites bar until I fix it.

    Comment by Liddy — March 19, 2011 @ 9:07 am

  122. Hello again.
    I couldn’t accept defeat of the door. So I said a little prayer and spoke to my dad to shine down on me and work his knowledge through my hands to help me. Went to the neighbors house and borrowed his 6mm ratchet to get the panel off. Looked at the silver ring that engages and disengages the lock and saw it seemed to be off a little. Moved it a bit and forced it back in place, pushed the key fob and it worked. Hip hip hurray! Thank you all for your blogs and Mr. Chef for posting this information, God for answering my prayers and dad for making me work in the shop with him. I know that my dad is looking down at me elbowing people saying “That’s my girl!”

    Comment by Liddy — March 19, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  123. 06 Tahoe – temporary thanks!! So i tried the spring removal and it worked great for about a month, now i’m back to stuck. took panel off and now the actuator is completely locked up, won’t even allow me to manually lock it!! so i’ll pull this bad boy off tonight and see how bad everything is on the inside…prolly in store for a new part. but thanks anyway, it got me through a cross-country trip and now i’m hoping to replace without the labor costs. does anyone know where i can get just the actuator gear and not the entire assembly (15808595)? going by the salvage yard today but that’s a shot in the dark…

    Comment by sonic — March 21, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

  124. Thanks! 06 yukon xl just tried and couldn’t get in the back. Will let the hubby look at this with our great mechanical friend to fix this weekend. I am SURE this will save us $$$!
    Obviously with so much traffic, a huge problem.

    Comment by stephanie — March 22, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

  125. well just had to bite the bullet and order up the new part. but thanks to this article you saved me lots of money and the hassle of dropping off the car at a shop! 225 online versus 325 + labor + finding a ride. I wanted to try the $12 part and epoxy to the bracket but i just couldn’t do it since i usually end up making things worse. I’ll check back in a few years when my new part gives out and i get to do the process all over again!!!

    Comment by sonic — March 24, 2011 @ 9:33 am

  126. thank you very much for your posting, saved me LOTS of money.

    Comment by ERIN — March 28, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

  127. Thank you for the outstanding write up. I was able to take the panel apart to find the “black box” I followed the above blog (Terry) and take the black box apart to find the black/green springs inside. Apparently, the spring would not allow the arm to move freely and all I heard when I pushed the door lock was a clicking sound. I took the spring off and pushed the FOB and PRESTO the whole mechanism worked perfectly!! I saved lots of money by doing it myself and not taking it to the dealership. Thanks aging for a wonderful blog and God bless you.

    Comment by dc — March 31, 2011 @ 9:38 am

  128. Also, after I fixed the problem. I cut a small hole (1 1/2″)in the plastic door panel slightly below the arm that controls the open/close of the rear glass hatch. So in case of an emergency you can place your finger inside the hole and move the door latch to open the rear glass. God bless you.

    Comment by dc — March 31, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  129. Thank you soooo much for this information and the break down of it. It will be a great help to my husband so he can fix my hatch. We should all get a petition going for GMC because this is a hazard for all of us in case of an emergency!! Trust me we all paid enough for these vehicles!! Let me know if someone gets one going on because I will definetly sign it!! Thank you again you are the greatest!!

    Comment by Teresa Callegari — April 3, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

  130. Thanks for the info, we could not get our hatch open and the window would not open. With you pics and info, we could get the hatch open and get it working, except the push button. Not sure what keeps it in place as it just pushes out. Thanks again!!

    Comment by Michelle Knapp — April 16, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  131. I am sooo glad I found this thread. I followed all instructions and “wahlah”…my door works. The pics are what did it…thank you so much for the time you took to explain so thoroughly.


    Comment by matt m — April 17, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

  132. I just did this last night, there was nothing wrong with the clearance of the arm, just not enough ‘umph’ against the tension springs inside. First I removed just the green spring under the arm inside the black box, it still would not unlock, so I removed the spring on the back of the white gear also and it works now. We will see how long it holds out now. I am glad someone took the time and pictures to help everyone out. At least when it does finally go out and I have to shell out the $200 to replace it, I can do the job myself and save the $170 in labor cost from the dealer. THANK YOU!

    Comment by Kevin S — April 29, 2011 @ 5:57 am

  133. I discovered this wonderful problem with our rear hatch today when our 2005 Yukon XL Denali was loaded to the gills with groceries and no way to get the damn door unlocked. After unloading all my groceries thru the side door, I found this FABULOUS website and started to work on getting the panel removed. My husband is stuck at work and keeps telling me just to wait until tomorrow, but I am determined to fix this! SO anyway, I got both panels removed and was able to pop the rear liftgate open. YEAH me! The only problem is it’s still in the locked position so everytime I close it, I have to climb through the back and pop it open manually from the back panel. Is there a way to switch it to the unlocked position so I can at least access it from outside until we can order the actuator part? Thanks!!

    Comment by Heather H — May 11, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

  134. OMG today as I was about to get my 05 Tahoe detailed I went to open the tailgate and to my suprise nothing. I could not even open the glass to get inside, I tried both the key fob and the master door switch and still my tailgate will not open. Its just my luck im going camping tonight and now I have to worry about loading and unloading my gear from the side doors. I did take the advice of a fellow person on here who said to make sure to file a complaint with the NTSB to help start a recall for safety reasons. The girl was more than happy to walk me through the process and take my complaint and yes she states there has been hundreds of others with the same issue. I will try to fiddle with it after my camping trip but I refuse to pay high prices for GM use of cheap parts.

    Comment by Devon M — May 13, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

  135. Thanks for all the Input. My 2006 Suburban had a once-in-a-while functionable lock/unlock situation. All parts looked good, a lubrication spray with silicone worked well and i cut out the part of the panel so that i can reach with a finger in the mechanism and assist or open the door directly. That is great, when I sleep in there and want to get out without unlocking all doors. No sweat, I always have a spare car key outside in a magnetic box…! Greetings from Germany!

    Comment by Pitt Weber — May 16, 2011 @ 6:52 am

  136. Brilliant post. You’ve saved a great many people (and myself) a sizeable sum of monies, well done. Sincerely Justin

    Comment by Justin De Clemente — May 27, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

  137. Thanks, It worked, except now my little black box (i guess the actuator) is making a loud noise when the door is locked or when i engage the transmission to drive (automatically locks the doors)! I am gonna try and take it apart today to see what is causing it, Thanx a bunch

    Comment by Mike from Fontana, Ca — June 8, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  138. Thank you, Grant! I,too, own an ’06 low mileage Denali. I arrived home from work today to find my wife with a dejected look on her face. She proceeded to tell me that we had another “Could anything else cost us big bucks this week?” item added to our list of washing machine repair, driver-door-bent-hinge-repair, powder-coated wheels, NAV disc upgrade, etc. She took me out to the Denali to show me that the rear gate lock ceased to function. I found this useful blog and had the “ah-ha” moment. I took the lap-top out to the Denali, climbed in the back and got to work. After disassembly of the panels and opening the gate, I discovered that the mechanism had no lube, was difficult to move and relatively quiet when actuated. I got out the WD-40, sprayed the mechanisms and then re-sprayed the sliders with white grease. Viola! It works smoothly and with purpose. I tested it numerous times then I brought my wife out to get her approval. She approves. Now, If I could just fix the the washing machine!

    Comment by Mike Boyle — June 8, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

  139. Wow, just awesome. Thanks for all the posts! The spring trick didn’t work for me because the plastic support for the end of of the worm gear in my black box was broken. Went to a local junk yard and grabbed a black box from an ’05 Suburban and put it in my ’05 Escalade. It wasn’t a perfect match but the holes lined up and it works!! Complete repair for $10!!! FYI- I looked in 6-7 different trucks before I found one that had the black box in. Apparently, this is very common. Maybe I should have tried to find another!

    Comment by Jeff H — June 10, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  140. I have a 2006 Yukon XL with the same issue, this site was helpful in helping me diagnose and fix the problem. It also saved me the $100 deductible on my extended warranty.

    Comment by Mike Y — June 12, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  141. I have a 2005 Denali. Spring under the white gear was also my problem. I was able to open the actuator box without disconnecting the power and played with removing the springs to check function, before I re-installed the box on the gold bracket. I’m not sure what the spring even does, except to get hung up on a plastic tab halfway through the gear travel range. AWESOME post. Thanks from Virginia!

    Comment by Ken M — June 13, 2011 @ 7:41 am

  142. Howdy from Big Sky country in Montana. Today it happened to me. 2006 Yukon XL. Tork me off! I would like to extend a big heartfelt thank you to the intelligent,resourceful, generous Gent who put this post together. Did call the NTSB and left a message and will follow up……….

    Thanks again Grant.( You running for Pres?)

    Comment by Don Johnston — July 2, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

  143. Ya’ll this is a disgrace. I could put my foot up GM’s butt ankle deep. What’s their problem with recalling the actuator if there are hundreds of complaints from consumers. I filed a complaint online today with NHTSA begging them to investigate this issue as a death trap. I love my ’06 Chevy Tahoe, but I love my family even more. I will call them tomorrow and file a complaint with them as well. If they act as if they’re not too concerned with the issue, I’ll then proceed to discuss this with CNN and see if they’ll go into depth and find out why this matter hasn’t been recalled. It’s a death trap and GM knows it. I tilt my hat to all who are willing to fight over the issue. Why would they chance ruining their reputation when they can go ahead and do what’s right. I am willing to bet that GM laughed their heads off when Toyota had their recall last year.

    Comment by Tan David — July 4, 2011 @ 10:55 pm

  144. Thanks very much. Was able to use your diagrams and explanation to reverse engineer why the rear glass push button locking mechanism was not working and causing the door lock to jam in the unlocked position. Now I know how all this works and how to fix it. Thanks again for taking the time to document this.

    Comment by Craig R — July 9, 2011 @ 11:17 am

  145. Thanks very much. I have a 2005 Escalade with the same problem in Canada. Dealer wanted $455 for the actuator and $95 for an hr of shop time.they seemed to very familiar with this type of fix. Will do it myself now.

    Comment by Bob — July 13, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

  146. Same 2006 Tahoe problem. Could not get disabled walker out and is safety issue for emergency exit. Reported to NHTSA and will be reporting to ADA people. Thanks for your help,

    Comment by Jim — July 17, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

  147. Thank you so much! Just went to my mechanic today, and he said it could be up to $1800 to fix this, because it might take him a while to figure out what is wrong. Your explanations and pictures were spot on! If you ever come to southern Missouri, I’ll buy you dinner!

    Comment by Jon Wilkie — July 26, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  148. Both My lift gate and rear glass would not work and the lock made no noise when pushing the key fob or using the truck auto lock unlock, took the advice on removing the strap and rear plastic cover from inside the truck. Pushed the key fob and no sound or movement in the lock once I had it exposed. pushed the lock to the right to the unlock position with my finger and presto the key fob and auto locks for the truck now both work. It was not the actuator but a stuck lock. seems like their are several ways to get this result but for me it was as simple as using my finger to push to black lock to the unlock position and it is working good for now. I am leaving the rear panel off for now until I am satisfied it is not going to stick anymore and need some adjustments. I am not what I would call good with tools but this was a snap and took me approx 10 minutes or less to complete. F_ck the dealer who told my wife 500+ to fix and the GM Engineer who designed the rear door without a emergency latch. PS my vehicle is a 2006 Chevy Tahoe Z71 4X4

    Comment by mariel — July 31, 2011 @ 9:04 am

  149. Thanks for the topic, much like Mariel I have a Z71 ’06… After maneuvering (sp?) everything and scratching my head… manually pulling what you describe as the tailgate release allowed my system to function. I believe there are many possible malfunction variations as it does have several moving parts- so my suggestion is to anyone reading this and not finding the initial solution, is to “tinker” so to speak with all the different moveable parts. Great link here though, screw GM for their bobo parts!

    Comment by Brian — August 3, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  150. RELAYS—-
    One comment here.
    These locks have fuses, however, they also have relays; a fuse will be visibly blown when you pull it out and look at it. If the fuse is fine I would try a new relay. On my 2003 Suburban this fuse / relay box is under the hood on top of the drivers side wheel well.
    If the relays contacts become pitted or corroded, they will either fail or begin to send a weak current to the solenoids. Usually with a bad relay it works erratically, however, it could just fail completely! The relays are identified in your owners manual, they are a small square box ~1 1/2″ and just pull out of the contacts in the panel.
    This is a cheap fix compared to just going straight to the solenoids. Just saying try this first, if it fixes your problem fine, if not the problem is likely to do with the actuators / solenoids.
    NOTE: when replacing fuses, relays, bulbs or anything electrical in your auto with a contact, use dielectric grease on the contacts to help avoid corrosion.

    NOTE TO GM: This should be a RECALL item… There are far too many of these same issues for it not to be fixed on GM’s dime!!!

    Comment by Gary — August 3, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  151. #50 correction…

    “On my 2003 Suburban this fuse / relay box is under the hood on top of the drivers side wheel well.”

    My mistake! The relays and fuses for the LOCK and UNLOCK are in the panel on the end of the instrument panel on the drivers side. I was thinking of another project.
    Anyhow, look in your owners manual for your particular vehicle, however, the suggestion is look at replacing the relays before going at the lock actuators.

    Comment by Gary — August 4, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  152. I too, developed this problem a couple of weeks ago, on my 2005 Yukon. After finding your post on the subject today, I went out and tried it! I took out the spring under the white plastic gear and it worked !! Thanks for saving me a lot of money. Hopefully, it will keep working for a long time.


    Comment by George in Ohio — August 4, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

  153. Have the same problem, 2006 Denali, rear gate remains in lock position. Pulled the covers off and checked voltage spike when FOB activated, It’s getting voltage. Checked for binding, parts move smoothly, so I deduce that the actuator is bad. Looked on line for a replacement without success.
    Those of you that replaced the unit where did you get? What is the part # . Thanks in advance for your input.

    Comment by Lewis Alexandrer — August 7, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

  154. I found this article useful but had a different problem that is likely affecting others. There is a plastic wheel inside that drives the locking arm. It is driven by a small motor with a worm gear. Over time the plastic wheel got some bad teeth and the couldn’t catch or skipped causing the permantly locked situation. You can see if this has occured on your unit by looking to see if the arrows on the actuator are lining up in the unlock position. I took out a couple of broken teeth, moved the wheel over to a better spot, and loosened the locking arm spring so it wasn’t working as hard.
    It worked and is fixed for now but will probably have to replace whole unit or find a replacment wheel (which probably doesn’t exsist) It sucks that such a critical part is made of plastic.

    Comment by Loren — August 10, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

  155. Glad I found this blog! I followed all the steps and to my surprise it was the exact same problem! It is now working again like nothing was ever wrong with it! GM needs to address this problem ASAP!

    Comment by Quentin — August 21, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  156. Removing the springs also worked AWESOME!!!!! Saved me $500.!!!!! Thank You for posting this fix. What did those springs even do anyway? Obviously they were overkill for the tiny motor provided. Well the part was probably made in China!!

    Thanks again to all for their suggestions.

    Comment by bryan — August 22, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

  157. This article was VERY helpful in diagnosing a failing tailgate lock actuator. I used the instructions to take the door panels of the tailgate and replace the ailing actuator. I was able to move the actuator with a little help from my finger, but clearly it was loosing suds. I didn’t get a stellar deal on a new part ($240 with shipping) but was cheaper than the dealer. I was able to replace it in about 30 minutes.
    Thanks for posting!
    2006 Tahoe Z71

    Comment by Kevin — September 8, 2011 @ 9:28 am

  158. @Kevin, where did you buy it? I cant find one for my 2005 GMC Yukon Denali anywhere online. It seems the dealer is the only one! Help please I dont want to pay $350!!!

    Comment by beth kristensen — September 13, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  159. Our 2003 Chevy Surburban just had it’s tailgate window get stuck! I right as we were about to put in canoe to leave for a canoe trip! Waaa. We dont have the time to take the whole thing apart- any other options?!

    Comment by Renee — September 24, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  160. STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DON’T BUY AN ACUATOR YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SEE COMMENTS 49-52. I bench tested my actuator (connect 12v directly to the contacts) and it was completely dead. Being a tinkerer and not having anything to lose, I opened the booger up to check the gears. Everything looked great and I was determined to really screw it up or fix it. The motor has two slots that contacts in cover slide into. I broke a paper clip in half and hammered the ends flat until they fit into the slots snugly. I put 12v to the makeshift contacts and and bang! It came to life and disassembled itself. I put it back together (with the cover) and it was dead again. Ugh!!! I opened it up again and gave the cover to motor contacts (prongs) a very slight tweak to get a better connection. Too much tweaking and you won’t be able to get the cover on. I successfully bench tested the contraption about twenty times before reinstalling it in the car.

    Comment by Dan Martin — September 25, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

  161. I forgot to thank everyone that contributed … THANK YOU! Mechanically, my fix is very easy but if you are not accustomed to grease under your fingernails and the occasional bloody knuckle, I suggest that you get help. 12 volts of direct current won’t kill you but if your ring or bracelet becomes part of the circuit, you’ll get one helluva burn. Please be careful.

    Comment by Dan Martin — September 25, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

  162. OH MY GOSH!!! READ THIS FIRST!!! My tail gate wouldn’t open on my ’06 CHEVY Suburban… I was reading all of the posts. I got to #72 about the alarm being tripped. (a couple of days ago my alarm was accidently set off…not sure it this had anything to do with the problem…). I was about to take the truck in to the dealer and thought, I’m gonna try what #72 did. I purposely set the alarm off using the key fob (red button), turned the alarm off (using the key fob), started the suburban, turned the suburban off and GUESS WHAT?????? The hatch now opens perfectly!!! Not sure what happened, but something was reset! Worth a try before you take anything apart! YIPPEEEEEE!!!! Thanks so much for the original post Grant and also # 72 Jeff!! I’m a chick so this would not have turned out good if I started taking things apart…haha.

    Comment by Laura — September 29, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

  163. Update on my fix #160. The POS quit working after 3 days. I took it apart AGAIN.

    Comment by Dan Martin — October 1, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  164. Update to my fix #160. The POS quit working after three or four days. I took it apart again! I got it working for a few minutes then it died. Yeah I took it apart AGAIN and the motor was hot. I’m convinced that the motor is under powered and after so many lock/unlock cycles it wants to die.

    I’m surprised that we don’t see Suburbans on the road with hardware store hasps and padlocks.

    Comment by Dan Martin — October 1, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

  165. So cool I found this , I removed the spring behind the gear put it all back together and whamoooo it is working like a champ! Thank you very much we have been driving with the back door panels off for the last 3 months until I had the nerve to walk into dealer to give them 350 bucks for the actuator! Now pound sand GMC

    Comment by Don — October 6, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

  166. By the way I did do the alarm trick ( post #162) it did work a few locks and unlocks but right back to the same. So the key for me was the spring behind the circle gear inside the acuator

    Comment by Don — October 6, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  167. I had a 2003 sub which would lock and you couldn’t open the glass as well the 03′s had a button as well to release the lock and mine was stuck in the “in” position . I can’t recall if I used a piece of gum or a magnet to pull the button out ( it comes out fairly easily but hard to grip with fingers alone) after the button was out I pushed my remote and it popped open I know this is a little different from the original problem however I thought that it might help someone out there.

    Comment by waltwood — October 19, 2011 @ 8:35 am

  168. First, a belated thanks to Grant, the OP, for taking the time to photo the whole thing. Cheers!

    Second, kudos to GMCFix, comment #60, for the Root Cause Analysis, that the failures appear to be the result of poor lubrication. In my case, it’s all too late, as the plastic gears have stripped, and I really do need to replace the whole assembly. Dang.

    Third, lots of giggling while reading all of the comments about this being a ‘safety’ hazard, “what if I’m trapped in the river, and I need to get out the back…” Well folks, you all shopped for, and purchased your vehicles, and since you’ve owned it, have you EVER been able to exit thru the back? It doesn’t matter whether the actuator functions or not, THERE WAS NEVER A HANDLE BACK THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! If this method of egress is so important to you, why did you make the choice to purchase this platform of vehicles? “What if a piano falls on my truck? That darned sunroof is a SAFETY HAZARD!” Seriously.

    Fourth, this is clearly a failure of a 2nd or 3rd Tier component supplier that provided a substandard part, or changed their manufacturing process during the production run. It seems to me that most of the anecdotes are about 2002 and newer trucks, although the same assembly had been used for several years prior. This says to me that the assemblies that GM agreed to during the initial durability testing had probably been changed without GM’s approval or knowledge. THIS DOESN’T LET GM OFF THE HOOK, shame on them for not sampling throughout the production run of 7 years, but the failures likely didn’t start showing up until waaaaaay deep into the build cycle. Each of the car manufacturers have pretty severe durability test programs, but it’s nearly impossible to find problems that only the passage of time will reveal. You have tiny amount of grease, inside a riveted assembly, behind a set of closed panels, that dribbles away from its spindle over a period of 3-5 years. What test could you recommend to GM that would accelerate this behavior to the 6 month testing cycle?

    End of rant. Back to your regularly scheduled programming. Your mileage may vary. May the force be with you. Let the flaming begin. :)

    Comment by Latchless-in-Seattle — October 19, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

  169. Thanks for all of the great pictures and advice! Once we found your website we were able to quickly get the panels off, adjust the worn actuator and get us back into business. Thank you for saving us a trip to the repair shop and a couple of hundred buck bill!!!

    By the way…VERY annoying that there is no mechanical latch to unlock the hatch. Just glad we didn’t have a full load in the back when it decided to stick!

    Comment by Tim — October 23, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  170. I just had the same symptoms in my 2002 Suburban today. Your pictures and narative made me confident I could tackle the problem. Although my symptoms were identical (could not unlock tailgate or window), the cause was entirely different. The spring under the white plastic lever that the liftgate handle moves was very rusty, stuck in place and would not allow the cable to return when the handle was released. It was as though the handle was being held up all the time. A little grease and penetrating oil and much manipulation of the lever through its travel got everything working again. Many thanks for your posting.

    Comment by Jeff — October 26, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  171. Looks like to me you have made a million dollar or more site. Thank you For the help on my 2006 suburban but, mine works in warm weather and when it got below 50 degrees it would not open. So I pulled it in let it warm up and works.
    This is a big time safety problem. Also the the tab bend works. You should send General Motors a bill for this fix.
    Thank you big time.

    Comment by RODNEY — October 28, 2011 @ 2:43 am

  172. And so the sage continues….Found this blog while googling for “how to remove tailgate panel 2005 Tahoe”. Seems like a lot of people have had this problem. I also note that there is no key entry from the outside nor a release handle in the inside. Never noticed either issue before since my key FOB always did what it was supposed to. Well, I am going to try the “alarm” trick first. Recently, my alarm was set off by accident. If that doesn’t work, then off to panel removal. Stay tuned.

    Comment by Denise — November 9, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

  173. Thanks for the directions and pics. Yukon is at the shop now, told them “no thanks” on the $566 fix. They said I needed new actuator and latch. Last GMC for us. RECALL ISSUE!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Dan Bonner — November 11, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  174. WOW!!! Unbelievable we are all having this issue and no recall. I officially hate my 2005 Tahoe. One problem after another with the latest being the loud buzzing noise the rear hatch makes while trying to unlock but failing. I can open the hatch but not the glass. Will this proceedure work with the glass? My mechanic also says I need a new lock motor for $300. He just unplugged the one in there and I can open the glass now but can’t lock it! Anyone out there with this issue and were you able to resolve it on your own?

    Comment by Terin — November 12, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  175. Same problem.

    Comment by 2005 Yukon — December 2, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  176. 2005 Suburban
    Well another victim of liftgate lock failure. I was very aggravated when I could not open the liftage no matter what I tried. I was very frustrated knowing I couldn’t manually unlock the glass or the liftgate. I decided it was time to check the net for info. Well to my amazement I found this posting and reviewing what Grant so vividly shows in his pics, I wasn’t able to remove the panel as show because of the Granite counter tops that were stored in the rear area. I tried what was listed in POST # 72 but that failed. So my only choice was to take it to my local Chev dealer. Yes the same old problem, it was a defective Actuator and yes the cost was $530.. I will never understand why a manufacture would not provide a key access to the lock mechanism or a manual release with easy access panel without taking the wholw inside cover off.

    Comment by Jerry R — December 2, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  177. I had this happen to me on my 2004 Suburban. Your post sure helped me out. Here in Minnesota it looks like the weather has not helped the springs at all. I’m going to look at replacing those and then tweaking the rest to work more reliably. I’m glad I did not go to the dealer but went to google instead.

    Comment by Steve — December 5, 2011 @ 10:00 am

  178. Looks like YOU saved me a $350-450 repair! Thank you for ALL the details and clear photos. BIG help. We just came home from a long trip and had all our gear/luggage to unpack. Late, wife, kids and I all tired and when tried to open the back…nothing. Grrrr. AND we just had the major expense of replacing the tranny (’04 Burb) and I wasn’t relishing either another costly repair or many lost hours struggling to figure it out myself. I see clearly that as handy as I am I would never had figured out that this was the problem or the solution. Well, using a pry bar I was able to pry off the rear panel from the locked inside fairly easily (some minor damage could’ve been saved on the pull strap as I was too tired to care–easily could’ve removed the screw that held that in place first before removing panel). No biggie. All told it was a 10-15 minute repair. To top it off my wife said that I was the smartest person she knew! I gave you credit but she still gave me the credit. Win-win, eh? Anyway, thanks tons! If you’re ever in Utah email me and we’ll pay you back with good company and my wife’s great food. Thanks again! I’m always amazed how many wonderful people, like you, take the time to share solutions. To me it’s just as helpful (if not more so) than stopping to help a stranded traveler. Thanks and peace! Jonathan

    Comment by Jonathan Sherman — December 11, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

  179. Thank u worked great ur the best

    Comment by John folgy — December 20, 2011 @ 10:28 am

  180. 2005 Cadillac Escalade

    Thanks a ton!!! Saved me a lot of money. The motor was too weak to lock the hatch, so I took out the 2 springs and works like a charm.

    As far as the springs, the one under the gear is easy, just pull up the gear and remove. The little “green” spring was tougher, but I took needlenose pliers, pulled the visible hooked end and snipped it off. Then it was a matter of just pulling the rest of the spring free. Thanks again!!! Also, you need a really small torx bit, I don’t know the size, but it was one of the “micro” sized ones. Had to run to harbor freight and pick up their micro torx set, 4 bucks and your good to go.

    Comment by John Amos — December 23, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  181. Thanks for all the great info. Had the same problem in my ’05 Tahoe. Removed the circular spring from the actuator and that did the trick. Motor must be weak though. Wonder how long it will last? Wish I could find the motor.

    Comment by Brett Van — December 24, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  182. Hello,
    I have a 2005 Z71 Tahoe. My rear window and liftgate will not open. Could it be a fuse? (A girl can only hope). How can I open the liftgate without damaging the car? Thank you and Happy New Year.

    Comment by Jan — January 2, 2012 @ 11:26 am

  183. Several months ago my six CD changer in my 2006 Tahoe stopped working (with six of my fovorite CD’s stuck in it). I went online and found out that this was a common problem with the Tahoe. Because of the great expense I never got it repaired or replaced. I blame the crooks at the dealersip for that. Now the liftgate won’t unlock ! ! ! I went online again , found your post, read your remedy, squeezed my 300 pound plus butt into the back of my Tahoe, removed the panel, found the problem, fixed it. I found the design flaw, bent the tab so that it makes contact with the releasing mechanism. I think the actuator IS broken because now the liftgate won’t lock but I can open the liftgate at will by pulling the handle. Thanks ba bunch for your good deed. I owe you “a cold one” too. My cost ??? $00.00 .

    Comment by Dave — January 2, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

  184. wat size screw is holding the actuator in cant find anything to unscrew it

    Comment by paul — January 5, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  185. The black lemon strikes again. My 06 yukon denali is a piece of junk. I have had more problems with this vehicle than all my other vehicles combined. It will be my first and last GM vehicle. After 2 transmissions, 2 oxygen sensors, 8 light bulbs, transmission oil gasket, and now the liftgate and window are locked and I can’t open them. Thank you so much for the information on your web site and to all of you who have added your insight to this problem. I will fix it myself, save a few coins, and not give another cent to GM that I don’t have to. Thanks again.

    Comment by Brent — January 8, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  186. 2005 Yukon same problem!

    Comment by 2005 Yukon — January 12, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

  187. QUICK FIX One can manually extend the lift gate handle cable (see finger, Chef’s picture #5 above) and snub it’s lead end into the housing of the ‘tailgate release mechanism’ (see arrow picture #5) thereby having having two leaded cable ends within the same housing. This results with the ability to open the liftgate using the outside handle because the liftgate handle cable now pulls the ‘tailgate release mechanism cables directly. I crimped the housing somewhat to ensure that both leaded cable ends stayed put. The trade offs are that I can’t lock the liftgate nor open the rear window. If the vehicle is otherwise locked and the liftgate is opened the lights blink and the alarm sounds. On the positive side, the fix is easy and zero cost. Due to the age and mileage of my 2006 Yukon, I’m not going to be in a hurry to replace the faulty mechanism (if ever). Thanks for the pictures and the insight.

    Comment by Art — January 13, 2012 @ 1:02 am

  188. As a do-it-yourselfer, I appreciate this blog for the invaluable help it provides. Although my 2004 Z71 Tahoe doesn’t have this problem yet, I know it’s coming….sooner or later. So, I’ve bookmarked this page for future use.

    Thanks Grant.

    Comment by 67HEAVEN — January 16, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

  189. Thanks so much for your “blog”.I have a 2005 Escalade ESV and Love it. Stupid lock gave out. Opened up the back and took the pastic cover off and opened black gear box and sure enough broken gear super glue $2.49 fixed it one hour cure put back togeather. “I greased the gear heavly”! If your gear is snapped in half it will work. I actually use Krazy glue…. I want to thank evey single person on this blog i read every single one and learnd alot. From Micheal Tacoma.

    Comment by micheal Tacoma — February 16, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  190. Thanks so much for taking the time to write such well thought out explanation and solution to this very frustrating problem. Here we are in 2012 and my 2004 Chevy Tahoe has the exact problem as everyone else seems to have – a rear hatch & window that is locked shut with no manual release. Talk about some dumb-ass engineering! My dealer, Martin Chevrolet in Torrance, CA, acted like this was a completely unknown problem to them. Anyway, I’m going to go give your solution a try. Thanks again dude, you rule!

    Comment by Photographer Rob — February 16, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  191. I have encountered the problem of my rear hatch not unlocking twice now with my 2006 Sub. The first time the small motor in the hatch that functions the locking mechanism had smoke coming out of it. The second time it was as simple as a blown fuse. Yes, a blown fuse in the fuse compartment on the drivers side of the dash. The hatch would lock electrically but not unlock. Although the information in this post is correct, don’t over look the small stuff either.

    Comment by Ed — March 13, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  192. Awesome you really helped out I was up north on the Minnesota Canadian border last January family adventure just as we were getting ready to pack up and head home 38 below the dam window and door wouldn’t unlock I worked on it for an hour I was so frustrated I finally gave up and loaded everything through the side door 2005 Yukon denali

    Comment by Ted — March 18, 2012 @ 12:26 am

  193. We bought a used 2006 Suburban in November and all of a sudden the trunk will not open. We’ve taken the panel apart and played around and have gotten it to work for about a week, but it stopped. We’ve taken off the black piece that slides from unlock to lock and see a white gear. We’ve greased in there. How do you get the black box open? I see one small different looking screw. Very frustrated that there is not a release without having to take off the panel or better yet at least a key hole on the exterior. This blog has been very helpful! Thank you!

    Comment by Melanie — April 10, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

  194. Please report issues to:
    go to the Vehicle Owners tab
    select File A Complaint
    for review and hopefully, RECALL!

    Comment by Melanie — April 17, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

  195. Thank You! Saved a trip to the shop and we wer able to move the rest of our things as we were about to load up our 2006 chevy suburban we could not open the rear lift gate I googled Lift gate wont open 2006 suburban and found your blog at the top and once I read your blog was able to get it open for now and will replace the actuator I believe and should be good to go! Thanks From MN

    Comment by Adam — May 2, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  196. A HARD HIT — IT GOT WHAT IT DESERVES!! 2006 Yukon Denali, like so many others here, liftgate won’t unlock. Followed all the help offered here, thank you all very much. Ok, everything checks out except the actuator deciding for itself “if” it wants to work or not, and most often not. A troubleshooting step learned in electronics school… “if all else fails, hit it”, show it you mean business. Being a stubborn electromechanical device it reached the point it qualified for that final step.
    SO I HIT IT!, THAT LITTLE BLACK BOX, I JUST HIT IT! (with a small block of wood) Dust, dirt, or something just stuck, no matter, I got it’s attention and it decided to behave. A firm, but not overpowering, hit did the job. I left the block of wood inside by the liftgate to remind it I’m serious. It’s been a few weeks now and it’s still being nice. Ok, it may not work forever but I didn’t have to fork out the $$ for an actuator right now, and thanks to all of you, I won’t have to give up a bunch of $$ to GM either if it does die. IF IT’S ALREADY BROKE A HIT AINT GOING TO BREAK IT, so try it — it might just work. HIT IT!

    Comment by Ken — May 10, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  197. Fantastic information as my 2007 Suburban has been acting up. Right now my activator for release of the rear glass is broken. Has anyone changed that out. Tom Beirne Austin
    My suburban has 166,000 miles and is the best car I have ever owned.

    Comment by Tom Beirne — June 4, 2012 @ 7:59 am

  198. Unbelievable….thanks for the info….I hate my Yukon XL Denali right now after this dang liftgate and air ride susension stabilizer motor thingy….gonna go set mine on fire now.

    Comment by Casey — June 4, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

  199. Thanks – My 2000 Yukon XL was slightly different – it has a 7 mm bolt on the strap and 4 plastic pins along the bottom holding the trim piece on rather than the metal clips. My problem turned out to be the lock push button to open the top glass had slid into an odd position such that it blocked the lock mechanism from locking the hatch. I fixed it and now I think as long as I do not hit the lock button with teh hatch open, I will be OK. And if it happens again I will be able to quickly fix it – thanks for the help.

    Comment by Glyn — June 7, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  200. 2006 Yukon XL Denali – same issue, the back hatch and glass wont open. GMC Dealer in Tustin, CA acted like they never heard of the issue before (complete BS) after finding this blog. A couple months ago the TUSTIN GMC DEALER wanted 450 bucks to fix. I called the service technician today for help on how to get the hatch open (Gary-service consultant, Tustin GMC in SOCAL) he told me to find the bipass switch in the center console and that will release the back hatch. Hey Gary, go F YOURSELF! I will attempt to fix myself tomorrow. Can anyone say CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!! I can’t believe the back hatch will not open manually- WTF! Oh, and Harleys Garage in Lake Forest CA wanted over $500 to fix after originally quoting $300. They said they forgot to add labor – hey Harleys Garage, you can go F YOURSELF also! You just lost a customer and I will be sure to tell everyone I know of your predatory and unethical way of doing business. OK, I feel a little better now. Thanks to all on this blog!!!!!!!

    Comment by Dereck — June 7, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

  201. Gotta`give Harleys Garage a little break. They get their parts fron the gmc dealer so they can stand by their work. cost for the actuator assy is $350 from the dealer and 1.5 hrs labor. got the glass door open myself and looking on-line for the assy to do myself.

    Comment by Dereck — June 8, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  202. So can anyone provide me with a link to purchase the actuator without getting ripped off at the dealership? Google and ebay don’t seem to be working on this one.

    Comment by Casey — June 8, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

  203. After replacing my lift gate handle for the second time (another Piece of GM stupidity) in less than a year, all of a sudden I could not unlock the window nor door making my 2005 Yukon XL Denali less useful than my sedan. Luckily for me, I had some very good advice and help given by both an auto parts store worker and the manger of a (take a deep breath) GM parts department. I was befuddled with the panels and how to remove and thought maybe a big plunger or suction cup could pull off one of the panels so I went to our local Advance Auto to look for a suction cup that maybe they would have to install windshields. Of course they didn’t but the guy behind the counter took the time and came to the vehicle and used a paper clip to push two tabs down and wiggled the top panel off. He fooled around a little with the mechanism and seeing that it wasn’t fully unlocking but trying, he figured it was a bad actuator. They don’t carry those and referred me to the dealer. Dejected, I went online to look for the part and after about two hours of looking found one on GM Parts Direct but was not 100% sure it was correct since their diagrams are so poorly drawn and I wasn’tt going to risk it at over $200. Wanting to actually see the part I went to the GM dealer parts department. I think that is the key. Those parts guys know their stuff if they have been around awhile and he came out to make sure he was looking up the right part. He had one in stock and we looked at it. Note, you have to buy the entire assembly (I think that was mentioned in an earlier post) and it looks intimidating with all the cables and such and it is $350. He was a good guy and said that since the actuator was trying to unlock and still sounded strong that it could be just a cable or spring that was hung up. So..

    Last night, I seriously fooled around with the mechanism because all of this started right after I installed the new handle. I unhooked the handle and low and behold the mechanism worked smoothly as ever, so just as the author of this blog post concluded, I figure I got a handle that was slightly out of spec..and I mean by millimeters like the author indicated. This morning I found his post and after work I tried a few things. First, I tried slightly bending that bracket he show in the next to last figure. For me, that did not work and not sure why it would have because it does not create slack in the cable as the cable freely runs through the covering, like a bicycle brake cable, so I attacked the moving L-shaped arm using big, wide pliers and slowly bending a tiny bit to allow a little less tension and hit the whole thing with WD40. Tada least for now. Am leaving panels off in case more adjustment is required

    As for the safety aspects I have read in other posts. I am with you and chuckled to myself because when my wife heard about the fact that the rear door was broken and there was no way to open from the inside she was upset about the safety. I was more pissed at the engineers who couldn’t think of something as basic as a lever to open the dang door from the inside…and for making such a crappy door handle. I mean all the handle is, is a plastic lip with a plastic finger on it that pushes down on a heavy spring loaded lever…of course that is going to fail!

    Good luck all and thank you for such a great blog post!

    Comment by Cirwdlake — June 11, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  204. Thanks Grant. I have not tried to fix my 2005 Suburban lift gate yet, but I will today. I am stationed in Korea, and as another blogger wrote a few years ago, and Chevy dealerships are hard to find. Besides, I would not go if I could find one. Everything and I mean everything in Korea is a bit harder to accomplish.

    I would also like to thank everyone else for commenting about the problem. Like many others, my lift gate stopped working after my daughter’s high school graduation ceremony. I went to the auto craft shop (an auto garage on a military post where Soldiers receive assistance to fix problems with their vehicles, we can also pay a small amount and allow the mechanics to fix it for us)and was quoted $35. I woke up late this morning and decided to Google the problem before I went into the craft shop. Now, instead of going to the craft shop, I will wait until I get off work today and do it myself.

    Again, thanks for your efforts and for sharing your experiences with everyone. This is what America is all about; we are a community that uplifts our fellow brothers and sisters. More people than you can imagine commended and appreciated your contribution to helping others.

    From a Soldier, Grant, people like you and everyone else here inspires me to serve and come home proudly to the place that I call home; not the South, North, East or West Coast, but to America. People commented from everywhere, even Canada. This is a worldwide conversation of collective problem solving and experience sharing. Thanks you all….

    Comment by Kelvin — June 13, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  205. I read your blog on the repair of the tailgate of a 2006 chev suburban. My problem is that neither the door lock switch on the driver’s side and the remote will not lock the tailgate. I get a click at the tailgate when the remote is activated but the tailgate does not lock. The original problem was the tailgate was in the lock position and would not open. I used the ignition key in the key slot above the rear bumper to manually open the tailgate. Now I cannot lock the tailgate. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help.


    Comment by Louis Kucera — June 15, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  206. I’m with everyone else, you should have charged for this amazing information after all of the effort you put into it. At the least, left a paypal account we can send donations to. :)

    Thanks a ton.

    Comment by John C — June 15, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  207. Thanks to Chef Grant and all of the other contributors on this blog about the Chevy Suburban liftgate lock problems. I have a 2005 Suburban with same problem and figured I’d share some info that should be helpful as well. On the electrical troubleshooting side, as another contributor said “don’t overlook the little things” – make sure you’re getting power to the actuator. The fuse that powers the liftgate actuator circuit on a 2005 is fuse ECC-10amp in the fuseblock on the drivers side of dashboard. That also powers a liftgate relay located behind the passenger side b-pillar trim. Mine was making no noise at all so I verified power was getting to the actuator first. Turns out my actuator had several broken teeth on the round plastic gear inside that had jammed it up. Removed them and got it working but makes grinding noise when locking and hitting the part of the gear with missing teeth so it’s days are numbered. As other contributors also noted the GM dealer does not sell just the actuator, only the entire lock assembly at $350.00 however I found an Ebay seller that is selling new actuators only (with 18 month warranty) for $66.00 + $9.00 shipping. Their Ebay name is eason_auto and it’s item#260980577683. Says it fits 2000-2006 Yukon/Tahoe/Suburban/Escalade and they’ve sold 261 so far. I’ve ordered one and will post an update and advise how it worked. Thanks again and hope this info is helpful!

    Comment by Mike — June 21, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

  208. My problem seems to be a bit different… or maybe I am missing something? I have the black box taken apart, and when I hit the fob, the motor spins in only one direction. I am guessing that when I hit “unlock” the motor should spin in the reverse direction? Should I try a new motor from ebay, or perhaps look into the fuses?
    Thanks everyone for posting..Love the fact that GM designs a crappy part, but then refuses to acknowledge the problem!

    Comment by Bill — June 22, 2012 @ 9:03 am

  209. 2006 Tahoe and just one day the back tailgate wouldn’t unlock. Having the same problem as Mike in comment #216. Except mine has no sound coming from the actuator. Bought the actuator he described on ebay and waiting for the item in the mail. We will put it in later this week. I will update the post on the progress. Thanks for the blog and all the comments.

    Comment by Susan — June 25, 2012 @ 10:58 am

  210. After further testing I have discovered that not only that the rear door (hatch) wont unlock the rear passenger doors won’t LOCK. Replaced the 20A “lock” fuse, as well as the power door lock relay in the fuse box next to the steering wheel. Disconnected/reconnected the battery cable… all to no avail. Problem still exists.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks in advance!

    Comment by Bill — June 26, 2012 @ 7:40 am

  211. So I have torn apart everything and after visiting I was able to get a wiring diagram showing the electrical circuit from the “ecc” fuse that has blown 12 times during my wire chasing extravaganza. So my short circuit is between the fuse and the lock relay in the same junction fuse pallet. I have not found what has grounded this out but it is there as I disconected everything to narrow it don. (My wife has been so Pissed about her suburban being torn apart). I will let you all know when I find the prob.

    Comment by Andy — June 27, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  212. Just a follow up – received the new actuator and installed it. Works great! Same part# molded into the casing as the original GM part and included half of the arm/linkage.

    Comment by Mike — June 28, 2012 @ 12:13 am

  213. 2005 Chevy Suburban ECC Fuse keeps blowing when Ihit the lock button. I have unplugged the liftgate to remove the acuator from the loop and it still blows. I removed the lock relay in the fuse panel on the drivers side and it still blows. I have checked the following with with new fuses and no change yet: 1.Tail lights(as the come on when you unlock), 2.Locking mech in tail gate(Isolated gate still blows) 3.Removed relay for “door Lock” at fse panel(still blows), 4.turned on rear AC and was fine until I locked the doors(Its automatic lock when you drive)…… So I have disconnected everything again, panels off all over my 05 suburban tail lights disconected relays out and I thought I had narrowed it down to something in the front under the dash (IT STILL BLOWS THE STUPID FUSE 13 TOTAL NOW in 3 days). Well here’s the deal so Far nothing solved and my kids have no AC(you may say waa! but my wife says FIX IT!!) Anybody heard or had thi problem and know how to fix it???????

    Comment by Andy — June 28, 2012 @ 11:12 am

  214. Found it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A short-circuit in the lock wire. So GM uses a grey tape to wrap and secure wires to the wire holders. Here in Texas it reaches 110 degrees thus melting he adhesive and releasing the wire bundles to fall against things. Left rear panel of my 2005 Suburban in the cargo area next to the rear seat is an access hole for your jack and lug wrench. Remove entire left panel. First remove the upper panel with speaker and disconnect the speaker wire. then remove the black nod looking bolt used for retaining the cargo net. then pull on entire panel. What I found was the cable bundle containing the lock wire had fell down and chaffed against a bracket that holds up the panel. Actually I found 3 chafed wires and evidence of a short on them where they had rubbed against the bracket. I taped up the wires and bundle then zip-tied the bundle to the plastic wire brackets. Wallah, My Burb is all better. Now to re assemble the rest of my ruck as I removed all the panels to find this. I hope this helps others. Also located the Lock relay for the lift-gate. It is in the body pillar located between the front and rear door on the passengers side. But all the wiring for the rear of the truck runs down the drivers side. Good one GM!!

    Comment by Andy — June 28, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

  215. It worked! Bought the actuator on Ebay and my mechanic installed it and it works great! It only cost me around $160 total (labor & part). Thank you!

    Comment by Susan — July 2, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  216. My 05 Denali Yukon’s liftgate wouldn’t open on Saturday. Other doors all work. Husband replaced both relays – nothing. So I assumed after reading multiple forums that it was the actuator. Called the dealer this AM and he asked if I’d hit any buttons.. Um, what buttons? He said around the garage door openers above, or below the radio, there may be a safety button (unmarked, btw) that will fix the problem. He said they have encountered this time and time again.

    I found zilch on this “button” in the owners guide.. But I tried the garage door opener button to the right, and tada.. the liftgate opens. No idea the hows or whys, I’m just glad I saved $300-$500.

    Might be worth trying on this common problem, hopefully it saves someone else a few bucks as well.

    Comment by Tammy — July 16, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  217. omg this has been wrong for a long long time!!! I have 5 grand kids that I drive around all day now my back hatch is locked closed and it’s unsafe as you stated in your blog I hope GMC is looking at the blog to do investigations on there cars My husband loves his GMC (Chevy)as for me I want a safe car to Drive.!!!!Thanks for your help now we have a weekend job:( hope it works.

    Comment by barbara — July 26, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  218. What causes the door not to open? I moved a large piece of furniture in the back of our Tahoe, and wonder if I am the one who caused the door to break, by perhaps bending something while unloading it? I don’t know – all I know is my husband is REALLY REALLY PO’d with me. As with so many of the above vehicles, there is a click, but neither the door nor window will open. It seems like too much of a coincidence that it would stop working right after I moved the furniture. Thoughts?

    Comment by Linda — July 29, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  219. Same problem with my 2006 Tahoe – back hatch and window locked shut. Had my GM dealer check it out, needed a new actuator $468 for part and $293 labor = $761. After reading these post I decided to fix it myself. Found part on line @ GMParts direct for $296 w/ shipping. part#15808595 it”s called “latch”. I comes comlpete with the black plastic actuator and 3 cables mounted on a steel plate. I climbed in the back and removed the window panel and then the door panel. You need to remove the pull strap handle before removing the door panel. Like others said you really have to pry them off. With everthing exposed you can see how steel plate is mounted and where the 3 cables go. What I ended up doing is disconnecting the cables from the old plate assembly leaving the connected to mechanisms they go to. I then unplugged the 2 electrical connections. Then unbolted the steel plate(3-10mm bolts). Then you will need to remove the window push button by removing the retaining clip. After the clip is off you will need to push in a very small push pin with a nail or ice pick(I used an awl)with the push pin held in you have to turn the push button assembly so that the groves line up with the notches on the plate,then it can be removed. Reverse this procedure on the new plate, then reattach the plate,the cables and electrical plugs. Make ssure everything works…locks and unlocks before reassembling the panels. Hope this helps

    Comment by Joe — July 30, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  220. Outstanding article. All the helpful hints were a great help removing the panels. The motor for the locking device on my 05 Suburban would make a growling noise when locking and the linkage would barely move. After looking at the black box where the small gear is, there are two timing arrows. I noticed they weren’t lined up in the unlock position. I removed the black box and disassembled it. The plastic bracket to hold the motor in place was broken in three pieces. I superglued the bracket and reassembled the box. The timing marks were now perfectly aligned. Everything is working well now. Loctite superglue is an excellent product.

    Comment by Steve — August 6, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

  221. Thank you for the detailed pictures and information. My ’05 Tahoe did this the year after I got it. I think it should have been a recall issue too.I was looking for several years for someone talking about this topic. Glad to finally find your information. I can hear a noise when I click my fob, but hatch won’t unlock or anything.

    Comment by Carrie Hibbs — August 20, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  222. Happened to my GMC Yukon also. I find it interesting that the lock acuator is available aftermarket for all doors except the rear hatch. Do you think “Goverment Motors” will ever issue a recall? I spent around $1400 dollars this week replacing parts that GMC should have recalled years ago. We also had to replace the transfer case acuator motor on our 4X4 Yukon also a common GMC,Chevy replacement. THANKS FOR THE INFO. NO MORE GMC FOR ME!!!

    Comment by P Thigpen — September 10, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  223. Leave it to someone in the food industry to be so detailed about the process! We just bought a ’05 XL Denali, after two weeks this is the problem we are having. I think all it is going to take is a six of Dechutes Brewery Chain Breaker and a little time and some grease to smudge on my face to make it look good when I go in the house! Thanks for the excellent blog!

    Comment by Coy Goodnight — September 16, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

  224. My 05 Tahoe rear liftgate would not unlock. There is no way to open it with the key fob or manually. I contacted Chevy and they wanted me to pay for their defective part and they install it for free. Not sure why I should pay for a part that they know is defective and that they will not recall and repair? Please file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so that they can investigate and force Chevy to recall the vehicle and repair the part.

    Comment by jesse clemons — September 27, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  225. My 2006 Yukon just experienced this problem for the second time. I couldn’t unlock it when we got to our camp site with my chocolate lab in her crate in the back. It was interesting to get her out of the car needless to say. It eventually started to work on it’s own until today when my poor wife had a HUGE load of Costco groceries in the back of the car (including my ice-cream). She called me at work with a few explicit words. Needless to say I just finished taking the panel off. My actuator was only moving part way and very slow. I noticed some lubricant on a couple of slide points and the lube appeared to be dried up. I cleaned it and relubricated it with some Sil-Glyde and it’s working great now. I’ll cross my fingers that it keeps working, otherwise I’ll be searching the net for an actuator assembly to change out myself. Thanks for everyones advise. It saved me…and my marriage!

    Comment by BendBrewer — September 28, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

  226. I can’t say thank you enough for all the posts! I was able to evaluate the problem by quickly checking the fuse, relay and finally the actuator in my 2005 Tahoe. The actuator was the culprit, and found the replacement onEbay for approx $65.00 through “eason_auto”
    Thank you again!


    Comment by Brett — September 28, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

  227. thank you for the info,it is real helpfull,now i just got to do the work ,to fit the problem

    Comment by benny dominguez — October 26, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

  228. Thanks Man. You are one of the only people that I can find that addresses, with a full detailed description, the problem that I am having. This thread helped a lot. Thanks for taking the time to upload this.

    Comment by Adam Khan — November 8, 2012 @ 4:36 am

  229. Once again, thanks again. Your magic is still alive. I owe you a coke. The fix worked by removing the spring in the bottom of the actuator.

    Comment by Cedarridgetexas — November 20, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

  230. I was able to get my 2006 Suburban tailgate unlocked and open by repetition of locking and unlocking with the remote. I then took the panel off (aren’t your pictures reversed?} as you showed. Everything looked OK, but once it was open I could tell it wasn’t working (just got lucky once), so I sprayed WD40 on everything that looked like a pivot point or joint. I let it sit for about a halfhour, and then tried it. IT WORKED every time. I let it sit overnight and then tried it again–still working. So, I sprayed it with LITHIUM GREASE. The reason? WD40 disappears with time; lithium grease is what the manufacturers use to lubricate things like hidden door mechanisms and lasts forever.

    The worst tragedy of all of this is that my golf clubs were locked in the back and I had to crawl all the way back and retrieve them!

    I owe you a beer if you ever visit New Port Richey, FL! You saved me over $500 bucks and an acid stomach at the dealership!

    Comment by Lee VanOcker — December 9, 2012 @ 11:16 am

  231. my 2003 rear window latch is stuck locked or broken and will not receive the window to close all the way. wife told me tonight that the rear window was banging while she was driving down the road. she stopped but could not get the window to fully close because the lock mechanism appears closed. maybe its the same thing that has been described here…

    we are around 110k..and everything has been falling apart..really crappy.

    going to try and tackle in the morning..but don’t really have the patience.

    Comment by bj — January 17, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

  232. First and foremost, a huge and most sincere “thanks? to Chef Grant for this great blog, essentially created out of his kindness and caring for those of us who had never encountered this problem. This blog is, without question, one of the very best on the internet concerning any “how to fix it? subject.
    I bought my 2005 Chevy Suburban 2500 just 2 weeks ago, and found that the lift gate and rear window wouldn’t lock, no matter which method was used (door locks or fob). Having done almost all of my own “repairs? in my younger days (still have 7 cars), I wasn’t really intimidated by this project. However, Grant’s great pictures and his detailed verbiage, along with the most helpful comments of the bloggers over the past several years, made this job “different? in so many ways. It was as if you all were all around me saying, “No sweat, . . . piece of cake, man ! Been there – - dun that; let’s get started ! !?
    After removing the 2 panels, I found that “unlock? and “lock? on the fob both produced an audible click in the “little black box? (the actuator motor), but no movement was visible. So, I surmised that it was getting power, but that there might be another problem in the box. Next, I removed the cables from the retainers on the actuator assembly, labeling them in turn, then the 2 power connectors, and then the 3 bolts holding the assembly to the lift gate. After carefully removing the “little black box? from the cadmium-plated steel unit (one small torx screw), I removed the 3 small torx screws that hold the 2 halves together. Nothing unusual was noted inside.
    By now, my friend and fellow car nut Ned had joined me in the diagnosis and “surgery?. We decided to clean and relube all moving parts with lithium grease, slap it back together (the 2 halves), plug it in while holding it, and see if it would run. No such luck; back to the workbench. I decided to remove just one spring, the little green “cam-over? one under the moving arm, and see if that made a difference. Back together again for another “test? – - plugged it in, hit the fob buttons – - better, but not near good enough. Back to the workbench (is it naptime yet ? I’m not young anymore, ya’ know)
    This time we removed the 2nd (centering) spring as well, the one under the white worm driven gear, added more grease where needed, reassembled the 2 halves, and tried it again. Success ! !
    It’s evident to me that the older, aging little motor just can’t generate the power it could when new. Right now it’s working fine, but I intend to buy a replacement unit very soon, just in case it quits again.
    Incidentally, I forgot (senior moment) to mark and drill the hole in the bottom panel to allow access to the actuator assembly (without removing the panel). Next warm day, you can “take it to the bank? that this great idea (see comment #128) will be implemented ASAP. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to remove the 2 lift gate inside door panels with that thing closed and locked ! ! My hat’s off to those of you that were forced to do this project in that manner. Thanks again, Grant, and fellow bloggers. Richard

    Comment by Richard — February 2, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

  233. I just bought my 2003 suburban 2 weeks ago. I was/am so frustrated that I cannot open my liftgate nor the glass top to load and haul anything. It worked fine the first 3 times I went to the store then all of a sudden nothing.
    I couldn’t believe there was no manual key on the back for this and even searched for a fuse blown to no avail. I bought this truck for hauling my 3 grandbabies around. Mine came w/a dvd player and much more room then anything else I had looked at. Now I am a little afraid of driving it w/them in it because if there is an accident I only have one way of getting them out.
    I cannot believe Chevy has had o recall on this and doesnt seem to be worried about the dangers of not being able to get the liftgate open. Definitely leaves a bad taste, so to speak.
    Than you for your post and I am going to try and see if my mechanic can do this and not charge me an arm and a leg. PLUS, I am going to write to somebody high up in the Chevy board and maybe even put in a few calls. THIS SHOULD BE A VERY TOP PRIORITY FOR CHEVY TO FIX.
    When buying this vehicle you really dont “think” to look for a manual keylock to open it. We need to get the word out.

    Comment by Paula — February 23, 2013 @ 8:51 am

  234. Soooo… Monday morning, and the my wife and I are planning to take a 5 day road trip with the kids to visit relatives for Easter. The plan is to have the car packed and ready to roll by 6PM WEDNESDAY so we can hit the road right after work (well, my wife anyway. Its my 40th this Friday so I took the week off).

    Clearly this is not the time for the LIFTGATE to malfunction on my cherished 2005 GMC Yukon, which I happen to love. Of course, as luck or fate would have it, that is exactly what I discovered Monday. Living in Islamorada, my options were limited. None of the local guys will have the parts I’m sure, and the nearest dealer is 80 miles round trip (and I don’t entirely trust that one.) My only option — ENDURE THE TORTUROUS CONSEQUENCES OF the MECHANICAL UNKNOWN! I got that nagging inside, you know the one that is conflicted. On the one shoulder you have the little devil you sitting, whispering into your ear, “come on, whats the worse that could happen?”, while th little angel you, sits on the tugs on your other ear lobe, quick to remind you of the time you had to drive all the way across Alligator Alley in a rainstorm with the sunroof open because you simply HAAAD to replace the small, insignificant metal fixture, that to this day still doesn’t seem to have a function. (DISCLAIMER: That last part didn’t really happen, and the voice of the angel didn’t turn into the voice of my wife).

    Any whooo…

    Having found this blog, I managed to muster up the courage to attack the problem myself so THANK you all for that. The combined efforts of the masses have lead me to a victorious day! In fact, the entire process went rather smoothly and I would suggest that you each take a whirl at it.

    After managing to remove both trim panels, which another web video helped with, I was abel to see the web illusive “ACTUATOR”.

    In my case, there seemed to be juice getting to it, but it lacked the proverbial “UMPH” needed to slide the black toggle thingy in Chef’s picture above back and forth. From there I easily removed the latch cables, by “pinching” the light blue pieces that anchor them and pushing them throught the holes. I then used the key fob to see if anything was different. Still a bit of juice but not enough.

    Next I loosened the 3 bolts holding the brass assembly in place. (PS – There isn’t any nut on the back side of the 3 bolts, but it feels like there is. I spent a half hour figuring that one out.)

    Once the bolts were out the entire assembly comes off. Again I used the key FOB but no differnce. I then detached the electrical cables (which is self explanatory, and necessary if you want to see the back side of the actuator.)

    Once all tethers are detached you simply need to turn over the brass fitting and locate the brass colored star screw. (On the back you will notice several “six point/star” screws. I only had the one bit for the screw that anchors the actuator. It came with a cheap, multi purpose, wratchet screwdriver I picked up as an impulse by at the Home Depot checkout. . . who knew?)

    Back to the story… So I loosen the star screw that anchors the actuator to the brass plate — oh, by the way the actuator is apparently what GMC and other mechanically inclined folks call the “black box lock motor thingy”. Works for me. After removing the ‘actuator’ I plugged it back into the electrical feed and hit it with the key FOB again. Still a bit weak, but it did manage to move a bit. This gave me the idea to check the plugs and sockets, or leads, or whatever the metal prongs are called that let the electricity flow from A to B. I tapped them, and cleaned them a bit and also gently scrubbed them with the sharp edge of a metal srcrew I had laying around.

    Then, I screwed up! Rather than test the actuator again by plugging it back in after cleaning all the plugs, I decided to smack the shit out of the actuator with a wooden mallet because I TOO recalled that electromagnetic conductors (like altenators and starters) tend to react well when struck with a respectable amount of force. No, I didn’t break, it. On the contrary — the mechanism works!

    I thought about it for a while, and then reassembled the entire contraption. It has been working for most of today now (I’ve been testing). So you might be asking yourself, why do I think I screwed up? I’ll tell you in case you haven’t figured it out. Because I didn’t test it after cleaning the metal contacts for the plugs, I don’t know if it was the SMACKING or the PLUGS that were the problem. If its the plug, then I simply need to purchase a $30 – $80 relay switch (plug), but if it was the actuator, I’ll be looking at needing a $350 item in the future.

    Either way, lets keep our fingers crossed that the liftgate continues to function for the duration of my family’s road trip. Good luck everyone.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot – as I was analyzing the problem, I noticed the window release button seems to be engineered in such a way that it could be replaced with a key lock mechanism. If you look at the the function of the button it seems clear that if you could turn it clockwise (or counter clockwise, I forget) it would MANUALLY release the latch! It seems to me that older models used to have this function, however when I was in there looking at it, it seemed as if it was purposely removed. My thought is this was an anti-theft consideration, as such devices are super easy to get through. Anyway, I bet you somewhere, someone knows how to interchange that button for one with a key lock function.

    Comment by Jonathan — March 26, 2013 @ 11:58 am

  235. Thanks for the great post! I think my actuator is bad. I can hear it trying to work. Seems like a cheap plastic gear. I wish I could tear it all apart. I can now manually open and close it, but what a pain! We are heading on vacation Easter Sunday….so no luck of having it repaired.

    Thanks a ton!

    Comment by Clint Dorny — March 30, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

  236. Great self help article. Thank You Very Much! My 07 Tahoe is a piece of crap as well as every one elses. I bought it brand new and since we’ve owned it it’s been in the shop on average every 4,800 miles in the first 49000 miles. All major issues including in first 3 days it had no power and had to flat bedded back to the dealer. At 16,000 rotors and pads had to be replaced up front, at 21,000 rear rotors and pads had to be replaced, 4 wheel drive would not disengage at 18,000, car would lock itself with keys in it or all by itself, sodder on rear defrost came apart at 25,000, at 46000 transmission cooler lines had to be replaced because they started to leak, front left hub assembly had to be replaced at 47,000 because bearings went bad (wheel almost fell off) rear u-joints had to be replaced at 47000 miles, chrome coming off of door handles, black steering wheel paint started coming off shortly after we bought it, front speakers stopped working at approx. 33,000 miles, accessery outlets except one stopped working at 33,000 miles, does’nt hold the road properly (it drifts from left to right) false advertising on milage, says it should get 21 mpg hgw has never gotten better than 16 mpg, and at 49,000 rear hatch release stopped working. Your wrong about any recall. GM needs a big fat class action lawsuit and I think I’m going to start it. How long have they been building auto’s. This crap was done on purpose because they failed to compete against the Japanese and now they wan’t us to pay for it. I’ll never buy another General Motors Product as long as I Live.

    Comment by Pat Bracken — April 4, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

  237. Thanks so much for this info. I could not afford to buy the part until I found your listing then went to ebay. Thanks so much.

    Now if Government Motors will give up its socialist owner and get back to being a capitalistic company, I may buy another one, but NOT until they kick out the government and pay back the bond holders the hundreds of millions the government stole from them.

    Comment by Mike Travis — April 9, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

  238. Thank you for the initial post and pics as well as all of the helpful comments. Bravo! I have a 2004 Chevy Suburban that had a stuck rear hatch. After reading this post, I was able to tear into the problem and had it fixed in about a half hour!

    Mine was actually a problem with the window release button….which, in turn, caused the locking mechanism not to travel all of the way into the unlocked position. The window release button was stuck pushed all the way in, so when the lock tried to rotate, it would catch on the plastic part that (when lifted) would “pop” the window open.

    This was quite easy to correct by pushing (forcing) the window release button back out from the inside. Previous attempts to free the stuck button from the outside by working a small knife blade around the edge of the button failed. Applying a little lubricant and working the window release button in and out loosened it up enough to allow the lock to rotate freely and “voila”, the latch handle started working perfectly.

    I’m so happy to have a functional rear hatch and window again!! …..and even happier that I didn’t have to fork out the big bucks to the dealership ;)

    Thanks again!!

    Comment by Brett — April 12, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

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  242. We just bought a 2006 Chevy Suburban 1500 LT…didn’t take long to find our first glitch when we parked to go eat. The back gate lift wont lock. Most everyone here says they cant unlock theirs but mine wont lock! Help!!

    Comment by Cathy Kelley — September 22, 2014 @ 5:50 am

  243. This just happened to my 2006 Tahoe, thank you for the link on ebay. Will definitely check into it.You would think it should be recalled. You rock :)

    Comment by Tami — September 25, 2014 @ 8:34 pm

  244. Thank you for taking the time to document this fix. Very helpful!

    Comment by Fred Berfel — September 27, 2014 @ 11:02 pm

  245. Thank you so much for all the helpful advice and details!!! Recently had the problem of not being able to lock liftgate on 2005 Escalade. I could lock everything else manually and with key fob, but not either part of the rear liftgate ( latch or window button ). Would have been content to be able to just lock manually with a turn of a key but there is absolutely no way to do this!!! (Shame on GM!!! Any future vehicles, this will be a requirement for me, don’t want to go thru this again!). After many frustrating hours and an estimate from dealer ($800) I found this website/thread and got to work! I was able to dismantle the lining on the rear door to get to the lock actuator box, and took that apart. The power going into it was good, just sounded like something was sticking. The tiny spring inside the box was unhooked on one side. After several experiments with different combos of which springs to leave in/take out, I decided removing both springs (tiny and large circle one) was the best bet. Replaced everything else just as it had been and it’s been working great for the last 6 weeks!!! Will be keeping fingers crossed that it continues! Was glad I was able to learn how to do this and if I should need to in the future, I feel pretty confident buying a new lock actuator box and installing myself. Thank you all so very, very much!!!!

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  249. So I replaced the actuator on my 2006 Tahoe…no problems replacing the part. However, now when I hit the lock button on my remote, the four front doors lock but the rear tailgate unlocks. When I hit the unlock button, the four front doors unlock, but the rear tailgate locks! I saw a post from 2010 that stated that it is has something to do with the polarity of the connector that attaches to the acuator. I am trying to figure out how to reverse the polarity. I don’t see any way to remove the two wires from the connector. Does any one know if I can cut the two wires and splice them back together (on opposite sides) and get it to work?

    Comment by Teresa Whitlock — November 23, 2014 @ 4:16 am

  250. Thank you for this. My Suburban and my friend’s Suburban are both having this issue.

    Comment by Jodi — December 1, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

  251. Helpful info. Fortunate me I found your website accidentally,and I’m stunned why this coincidence did not happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

    Comment by Raquel — December 2, 2014 @ 7:21 am

  252. This post is a total lifesaver! We started having issues where the door only unlocked intermittently… then last week, it just stayed locked. No way to open it at all (and like a lot of others, never realized there was no manual release).

    Hoping this will be it – gonna jump in on Saturday morning and follow the steps…

    Comment by Mark — December 11, 2014 @ 9:43 am

  253. Kudos to the chef! I have owned my 2005 Yukon since new and have not had any problems with the lift gate. Last night when I tried to remove my boys ski equipment from the back, it failed to open. I found your post this morning and crawled into the back to take a peek at what might be the issue-same problem as your Suburban. Once the lower trim panel was off, it was clear to see that the mechanism was jamming half way between lock/unlock. I bent the cable tab just as you did and added 3 in 1 oil to all the moving parts. It now works as it should once again. This is one of the best, if not THE best, do it yourself posts I have ever used. Pics were spot-on and the text was concise. You made my weekend!!

    Comment by Tim — January 10, 2015 @ 8:35 am

  254. I have the same problem, i can not fix it, i have changed the lock actuator 3 times, it works for one week, then it does not open or lock,and i don’t want to take to the dealer. I have 2006 1500 Chevrolet suburban. Marco

    Comment by marco — January 11, 2015 @ 8:10 am

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  256. We’re having the same difficulty…the lock was stuck in the locked position and the rear window wouldn’t open. Thanks to your excellent instructions I was able to get the lift gate open and determine that we do, in fact, have a faulty actuator. I found one on JC Whitney for $21, yes $21, shipped!! Thanks again!

    Comment by Alicia — January 24, 2015 @ 10:19 am

  257. I’m having the same symptoms as 210 my back passenger doors as well as the liftgate will neither lock or unlock but the front door locks function properly. Our vehicle is a 2005 escalade and is fallING apart. Any idea’s? (Swapped the fuses, no change) HELP.

    Comment by chuck — January 25, 2015 @ 2:59 pm

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  259. 2006 Chevy Suburban developed horrible grinding noise this past summer, but locks were working. Then just before Thanksgiving 2014 the lock stuck. Took it to a mechanic who installed a new lock system which worked nicely. For 2 weeks. Two weeks before Christmas, tailgate lift lock stuck again and has remained stuck. I think not only recall, but total compensation for expenses, including labor, sounds right. Will it happen? Doubt it. Next car will not be a Chevy.

    Comment by Ida Bludau — February 3, 2015 @ 5:24 am

  260. Im having the same issue w my 06 Yukon XL. Thank you for your post, I cant afford a dealer fix and will ask my brothers for help fixing it.

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  263. This is FABULOUS. My problem seems to be in the actuator box. It sounds like a gear problem, but my problem at this point is how I can get into that black box. How do I open it? Thanks! At least we are functional at this point. Everything is unlocked and I disconnected the power source until I can find out what is causing the horrendous grinding sound in the black box!

    Comment by Jara Barnes — April 9, 2015 @ 10:37 am

  264. I had the same problem. My actuator had a bad gear. What a cheap POS! I called Chevy $500 for the parts to fix. They only sell the entire component. I ordered a brand new actuator from JC Whittney $95. Info below:

    SKU #: JCW-RB746015Manufacturer #: 746-015

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  266. Is ther any way that I can only lock subsite111 only. I run the spsitemanager command but it is locking site from topsite to low level site. Please let me know how can I do this, is it possible?

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  268. Just drove all day to get my daughter to college. Bed, dresser, everything else in back of car…liftgate nor window will open!! 2005 suburban. Will go to Chevy dealer in morning. I wonder why there isn’t back up manual lock system…. maybe so they can charge us? NOT HAPPY!

    Comment by Irene — August 19, 2015 @ 3:45 pm

  269. Does anyone know the dc motor part number that fits the door actuator Yukon 2007-2014?. Did someone replaced just the litte motor?. I know there is an option from Gruven Parts but there should be anothet cheapper option.


    Comment by Ernesto — August 29, 2015 @ 6:58 am

  270. Thank you for saving me $450. Your incredible directions walked me through fixing my 2006 chevy suburban rear door. Being a female with zero mechanical experience, I was able to accomplish it by myself. Wow!

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  273. My father in-law has a 2003 2WD Tahoe LS with the 4.8. His liftgate will not lock or unlock. We checked all the fuses and relays, and bought a new actuator, and it’s still not working. Is there something I’m missing, or is this worst case with bad wires? The live in Lake Havasu where it often reaches 120 degrees in the summer, and the vehicle is not garaged. I feel that it may be bad wiring due to cracking from heat. Help.

    Comment by marc — December 6, 2015 @ 4:01 am

  274. Lift gate and rear doors wouldnt autolock for a month. Manually cycled driver door lock. Then autolock works all around. 2004 4wd suburban

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  276. Does anyone know if the same fix works on a 2007 Yukon door hatch? It seems like in this blog it is 2006 and older????
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    Comment by Hotdog — January 2, 2016 @ 10:05 pm

  277. Great blog. If the cable is too tight after installing a new handle, it is most likely the cable is not straight where it attaches to the handle. You can pull straight with pliers and not have to bend any brackets.

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  282. Followed instructions to a T. Fixed and works actuator was stuck. Not the mechanism but had to manually adjust the actuator. Long story short i also installed a fail safe internally for the window

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  284. Reply to #33 today I called and filed a complaint, too.
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  286. I just fixed my exact same problem, however, it was a different repair. I took out the actuator and took it apart. The relay was stuck inside the actuator. When opened, if “rolled” back. All good now and working. Thanks for all the great posts. Learned a lot.

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  304. 2005 GMC Yukon Denali same problem however I pulled a bunch of fuses and cleaned the ends the last one I pulled was a big silver one on the driver side fuse box and cleaned it and now everything is working the door and glass the fuse said lock in the owners Manuel. so far so good hope this will help someone else. GM need to address this issue for safety and evidently a major issue in their product.

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  318. The same thing happened to me with the handle and then shortly after my tailgate stopped working. I tried your fix but it didn’t work, my actuator works but get stuck just like in your photo’s. I did buy a whole unit from wrecker (3 units) none of them worked( they all gave me a refund and didn’t want them back). I was thinking of using the springs from the other units to see if I can get that bar to pull up. I would like to buy a new one but the Dealer here wants $650 just for the part. If I can get the old one working with the extra spring I will post the pic. Thanks for the photo’s it has pointed me in the right direction………Eric

    Comment by Eric Thomas — November 20, 2016 @ 5:27 am

  319. I was having the same problem with my 2010 Yukon. The rear door quit opening, I hadn’t had time to take it to a dealer so just put up with it. About 3 weeks later out of habit I went to open it and guess what? it opened but that only lasted a day or two. I travel on a gravel road 8 miles each day. On my way home yesterday as I was driving in a white out of dust, I started thinking, could it be possible that there was dust built up causing it to stay locked. I solved the problem by blowing air from a compressor from the outside and the inside of the vehicle, as well as a small gap in the rear panel. It took awhile but it worked. I then made sure I got as much dust out from every gaping place then used some WD-40 on the locking mechanism and it opened and closed the zillion times i tested it. This was yesterday and it might not be the fix, but certainly another thing to try before spending any money or taking the time to take the back panel offl

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  327. El SAC, ni siquiera se ha molestado en contestar mi reclamación -hecha a través de la página web- Cuando dos meses después he llamado, me dicen que tenía que haber llamado en vez de utilizar la página. Sólo pueden venir hasta las 12 de la mañana, por tema de ruta, y el técnico es un señor poco simpático y malhumorado. Día de hoy sigue igual, no me lo solucionan,tiene un defecto de fábrica y no lo quieren admitir, no compraré nunca más la marca fagor. Llevo casi todo el verano con problemas con mi frigorífico fagor, ha venido el técnico y entra dentro de la garantía, y me han dicho que lo tienen que sustituir, pero tal y como os ha pasado a los demás, ya me están dando largas.

    Comment by consumo de electrodomesticos en watts por hora — January 19, 2017 @ 10:11 am

  328. Después de estar toda la tarde pensando donde podría estar el problema, lo único que descubro es que el servicio técnico de Siemens Fujitsu es el culpable y que no ha hecho nada, luego llamamos y nos dicen que lo que ellos hacen es instalar el CD de recuperación con lo cual me di cuenta de que el problema estaba en que el controlador wifi estaba mal de fábrica.

    Comment by componentes kenwood electrodomesticos madrid — January 19, 2017 @ 10:59 pm

  329. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading
    it, you will be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog
    and may come back in the foreseeable future. I want to encourage continue your great work, have a nice morning!

    Comment by Rapidez e Qualidade — January 21, 2017 @ 8:53 am


    Comment by Kerrie Couron — February 21, 2017 @ 4:07 am

  331. Same problem with Toyota sequoia. No emergency release and can’t remove panel while hatch is closed. Haven’t found a remedy yet.

    Comment by Arlene — February 26, 2017 @ 12:34 am

  332. Esta web es realmente un paseo a través de toda la información que anelaba sobre este este tema tan interesante y no sabía a quién preguntar .

    Comment by radiadores eléctricos — February 28, 2017 @ 5:54 pm

  333. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your weblog.
    Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A couple of my blog readers have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer
    but looks great in Opera. Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?

    Comment by forex forum — March 6, 2017 @ 7:09 pm

  334. This was fabulous. My hatch stopped unlocking on our 04 Escalade ESV. I followed your directions and it worked better,but… Turns out I also needed to replace the broken spring at the hatch handle as well. That spring on mine had broken one of its “arms”. To anyone else with this, that screw going into the backside of the handle to replace that spring is REVERSE thread. I than went to my local salvage yard and grabbed a couple of those springs out of a pair of Yukons, cleaned, oiled, installed, and bam, works like new. Coincidentally, both actuator assemblies were already stripped from those Yukons. Thank you!

    Comment by Rick — March 27, 2017 @ 10:11 am

  335. Hey, I am a big admirer of your website. I really loved your website. I am a full on fisher and hunter so your blogs are really appealing to me and my friends. Fish & hunt on! Thx.

    Comment by Perry Woodmancy — April 24, 2017 @ 12:21 pm

  336. Just replaced actuator on rear door of 2004 suburban. It still will not work. It will lock but it will not unlock and the two rear doors will not. Lock or unlock. T removed the actuator, plugged the wires in and used the relay which will lock it but not unlock it. Help….

    Comment by Billy Evans — May 16, 2017 @ 12:28 pm

  337. It’s nice they show how to take all the panels off with the door open. How did you get the panels off when the door will not open?

    Comment by Mark — May 18, 2017 @ 8:08 am

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