The right side latch on my 81 tailgate does not retract when I pull the handle. Is there an easy way to get the rod back on the bracket without taking the whole gate apart? Right now I've got that side blocked so it's only latched ont he left side. It's fine for now, but I wouldn't feel safe hauling a big load...
05-19-2003, 11:36 AM
Hi Matt - Not a big problem. You need to remove the rear license plate holder from the tailgate by loosening the four bolts that are exposed inside the pickup bed. Pull out the license plate and holder and twist the small light out of the assembly. Place it aside and then roll up your sleeve to prevent it getting caught in the next step. If you reach in with small hands, preferably your girlfriend's or a young apprentice mechanic, you will probably find that the thin rod which pulls the latch back has come undone. There is a rather small "dohickey" thing, a clasp, that secures the end of the rod to the latch. Usually this clasp has just fallen off and may be in the bottom of the tailgate's interior right corner. If you can find it and it is in good shape just install it on the end of the rod and push it back into the end of the latching mechanism. It is something like the old carburator linkage clips used years ago. If you can't find it, get a set from the junkyard or your Chevy dealer. Good luck and hope your arms aren't too thick or muscular!
Thanks for the advice. I'll try that tonight and let you know how it goes.
05-19-2003, 12:13 PM
Here's a diagram for 5th gen tailgate: http://www.olav.com/images/5th_gen_tailgate.jpg
thanks guys. I wasn't able to reach the clip(neither was my girl), but I got the rod in and made a little clip from wire that ought to hold. thanks!!!