Hello folks,

I have done a search and I didn't come up with much.

My car is a 1998 V70 AWD.

I am having some real problems with my tailgate and I'm looking for some new ideas from the group.

I have a family member with almost exactly the same car. His is a 1998 V70 XC, while mine is the V70 AWD. They're the same car with different trim kits, essentially.

His tailgate closes quite nicely, needing just a small push. Actually, his support struts are wearing out so the tailgate slowly falls on its own, and even this is enough to properly close the tailgate on his car.

My tailgate is very difficult to close. Initially the tailgate just seemed very difficult to close as it got colder in the winter. Then it was impossible to close no matter how hard I slammed it. It always latches on the first 'stage' of course, but the tailgate is not really closed unless it gets the second stage. The cargo area light stays on and the dash warning light is lit, unless that second stage is accomplished.

I discovered how to adjust the striker plate, and adjusted the plate out (away from the car), and was very sure to keep the 'pin'/bolt centered on the center of the lock mechanism. This did make the tailgate easier to close, but then the tailgate made noise when I was driving. If the plate was only a little bit too far out it would squeak, and I think the noise came from the striker plate area. If the plate was all the way out the noise was a loud air pressure noise like if you open only one rear window. Obviously something was wrong with this solution as well.

For a while I found I could manage a balance of adjusting the tailgate striker plate in or out to achieve a balanace between difficulty to close and the shaking/squeaking during driving according to the weather. When it's -20C and the family just wants to go this can wear a bit thin.

I decided that the problem must be the rubber bumpers on the corners of the tailgate and the ones built-in to the striker plate. I figured they had gone hard on me from being old, so I ordered new ones from FCP. They didn't cost much - less than $20 for all three if I remember correctly.

After installing these new parts and playing with the position of the striker plate some more, I found the tailgate was in general easier to close with the new parts than it was before. However, it was still not correct by any means. I still had to really slam the tailgate to close it, and as it got colder outside it again got worse.

I did a more thorough inpection of the closed tailgate in the 'too loose' position described above. Looking through the panel gaps between the tailgate and the body-mounted rear lights I found that neither of the rubber bumpers were actually touching their counterparts on the body.

So I adjusted the striker plate inward, and checked again. It was predictably hard to close the tailgate, and when I inspected the bumpers again this time I found the left/driver's bumper was fully engaged, but the right/pass's bumper was approx 1/2" away from it's counterpart on the body.

It was quite clear to me that this must be the problem. But I didn't know if was because the tailgate had become mis-aligned or if the tailgate or body were somehow twisted.

I first tried resetting the support struts to make sure they reached their maximum extension at the same time - I supported the tailgate and released the bolts holding the body-end of the strut in place allowing them to fully extend and then tightened them in again.

I did some investigation using VADIS and found that there are a number of ways to adjust the tailgate's position - in and out and up and down and side to side.

Specifically there are two bolts on either side of the tailgate which adjust the position of the gate itself relative to the hinges. I set to work adjusting the tailgate by releasing these bolts and then tightening them again when I thought I had the tailgate moved the way I wanted.

I have to say this was a giant PITA. The tailgate is damn heavy and it's hard to move it the way you want it to go and then hold it there while you're trying to tighten the bolts as well...

Anyway, I think I have it now so that the bumpers are about equal, but they are equally far away from their counterparts on the body rather than equally engaging them.

I will endeavour to try to adjust the tailgate again when it gets a bit warmer out, but in the meantime I would like to solicit advice.

Has anyone else ever adjusted the tailgate on these cars?
Any advice or tips?
Has anyone every had this done at a dealer? I think I would be willing to pay even their exhorbitant rates to get this fixed up for me.

Any words of wisdom or encouragement are welcome of course.

Thanks for reading my long story