Climb into the cargo area. The plastic panel is secured by 4 screws accessible only from the bottom edge of the hatch as well as about 10 clips. The object is to get your fingertips between the glass and the panel and pull inward (toward front of vehicle). The clips will pop loose if you pull hard enough. Once you have the panel pulled away, look for a whitish box with a plunger coming out the top of it. Move the plunger with your finger. I believe when locked, the plunger is out, and unlocked, the plunger is in. I believe you will find the solenoid coil has burned out and will need to be replaced. I can't believe Ford was so cheap to not include some sort of mechanical release like Chevy did on the Corvette hatch. I read this solution on another site yesterday and put it to the test tonight on my daughter-in-laws 2001 Escape, so I know it works. I don't think the later years are much different.
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Won't open with the key ? Do all the other doors lock an unlock ? You have to understand the electronics involved , you have a remote keyless entry module an all switches are an input to the (RKEM) , an from the voltage input it knows what door to open or unlock or lock . First you would need a wiring diagram to test the circuit an you need to pull the inside panel off the rear hatch to get at the motor to see if the power is getting to it. Can be a very time consuming job. Here check out this video ,it's not the same vehicle as yours but it will give you an idea of what's involved . 2008 2012 Ford Escape Liftgate Latch Won Open Access Diagnosis Repair
Bad lock actuator: (NOTE: If your hatch is locked)
First remove rear panel- pull the plastic panel at the top center, until (2)clips pop off, then pop (2) more clips at the mid-center. Stick your arm down until you reach the lock, with your fingers, feel for the squishy plastic( inside is the bar that goes up to unlock), it is attached to the lever to unlock. Pull up the lever until you can open the hatch. There are four more clips at the top sides and middle sides, and four plastic screws at the bottom which is only accessible when the hatch is opened.
The lock is only sold as an assembly at $100.
Part Number #9L8Z-7843150 B
First check all your fuses to see if you have a blown fuse. If you did then maybe you can unlock it again as normal. If not then see if you can pull the inside panel somewhat away from the inside of the rear hatch. try pulling on it at the top middle of the panel. At the bottom of the window. Below is a picture of the inside of the rear hatch with the inside panel removed.
It is the rear door lock actuator. It controls the window and hatch lock. Unfortunately the actruator is a dealer item and Ford does not sell the actuator by itself. You have to putchase the entire latch assembly whic comes with the actuator. It will run you about $150 for parts.
Probably a issue with your actuator... there is a recall due to the "latching system does not meet the inertia load requirement" might want to check with the dealership to see if your vehicle is with this group, hope this helps :)
Recall 04V602000: Liftgate Latch Release Rod Replacement
Certain 2004-2005 sport utility vehicles and certain 2001-2003 sport utiity vehicles having rear liftgate components serviced with 2004 equivalent components fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 206, "Door Locks and Door Retention Components." The rear liftgate latching system does not meet the inertia load requirement in one direction.