2018 Outback – that ‘effin tailgate…..

you can convert it to a manual open – but that only bypasses the lift motor. It might help, although all the other stuff is still in place… the control module, the closer motor (the powered latch). The thing that’s keeping you from opening the gate is that control module.

The manual lift gate (base and some premium? trims) didn’t have that module. The powered latch in the gate is like on the crosstrek – just a simple open/close. That part can be swapped out. It’s the four wire connector that is on the one you have now…. it’s just missing a 6 wire connector, that is for the powered motor in the latch….

if it were to work:

  • disconnect lift motor (electrical plugs), remove the arm lift strut rod.
  • replace existing gas struts with manual gate gas struts.
  • disconnect power rear gate control module (electrical plugs)
  • replace closer motor latch with latch from the base model outback ($110 or so for a new one)
  • have service department toggle the power rear gate setting from ON to OFF

then you have the simple tinny sounding rear gate latch, the one that just goes “clonk”, and it’s unlatched, that can be operated either from the button on the gate or the button on the remote.

the fancy latch you have now has that – AND it has a motor that snugs the gate shut when it gets to the striker (thing it latches to).

you could try the first two bullet points only – but then you would still have the power gate control module with all it’s logic and conditions that make things annoying.

disconnecting the power rear gate control module might cause some trouble codes to show up, and I don’t know if that would light up a warning indicator on the dashboard. There are a couple of codes for errors communicating between the power rear gate control module, and the body integrated unit.

Now – a dealer, using their fancy software, should be able to toggle the setting for the power rear gate from ON to OFF. That should keep any error codes from showing up when the power rear gate control module is disconnected.

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