I finally decided to replace the hinges on my sagging tailgate, since it wouldn’t close without me lifting it up and pushing it into the latch! So I purchased a set of Kentrol hinges and went after it this weekend…This is my experience:
I first removed the spare tire. I also left the tailgate latched in place during the entire installation.
When removing the old hinges, I was able to remove all of the torx screws on the tailgate section of the hinges with no problem. On 3 of the 4 total screws on the body side of the hinges, the torx head stripped out. I had heard this would be a problem.
I then loaded a 3/8” drill bit and drilled out the heads of the 3 stripped bolts, and was then able to remove the old hinges. I’ve seen other members post other methods of removing stripped bolts, but for me this was fast and easy.
There are 2 backer plates inside the tailgate section and 2 backer plates inside the body section that the hinges thread into. All of mine stayed in place with the exception of the lower one on the body side. This one dropped out.
Next, since both upper backer plates were still in place, I bolted on the top hinge.
Now for the lower hinge. After doing a search here on Wrangler Forum, I found that I should be able to stick my hand up inside the body of the Jeep and find the backer plate that had dropped out. For me to get my hand up in there, I had to first remove the milk jug on my rear bumper and my rear splash guard.
After several attempts, I was finally able to get my hand to the backer plate, and even hold the backer plate in place with my right hand, while threading in the screws and hinge with my left hand. This was the most time consuming and difficult part of the installation....but it is doable
Then I loosened all of the screws just a little, and spaced up the tailgate a bit to make sure that it was in the right alignment to the latch. Then all the screws were tightened back up.
This was pretty straightforward and took me about 40 minutes to do. I didn’t think ahead to take pictures, but for those who have done this or who try to do this, I think you should be able to understand what I have described. Also, please feel free to ask any questions.