Question about Chevrolet 1500

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I have a 2003 chevy 1500 and I cant get the tailgate to open. I took the cover off of the latch and saw two metal rods going to either side of the tailgate and they were both connected to the latch. When I try to pull the latch, the right side doesn't go as far in as the left. Just wondering what I should do because I dont wanna break anything to complicate my situation any further

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You have one rod that is bent it is common after the tail gate gets old. you nrrd to ope the fail gate up and look at he ends. If one stichs out farther than the other disconnet the plastic holder and screw it in to make it pull n that rod more. Also Lube the gate pulling mechinisam and it will help some. if onr rod is bent it will cause a problem and you will have to straighten out the rod.

Posted on Aug 21, 2010

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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1 Answer

Broken tailgate latch


UHOH, might try a bent butter knife or other bent metal and slip it in the crack between the tailgate and the side panel on the side that the rod from the handle came off on, but if it came off both sides you'll have to work both latch at the same time which will require the help of a buddy unless your pretty acrobatic. You have to push in the catch or catches that are not retracting to unlatch the tailgate. Good luck if all else fails you'll need to take it to a body shop. Some trucks you can get to the rods to the latches trough the hole where the handle mounts with some needle nose and pull the rods if they came loose at the middle.

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1 Answer

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1 Answer

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Mine just did the exact same thing. The latch may be moving freely because it is not hooked to the latching mechanism anymore. In my case, the handle had broken where the handle hooks to the rod that operates the mechanism. Go to the Ford dealer and buy a new handle. Here in S.C. it was $24. You can't get this at the parts houses. Start by removing the plastic "Ford" cover that is over the liscense plate lights. You then have to remove the aluminum rivets that hold the handle to the tailgate from the outside and remove the broken latch. Remove the pull handle loop on the interior side of the tailgate (2 screws), unsnap the inside plastic tailgate interior panel, and pull down the black plastic sheeting that is underneath the panel to make access to the mechanism inside of the tailgate. There is also a hard plastic cover that you will see that needs to be pulled loose to open another access hole. Install the new tailgate latch handle by sliding back into the mounting holes and attach with two 10-32 screws and nuts. The new handle will come with a new yellow rod attachment piece on the handle. You will see inside of the tailgate a small rod hanging down, most likeky it will have the same rod attachment piece as the one on the new handle. Note the position of the yellow piece on the rod, as you will connect the new piece in the same place. Once the rod is hooked up, relubricate the metal mechanism with a light machine oil, replace the black plastic cover, replace the black plastic sheeting, (secure with a small amount of duct tape), replace the tailgate interior panel, replace the pull handle loop, shut tailgate, replace "Ford" cover over lights, and you're done!

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I just finished replacing mine. It took about an hour. Here's my step by step.
1. take off the two outside bolts on the inside of the tailgate behind the handle.
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3. Tie some long ropes to each of the two rods that the handle pulls together. You don't want them getting away from you.
4. Now free the rods from the plastic clamps. This is the point of no return. Mine would not go back together. A small screw driver shoved in from the end along the seam will pop them easily.
5. Now remove the remaining 3 T40 bolts on the back of the tailgate.
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13. If your door won't latch, the rods are being pulled together too much. Undue the plastic clamps, push the rods apart and reset them in the clamps.

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