1989 Jaguar XJS...Trunk locking issue...unlocking as well

Noticed it was difficult to close the boot and have it stay closed. Found everything that could be was out of alignment. Took apart the lock and cleaned it…removed the three bolts. Good news…the trunk closed and remained shut…the bad news is I can’t get it back open again…chequed the 7.5 amp fuse…good to go…I can lock the car with the key in the door, but when unlocking it I don’t hear the trunk unlocking although I don’t remember if I heard it to begin with. PLEASE HELP with ideas how to open the trunk without a crowbar.
Thanks in advance.

Somewhere, if I remember correctly, there’s an article on this forum about drilling a small hole… possibly behind license plate and opening it there… what year is your car…

Here’s an article from Roger 95… I can’t affirm anything because I have not done this… maybe others have.

I wonder if it could be related to orientation of the trunk lock. There was an instruction in owners manual about turning the cylinder left and then back to center and remove key to obtain “X” versus turning right and then back to center to obtain “Y”. IIRC it enabled you to keep the trunk(boot) locked even when the car is unlocked.

Possibly this affecting outcome versus expectations?

Thanks, but trying to avoid drilling. I should have known better and bent the shaft before closing the trunk. Hindsight is definitely 20/20. I have tried the key, and even a spare key to hit the sweet spot but as of yet no luck.

The vehicle is 1989. I should have bent the shaft a tad before closing. I am trying to avoid drilling at all costs. If I am able to open the trunk, I will bend the shaft. Thanks. I have tried with the original and spare key to find the sweet spot but at this writing no luck.

Having an XJ-S with a locked trunk lid that won’t open has been posted about on Jag-Lovers many times. If you search the archives for “open locked trunk” you will find lots of post from those who have had this problem before and in some cases the posts about how they were able to get their trunk open.
When I was unable to open the trunk lid in our 1990 XJ-S convertible several years ago I searched the Jag-Lovers archives and found posts about drilling a hole in the trunk lid beneath the license plate to access the vertical rod that opens the latch. I did that and that method worked for me.
The first attached picture shows the trunk lid of my rear end crash damaged 1990 XJ-S convertible (currently in a shop for repairs) with the 1 inch access hole that I cut in it circled in white. If you look real close in that picture you will see inside that hole the actuating rod that I moved to open my trunk. The second picture shows the inside of the trunk lid of my 1990 XJ-S convertible parts car (that I purchased for parts to repair my car) with its actuating rod also circled in white so you can see what part I moved to open my locked trunk.

The posts in the Jag-Lovers archives detail other methods of opening a locked trunk, but this is what worked for me.
BTW, after I cut that hole and opened my trunk, I painted the edges of the hole and inserted a 1" rubber plug that I purchased at a hardware store. I haven’t had to open the trunk that way again, but if I did, all I would have to do is remove the license plate to reveal the rubber plug, remove the rubber plug, and then move the actuating rod to open the trunk lid.


Thanks for writing…I am trying to avoid drilling at all costs. The circlip came off the post and I found one to replace it but should have bent the shaft before closing the trunk, I have tried the original and spare key to find a sweet spot but at this writing have not. I feel the lock itself is worn and without drilling need to put my heads together and find another way.

Hi Paul and thanks for writing. The circlip was lost thus the shaft you circled was not connected, I found a circlip to fit but it might be on too tight to let the lever turn, but that doesn’t do much as the trunk is locked. I refrain from drilling a hole. I have tried the original and spare key to find the sweet spot but as of this writing have had no success.

Thanks for writing. I am trying to figure a way not to drill a hole in the body. I have tried the original and spare key to find the sweet spot but as this point no luck. Finally we have sun and warmth here in Syracuse and I can spend more time outside working on it. I need to use my imagination.

Perhaps if you searched the Jag-Lovers archives you might find someone else that had that circlip come off and posted about what they did to get the trunk open?
However, in the end I believe you will need to cut a hole in the trunk lid, perhaps lower than the one that I did, fish for that rod with a magnet or a coat hanger until you find it, and they pull on it with needle nosed pliers to open the trunk lid.


I’m sure you have tried this, but just in case …

Have you tried pushing down/pulling up/moving it up and down on the rear ledge of the trunk while turning the key?

It may just be wedged/stuck in place and needs some movement while turning the key for the latch to open?

Good idea…thank you for answering, and will post if I have luck.

Hi Paul…Maybe as a final resort I will need to drill a hole, but for now I am trying many avenues not to.
The battery is new and so if the fuel filter, thank goodness.

I tried this a number of years ago and luckily got it open. Probably sprayed half a can of WD40 in there in the process. Push down relieve the pressure off the trunk lid lock, may or may not move.
I did not want to drill any holes either. The cars not a daily driver so I’ve never locked the trunk/boot since

Still trying and threatening the car with regular gas. Nothing so far.
Where did you spray the WD40?
I do notice I can “rock” the trunk lid up and down and inch or two…perhaps that’s progress.