I had the same problem with my 2003, no adjustment on mine, I resolved the problem by lubricating all the movable parts inside and outside the tailgate, both locks, and the internal linkage, and joints, I loosened things up with WD40, waited a few days and did the final lubrication with white lithium greese. Any other liquid greese will also work fine. dont forget to follow up everyone few month.
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You have to remove the handle assembly and the latches. Working through the hole where the handle is, work the throught the edge of the tailgate and fasten to the latch assembly, then install the latch assembly. Once both latch assemblies are connected, reintall the handle assembly.
If you remove the ring around the handle you will get a better view of the two rods that connect the handle to the outter latches.The ring just snaps in.I think a flat head screw driver from the bottom works the best.Once you have access to the rods you can push the inward twords each other to pop the gate.If the are broken out twords the tail lights then a thin flat head in the gap betwen the tail lights and tail gate should be able to push the spring loaded latches in to pop the gate,but you may need to borrow a extra set of hands.Well hope this helps.
If you remove the handle that opens the tail gate you will see two rods connecting to it. Each one goes to the latches that open at each side of the gate. Lube the latches up with a good grade of lithium grease after they soak for one day with WD40. They may work as good as new again if the rods are not bent out of shape. The rods are very inexpensive to replace also
There should be 3 screws on the inside of the tailgate. Take those out and and the latch should come out. It's won't fully remove until you disconnect the levers from the handle. There may also be a couple of screws holding the actual locking tabs onto the sides of the tailgate. You should be able to diagnose the actual broken piece from there.
Remove the molding ring from around the handle. Becareful not to break the taps that lock it in. After removing the molding you should see the handle mechanism. There is a rod coming in from each side (each one runs out the the actual latch). Make sure each rod is connected into the handle assembly. If it is not put the rod into the hole and find the retainer clip to keep it in place.
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
there are bolts on the side of it and on the back and posiblly the bottom. take them out. just watch when you take out the ones in the middle of the back side your handel will fall out. take off that black cover.and you should be able to see inside of the tail gate.
latches for this are on the sides. The are connected by the handle in the middle of the gate. Latches are either stuck open (dry or frozen open) or stuck closed and you are banging on them when trying to close and "latch" gate. Get a screwdriver and while pulling up on tailgate handle make sure latches(on gate) are open to engage "striker bolt". If they are spray them liberally with WD40 or silicone SPRAY. latch and open several times to let lubricant attack rusted area on mechanism.
If latches won't open they may be stuck closed and won't open because cable going from middle handle to that side or both sides is disconnected. Does tailgate have star shaped bolts on "inside-bed-when-closed" side? If so you will need to spray these with WD40 and let set then get a star torques bit and remove them to access middle handle actuator.