Please see my previous post from a few years ago.
Been driving with my passenger side brake light out all this time since I couldn't get the rear hatch open in order to access the screws to remove the tail-light assembly. Had a couple of close calls when 'the man' was behind me, but by luck, did not get pulled over for it. Two days ago a nice guy pulled up next to me to tell me that both tail lights were out. I regularly check my lights since I leave for work at zero-dark-thirty 5 days a week - look for it to shine against my house before I pull out. The driver side brake light was still working last Wednesday when I last checked. Been planning a week long camping trip this week for quite some time and definitely don't want to drive without any brake lights!! So, I was forced to do whatever necessary to get this fixed pronto!
Did the Google search which brought me right back here. Thanks to those of you who have posted since my first request, I was able to remove the inside handle and gently pry off the interior panel which revealed the workings of the lock assembly. Since my first post I did get a generic remote switch which I hoped would unlock the hatch (has a separate button just for the hatch) but it just clicked the accuator on an off as mentioned in previous posts - still without allowing the hatch to open any better than before.
Very simple mechanism. Could not understand why it would not open. Could see the flange that the handle pushed down and the tang that should move the release catch. While moving the assembly by hand, could feel resistance at the point where the catch should release. Didn't make sense. Why would it not open!! Sprayed a bunch of carb cleaner in there (refer to previous post where he used brake cleaner) but it didn't do any good.
Frustration set and, with the help of my son-in-law, we cut out the assembly with my Dremel tool and cutting wheels. I realized that this would mean that I could no longer lock my hatch but I was desperate. Took about ten minutes. Luckily the carb cleaner had evaporated off enough so that it did not catch fire (had an extinguisher ready just in case!). Was able to pull out the locking tang assembly and LO and BEHOLD! There were a couple of gummed up BB's in there that were preventing the catch from disengaging the locking tang!! I don't use BB's. Have no idea how they got in there. Must have been from a previous owner somehow. Dang!!
I'm just glad I didn't have to pay hundreds of dollars to a locksmith or even more to a dealership to figure this one out. Will have to replace the rear hatch if I want to get it back in regular working order, tho'. In the mean time, I will just strap the door shut with the cargo hooks mounted on the floor of the rear cargo bay. Easy enough to open the rear window with my key and release the strap when needed.
Took less than a few minutes to replace the bulbs for the brake lights once I could access the screws to remove the light assembly. Took about 4 hours of trying everything before I got my trusty son-in-law and Dremel and cut away the locking assembly.
Now I have a full week to forget about this ordeal.