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Tailgate latch puzzle

spud bar used as battering ram for tailgate repair

The tailgate on the truck didn't want to stay closed today.

A little spud bar persuasion helped one side to stay clicked in place.

The other side will have to wait for cooler temperatures as I was unable to figure out its mechanical riddle.

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On the pictures, the hinge between the deck and tailgate is full of dirt/manure. That might prevent the gate from closing. Try cleaning everything first.

Another possibility is that the tailgate itself has warped, preventing it from closing properly.

A last possibility is the latches; either an alignment problem or a hardware malfunction.

Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Jun 1 12:41:02 2011
We cleaned it up after taking the picture, but no luck. I don't think the tailgate warped because it goes back into place, so I'm thinking your third option. The latch that's currently not working has always been problematic, so we'll probably eventually take it in and have someone open up the gate and look around inside. But first I need more manure! :-)
Comment by anna Wed Jun 1 13:38:43 2011

"If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail."

You can exchange "spud bar" for hammer if you like. Now there are phases in problem-solving when it is appropriate to use brute force. But problem analysis usually isn't one of them. :-)

Things to try;

  • Is the latch mechanism loose → fasten the bolts that hold it.
  • Take of the ring or hook or whatever that is on the ends of the sides of the truck (or a piece of metal with the same thickness) and try engaging the latches on both sides with that. If both work, it is probably an alignment issue. If one side still won't engage, chances are it is broken and need replacement.
Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Jun 1 15:44:17 2011

This is one of the relatively few things on a modern car that you can probably easily work on yourself, I think, before spending money on a mechanic.

It wouldn't surprise me if you can remove a plate covering the inside of the tailgate after removing some screws, exposing the mechanism.

Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Jun 1 15:54:50 2011
Mark considered taking it apart himself and poking around, but we figured during this critical hauling period, the less time the truck is out of action, the better. And a mechanic is bound to be more efficient.
Comment by anna Wed Jun 1 20:20:11 2011

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