96 caravan back hatch lock won't work

my dodge caravan back hatch will not unlock. My power locks won't unlock it, and the key won't even turn. I have tried de-icer, and WD 40, but the key won't budge. Should I attempt to take the panel off to get to it? And
if I do some how manage to get to the lock, can I disconnect the auto lock to it? I really don't mind not being able to lock the hatch, I just want to use it and know it will stay shut going down the road.
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It sounds as if the actuator motor has locked up and wont allow the key to turn. I have seen this before and in order to open the hatch you will have to take off the trim panel from the inside. Its a pain if you have all the seats in the van too.
Glenn Beasley Chrysler Tech
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I have the exact same problem in my 96 grand caravan. I found that if you hold the hatch handle out just slightly whiile trying to turn the key it will work, i just move the handle in and out a little bit while trying the key, it works 80% of the time. Another way I get it to work is by hitting the power locks button to "unlock" (just unlock....NOT lock then unlock then lock) multiple times in a row (5 or 6) this seems to work most of the time.
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If that actuator locks up completely you will not be able to open the door. Now may be a good time to replace the actuator
Glenn Beasley Chrysler Tech
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We had this problem also.......there was a bunch of insulation like stuff that had fallen away and had to be cleaned out, that and alot of wd40.......now works fine.
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