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Ford Focus Estate Tailgate Unlocking - Solution

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A few months ago I posted a question relating to the tailgate on my Focus estate 55 plate, opening whilst the car was been driven.

Fellow forum members suggested numerous helpful solutions. Thank you and here is my solution to the problem.

This problem got worse, so much so that my wife and I were constantly jumping out of the car to shut the tailgate, jump in and LOCK the doors (the only way to stop it opening whilst driving was to manually lock ourselves in the vehicle).

It was an intermitant fault, which strangely got worse in WARM weather.

Last week we drove down to Ashboune, in the Peak district, through tropical rain storms. During our weeks camping the problem got worse, the weather was extremly hot, recorded 28 deg C in Bakewell. The tailgate constantly clicking.

Asking and ringing local Ford garages only gave bad news, £70/hr labour and no quick fix gaurenteed. Being on a budget I could not afford a bill which had what appeared to have no time limit.

So grasping the bull by the horns I visited my local scrap yard and bought, for £5 a second hand micro switch for the tailgate, which sits between the two number plate lights. A new one from Ford is £30, not cheap.

1/2hr later the car was fixed. Yes and the mystery solved as to why the tailgate was unlocking and why it was worse in warm weather.

WATER - My old micro switch unit had NO rubber mastic sealant between the rubber seal and the units housing. The second hand one I had purchased was thick with mastic and no signs of corrosion within. When I carefully removed the seal, from the old one, the unit had about an egg cup of water inside. The metal treadle was heavily coroded. So when driven in rain or the car was washed the micro switch unit filled with water. The micro switch is at the top of the unit, so in itself the water would not be a problem until of of two things, 1) the tailgate is opened fully, and floods the switch, or 2) the warm weather causes condensation, which then shorts the micro switch. Hence the intermittant operation of the micro switch.

So problem solved and the total cost of the repair £5, a little time (1/2hr) and a visit to my local scrap yard.

Please pass this on.


Peter Whitby

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