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Discussion Starter #1
My T5 Caravelle had a minor bump in the rear in a car park. There's a very slight dent to the left of the tailgate handle (hasn't even damaged the paint and only perceptible in sunlight or by running your hand over it). Now the tailgate won't open.

It seems that the lock isn't working. I've tried using the key instead of the central locking. When I turn it the left or right I can hear and feel the mechanism working although turning towards the right seems a bit stiff. From inside when you press the key fob you can see the locking button to the right of the manual mechanism moving up and down. Because the tailgate is locked shut I can't get the internal trim off to access the lock and see what's happened.

Any suggestions on how to open the tailgate, get access to the lock or how to fix it gratefully received.
 

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If the link rod which works the lock / unlock mechanism is pulled even slightly tight then the tailgate won't open. The links are slightly to the left of centre. Could the damaged panel be touching them? If so maybe a dent puller to pull the dent out a bit would do the trick?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've tried putting a large sucker over the dent and pulling it out (I can feel it pop) and then operating the lock but it still doesn't work.

I've taken it to a bodyshop recommended by a local independent VW specialist. They say they've done a couple before but the only way to do it is to cut through the internal panel to get to the lock. They've then replaced the lock and the panel.

This seems a bit extreme to me. And also poor design on the part of VW.
 

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I would suggest that the dent is an indication that the door has been pushed in slightly, possibly bending part of the lock mechanism. Can you get at it from the inside? Do you have a panel on the door and do you have an internal door handle? Ideally I would say try giving it a hefty push from the inside.
 

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Have you tried putting pressure on the lock / handle area and operating the lock to see if it will unlock and open? Thinking if it's slightly deformed in some way it might help relieve pressure if it's catching. The rods for the internal handle shouldn't affect the lock...if your trying to undo the tailgate with the exterior handle it should open whether they are connected or not...

Have you got the full plastic trim on the inside? I hate to say it given the price of them but I think you might have to persuade it out of the way so you can get at the inside of the lock and try and manipulate it....good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi,

I've tried all sorts of pulling and pushing pressure on the tailgate, the lock and the handle using various implements and suckers but it won't budge.

My Caravelle has a full internal panel but to remove it to get to the lock mechanism the tailgate needs to be open and the problem is I can't open the tailgate. So to get to the lock mechanism I need to break through the internal panel.

Looking at potential cost I think I might be into an insurance claim. I'm off to a body shop approved by my insurer next week to get their opinion and an estimate.

Meanwhile everything in the 'boot' goes in and out over the back seat...
 

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Hi,

I've tried all sorts of pulling and pushing pressure on the tailgate, the lock and the handle using various implements and suckers but it won't budge.

My Caravelle has a full internal panel but to remove it to get to the lock mechanism the tailgate needs to be open and the problem is I can't open the tailgate. So to get to the lock mechanism I need to break through the internal panel.

Looking at potential cost I think I might be into an insurance claim. I'm off to a body shop approved by my insurer next week to get their opinion and an estimate.

Meanwhile everything in the 'boot' goes in and out over the back seat...
Is the external handle operating anything or just giving minimal resistance? If so, try unlocking from the outside with the key. When I bought my shuttle the tailgate was key locked and the romote then was unable to unlock it. The key lock was seized and I had to use copious amounts of penetrating fluid to free it up. Now I never key lock it and remote works just fine....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The external handle gives minimal resistance. I've tried the key and although you can hear and fell the mechanism working it still won't open.
 

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Is the external handle operating anything or just giving minimal resistance? If so, try unlocking from the outside with the key. When I bought my shuttle the tailgate was key locked and the romote then was unable to unlock it. The key lock was seized and I had to use copious amounts of penetrating fluid to free it up. Now I never key lock it and remote works just fine....
I've been climbing over my back seat to open the tailgate for nearly six months. Just read this and tried using the key and it's sorted! Thanks so much! I feel so stupid LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just to complete this thread...

The only viable option was to take it to a bodyshop. They replaced the lock and the internal panel that they had to break to get to it and straightened the ever so slight dent in the tailgate. Total cost approx £900 - mostly covered by an insurance claim.

Moral - be very careful in car parks.
 

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Recently had a very light bump into the bottom of the tail gate, so light no noticeable marks however similar to your problem tail gate would not open.
Lucky enough the inside panel was easy to remove, there is a small pin that opens the lock this had disengaged so even though the handle felt like it was working it wasn't lifting the mechanism.
A quick fix was to thread a piece of copper wire into the hole the pin goes into and pull it up opening the tail gate, the pin had dropped into the body of the door and could only be seen when the door was opened (poor eyesight and bad lighting).
A bit fiddly to replace but when you see it you realise how easy it is to disengage.
Hope this makes sense for anyone caught in a similar position.
 
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