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I have a Mazda B2300 pickup with its tailgate stuck in the up position. The release lever doesn't require as much force to pull any more, and only one end seems to be releasing when I pull it. Any ideas how to get the other side to disengage?

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3 Answers 3

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I ended up pulling off the bed cover by unscrewing the 8 screws on the inside of the tailgate. There was a metal plate underneath that also came off, giving me access to the inner-workings of the tailgate latch mechanism. The plastic hardware connecting one of the pull-rods to the handle lever had snapped. The hardware kit that I had purchased from Auto-Zone actually didn't have anything that fit my setup. So I scrounged some hardware up from my garage and kludged a solution together. (Yes, duct tape was involved.) The solution that worked involved a wire-shelving drywall anchor, a 1/4"x20 nut, and 4 washers. The drywall anchor was a little too small for the hole on the lever, so I put a few wraps of duct tape around the bottom to keep it from pulling back out.

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This may or may not be a permanent fix, but don't overlook the value of lubricating the gears and cables in the handle and the actual side latches themselves.

The stress of pulling on cables and gears may waste energy that could be used to pull the latches just that much farther. I've found that lubrication with WD-40 or Silicone spray to be a great method of dealing with a stuck tailgate. Spray it real good, and use the red tips that come with the spray cans.

The added benefit is that it will reduce wear and tear on the handle and latches, as it equates to less stress on the cables and more output on the latches.

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By "only one end seems to be releasing when I pull it," I am assuming you mean the latch on only one side of the tailgate is releasing. That, coupled with the lightened pull, suggests to me that the other side cable has worn or broken. In the meantime, to un-stick it you'd have to find that cable and pull it. To fix the problem overall, you'll probably need to get a new cable, or at the very least have the old one reattached to the lever.

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I figured the cable was broken - the problem is, how do I get inside the tailgate to pull it? I've got a plastic bed liner over it - should I remove that for starters? –  Doresoom May 13 '11 at 13:31
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That one I'm not so sure on. You probably will have to take the bedliner off, although it might be possible to remove a panel on the tailgate. Alternatively, you might be able to use a screwdrive or chisel or something to unlatch the latch and get the tailgate down for now. –  Annath May 13 '11 at 16:52
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