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 Tailgate won't open

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Haze5736



Posts : 98
Join date : 2016-08-12
Age : 45
Location : East Syracuse, NY

PostSubject: Tailgate won't open   Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:59 pm

My tailgate won't open in either direction. I found a bunch of posts about how to fix but after hours looking at it and messing with it and a sliced finger I'm not sure what to do next.

I sprayed everything I can see with WD40. I was very liberal. I now have a puddle of the stuff at the bottom of the door.

I do not see any rods disconnected or any plastic retainers/clips broken.

I tried pushing in (from the outside) on the top right, bottom right and top left.

The manual lock rod does not seem to fully operate. It feels to me like it is stuck in the unlock position. I can not push it down. Is this possibly because the door is not fully closed so it can not lock? When I pull up on the rod that goes from top to bottom it seems to hit on the mechanism circled in the pic. When I push the lock rod down that part moves further away. When I pull up on the lock rod the gap shrinks and just about touches.

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Fred Kiehl

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Posts : 4674
Join date : 2009-11-13
Age : 69
Location : Largo, FL 33774

PostSubject: Re: Tailgate won't open   Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:30 pm

There are two nylon clips that hold wires in the two slotted bellcranks. I do not see the one in the pictured slot. I am also disoriented as to what position the picture was taken.

I would check to make sure that the lock rod is not disconnected. The gate/door may be locked, and if the rod is dislocated you may not be able to unlock the gate/door.

If the gate is not properly latched, you can not open it as a door.
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Haze5736



Posts : 98
Join date : 2016-08-12
Age : 45
Location : East Syracuse, NY

PostSubject: Re: Tailgate won't open   Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:13 am

The pic was taken from a hole in the top right. I have a good video of the internals but I can't post external links yet.

When you say, "If the gate is not properly latched, you can not open it as a door.", Does that mean I should be able to open it as a gate?

I will go back out this afternoon and double check the two slotted bellcranks.

Thanks.
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Fred Kiehl

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Join date : 2009-11-13
Age : 69
Location : Largo, FL 33774

PostSubject: Re: Tailgate won't open   Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:26 am

You might be able to. If the gate is not latched as a door, it will not open as a gate as well. Some well lit stills of the internals might help. Do the handles on the top of the gate move without activating the mechanism, or are they held in the "locked position"? If they are held in the locked position (won't move) the locking mechanism is not releasing. If they move, and have no resistance, there is something disconnected. I need more information before I can make any other guesses.
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Haze5736



Posts : 98
Join date : 2016-08-12
Age : 45
Location : East Syracuse, NY

PostSubject: Re: Tailgate won't open   Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:45 am

Both handles move and have resistance.

The gate handle feels like it moves it's full range and the resistance feels like I would expect. I can see it move the rod that goes across the top, left to right. When I let go it springs fully back to resting position.

The door handle also has resistance but does not feel like it is moving its full range. And it does not feel like I would expect. When I let it go, the cable that comes up through the handle does not fully seat in the handle. The stop on the end of the cable sticks up maybe a quarter of an inch. If I push the cable down it comes back up the quarter inch. I can see the door handle moving the mechanism near the top right ever so slightly. The one where the red spring is attached. I also tried to manually move that mechanism further than the handle does but it won't move further.

I will try to get better photos. But it seems I can only upload one photo to this site then I get an error that I don't have enough space left. And if I try to insert a link to photobucket I get an error that I'm too new to post external links. So pics will be another 3 or 4 days, I registered on 8/12.

Thank you for the help so far.
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Fred Kiehl

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Location : Largo, FL 33774

PostSubject: Re: Tailgate won't open   Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:24 am

You need about 10 posts to expand your permission.

Your linkage may be jammed for any of a number of reasons. If you have access to a PNP junk yard with a wagon in it, you may be able to compare the two. So much of the mechanism is almost hidden, that it is difficult to see some of the parts.

The extension of the cable may be a good indicator of the issue. It may be that the door latch mechanism is binding somewhere, or has a loose piece. I would look in that area. The gate cover can be removed by first removing the spare cover, and storage area panel. Depending on the year of the car, there may be two screws on the gate interior flanges (94-96), or under the carpet (91-93). You must remove the gate handles and the screws along the top of the gate to get the interior off. After removing the screws, and gate handles, the interior is held on by two rows of push fasteners (trees). You should be able to remove the gate interior at that point. Once you have the interior off, there is an access panel over the mechanism. The one on the passenger's side should be the only one you need to access.
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Haze5736



Posts : 98
Join date : 2016-08-12
Age : 45
Location : East Syracuse, NY

PostSubject: Success!   Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:51 pm

bounce

Although I hate the smell of PB Blaster I gave everything a good dousing instead of using WD40 this time. At first still no luck so I decided to take drastic measures.

I sat in the trunk seat and while my wife pulled the gate lever I tried kicking the door out. Viola! Opened on the first hit. Counter-intuitive to everything I've been taught about not forcing things. But the door function still wouldn't work. So I kept dousing everything with PB Blaster and eventually it freed up. Kept giving the gate a good slam every time I closed it. Now the door works in both directions. This thing must not have been opened for a lot of years to be that stuck. There was a bit of rust on the left side latch.

Got it open just before a bad storm rolled in. Now I need to get back out there and keep working everything until it operates smoothly. I think I still need to figure out the lock. It still seems to be stuck. But maybe it will free up when I work everything.

Thank you for the help Fred.
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dmg4

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Age : 63
Location : Geneva, New York

PostSubject: Re: Tailgate won't open   Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:50 pm

Yep.  That's very similar to the experience I had with my 1996 Roadmaster.  See:  http://gmlongroof.4umer.com/t11960-tailgate-drops-but-will-not-swing-open?highlight=tailgate
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Haze5736



Posts : 98
Join date : 2016-08-12
Age : 45
Location : East Syracuse, NY

PostSubject: Re: Tailgate won't open   Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:04 am

Thanks. Your post is what got me started on the repair.
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