Replacing the liftgate lock actuator in a Jeep Grand Cherokee before a complete failure can save you the aggravation of not being able to open the rear liftgate. If the rear door lock starts making a grinding noise every time you unlock the doors, it is just a matter of time before the actuator fails completely. On most models there is a small door on the liftgate panel that provides access to the lock actuator. However, you have to reach through the lift glass or crawl through the rear section of the truck to move the leaver on the actuator manually to unlock the door. Fortunately replacing the actuator in a 2002 and several other Jeep Grand Cherokee model years is a relatively straight forward procedure and considered a minor car repair.
Things You’ll Need
Replacement actuator, Phillips head screwdriver, putty knife or trim panel removal tool (panel removal tools are available at most auto parts stores)
The first step is to unplug the rear window defogger on both ends of the glass.
Next, locate and remove the trim panel retaining screws.
Carefully pry the panel from the door using a panel removal tool or a putty knife. Go slowly around the outer edge of the door until it is free and then lift it up. If any of the panel clips remain in the door, remove them and reattach them to the panel.
Next carefully peal back the sound deadener to gain access to the actuator. The sound deadener can become fragile with age and may tear easily.
Remove the wiring harness from the actuator. Next remove the Phillips head screw that attaches the actuator arm to the door lock mechanism. The actuator is attached to the door frame by another Phillips head screw and when removed the actuator will slip out of the mounting slots on the door.
Installation of the new actuator is the reverse of removal. Unfortunately the glue that holds the deadener in place may not hold it in place when you reattach it. It may be necessary to secure the sound deadener with duct tape or something similar if the glue is no longer viable.
Auto repair can seem like an impossible task for the average car owner. However, replacing the liftgate lock actuator is a relatively straight forward car repair that can be accomplished with minimal tools and experience. For other Jeep related articles please see my other articles here on Infobarrel or check out my website at jhkersey.com for a complete listing.
Tips and Warnings
A special trim panel removal tool is available at most auto parts stores.