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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I bought my first Subaru, a 2020 Forester, and it's my first car built this side of 2010, so, excuse my ignorance in advance.

Summary:

I went up to the mountains only to find that, though I've used my lift gate hundreds of times by this point in temperate climate, that it could no longer shut properly, even manually (by slamming the rear gate shut). This rendered the car unsafe to drive, as the gate could pop open with the slightest bump. I had it towed.

But then, it failed to reproduce at the dealer. Now it functions perfectly. But I need to get to the bottom of this, because I was very lucky in where I happened to encounter this fault. The situation could have been much worse. I suspect now that this may be user error, but a poorly documented one. I was hoping this forum could help...and at least, spare someone some grief should they find themselves in a similar situation.

The Gory Details:

I am in the mountains with the car for the first time, and it has snowed a light two inches overnight. The car has been parked for two nights. I press the lift-gate-open button to load cargo. It unlatches, but finds itself obstructed by a small amount of ice on top of the bumper. No big deal, I clear the ice in a snap and continue to open the gate manually. However, now my power lift gate is in the "error" state where it beeps thrice when a button is pressed. This has been documented elsewhere, including in threads about the power lift gate not being able to open. I'd include a link, but spam detection is preventing me from doing so: search for "foresterforums 2019 lift gate."

I also read the manual and see nothing about reset procedures or anything like that, though it's mentioned here and there on the web, by holding some indeterminate number of buttons down for a while. I try this, but do not succeed, but perhaps I needed to try more permutations of holding buttons. It seems as though the guidance is to get the thing to a dealer.

I do not try the reset approach too much, because my interest is in getting off the mountain. I also figure: fair enough, the powered components may be designed to avoid wear in an unknown fault situation. Handle it later. I also think, perhaps naively: it is preposterous that anyone would design a gate that could not close the old fashioned way if there is a fault in the powered feature. That would render the car undrivable unless you know the undocumented(?) reset procedures. This might have been my biggest mistake.

As the power lift gate is in this error state when I press the buttons, I do the thing that seems reasonable: I slam the gate shut. It pulls right open again. The door-ajar sensor is complaining. If I lean against the car with the gate sort-of-shut, the sensors are satisfied that the door is no longer ajar, but as soon as I take pressure off the gate, they complain again. The latch appears to not have engaged.

I open the access panel on the inside of the lift gate. Here I can freely manipulate the latch mechanism, which does exactly what you expect it to: rotating it far enough to the right latches it. Pressing the emergency release lever lets it spring back again. I have an assistant slam the trunk, with me inside, watching the mechanism operate. It appears rotated properly, but I guess that given it seems to work perfectly when operated by hand, so perhaps it's just not quite far enough. I first check carefully for obstructions. Nothing. I try giving it a bit of push to the right while the lift gate is closed, to try to encourage it. Nothing. Next, I move the base part of the trunk latch outwards via unbolting it, sliding it out, and re-tightening it. No change of any kind. At this point I give up and get a tow. We use a piece of rope to prevent the gate from popping open. I do not accompany the vehicle; I have a young son to take care of and, luckily, access to a vehicle that can take me down the mountain the next day.

The next day comes. I get driven down to the dealership. I am informed that the battery was completely drained because the door-ajar sensor was freaking out all night about it, with the key in the visor (doesn't seem like a great place to put a proximity key, but I wasn't there). They charged the battery for me and can't reproduce any fault. But notably, the power lift gate is functional once more: no more three beeps. I remember that, in the threads about power lift gate misbehavior, that people often recommended discharging the car's circuit, by manipulating the cables between the car and the battery. I start to wonder if perhaps my problem was electrical after all, and perhaps the power lift gate feature was insistent on releasing the latch while in the error state and still with power.

I haven't gotten around trying purposefully tripping the lift gate jam error condition -- I wanted to write this when I had time, and while the details were fresh -- but it seems like a logical next step. But I'm just befuddled that things could work this way, and was hoping someone could comment. If I need to dig open the hood and drain the car computers of power every time there's a tiny momentary blockage of the lift gate, well, I will do so, but I need to know about it. Alternatively, I need to figure out the more convenient lift-gate-error-state-reset procedure, if there is one.

Thanks in advance.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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You sure like to write. 馃榾

Next time, hold the gate button (the one near the license plate) for three seconds or so. It will reset/ beep.

Leaving the gate unlatched overnight will drain your battery no matter where your key is located.
 

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I know nothing about the lift gate. Sounds like there's a reset procedure for just the lift-gate. Posted by boureesub

It wouldn't hurt to keep a 10mm wrench in your car, in case you need to disconnect your battery for some reason. If you ever get a "Service Engine" light, that can be reset by disconnecting the battery as well (if you don't have a ODB2 reader with you to reset it). (the error code will disable a bunch of features in the car, including "cruise", so it's quite annoying being stuck in that scenario when you're on a trip...)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
These are good suggestions. I'll do some experimenting when I'm in a convenient location and post an update. And thanks for the suggestion for the tools to put in the car.
 

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You sure like to write. 馃榾

Next time, hold the gate button (the one near the license plate) for three seconds or so. It will reset/ beep.

Leaving the gate unlatched overnight will drain your battery no matter where your key is located.
Ran into the same problem where the rear gate wouldn't close. I thought I tried everything and was now about the call the firm when I tried the holding the open button by the license plate for three seconds heard a click and it works like normal now... thank you!
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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On my 2014, I've had to do this a time or two... It can sometimes be caused by having too much junk in the trunk and the hatch doesn't close quite perfectly. Given the curved shape of the inside hatch panel, this could be easy to not see too much stuff...

One thing I also found out (when talking to the dealership way back when about the problem) is that the hatch release on the key-remote is smart and the one on the dash is dumb. The one on the dash (at least for my 2014 SJ) will ONLY work when all 4 doors (well, 5 including the hatch) are unlocked. The inside button will only open the hatch when the rest of the car is unlocked. Kind of stupid, if it's just me, coming home from some place and needing to unload the back... But I digress - you get used to the process of unlocking all doors and then pushing the release for the back.

The first time I encountered the issue, I did some research someplace (not here) and climbed in to the back from the seats, found the panel that covers the mechanism, unplugged and plugged back in the release power and that also worked. But then found out about the override from the button outside - hold for 3 seconds - and voila!
 

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2020 Forester Touring, 2016 Legacy 2.5L Limited, 2003 Forester Automatic
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You sure like to write. 馃榾

Next time, hold the gate button (the one near the license plate) for three seconds or so. It will reset/ beep.

Leaving the gate unlatched overnight will drain your battery no matter where your key is located.
Thank you, holding the liftgate button until I heard a click and it was reset.
It probably was triggered when the liftgate was hampered by snow and ice.
 

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Had the same problem this morning, after icy and snowy dump of 6 inches. Struggled for a while. Should have googleed earlier- this worked- thanks, but why isn't in the owner's manual, which I did refer to????
 

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Next time, hold the gate button (the one near the license plate) for three seconds or so. It will reset/ beep.

Leaving the gate unlatched overnight will drain your battery no matter where your key is located.
Having the same problem, and holding gate buttons (any of them, I've tried them all!) doesn't work. Gate is unlatched, and I expect my battery will be dead by tomorrow when I can call Subaru.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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That鈥檚 not good. Try disconnecting the battery for a spell then reconnecting to see if that resets the gate.
 

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'17 Impreza Hatchback CVT
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If nothing else, leaving the battery disconnected overnight will let you start the car in the morning!
 

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That鈥檚 not good. Try disconnecting the battery for a spell then reconnecting to see if that resets the gate.
Yes, thank you, that's what I did. Left the car unlocked overnight, so the battery was not drained, and then, after consulting Subaru, I disconnected the negative terminal of the battery for a few seconds. When I reconnected it, the electricals had reset themselves, and the rear gate was operative once again.
Thanks to both respondents, and a call-out to Mike at West-Herr Subaru service (in Orchard Park, NY) for your very helpful advice and assistance!
 

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You sure like to write. 馃榾

Next time, hold the gate button (the one near the license plate) for three seconds or so. It will reset/ beep.

Leaving the gate unlatched overnight will drain your battery no matter where your key is located.
You sure like to write. 馃榾

Next time, hold the gate button (the one near the license plate) for three seconds or so. It will reset/ beep.

Leaving the gate unlatched overnight will drain your battery no matter where your key is located.
So we had some snow/Ice here in the DC area and just like others here I couldn't get the trunk to latch after getting some items out. The bit about holding the button to reset totally worked. I called the dealership and roadsid and then while waiting for roadside found this. Thank you people for sharing this
 

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So we had some snow/Ice here in the DC area and just like others here I couldn't get the trunk to latch after getting some items out. The bit about holding the button to reset totally worked. I called the dealership and roadsid and then while waiting for roadside found this. Thank you people for sharing this
This does not always indicate a problem. This is really a protection function that kicks in if the automatic movement of the trunk is impeded, which may happen with snow buildup. The problem leading to the multiple Subaru updates was due to the protection being too sensitive and randomly triggering. (There was another issue related to the mechanism erratically drawing too much current and draining the battery.)
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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(There was another issue related to the mechanism erratically drawing too much current and draining the battery.)
There was nothing erratic about it. It was a design flaw that showed itself whenever the rear gate was open. The flaw was consistent, 100% predictable, and unacknowledged by dealerships. A redesign was implemented that fixed the problem in one of the PRG control module updates, and a recall was later issued. Last month, actually.
 

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2020 Forester
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I had this problem with my six month old 2020 Forester last week. I called the dealership after trying the button stuff above without success. They told me to disconnect the battery. I followed their suggestion and the above comment to disconnect the negative terminal. This worked fined. Only lost a few things in the disconnect, the radio is still programmed.
 
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