*Unlocking The Rear Glass On A '97 Chevy Blazer*
29 October 2016
This last spring (2015) the electric release on the rear glass of my wife's 1997 Chevrolet Blazer stopped working. If you pushed the button on the outside of the tailgate you could hear the motor work but the latch wouldn't release, the same thing would happen when the button on the dashboard was pushed. There is no inside handle to release the window from the inside just the electric buttons on the dash and the outside at the window lock, design flaw in my opinion.
Since this is a secondhand vehicle we don't have an owners manual so I checked online. I found a PDF version of the owners. It showed an emergency release for the rear window glass. I followed the instructions and pulled back the carpet near the middle of the inside of the tailgate and found a square hole as described in the owners manual. I continued following the instructions and put a long screw driver in the hole and pried sideways. Still nothing I could feel the motor arm and hear it move with the screwdriver but still the glass would not release.
I looked thru the Haynes manual to see if it had anything on the rear latch but that book assumed that the rear glass and tailgate would open before you started working on it. Indeed the tailgate must be open in order to remove the trim and access the latch and lock parts. The way the window and door are setup you can not open the tailgate without first opening the window. The window is hinged at the top with the tailgate hinged at the bottom and the two lock together in the middle when closed.
More online research showed that a lot of people had this same problem. The window latch release would stop working and the emergency release procedure didn't work even when done at the dealership.
I pulled the trim back at the top as far as I could without breaking it and could partly see down into the mechanism with my head jammed against the inside of the window. I could see that the motor arm wasn't connected to anything so that's why it wouldn't work. I poked around from the top until I found the release mechanism and tripped it manually with the screwdriver.
With the window open I could now open the tailgate, which opens with a handle from the inside!, and remove the trim and carpet to access the guts in the door. I could now see that the plastic connector on the end of the motor arm had broken and the lever that it connected to had fallen away well out of reach of the emergency access hole. The manufacturers procedure relied on that little piece of plastic and they assumed that you would only need to use their procedure when the release motor stopped working. When the plastic connector broke and the arm fell away their procedure was completely worthless because the lever that actually trips the release was completely out of reach from that square hole.
I have this bad habit of using duct tape, chewing gum and bailing wire to cobble things back together "temporarily" with the intention of buying parts to fix it later only as long as the fix works it stays that way. So I took some small twisted wire cable and made a loop to hold the release lever in place, temporarily of course, and put everything back together. The temporary fix has worked flawlessly now for over a year and half. At this point even if buying the parts makes it to the top of my to do list and I buy the replacement parts I wont actually fix it just so I can see how long the "temporary" fix will last. A little blue piece of plastic lasted almost 20 years so now I'm curious how long that little cable will hold out. Besides the L in my handle stands for Lazy that's why it took over a year for me to finally finish this article.John1lt
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