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Re: Tailgate will not open 2001 Ford F-150pu
Sounds like one of the control rods has come off in side the tailgate that pulls on the latches to release the tailgate. Here is what you need to do to fix this. Look on the inside of the tailgate and you will see a rectangular plate that you can remove. Take this plate off and it will give you access to the inside of the tailgate. Then you will see which rod has dropped out of it's retaining hole. You may need to get a new plastic clip from Ford to keep the rod in place. Don't worry though. These plastic clips are cheap and easy to replace. Good luck. This plastic part will only be available from Ford.
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The right side can be unlocked with the key, once opened, the left side can be opened. Mine, the left side requires me to push in slightly while ensuring the release handle is pulled to it's furthest point before it will unlatch. If the electrical contacts at the door frame are dirty, the door may not unlock when pushing the button up front thus requiring the key to be used in the rear door. If this is not the solution, the latch rods inside the door need adjusted which requires some mechanical expertise.
I had a clip break when I tried to open my tailgate. I had to remove my inside hatch panel and find my way to the handle assembly. A little plastic clip (shaped like a T) had finally worn out, which wouldn't hold the locking arms, and I had to go to a Ford dealership for a $3 part; tailgate has worked fine since then!
you have to get in behind tailgate interior trim and pull handle lever as this has come off from the actuator,once tailgate is opened remove panel and relocate actuator bar and you might want to cable tie bar in place for the future
First thing: Try using the key to move to the locked and then to the unlocked position. If this works, open the tailgate... This also pretty much tells you what the root cause problem is, which is a pressed-in plastic post working its way out (see below).
If no bedliner, just remove metal plate inside tailgate and actuate by hand inside to open. If bedliner, first use a small screwdriver to carefully (don't scratch paint) push in latches at either side of tailgate to open/lower tailgate (if locking/unlocking as above did not work to lower gate and gain access). Next, use two blade screwdrivers to pry out the "buttons" that hold the ends of the tailgate liner where they wrap around the sides, then remove bedliner piece and metal plate, etc.
Once you have access to inside of tailgate, you will see how the mechanism works by pulling up and down on the handle while observing. You will probably find that the slide mechism that locks and unlocks the mechanism has been allowed to move such that it cannot unlock/allow movement of the latching mechanism. This is usually the result of the pressed in plastic anchor being worn/loose. I had some success with cleaning thoroughly with alcohol or brake cleaner, allowing to dry and then using super glue to hold it firmly in all the way. Still have to hold handle up when closing gate and keep key on hand to unlock every time opening, but it was a free repair...
Try checking that the handle in the tailgate returns to the 'open' postion. Once in a while, usually during/after the winter, the tailgate handle gets stuck in the 'pressed in' postion. I have to use WD-40 or some other lubricant to get the handle working again, which allows me to unlock and open the tailgate.