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Manually Unlatching Convertible Trunk Lid from Wheel Well Access

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  • Manually Unlatching Convertible Trunk Lid from Wheel Well Access

    I have drilled the 1 1/8 access hole in the wheel well per the factory manual in hopes of unlatching the convertible trunk on a 1959 convertible. I went through a long process of poking and prodding with no luck on either side. The trunk has been latched for at least 3 decades. I also sprayed the latch with penetrating oil the best I could. Anyone out there out there have to go through this process? Does it help to fabricate a special tool? Can’t get any movement in the plunger or latch, never see the latch when open, but believe you must push the plunger to open? Any help appreciated!

  • #2
    You have to push the solenoid plunger toward the center of the trunk lid to unlock the gear. I have done it just using a screw driver.


    59 solenoid.jpg
    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

    Thunderbird Registry #36223 856-779-9695


    • #3
      Thx. I’ll try again.The plunger appears to be frozen.


      • #4
        Since both sides are not functioning, can you test the release switch under the dash, and possibly isolate the problem. I've seen these solenoids looking like they are in the worst shape ever but they still engage/disengage. Can you rig something up to get 12v directly to the solenoids and bypass other electrical issues?

        When they do engage I've found the "rolling lock mechanism" to be more of an issue rather than the solenoids. However, the rolling lock mechanism usually clears up with PB blaster.

        If power is getting to the solenoids when you press the release button you will hear them "hum."

        Next, the latches they catch on the inside of the trunk are adjustable (up and down). I would think that if they are set to the lowest adjustment this would make it more difficult for the solenoid to disengage especially after not functioning for many years.

        I forgot the answer to this next question, but if you take out the back seat is there any additional access to the trunk area??


        • #5
          Thanks for the comments. I have sprayed the lock mechanisms through the access holes the best I could. I do not see any access from behind the seat. No keys for the car, but can attempt electrical power,


          • #6
            My ignition does not need to be "on" to release the solenoids, however the release button is slotted for a key that I have never tampered with. I'm not sure if the key would prevent the button from being pressed or if would still press in but not allow the voltage to pass through it.

            Either way, rigging something up directly from a 12V source to bypass the switch would be a good start.

            If this test fails you may want to use the manual to find the wire that goes to solenoids closest to the trunk--and jump it there.

            I believe one "yellow" wire goes to the left solenoid and then a second wire jumps the right solenoid.


            • #7
              Great info, thx. I am not at the car now, so not sure on the status of the release button, good knowing the power to the switch is hot and I can just bypass if necessary.


              • #8
                "I believe one "yellow" wire goes to the left solenoid and then a second wire jumps the right solenoid." I was wrong about this.


                • #9
                  Make sure you check the relay in the engine compartment. It's located on the passenger side inner fender well near the hood latch. If that is bad you will get no power to the solenoids. You can jumper the plug to bypass the relay. The blue wire in the plug goes to the solenoids. Try putting 12V directly to that wire.

                  Last edited by jopizz; February 22nd, 2021, 12:25 AM.
                  John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                  Thunderbird Registry #36223



                  • #10
                    Thank you John, really great info!


                    • #11
                      If you can get a screwdriver in there, perhaps you could also get a small 1/4 drive socket and extension in there to reach the two cap crews on the locks bracket if solenoids are seized ..


                      • #12
                        Thanks. Good thought, worth a try.


                        • #13
                          What kind of results did you get from powering up the blue wire at the relay on the inner fender?


                          • #14
                            I have been traveling for business, I will post results (hopefully results) as soon as I can get to the car. Thanks for checking in.


                            • #15
                              Does the service manual have a fail safe
                              way ? I know with the 60,it says to undo
                              the latch’s from the wheel well then drop
                              the gas tank and undo the rams from
                              the bottom of the trunk.

                              After you get it open, would it be poss
                              to make those latches cable operated.
                              I saw a video of a white 59 that had
                              Looked like it had cables and no
                              I really don’t know WHAT Ford was
                              thinking with this. The syst fails and
                              you can’t get the trunk opened. Where
                              the spare is, or your luggage. It happened
                              to allot of theses cars when they were new.
                              mine was a little over 10 yrs old the 1st
                              time it stopped working. Thankfully it
                              Was hyd not electrical. The screw latch’s
                              have always worked. Takes 3 men and
                              a mule to get that lid open w/o hyd asst.