The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Pickup truck tailgate adjustment field notes

How to adjust a GMC pick up truck tailgate

The 4 ton hand winch did a good job at squeezing the truck bed frame a few centimeters in an attempt to make the tailgate latch stay closed.

It helped a little, but not enough to feel like it won't pop open during a hard bump.

We've got a GMC dealer close by that might know what's wrong, but I've been afraid to ask them due to the fear of sticker shock.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Did you try taking it apart and checking why the latches don't extend all the way and the handle feels soft? I'm betting a broken spring or linkage.
Comment by joey Mon Jul 4 16:37:07 2011
Hey Mark, on my 82 Chevy the tailgate was acting the same way. It was just a little rusty and a good spray of penetrating oil and oil allowed the latches to extend like they should. You can spray it in where the latches are and also up under the handle.
Comment by Anonymous Mon Jul 4 19:12:16 2011
Great first pic, thoughtfully staring at the problem, scratching chin...the proper start to every solution.
Comment by Lisa Tue Jul 5 01:45:32 2011

Joey --- I'm glad you commented. I tried to pass on what you'd said, but I think I mangled it, and Mark didn't really understand until he read your comment. He went out and poked around some more, and I think he agrees with you.

Anonymous --- That would be another good thing to try! Never hurts to oil things...

Lisa --- What's funny is that he didn't even pose for that shot. I heard him outside working and went to take some photos, and that was really what he did first. :-)

Comment by anna Tue Jul 5 08:25:31 2011
If nothing else a couple of bungee cords will hold it up well. Plus if it does turn out to be broken beyond repair: Contact a salvage yard. I grew up on a salvage yard so my first thought is that it may not always match, but I can replace it!
Comment by Tracy Tue Jul 5 20:03:19 2011
How did you guess that's how we've been holding the tailgate up lately? :-)
Comment by anna Wed Jul 6 09:05:54 2011

Might be a little too obvious, but I have had an issue with my S10 tailgate for a few years now. . . When I close the tailgate, I have to also make sure the handle is pushed down and in?? Once that second step is done - we are golden!

Comment by Jayne Wead Wed Jul 6 09:27:38 2011
That's not a bad suggestion --- the handle doesn't spring back and has to be pushed in. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be enough to keep the gate latched.
Comment by anna Wed Jul 6 13:17:19 2011
Based on your description I'd agree with Joey. Probably a broken/loose spring or linkage. Wether pushing the handle back in will work depends on the details of the construction of the mechanism.
Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Jul 6 14:29:32 2011
The truck is fairly common and getting one form a local salvage yard should not be to much of an issue. You might even be able to get one in the same color as the rest of the truck if you look hard enough. With regards to getting it off, there are a few instructional video on you tube, the hard part is actually lifting it off and putting the new one on, you will need at least 4 people for that job. Good look and keep posting.
Comment by Eric Blaise Tue May 26 19:37:17 2015

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