Question about 1998 Jeep Cherokee 4WD

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98 Laredo TSI. tail gate won't open. 2nd time. saw solution and fixed 2-3 years ago. something about the inside door panel and getting to the latch with a wire. need details on the fix, please.

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Posted on May 02, 2010

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The tail gate release handle has disconnected from the latching system and won't open. There appears to be a cable 'floating' around in the gap.


Hopefully your talking about a truck. With a flat screwdriver on both sides you'll need another hand here you'll have to push the locks in ward but not to damage sides.after tail gate opens there should be a panel on the top inside of the gate if you have a bedliner cover on the tail gate you'll need to remove it to get to that panel.after you get that panel off .you'll be able to see why that cable came off.

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If you go on the inside of the door see if there are any screws or a place where you can pry off the inside of the tailgate there should be a carpet type material in there you have to go behind it to get at the latch or try and fiddle with it on each sides of the gate.

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The handle broke off on my 2003 jeep grand cherokee laredo liftgate. how can i open it now? i can't find anything on the inside in the back and my tail light is out.


You will need to remove the interior panle from the loft gate to axess the latch
there is 4 screws along the bottom of the panle to remove then carfuly pull the panle away from the lift gate there is plastic clips that hold the panle to the gate these may need to be replaced when re installing the panle they can be purchased at the jeep dealer.
now look into the lift gate and you will see where the handle rod conects to the latch lift on this rod and the gate will open
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Look around to see if there's anything impeding the movement of the gate. If there's nothing impeding the movement, slowly close the gate until the latches closes up against the latch anchor points (one on each side of the gate). One of these latches may be stuck in the closed position or partially closed causing them to not allow you to shut your gate. Or the could be stuck open and the ratchet teeth (the bumps on the inside of the latch that are suppose to snag when closed) may be worn or broken. If that's the case, you'll need to remove the panels for your gate in order to get into and behind the latch. Also try spraying some lithium grease into the latch to see if that helps. Don't use WD-40

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Open the tail gate.


Bad news, probably rusted like the one I had, you have to remove the panel from inside by prying the little push tabs in the middle out. Then try to move the latch from the inside of the door, you will see how it works with the cover off. Be sure you unlock the door before you try to pry the latch back!

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Tailgate will not open


Hello and thank you for using FixYa!

To get the tailgate open, you will need to get into the back of your truck and remove the inside panel of the tail gate to access the latchs. Once you get in there, you can check operation and make the repairs you need to get your tail gate working again.

Thanks Jay!

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Remove all the screws you can see from plastic cover.Remove two bolts holding inside grab handle. Pop loose the plastic paneling (held in place by plastic tabs) just enough to put arm through below glass at center. Pull up on metal rod ( make sure it is not locked). Once you've got the door open then you can finish taking off entire plastic paneling to get to nut holding handle assembly in place. Lubricate actual latch and make sure nothing is stuck or not working properly. You can buy a whole new latch assembly at jeeppartsstore.com for like 38.00 bucks. Just replaced ours this morning too.

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I believe there are one or more service bulletins out on the tail gate issue, so you are not alone. I have seen a vehicle with this issue. The bullitin states adjust latch/ do not replace. We tried to adjust 4 times and ended up installing a new latch to remedy.

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