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TO REPLACE TAIL GATE LATCH. TAKE A SMALL SCREW DRIVER OR USE A TRIM TOOL PRY OFF THE HANDLE ESCUTCHEON. ONCE BOTTOM PRIED OUT PULL THE ESCUTCHEON DOWN AND AWAY FROM THE TAIL GATE.IF YOU USE SCREW DRIVER COVER TIP WITH ELECTRICAL TAPE TO KEEP FROM DAMAGING PAINT SURFACE.FROM THE BED SIDE OF THE TAIL GATE REMOVE THE HANDLE MOUNTING BOLTS ROTATE THE PLASTIC RETAINING CLIPS OFF THE CONTROL RODS AND REMOVE THE RODS AWAY FROM HANDLE.REMOVE THE BOLTS AND WITHDRAW THE LATCH FROM THE END OF THE TAILGATE.
REMOVE TAIL GATE HANDLE YOU USE A TRIM TOOL OR FLAT SCREW DRIVER PRY OFF THE HANDLE ESCUTCHEON DOWN AND AWAY FROM THE TAILGATE IF SCREW DRIVER IS USED COVER THE TIP WITH ELECRICAL TAPE TO PREVENT DAMAGING PAINT SURFACE.FROM THE BED SIDE OF THE TAILGATE REMOVE THE HANDLE MOUNTING BOLTS.ROTATE THE PLASTIC RETAINING CLIPS OFF THE CONTROL RODS AND DETACH THE RODS FROM THE HANDLE. REMOVE THE BOLTS AND WITHDRAW THE LATCH FROM THE END OF THE TAILGATE.PUT EVERY THING BACK VISA VERSA.
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.
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.
Common problem on these vehicles. Keep it simple and bullet proof by just loosing the original arrangement and screwing in a manual latch on each side. A couple of gate latches are cheap and work forever. Not pretty but functional.
If you find anything at a junk yard it'll cost plenty and will be bound to fail like yours already has.
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.
there are little metal rods that connect to the handle of the tailgate, just like the rods that connect your door handles to the door hinges and lock mechanism. just pop off the plastic cover over the tailgate handle and check and see if the rods are still connected to the handle.