Question about 2005 Toyota Tacoma

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05 tacoma tailgate latch stuck

I have a 2005 Toyota Tacoma the tailgate is stuck in the closed position. I fitst thought the handle was broken. It seems to be just the latch on the passanger side only. I tired manualy pulling the release rod but no luck. Now im stuck trying to figure out how to release the latch so I can remove and replace it.

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I had the same problem. I figure that dirt/rust may have accumulated inside the latching mechanism. I was able to fix it using the following steps.
1 - Remove the plastic cap that covers the top of the gate.
2 - Remove as many of the remaining torx bolts from the inside cover (you will need to do this to get inside the gate).
3 - Next, try and get some WD40 on/in the latch mechanism.
4 - Using a large screwdriver, you will need to pry the lever attached to the cable in order to release the latch.

Not a pretty process but it seemed to work. I give the latches a good lubrication frequently now, until I get around to replacing them.

Posted on Aug 05, 2009

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The tailgate on my 2005 Tacoma also wouldn't open, but none of the suggested fixes worked. I found out that the metal housing on the driver's side latch mechanism had bent or warped enough that the lever that releases the latch had slipped off of and over the latch release. Here's what I had to do:
1. Remove the plastic cap and all of the torx bolts.
2. Insert a 12mm wrench in the gap between the tailgate and the pickup bed frame - there's barely enough room for a very thin 12mm wrench. I wrapprd the handle in electrical tape to keep from scratching anything.
3. Working through this gap, remove the two bolts holding the latch ring to the frame. If the latch on the other side works, you can now open the tailgate and remove the plastic cover.
4. Remove the bolts attaching the latch to the tailgate.
5. Push the latch and latch ring through the hole in the tailgate.
6. Disconnect the activation rod from the latch.
7. I found the latch release lever to be on the wrong side of the latch release. I forced it back to the correct position, then bent the latch housing back so the latch release lever wouldn't jump over the release again.
Getting the latch ring off of the frame was the toughest part of the whole operation. I have five or six 12mm wrenches; only two were thin enough to get through the gap between the tailgate and the side of the bed.

Posted on Jul 08, 2012

  • C B Cheezem Jul 08, 2012

    The tailgate on my 2005 Tacoma also wouldn't open, but none of the suggested fixes worked. I found out that the metal housing on the driver's side latch mechanism had bent or warped enough that the lever that releases the latch had slipped off of and over the latch release. Here's what I had to do:

    1. Remove the plastic cap and all of the torx bolts.
    2. Insert a 12mm wrench in the gap between the tailgate and the pickup bed frame - there's barely enough room for a very thin 12mm wrench. I wrapprd the handle in electrical tape to keep from scratching anything.
    3. Working through this gap, remove the two bolts holding the latch ring to the frame. If the latch on the other side works, you can now open the tailgate and remove the plastic cover.
    4. Remove the bolts attaching the latch to the tailgate.
    5. Push the latch and latch ring through the hole in the tailgate.
    6. Disconnect the activation rod from the latch.
    7. I found the latch release lever to be on the wrong side of the latch release. I forced it back to the correct position, then bent the latch housing back so the latch release lever wouldn't jump over the release again.

    Getting the latch ring off of the frame was the toughest part of the whole operation. I have five or six 12mm wrenches; only two were thin enough to get through the gap between the tailgate and the side of the bed.


  • peace out
    peace out May 21, 2016

    Dead on helpful. If you can't get the ring off while the gate is latched in, I was able to remove the plastic tailgate cover and then use a screw driver to release the lock. There is a lever towards the bottom rear of the mechanism that if you jimmy it enough for awhile it will release. My latch housing somehow got torqued so I epoxyed a shim behind the release lever so that the release hopefully won't slip on the wrong side again. Toyota used too cheap of metal for hardware that gets stressed with a load against the tailgate.

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I had that problem, I removed the screws holding it together, then pulled it open as much as I could from the middle and hold it with a piece of 4x6 so I could access the left side, with a small screw driver, I compered the both sides, to see what was the difference and after a few tries, finally it opened. I cleaned it with a brush and cleaner, it was very dirty... that worked for me. Maria

Posted on Jan 01, 2011

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