Hello and thanks for donating
You will have to use the liftgate trim panel plug to open it and then remove the liftgate trim panel to inspect the latching mechanism. Try lubricating the latch with WD40 and see if that helps the issue.
Since the gate is opening manually you can easily remove the trim panel to access the motor. Before doing this though, you can check the fuse labeled LCK2 (15 amp), OBS DET (10 amp) and UNLCK2 (15 amp) all in the instrument panel fuse block located at the left side of the instrument panel behind the access panel.
If these fuses are good then the liftgate release relay may be bad, unfortunately this is a printed circuit board (PCB) relay which means it is built into the fuse block, so if it is bad the entire block must be replaced. You said you hear a noise when pushing the button though, so I would assume that is the relay clicking. You can test the motor by supplying 12v direct power to it from a 12v source (i.E. Spare car battery). With 12v direct power and a ground, the motor should run without using a switch. If it doesn't run this way the motor is bad, if it does run then power is not getting to it.
If the gate is not opening manually you will have to locate the dimple on the trim panel. Use a 1 1/16" drill bit to drill a hole through the trim panel in the dimple area. Use a flat blade tool (i.E. Screwdriver) to push down on the black bellcrank lever through the plug hole to unlock the liftgate. Push open the liftgate from the inside.
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Monday, November 8th, 2010 AT 11:04 PM