The vehicle is a 2004 Nissan Quest 3.5SE, and recently the rear motorized hatch has been very weak at trying to open or close. It gets stuck and needs quite a lot of help to get it opened or closed.

It was taken to the dealer and they replaced the gas lift cylinders because they were leaking, hoping it would help. But, it's really no better. I think it was a situation of "well, the cylinders really need to be replaced, and maybe that'll fix it". Now their opinion is that the motor needs to be replaced.

The worse news is that it's $900 and has to come from Japan, and because of the tsunami there it's going to be a few months off.

I did some searching on ebay and was quite surprised to see nothing listed there.

My guess is that the weak lifters stressed the motor or gears, and now either the motor is burned up or the gears are binding up. There's no grinding noise, so it doesn't seem like broken teeth, it seems more like a burned out motor. However, when you "help" it open or close, it's really quite hard to move, but I don't know if that's because I'm fighting against the motor or because it's sticking otherwise.

I guess that would be the first thing to identify, remove or disconnect the motorized mechanism, and see if the gate opens and closes smoothly.

Any opinions on alternate sources for the motor mechanism, the feasibility of rebuilding this assembly, or other options that are cheaper than $900 and a trip to Japan? :-)

Thanks, Sean

  • You might be able to get the motor rebuilt. It alls depends on how the original motor was built and if it is capable of being rebuilt. – Patrick Apr 10 '11 at 11:50
  • If you have the Nissan part number google Dorman.com.You can use their search by make model etc. but OEM part# works best.Also some makes use different lifter cylinders on power/non power doors.If you just disconnect the motor you may have to use non power cylinders to make it work easily. – mikes Mar 21 '12 at 10:46
  • I want to thank you for your question and answers on this motorized hatch issue. I had a similar issue with my 2007 Nissan Quest hatch not staying open. Replaced the weak lift cylinders, turned the hatch power button off and back on and now the hatch works like new. – Quest buddy Feb 2 '16 at 2:42

Could you remove the motor easily? Then you could take it out see if it turns freely unloaded and unconnected. Cleaning and reassembling might even fix it. Smaller motors rarely have brushes that you can replace and small parts like that rarely have BLDC motors either.

Either way, a motor not being able to move a mechanism sounds like something is binding in the mechanism or in the motor. Electrical problem is unlikely but not completely impossible. You could try running it by itself, maybe carefully with a lower voltage first.

If it works fine while out of the car, the problem is probably the way the lid loads (presses) the lock or something like that. Something may be bent or worn or dirty.

Divide and conquer.

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