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Author Topic: 1994 (J63) bonnet/hood release stuck  (Read 681 times)
mhi
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Posts: 44


« on: January 26, 2019, 07:32:00 pm »

My Espace bonnet won't open; the release cable, I think, is stuck (possibly internal corrosion). How should I release the two bonnet catches, more or less above each headlamp, without relying on the cable?

I replaced this release cable several years ago when the car came beck from professional attention with a broken plastic release lever. This time I don't want to break the lever, expecting a replacement to be hard to find. I have taken off the cover under the steering column, taken out the hinge pin from the release lever, and pulled in a straight line on the cable, two hands gripping a tool handle tucked behind the now-loose lever. Still not releasing.

All advice welcome!
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1994 Espace RXE 2.0 (J636)
roy4matra
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Posts: 950



« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2019, 05:40:57 pm »

My Espace bonnet won't open; the release cable, I think, is stuck (possibly internal corrosion). How should I release the two bonnet catches, more or less above each headlamp, without relying on the cable?

I replaced this release cable several years ago when the car came beck from professional attention with a broken plastic release lever. This time I don't want to break the lever, expecting a replacement to be hard to find. I have taken off the cover under the steering column, taken out the hinge pin from the release lever, and pulled in a straight line on the cable, two hands gripping a tool handle tucked behind the now-loose lever. Still not releasing.

All advice welcome!

Forget trying to open the bonnet from inside the car.

On this car, like many others, when either the control breaks or is jammed, you need to open the catches from under the bonnet.  Various vehicles have different systems and therefore different means of access in emergencies.

On the Espace Series 2 there is a rod between the two catches, so you need to raise the front to give yourself some access room - at a garage we would lift it on a hoist.  Now you need to get your arm up between the radiator and engine until you can reach that rod, and pull it to the left.  That should release the two catches if the initial problem was the release cable was stuck.

If one or other of the catches is seized because they have never been lubricated (hint - these are a service item which owners forget to lubricate!) it may be you will need to spray the catches from underneath and allow them to soak a little in an effort to free them.

If the bonnet was not releasing because a catch was stuck, it is usually the left one which is the first one the cable goes to.  As this one wont move, it stops the rod activating the right hand one.  So it might be that when you pull the rod to the left from underneath, the right catch may release easily leaving the left one still locked.  Sometimes pressing/bouncing the bonnet down right on top of the catches may help release them.

Roy
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 05:47:59 pm by roy4matra » Logged

mhi
Jr. Member
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Posts: 44


« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2019, 06:48:13 pm »

Thanks to your advice, Roy, I've got it open.

I didn't need to raise the front; wriggled underneath (head and shoulders) until I could look up, with a bright light, and then reach up. In about the fourth attempt I could touch the link rod. After about the eighth attempt, I discovered that I could not grip it hard enough to get it to move. There's just one place where there is enough space to reach up, on the exhaust side of the engine where components are less packed in.

After trying several sizes of pliers and locking grips, none of which helped because there's not enough space to get the tool and my hand both to grip at once, I tried the forked end of a tack lifter. That's an upholstery tool: imagine the claw end of a tiny claw hammer or nail bar in place of the tip of a medium-sized flat-blade screwdriver. Slide the sharp claw over the rod, twist hard and it grips. Still couldn't slide the rod with enough force. Next try: same tool but position it where I could twist to lock and also pivot it as a lever against a nearby bracket. That worked! (In two stages. The right-hand lock clicked first, and I wriggled out from under the car to make sure I believed it.)

The catches had both been very thickly greased by my usual garage mechanic. Unfortunately, grease does not trickle down from the big hook on top to the smaller release lever and litle spring underneath. These were gritty with a lot of dirt and a liitle rust, which is why they were so tough to operate. The cable is also running very dry, and that increased the force needed.

I've taken out both latches and am cleaning them up ready to lubricate more deeply (but not more thickly). Thank you again, Roy. I would not have had the determination to get the thing open without your help.

This technique for opening is more trouble than mere security requires. If you happen so see a suspicious-looking characher wriggling along the pavement under the front of each of a row of parked Espace J63s, holding a blue-handled tack lifter in her right hand, call the police and report your sighting of a parts thief.

Note to self: remove, clean and deeply, thoroughly lubricate both bonnet catches every 60,000 miles or 100,000 km. It will be worth the trouble.

  - Mark

On this car, like many others, when either the control breaks or is jammed, you need to open the catches from under the bonnet.  Various vehicles have different systems and therefore different means of access in emergencies.

On the Espace Series 2 there is a rod between the two catches, so you need to raise the front to give yourself some access room - at a garage we would lift it on a hoist.  Now you need to get your arm up between the radiator and engine until you can reach that rod, and pull it to the left.  That should release the two catches if the initial problem was the release cable was stuck.

If one or other of the catches is seized because they have never been lubricated (hint - these are a service item which owners forget to lubricate!) it may be you will need to spray the catches from underneath and allow them to soak a little in an effort to free them.

If the bonnet was not releasing because a catch was stuck, it is usually the left one which is the first one the cable goes to.  As this one wont move, it stops the rod activating the right hand one.  So it might be that when you pull the rod to the left from underneath, the right catch may release easily leaving the left one still locked.  Sometimes pressing/bouncing the bonnet down right on top of the catches may help release them.

Roy
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1994 Espace RXE 2.0 (J636)
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