Jeep Garage  - Jeep Forum

Jeep Garage - Jeep Forum (
-   Grand Cherokee - ZJ (
-   -   '96 liftgate advice needed (

studiowi33 10-28-2012 07:41 PM

'96 liftgate advice needed
Hi all-

New member here and I hope I'm not too out of line by asking for help with my 1st post. (If I am, tell me.)

Here's the deal....I just bought an old Jeep Laredo and it came with a dented liftgate. The liftgate won't open and after doing some homework on the internet, I'm under the impression that I can't remove the interior trim panel (to access the liftgate handle/lock) to pound out the dent from the inside. Is this correct...that I can't remove the liftgate panel while the liftgate is closed? If this is correct, does anyone have any suggestions on how I might best attack my problem?

I'm new to the Grand Cherokee, but I've owned Wranglers I'm not completely new to the Jeep concept, but I am to the Cherokee line.

I've included some pictures of the exterior (the interior appears to be in mint condition) and I hope they provide some idea of my dilemma. Anyways, I appreciate any insight you might offer and particularly the time spent answering this newbie's post.

--Thanks all


jeepguy19 11-27-2012 05:07 PM

Re: '96 liftgate advice needed
Best bet would be to have someone go inside and push on it while someone on the outside lifted open the handle lol ... welcome to JG .. what part of florida you from iam from pensacola

vonericsen 11-28-2012 07:53 PM

Re: '96 liftgate advice needed
You can take out some of the screws holding the lower part of the trim and you might get enough room to stick your arm in there and pull on the lever that opens the latch. There are a couple screws behind the carpet stuff on the trim in the lower corner areas.
I had to do it once...wasn't easy and it's possible to damage the trim doing this. I had to stick my arm down from where the trim meets the window.
The lever is a threaded rod so you can feel around for that for a bit then pull it...just make sure it's unlocked before doing this...I forgot the first time and had to try again.

ZJ JIM 96 03-16-2013 12:33 AM

Re: '96 liftgate advice needed
That whole back panel pops right off like any other interior panel. Depending where your dent is, there is a good amount of room to work on the lower part , but some obstacles in as you move upward toward the window area.

Jeeper79 03-18-2013 06:10 PM

Re: '96 liftgate advice needed
Only luck I have had is to actually cut a hole into the interior trim panel. Right at the bottom of the panel where it meets the striker, cut a hole big enough to access the lever. Once opened you can fully remove the panel and repair your dent.

t0sd0gg 04-24-2013 10:52 AM

Re: '96 liftgate advice needed
I once had to adjust the open liftgate sensors and disconnected the latch for said job. When I put it all back together I forgot to reattach the latch. I undid the top four screws and pryed open the panel and shoved my arm down as far as I could go and pulled the latch. It popped right open. Your dent looks to be in the exact same spot that the latch is in so I'm guessing the bar itself popped out of the crimp. Reach on in and tug on it. It should pop right open.

dirocco 10-26-2013 08:13 PM

Re: '96 liftgate advice needed
This is a old thread, but I wanted to ask if anyone had ever tried unbolting the latch from below to get the liftgate open? Felt like the two bolts might be accessible, at least if no hitch is present.

VistaCruiser 10-30-2013 06:34 PM

Re: '96 liftgate advice needed

Originally Posted by dirocco (Post 918174)
This is a old thread, but I wanted to ask if anyone had ever tried unbolting the latch from below to get the liftgate open? Felt like the two bolts might be accessible, at least if no hitch is present.

Really easy to just get to the lever to release the mechanism, not hard at all.


andre.lummer 12-03-2014 06:52 PM

Re: '96 liftgate advice needed
I know this is a old thread but my lift gate won't open and I'm not sure if I can take the interior panel off. I could only find four screws, is this right? There is small access panel but the sound deadening is I the way and I can feel something there but can't see it. Should I cut carpet to check it out?

dirocco 10-07-2015 09:19 PM

Re: '96 liftgate advice needed
I finally ended up removing as many of the trim panel screws as I could find then wedged a 2x4 in between the metal and the panel on a hot day so it would be more pliable. Reached in and popped it open with no problems. Got lucky and nothing broke. I think I will zip tie that bad boy to hold it together more securely and rig an emergency release wire, just in case. 😜

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:36 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 - JeepGarage.Org
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Owners Community