XR4Ti Archived Tech Articles

    Gotta Slam Your Hatch to Make it Latch? - Does your XR4Ti require you to shut the hatch several times before it actually latches? It's amazing how easy it is to fix this problem.

Post Date:    Wed, 21 Nov 2001
Subject:      XR Hatch doesn't latch unless you slam it?
List:         imon@lists.merkurowners.org

I'd be willing to bet that I am not the only XR owner with this problem.  
Open your hatch for whatever reason, then close it.  With a quick upward tug, 
you discover that it didn't actually latch.  So you slam it a little harder 
and give it another tug.  Still not latched.  Finally, on the third slam it 
actually latches.  Let's see, by show of hands, how many XR owners this 
happens to.    That's what I thought.

Here's the (general) solution to the problem.  It's amazingly simple.  The 
hatch striker, that's bolted to the car and adjustable, has been bumped 
downward over the years, making it move out of alignment requiring some extra 
effort to latch.

Open the hatch and pull the weather-stripping off the lip of the opening so 
all the screws on the trim panel (the one that covers up the jack and 
taillights) are exposed.  Remove the seven screws and pull the trim panel.  
You should have easy access to the hatch striker and it's bolts.

Observe what position the washers and bolts on the hatch striker are in.  You 
really don't want to move the hatch striker too far.  Loosen the bolts (10 or 
13mm heads, can't remember) up slightly and pull the hatch striker upward 
just a little.  Tighten the bolts back down and give it a test shutting (pay 
attention to where you laid the weather stripping - you don't want to close 
it in the hatch).  Repeat until satisfied that it's not difficult to close 
nor is it going to rattle from being too loose.  As soon as you are satisfied 
that it closes easily, reassemble everything.

This is one of those fixes that is so easy and the effect it has on how the 
car feels is rather large.


Note:  It's also been noted that the bumpers on either side of the hatch can
also wear down causing a general rattling of the hatch while moving.  Don't
overlook this if you've been chasing a rattling hatch.

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Published by Chris Anglin.