How to Fix a Tailgate Latch on a Dodge Truck

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If the latch that secures your Dodge truck's tailgate is not working, this can be more that a simple inconvenience. Someone can be injured while trying to open it. If the latch is stuck open, the gate may suffer damage from banging around. Replace the latch as soon as possible. It's a relatively simple process compared with other car repairs.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Hex wrench
  • New latch
  • Open and lower the tailgate, unless the broken latch already keeps it open. The access cover now faces upward. Take off the access cover by removing its retaining screws--two on each side edge and five to six more in between. If the truck has a plastic bed liner, it is also secured by these retaining screws.

  • Remove the retainers for the latch. If you're facing the tailgate from the rear, the latch is on the right side. The fasteners should require a hex wrench, and you may need to loosen them with an impact driver.

  • Disconnect the control rods linking the latch to the tailgate handle. The rods are accessible through one of the holes in the tailgate between the handle and the latch. You need only disconnect the rods from the latch's end, by pressing the quick-connect fitting tabs. Remove the latch from inside the tailgate.

  • Install the new latch in the tailgate and connect it to the handle with the control rods. Reconnect the retaining screws, followed by the plastic bed liner (if the truck has one) and the access cover to the tailgate. Raise the tailgate and make sure the new latch functions properly.

References

  • Chilton Dodge Pick-Ups Repair Manual; 2005
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