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2015 Forester XT CVT
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23 Posts
I came here to say that I had this same issue on my 1-week old 2015 XT.

I fixed it by disconnecting & reconnecting the battery.

Reading through this thread, I realize that I probably locked up the open/close system by switching the ignition on or off while the gate was in operation, or messed with it when it was in Memory 'learning' mode.

The first 'reset' method didn't work for me (manuallly opening with a swift motion, and then slowly closing until the motorized closing mechanism kicks in). Every time I opened the gate manually, I would hear three beeps + 2 hazard flashes.

I also tried turning the ignition on and off several times (as others suggested), and manually opening and closing the gate a variety of times in different ways.

The battery fix took 5 minutes and now everything works fine – thanks to this thread I saved a trip to the dealership.
 

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2015 2.5i Touring CVT
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736 Posts
I would think this is by design. When you lock the doors, it also locks the liftgate. If you press unlock only once, it only unlocks the driver's door. Press unlock twice and it unlocks all the doors AND the liftgate. This is the same way the manual liftgate worked on my 2004 FXT.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

You finally got me on the right track to work out why the tailgate 'randomly' doesn't open when I press the button on the dash.

I did some experiments this evening, and here's what I found:

1. If all doors are locked, the dash button won't open the tailgate.
2. If the driver's door is unlocked, but the other doors are locked, the dash button won't open the tailgate, but the remote button will.
3. If the driver's door is unlocked, but the other doors are locked, and you've previously opened the tailgate with the remote button since unlocking the driver's door, the dash button will now work.

#3 is what made it so confusing, because sometimes the button works with the passenger doors locked, and sometimes it doesn't.

I think I have a vague idea of why they made it work this way, to try to reduce the odds of people opening it by accident, but would have been nice to have explained this in the manual.
 

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2017 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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1,566 Posts
In my case the issue is mechanical, the overload protection is too sensitive; I don't think it failed once when the car was facing uphill, it is facing downhill, it is much more likely to fail.
Additonally the gasket around the door sometimes tends to stick to the metal contact surface adding to the effort required to open.
When using the hatch button I sometimes need to "assist" the door when it starts to open, just a few OZ of effort is enough, otherwise it may sense the "overload" & reverse.
It is getting better with time as it gets "brocken in", atr this point it almost never fails.
 

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2015 Forester CVT
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36 Posts
My automatic liftgate did something weird yesterday. It was closing after pressing the button on the liftgate, but at about 3/4 of the way closed, it paused and got "stuck". I'm not sure of the best way to explain it, but it was doing a chunk-chunk-chunk-chunk sound like it was trying to unstick itself...like a quick open-close-open-close. I was able to apply pressure upward and it opened all of the way. I closed it manually and haven't had any problem since then (either manually or with the buttons). I know that when it encounters resistance while closing that it will beep and reopen, but it wasn't low enough to even touch the baggage in the back of the car and I don't remember it beeping (though I couldn't swear to it - this car beeps at everything, so I might have just tuned it out, LOL).

I don't think there is any problem that would require fixing and it only happened once, but wondered if anyone else had seen this behavior?
 

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2015 Forester XT
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34 Posts
Same issue with my brand new 2015 XT. I couldn't use the automatic hatch feature anymore.

The easy fix (manually opening then closing the hatch) did not work.

The battery reset fix did work. I guess I turned on the ignition while the hatch was still in function...
 

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2014 Forester XT CVT
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33 Posts
Although it's been said a number of times here, I had the same issue with no fixes EXCEPT disconnecting the negative battery terminal.

I'm not sure how many things get reset with removing the battery connection but so far it looks like my NAV walked me through the wizard setup and the Date and Time on my MFD.

Can anyone tell me what else gets reset? Hopefully not anything critical.

Thanks to all for your participation.
 

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(Australian spec) 2019 MY19 Outback 3.6R CVT.
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393 Posts
... Can anyone tell me what else gets reset? Hopefully not anything critical.
The driver's side window loses the auto down function after disconnecting the battery, so follow the following initialisation procedure:

  • Close the driver's door.
  • Turn the ignition switch to the ON position.
  • Open the driver's side window halfway by pushing down the power window switch.
  • Pull up the power window switch & close the window completely - continue pulling up the switch for approximately 1 second after the window has closed completely.
  • Push down the power window switch until it clicks to open the window completely.

I can’t remember if the auto tail gate memory height setting was lost or not – so if this feature is used, check this & set it if the memory height setting has been reset.

The next time you have to disconnect the battery try using the following sequence which is what I use for an ECU reset (this is for the Australian SJ XT Premium with push button start/stop):


  • Before disconnecting the battery, turn OFF the engine, climate control a/c, SatNav/sound system & lights so there is minimum load on the battery.
  • Disconnect the battery –ve.
  • Press the brake pedal a few times to remove any residual current from the system.
  • After at least 30 seconds reconnect the battery –ve (this time can be extended just to make sure any capacitors still holding a charge have discharged).
  • Wait at least 15 seconds then turn the ignition to ON (two presses of the start/stop push button) but don’t start the engine (keep foot off the brake pedal when pressing the start/stop button so that the engine doesn’t start).
  • Wait at least another 15 seconds (during this period you may hear various clicks & other sounds).
  • Start the engine & let it idle for at least 60 seconds without touching the accelerator or brake (keep the climate control a/c, SatNav/sound system & lights turned OFF during this period).
  • Take the XT for a good drive. The throttle will be unresponsive for a while & fuel economy will be poor for the first approximately 3/4 tank of fuel.
 

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(Australian spec) 2019 MY19 Outback 3.6R CVT.
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393 Posts
I haven’t read all the posts in this thread so I don’t know if the following tail gate failure recovery has been mentioned before. If not it may help someone the next time the auto tailgate fails to open.

If you get three beeps & no response or unlatching noise from the auto tailgate when trying to open it & you can’t open it manually; try pressing the tail gate memory button in to the memory position then see if it works.

I tried this as a 2nd last resort (last resort was to disconnect the battery) after trying everything else & it opened to the pre-set memory height position when the rear open button was pressed. I then closed the tail gate with the rear button & pressed the memory button OFF from the memory position & the tail gate worked correctly after this.

The frustrating thing with my situation was when it failed to open electrically I couldn’t open it manually by holding the rear button in - this should have worked and has worked previously.

I don’t know what caused the tailgate to not respond – I have always been particular about waiting for the tailgate to fully latch before trying to start the engine.
 

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2019 Tacoma TRD OR 4x4 6AT
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541 Posts
So our hatch is doing something a little different... It opens fine, but for some reason there is a longer delay than I remember it having when the car was new. You press the button to open the hatch and instead of beeping and then opening right away, it beeps but waits 3-5 seconds before actually opening.

It doesn't always do this either. Sometimes it opens right away and other times not.

It started happening after the dealer put some tape around the rear hatch latch "loop" when we took it in for rattle issues. I'm wondering if the tape is making it so the latch mechanism is fitting too snugly on the latch "loop".
 

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Premium Member
2014 2.0 XT yes
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2,752 Posts
I've seen a delay like that before, but it doesn't happen very often. You could remove the tape to see if it goes away.

Might be worth performing the "reset procedure" as well to see if it helps. Re-quoted below:

1. With the ignition “OFF”, open the PRG manually using a fluid motion (no light flash or beep should occur).

2. Carefully (slowly) close the rear gate until the first audible “click” of the rear gate latch mechanism is heard then immediately let go of the rear gate. The auto closer function will then operate to complete the rear gate closing / latching function. This will also complete the initialization process.

3. After the PRG is fully closed, operate either the Gate Opener switch, the Gate Inner (close) switch, remote keyless access switch or the Interior PRG Open/Close switch to verify the automatic opening and closing operation.
 

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2014 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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22 Posts
we just bought our early production 2014 Forester touring and my wife has intermittent problems with the power lift gate. Of course, I was unable to reproduce at the dealership. I will pay attention how it malfunctions the next time so i can reproduce on demand.
 

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2014 Forester XT Automatic
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19 Posts
Hello everyone. I had the same delay issue, after pushing the button 3 flashes, a very small unlocking move and 3 seconds of waiting then auto-opening. First they changed the ECU of the tailgate system which was an updated version, worked fine for one day somehow but the same problem returned again. So at my 2nd visit they solved it by fixing the door lock mechanism which was causing the stucking and holding problem, now it is working perfectly fine. Hope this helps with some of your cases. Also rare but there were times when I heard the 3 alarm signals and nothing happened afterwards, this usually happened after a visit to car-wash, most probably they forced it manually as they thought that it was not working due to that 3 seconds of waiting. Now hopefully I won't face such problems again. I could live with that 3 seconds delay but the system is already very slow thanks to the slow lift motor pushing on one side only. Hope this one-sided lift won't cause issues in the future by unbalancing the tailgate connections.
 

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2017 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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1,566 Posts
Just a reminder, I thought I was having problems with tailgate. I was getting 3 beeps when pressing the interior button & the gate wouldn't open.
I found, (thanks for someone on this forum) that all doors have to be unlocked for interior button to work.
As to the 3 seconds delay, I don't have it.
My gate shows signs of life as soon as I press the button.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i
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5 Posts
Made a username here just to say thanks for the help.

Just bought a '14 Forester and had the "three beep" issue on my first day of ownership. I tried the simple fix of slowly closing it manually and letting the system electronically latch it, but that didn't work.

I'm not knowledgable around cars so tampering with the battery (as simple as it is) wasn't a welcome thought - mostly because electric current scares me. So if you're feeling the same way don't worry about it.

All I had to do was disconnect the negative (black) terminal, wait a few seconds, and reconnect it. No need to disconnect both and hold them together. Rear lift gate works fine now.

Nice to meet everyone and looking forward to the ownership of my very first Subaru. Cheers
 

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2017 Forester Touring 2.5i - ES/NAV/RB - 225/65 17 Yokohama GO15, Primitive Skid Plate Method racing
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266 Posts
Well after trying everything I could think of, along with the advice above using the battery disconnect/dis-charge etc and reading the TSB ours is not opening nor can I reset it.
our *&^%$#(* power tailgate is being a bratty little child right now and will only open to about 1/3 with the remote or tailgate OUTSIDE button. Ironically from INSIDE dash button will allow to open fully.
The memory height will not reset, so I am wondering if there's an issue with the rear button/ECU/Sensor?

Guess a trip to the dealer is in my future that I don't really have time for.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc2dUbwnogJAYuwXXMp1HeHAIA-QshzB1I-kNU0/
 

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2015 Limited CVT
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5 Posts
The crazy world of Subaru

I just bought a 2015 Forester in anticipation of another snowy winter. I wanted basic wintery stuff -- AWD, heater, heated seats, heated mirrors,etc., but found that to get those, I had to get a fancy radio system, which I will never use, and a sun/moon roof, which I will probably never use unless I drive into a river and have to escape the sinking wreckage.

But back to the topic of the thread -- I didn't really want the power lift hatch, but when I came out of Costco with a buggy full of stuff, I clicked the fob, and Viola! The hatch opened. That was very cool. That was also the last time it opened so easily. Today I spent a couple hours reading the forum threads about this, and my owner's manual, and, while I marvel at the complexity, I have little faith that I will be able to conveniently use the thing some day. But I do want to thank all those who contributed to the discussion and look forward to that day.
 

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My forester is having this problem, in one time I tried to open the rear gate manual and close by the button, it did not auto close so I have to close it manually, after that when I press the open gate button, it sounds beep beep beep and nothing happend, I still can open the gate manual but not the power.
Anyone have some hint to fix it at home or I have to drive the car to dealer?

Thanks,
Tommy
[/QUOTE


I am having this exact same problem. 2014 Forester. 3 beeps. nothing. How do I reset the power lift rear gate?
 

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2017 Forester Touring 2.5 CVT
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1,566 Posts
Please make sure all doors are unlocked & the shifter is in park position before operating the gate. Additionally Be careful not to confuse the memory button with lift gate button. Thanks
Sorry, looks like I posted this before. Thanks.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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1,775 Posts
Also note that the button on the remote is "smart" and doesn't care if the doors are locked or unlocked - and will open the rear gate. The inside release button ONLY works when the doors are UNLOCKED and the vehicle is stationary.

As mentioned, check your height button - as if it is pushed in, it will only allow the gate to open to whatever spot it was in when the button was pushed, setting the height.

There are some times when an object can get in the way and cause the gate to not function perfectly OK. At this point, from the outside, hold the rubber button of the outside release for a few seconds to override the auto mode and manually operate the gate. Then clear any obstruction and cycle through the buttons (fob or interior) and all should work.

When all else fails, there is an access hatch in the interior trim - that square plastic insert - that can get you to the locking/opening mechanism and you can release the rear gate that way and then - USUALLY - it will again revert to normal operation once you remove any obstructions.
 
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