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2016 Forester XT
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221 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Who out there has successfully disabled/removed the rear power lift gate functionality from their 2014-2018 Forester and are now using with standard/manual open and close? I’m not asking about the Outback folks who have done it.

I want to know what combination of disconnects/removals and part replacements that are needed. I have not been able to find anything specific on this forum.

I’m asking because the automatic open/close functionality no longer works (I just get the 3 beeps), it will not reset, and I don’t feel like throwing expensive parts at it. Besides, I’ve always disliked the speed of operation and fickle nature of the system as a whole. I much prefer the manual systems like what I have on our other Subarus in the household. They always work!

I have a 2016 Forester XT Touring with push-button start.
 

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2015 XT touring VRP
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22 Posts
I have not done this myself but also own a 2015 Xt touring push button and am not happy with the power gate performance myself, one thing I’ll add is I know recently the power gate warranty’s on our cars were extended so this may be something u can get covered for free by a local dealer. But even when new I agree that the sj forester power gate has a lot to be desired, I would start by removing the actual power motor and motor strut that are bolted to the tailgate ( just the single one for the motor, along with the motor that is behind the trunk interior panel just around your quarter glass, that way u can still lock and lock the trunk from your remote and use the bottom on the trunk to pop it open, and the trunk should swing freely on the manual struts that u leave in place while still holding itself up. I’m guessing u want to get rid of the resistance from the motor u get when opening closing manually?
 

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2015 XT touring VRP
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Just to add I worked for Subaru 6-7 years and have taken full interiors out of these SJs, and done many tailgate replacements ( collision related) and they function just like a regular manual hatch with the motors out, the only thing I’d check is part numbers or the trunk struts for power and non power tailgate models because there may be a difference in how much weight is needed for the trunk to open in the power/ non power option
 

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2016 Forester XT
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221 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the tips, @JoshLINY.

Is this the warranty you're talking about? (12-289-20) https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2020/MC-10179427-0001.pdf

I disconnected the wiring harness from the lift motor, however I left everything else in place while testing it out. I still get the same 3 beeps when I try to open. It will manually open a few seconds after it beeps if I'm still holding the release button, just as it did before disconnecting the lift motor. It's ok for getting the gate open, but not ideal or convenient.

I also tested removing each of the connectors to the Control Module. Disconnecting either leaves the gate completely dead. You mention in your second post that it should behave like regular manual hatch with the motor disconnected. Could it be that the Control Module is fried? If so, is there a way to bypass it?
 

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2015 XT touring VRP
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hmm looks like thats for the non power gate stays i could have sworn i got something in the mail about the power gate over a year ago but i could be wrong. they should function like a manual hatch with the motor and strut removed from the car not ust unplugged or else youll proabably still get resistance opening and closing it with the motor unplugged but still attached , most of the manual models stll use the little button on the hatch to pop the hatch using electric instead of an actual manual latch like older subarus pre 2008. and you r saying basically the first time u go to pen it it doesnt open and u get 3 beeps and u have to press it again to release the trunk?
 

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2016 Forester XT
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221 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
The way it opens right now is that I have to continually press and hold the release button, it will beep 3 times, wait another few seconds, then it will manually release. Again, I have to be holding the release button the entire time.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,776 Posts
The triple beep is alerting that there is an issue with the power operation.

The manual release (at least in any powered liftgate) is a few seconds of pressing the release button, it's not an instant type of release. As I've never driven a Forester (SJ) without a power liftgate, I can't comment on how the non-powered liftgate release works.

Does the motor operate at all? For example, if you open the gate manually, can you push one of the buttons and have it close under power? Does it work if you open from the interior button or from the key fob release?

Have you pulled the interior trim to see if there is something in there that is not properly locking or unlocking? I know that I'd had an issue within my first year with my Foz (bought new 2013) and I pulled that little panel and "fiddled" with the locking mechanism.

And yes - the warranty extension was for the hydraulic pistons/struts that support the liftgate.
 

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2016 Forester XT
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The lift gate does not raise or lower under its own power using any of the known buttons. Just beeps. I did not see anything amiss when I pulled back the interior trim to unplug the motor and experiment with the control module plugs. Although the motor is not activating, I'm not convinced it's the point of failure as it could still be the control module, touch sensors, or something else. I'm also hesitant to throw expensive parts at the problem as I've always disliked the power lift gate functionality altogether. Just looking for it to behave like a normal/standard liftgate with out the beeps and delay.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,776 Posts
As said, the delay may be something you cannot get away from.

Looking at the owner's guide for my 2014 (same SJ generation), I found this in regards to the rear liftgate release "panel" button.

To open:​
First unlock the rear gate lock then push​
the rear gate opener button.​

But in the owner's guide, it doesn't say for "how long". I just know that for my power operated, a touch will kick in the power function.

Chapter 9 of my 2014 owner's guide has a lot of information about "emergency" procedures for the rear gate - both the release switch on the liftgate (behind the little panel in the main liftgate cover) and also some reset processes...
 

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2016 Forester XT
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As said, the delay may be something you cannot get away from
I appreciate the reality check, but I'm far too curios and perhaps too stubborn to live with this 1st world problem if there's better solution. :)
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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Maybe somebody with a base or Premium model SJ Forester can chime in on how their non-power liftgate works.
 

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not the best sound, but you press the button and it clicks once as it releases. It’s fairly quick to respond.


 
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