toyfarm wrote:How do you get to the mechanism, when you can not get the rear hatch open?
The way others have done it is to pull the interior plastic away from the hatch at the top, then reach in & operate the actuator rod to unlock the hatch. The plastic at the top is held in place by ~4 spring clips, so just pull the plastic away from the hatch. Once you get the hatch open, you'll see that there are 4 screws at the bottom.
I've never had a problem w the rear hatch on my 2002. But something I did was to remove the plastic & drill a hole in the plastic for future access. I plugged the hole w a black cap from Lowes. It kinda matches some of the Ford caps on the car's interior already.
Just a couple of pics to show the mechanism.