Tailgates cannot be opened – Replace actuator

Tailgates cannot be opened – Replace actuator

13. September 2020 Off By Kenny

The tailgate on Discovery 3 and 4 is opened by a switch that triggers an electronic actuator. With many Discovery 3 and 4, at some point the problem occurs that the tailgate cannot be opened. This problem can affect the upper part as well as the lower part. The actuators for the upper and lower parts of the tailgate are located in the lower part. Most of the time the problem results from the fact that the connection from the electrical actuator to the Bowden cable which opens the lock is broken. Then the actuator still switches (which you can hear with the typical noise) but the tailgate does not open.

If the upper tailgate opens and only the lower tailgate does not, you can open the tailgate manually by moving the locking levers in these small gaps on the lower tailgate (on both sides).

If the tailgate cannot be opened at all, you have no choice but to lever this carpet cover out of the plastic cover from the inside. By slowly levering this from one side to the other, you can manage to reach behind the carpet cover without damaging it. The work is then of course very complicated and tight, but unfortunately there is no other way.

If you can still open the trunk, everything is of course much easier:
To remove the fairing you have to loosen 4 screws at the tailgate (cross head) which are covered by these cover nipples.

Simply remove the cover with a screwdriver.

4 screws are loosened, now pull up (2 clips)

In addition to these four cross screws, the upper cover of the tailgate is secured with two clips, which should survive disassembly with a careful jerky movement.

Here you can see the hole of one clip.

Here the upper cover of the tailgate is already removed. Now the interior lining covered with carpet can be removed. This is only clipped. But before that you have to unhook the ropes on the right and left side which hold the tailgate.

upper plastic cover is removed

To unhook the ropes, the sheet metal clamps must be loosened. The easiest way to do this is with a small slotted screwdriver and pointed pliers.

Lever away the metal clamp with a screwdriver and pointed pliers

Then unscrew the ball head together with the screw

After removing the ball heads, the ropes roll up. Now the screws can be unscrewed with a M8 (SW13) wrench, so that the cover can be removed more easily.

Here the screw is already out

Here you can see the inner lining. All in all the inner fairing is clipped in 10 places. In my picture a clip is missing.

The actuator is located at the marked position

Here again the clips from a bit closer

Now the actuator can easily be exchanged and replaced with a spare part. (Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the actuator directly because I removed the rear fairing because of a scratchy subwoofer ­čśë ). But the biggest hurdle is anyway – as usually – the removal of the fairing. Once everything is visible, it is mostly self-explanatory. I’ll pass on the pictures the next time I take the fairing off.

When reassembling it is important to make sure that the screw clips are in the right place on the plastic fairing. These are also partly stuck, important that they are not lost, otherwise the screws will not work.


And here you can see more pictures from the position where the actuator is located.

In this video you can see the defect actuator.

And now the proper working actuator.

But sometimes the actuator is not defect, then mostly the rope is broken.

The black metal clips must be inserted correctly so that the Phillips screws pack again.

The metal clips often fall out when removing the cover


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