I have been dealing with this rear rattle for several months now. (I have a 2003 Mazda Tribute ES). Last week, when I had passengers in the rear, I asked one of them to try and locate the rattle. He said it was the rear hatch window rattling, so that helped narrow it down.
Well, this evening, I decided that I would hunt it down and fix it, because very soon I need to drive from San Antonio to Houston and back, and I'll go nuts if I listen to that for six hours. :cuss:
As I looked for looseness associated with the rear hatch window, I noticed that if I pushed on the window from the outside while it was closed, that it would make a rattle or tap against the metal rear hatch, but just on the left side. Sure, I tried putting a towel over the window gasket and closing the hatch, and it stopped the rattle. But I wanted to figure out what was causing it.
After checking and trying to adjust the window latch (no difference), I noticed that the rear hatch window not centered; it was closer to the metal hatch on the left side than it was on the right side. I decided to check the hinges for the rear glass window, and found that they are each held on by a small nut (with integrated washer), and that BOTH hinge nuts were loose. So, the window had shifted over to the left enough to cause it to make contact with the metal hatch, and rattle. BTW, these nuts are each found behind a very large oval-shaped plug at the top of the metal hatch, right behind where the glass window hinges are located. The plugs pop out easily.
So, first I removed one of the gas hatch struts, and then I removed the nuts, one at a time, put some Loctite on each hinge bolt, then threaded the nuts back on. Before tightening them down, I pushed on the glass hatch and shifted it so that it was centered again on the metal hatch. One I confirmed that it was properly centered, I shut the glass hatch so it was held by the latch, and then tightened the hinge nuts so that it was secured in that position.
Guess what? NO MORE RATTLE!!! :yahoo: :thumb: :rockon:
What I suspect is that the glass window hinge nuts vibrated loose over time because they have a 'loose' (low friction) machine screw thread. Adding the Loctite will hopefully keep them from vibrating loose again.
Also, The rear glass closes VERY EASILY NOW! Prior to this repair, I had to shut the window with a good amount of force, or else it wouldn't latch. So I fixed THAT problem as well!
I reinstalled the hatch strut that I removed, put the hinge nut plugs back in, and sat down to enjoy a beer. :beer:
Hope this helps someone else!