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Josh-D. S. Davis

Xaminmo / Omnimax / Max Omni / Mad Scientist / Midnight Shadow / Radiation Master

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Weird Stuff in the Van
Josh 201604 KWP
Erica came home from grocery shopping and the van tailgate latch wouldn't open.

I found a 1" hole in the plastic shroud, and pulled that. There was some gooey stuff inside, but I managed to find the latch and pop it open.

30 mins, 8 screws and 6 clips later, I had the plastic shroud off for better inspection.

Basically, the tailgate is made of 2 sheets of metal. The outside is contoured to match styling. The inside is rumpled to provide support. It's not corrugated, but it's similar.

In many of the high spots, there are access holes, almost the entire size of the flat area.

Some of these holes had nothing in them, but several had wires, including the latch area.

All of the holes over 1.5" across were covered in what looked like 5mil poly sheeting with a 1/32" layer of tar. I'm assuming noise, vibration, and convection dampening were parts of the design.

Unfortunately, the vehicle lives in TX and many times is parked in the sun. It's dark paint. The rubbery, gooey, tarry substance softened enough that all but one patch had released on top and sides, and the patch folded into the hole at the bottom.

The latch access was the worst. As the patch changed shape, it pulled on the mechanism and popped the latch arm out of the swivel mount. Everything is coated in goo.

I removed all of the patch material that was loose or bunched up, and cleaned off any globs. The latch is still gooey, but I can't really soak it in solvent without a huge effort. It's working, and readjusted to be better than it's been in a long time.

Finally, I covered all of the holes with duct and/or clear tape after removing dust from the side areas. I figure that should hold for 2-5 years, but when it releases, it won't gum things up. It'll be brittle and dusty.

Still, it's all weird. Goo with a 9 year life in a vehicle is frustrating when it's in an obscured place and not a service item.