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Old 06-05-2012, 12:45 PM
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Tailgate Adjustment Question

Hey guys, I feel silly asking this question, but...

How do you adjust the latch on a styleside tailgate? I sprayed the latch hinges/mechanism and the two end units with penetrating oil and it freed up really nicely, but the end pins won't pull back far enough to allow the brackets to clear, so the tailgate won't lower.

I have it off the truck currently, was going to clean it up/paint it before I installed it, and remembered that it was a PAIN to get it off the old bed because of this exact problem

Any advice on adjusting the darn thing?

-Brad
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:19 PM
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Are both hinge rods hooked to the latch. Sometimes the plastic clips holding them in the latch break and then one rod pops out. If they are, it could be that the latch itself bent and now won't open up far enough to engage the hinges all the way.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:26 PM
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The two plastic clips on the handle (latch?) end are fine. I haven't pulled apart the outsides to see if they're still intact. There seems to be about 1/2" of play between where you start pulling and when the latches start moving.

-Brad
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Old 06-05-2012, 04:21 PM
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Sometimes you have to take the rods out and put a bend in them to get enough pull out of them to release the latches.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:10 PM
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That is also an excellent suggestion. I'm going to take the latch out tomorrow morning and see if it was bent by the previous owner. Judging by how stiff/frozen the mechanism was when I bought it, it wouldn't surprise me if he'd just kept yanking on it and bent or broken something.

Putting an extra bend in the rods also seems like a good idea if all else fails - should I heat it with a torch until it's glowing, then bend it and quench it? Or do you think bending cold is fine? I suppose the easiest way would be to heat it, un-bend the end that goes through the latch on the side, and then re-bend it about 1/4" closer in.

-Brad
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:24 PM
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I'd unscrew the handle mechanism and pull it all out for a look see. In addition to the above suggestions, you may be able to adjust the catches on the side out a little so less movement of the bolts is required to open it.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue and White View Post
I'd unscrew the handle mechanism and pull it all out for a look see. In addition to the above suggestions, you may be able to adjust the catches on the side out a little so less movement of the bolts is required to open it.
How do the catches adjust? If you're talking about the two "L" brackets mounted to the sides of the tailgate opening, that won't work for me - the bolts move so little that you can't even slide a bracket into place with it off the truck

-Brad
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:44 AM
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Glad Mark posted the "bending" of the rods suggestion as I did forget that. I know my tailgate rods had slight bends in them and they barely open enough to get the latches open.
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:45 AM
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new ones are pretty cheap through Bronco GY. I just replaced both of mine since one was broken. Doesn't take much time to do either.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:33 PM
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I may just replace them in the near future.

HOWEVER, I was able to modify the handle assembly so that both of the latches would disengage enough to allow the body latches to clear.

What I did was grind out a tiny bit more of the handle assembly - it's got a little "dimple" in the arm where the handle contacts the cam assembly.
Click the image to open in full size.

You can see what I did - I basically doubled the width of the little dimple, allowing the arm to move a LOT further. Pretty quick & easy - much faster than disassembling all the latches to get the rods out just to bend an "S" into them.

I hope this helps someone in the future. I do need a pair of those plastic clips now though!

-Brad
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:00 PM
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I replaced the plastic clips in my 77 tailgate with soe from the help section at the parts store. The ones I used were labelled as door clips for mid seventies Ford cars. They have been working for pretty close to fifteen years now.

Robert
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:00 PM
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