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I went to check out the engine on my 97 Subaru Legacy and the hood latch is stuck. Now this one of those cars that has a double latch, I don't know if it's like that on all Subarus or not, but once I pull the little lever in the car that releases the first one, then I have to go out and stick my fingers into the opening and manually unlatch the second one....the second one is the one that no longer unlatches.

How on earth do you fix something inside a sealed box?

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You should be able to see what it holding the latch. Can you reach it or is the hood not raising enough for you to get your hand in there? – Move More Comments Link To Top May 7 '14 at 18:02
I can get my hand in, but the latch won't move and I can't make out what's holding it. Likely someone with greater familiarity of what they're looking at right there might find it much clearer. – Aerovistae May 7 '14 at 18:11
Can you take a picture and post it? – Move More Comments Link To Top May 7 '14 at 18:16
Not while I'm in the office, but maybe later. :) – Aerovistae May 7 '14 at 19:25
Liberally spray with the WD40 extension hose and let it sit for a few minutes. With any luck, it will open as normal. – Nick May 7 '14 at 20:41
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Most likely the second latch just needs to be lubed. Of course, you need to get the hood open in order to do that!

Depending on the shape of your front grille, though, you may be able to get some penetrating oil or some kind of tool in to the latch mechanism (the lever you need to press is on the very front of the assembly).

Failing that, with the hood cracked open but still latched, you might be able to undo the bolts holding the hook to the hood with a slim ratchet or a wrench.

As a last resort, the front grille is held on with a series of plastic clips. You will almost certainly not be able to pull it off without breaking them (or the grille), but once it's off, you will have free access to the hood latch assembly.

On my grille (this is a 2000 Forester), there are four of these at the top, whose releases are tabs pressed down from above. There is one clip in the center and two at the bottom, to release all of which the grille should be firmly lifted up. They can then be popped out and snapped into the grille for reattachment.

This is what the assembly looks like from the front with the grille off. The top two are unlatched, and the bottom two should look like your situation, with the hook present.

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Oh, yes, I forgot to mention the grill comes off completely. '97 was a long time ago. The centre cannot hold. – Aerovistae May 7 '14 at 21:01
If you can get the grille off, I imagine the assembly should be easy enough to manipulate and lube. – Josh Caswell May 7 '14 at 21:02
I attempted to manipulate it and had very little success. I did not attempt to lube it. Yet. – Aerovistae May 7 '14 at 21:03
No freakin clue. edit: translate: Yes that would be nice – Aerovistae May 7 '14 at 21:10
Very good pictures -- I recommend penetrating oil to get into the deep cracks and white lithium spray grease to stick for permanent lubrication. I had the same problem on my 2000 Camry. Make sure to move the parts around when lubricating to get them nice and loose. – HL-SDK May 9 '14 at 13:21

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