Removal of interior rear hatch panel


Asked by Jan 23, 2015 at 02:27 PM about the 1999 Ford Explorer 2 Dr Sport SUV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I need to remove this panel to replace a latch bolted to the outside of the door.
How to I remove this panel without damaging it?

3 Answers


Will the hatch open? If not it can be a b*tch. A locksmith with a slim jim could probably do it, depending on what is broken inside the door.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

The hatch opens and closes as the other latch still operates. I don't want to damage popping off the molded plastic interior. Does it pop at the top and lift out, or just pop off directly? I hate to experiment with a crow bar without knowing where the clips are. Thx, Brian

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Some models have a few screws, some use all plastic rivets. If your liftgate has an electric opener or electric mechanism disconnect the negative side of the battery. On my daughter's 99 I can see six plastic rivets. Four along the top of the trim panel and one on each side of the window about half way down. If the liftgate has a lock knob, gently pry it up, there may be a screw underneath. If you have a strap type handle, or regular handle inside, remove the screws. I have found using a one inch metal puddy knife works best. Slide the blade between the trim panel and the metal portion of the door. Slide it along until you reach an obstruction preventing the blade from moving. Those are the locations where a plastic rivet/hidden screw may be located. If the blade is stiff enough you should be able to pry the rivet out. Work your way around the perimeter. As the panel loosens there will always be one or two more catches holding it in place, but you should be able to see, at that point, what is holding them. When all are out it should come straight off.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

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