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Replacing A rusted or broken 180sx Hatch

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So after an exhausting search for a nice spoiler-less (and more importantly rust-less) hatch to replace my messed up one, I finally found one this morning. A trip to a not-so-local import yard yard and $250 later, I had one in my driveway, ready to install.


Here it goes....


Step One: Locate the hatch:




Yep. There it is. Good job.


Step Two: Remove the paneling inside


The panels are held in by two bolts pointed out here, both are hidden under little black caps that you can pop out with a flathead screwdriver.




Underneath there you'll get a much better understanding of how the wiring works, and you'll understand why we had to do what we did next:


Step Three: Cut The Wires


Now, I've heard a lot of talk about finding a clip and re-attaching wires without having to do any real splicing or soldering, but honestly that seemed like an impossible dream. A quick snip with a pair of linesman's pliers and the hatch was halfway off.




To be honest though, we did sorta end up cursing ourselves for doing this later on. Due to the short length of the wire and the tight working spaces, cutting the wires at this point makes it very hard to work on. If you decide to take this route, CUT THE WIRES AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN TO THE OLD HATCH! Even pull them out as much as you can if possible... I'd even reccomend cutting them off of the rear defrost points and pulling them through, if you can. Honestly, it'll save you alot of trouble. Also before you do any wire cutting make sure you disconnect the battery from the car... dont want anybody shocking or shorting things now do we?


NOTE: If you cant tell from the pictures, this is the left side of the hatch- the wires here (there are 2) are associated with the rear defrost. There is a similiar looking setup on the right side of the hatch in the same place, but there are many more wires there- all of them are associated with the brake light and rear wiper motor. More about that later.


Step Four: Look At The Wiper Wires


Inside the hatch there is a little carpeting cover that can be taken off very easially by undoing all of the little clips holding them in. To take those off, just get a small screwdriver and press IN the middle part, and then you can just pry them right out. It really is pretty easy.


Once you have that up, take a look at the wires on the right side of the hatch (you may have to take a razor and cut off the black electrical tape surrounding them).




One look at these and you'll know that it's gonna be WAY too hard to try and cut this wire way up where the hatch meets the roof and attempt to splice the wires there. What we decided to do is to KEEP THE OLD WIRING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HATCH. Just cut them as close as you can to their respective ends, so that the wire will come down from inside the car, through the hatch, and end right there under that carpet thing you just pulled off. A better pic of this is coming in a sec.


Step Five: Unbolt And Take Off The Hatch


The hatch itself is held in by 4 (13mm if I remember right?) bolts that are right at the top of the glass.




Since you already have the panels off on both sides of the hatch inside the car, just pull down the headliner a little bit and you can see the nuts right there ready to be unbolted. Be Careful when you do this, cause this (and the lifters) really are the only thing holding your hatch up: it'll fall down once you take these out.


Once it's unbolted, pop the lifters off on the hatch end (they just wiggle right off these round-headed studs), and take that nasty old thing off of your car. Note, though, that the wires on the right side of the hatch are probably still in there, so be careful pulling them out... They stick a little bit sometimes, but they'll come out if you're nice to em.


Step Six: Take A Step Back


Yep. Take a step back and look at what you've done.




The wires my friend are holding up are the ones on the right side of the hatch (brake light/wiper). Note how they are all original and intact, cut ONLY AT THE VERY END, with PLENTY OF SPACE for splicing into your new hatch!


Also, since you're taking a step back, put the hatches next to eachother and marvel at how much better your newer one looks. HA HA in your face, rusty hatch!




Step Seven: Pull The Wires Through Your New Hatch


Okay, it's a little hard to understand just looking at the picture, but what we did was attach the old wires (where we cut them) to what we could see of the new wires. The "new" wires were cut by the junkyard, and about 2 inches were hanging out of the end of the hatch.




Just take the two ends (the TOP part of the new wires and the BOTTOM part of the new ones) and tape them together really well. Make sure you intertwine the wires and tape them together really well.


When that's done, take off the carpet from the inside of the new hatch just like you did with your old one, find the right-side wires, and PULL them through towards you. They will come all the way out, and, pulling with them, the old wires that are still attached to the inside of your car.


When you have it pulled all the way through, undo the tape that you put together before, and VIOLA, you've got the right side of your hatch halfway done, without having to work in that cramped space up in the top or having to mess with those rubber gromets up there! Wooo!


Cut the wires on your new hatch off of the wiper motor and brake light, making sure to leave some space to splice them into the old wires you just threaded through.


To finish up the right side (sorry I dont have a picture of this), just pull the insulation off of the ends of each wire and connect them to the wiper motor and brake light wires (the ends you left extra) with some 14-16 guage butt connectors. This sounds hard, but it's actually really easy-- if you've ever worked on stereo equipment it's the same deal. Just make sure you dont have any bare bits of wire showing and do a good job clamping down the butt connectors so they dont come undone.


Step Eight: Ahhh, The Defrost Wires....


These wires are a pain. I mentioned before that they're really short and the working space is tight... and since we cut them we kinda had to do it this way. You could try to pull them through the new hatch like we did on the right side, that would probably be better: but here's how we did it.


Basically we stripped both ends of both wires and soldered/taped them together. One of the wires is much thicker than the other, and this one isnt too much of a problem... Just make sure you do a good job twisting it together and solder it well, it should be fine.


The second wire though is a little tougher.




Basically its a tiny little wire that has the hot wire inside wrapped around a seperatly insulated ground wire. The ground wire

inside is EXTREMELY small, so be very careful stripping that second insulation and solder it neatly. Tape this inside part up, making SURE NOT TO CROSS IT WITH THE POSITIVE WIRE! Take your time and do this neatly, you dont wanna have to do this again, trust me.


You can see in the picture us soldering the super small ground wire with the positive wire pushed way back and out of the way... this worked the best for us.


This step took lots of arguing and lots of time... Hopefully with this DIY it'll be a little quicker for you. Jeez, it's night time already!!




NOTES: Yeah yeah I know you shouldnt have that hot soldering iron on that towel.... whatever, better it catch on fire and burn us than I drip solder into my beautiful s13!

Heh also watch out with that soldering iron... apparantly it's really hot! See that mark on my friend's hand in that picture up there? Yeah, I got him with the iron when he tried to slap at a mosquito. Whoah now.


Step Nine: Put It Back Together


The easiest part. Just put everything back in reverse order. Bolt down the new hatch at the top where you removed it, stuff away any dangling wire (and make sure its sealed/soldered/spliced/taped correctly and neatly), put the carpet back inside your new hatch, attach the lifters, snap the inside panels back on and put in the two screws on each side, and do a good job cleaning up all the bits of wire (they hurt if you sit on them, trust me!).


Take a step back and pat yourself on the back. You are so friggin awesome!



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good guide.


have u had any problems with the roof leaking????


ie when it rains

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Nice write up. I did this to my 180 on sunday.


good info but i also would like to know if you got any leaks???

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Pickng up my hatch today, was wondering if these photos where accessible anywhere... they have only "?" displayed..

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