I have written up how to open the tailgate latch on a smart. It's in a PDF with photo's and everything. I will need to send you an email with this as an attachment. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org Send me an email and I'll send you the complete info. Take care, Todd
The text is this:
How to Open the Tailgate Latch When Broken
Steps to Open:
Using a flashlight, look into the thumb latch opening. There is a shaft that the lever rotates on. On one side of the shaft is a spring and on the other side of the shaft is a very small internal lever that is shiny. (fig A).
Using a strong paperclip (or cotter pin, etc), make a right angle bend on one end about 1/8” long. (fig B).
Place the bent paperclip so the “hook” is underneath that shiny level and pull to lever up towards you. You may need to repeat this a couple of times to open the latch.
Remember to block the side open so it does not re-latch.
Latch Price From Smart : ~$54.00 / each side
I can tell you how to do this. It took me over an hour to learn how. I'll email you how I did it and how I made the little tool for opening it. The latch costs $54.00 / each (there is a right and a left side, if you need both). Once open they are real easy to take apart and replace. I needed to buy a torx drive set (12.00) for the screws.
Happy to see that you finally got yours. Will be on the lookout for you. We were at the Desert Museum this past weekend and a couple were admiring our "Pipsqueak". Come to find out, they are supposed to be taking delivery of theirs sometime in February. Big guys says Hi.