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Old 05-20-2011, 08:39 PM   #1
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Problem with tailgate

I have an '04 Wrangler X that I've owned for one week. Problem with it is the tailgate is very hard to close ... the triangle shaped cover on the inside near the hinges has two silver contacts that touch more contacts on the interior; this is what seems to be causing the problem. If I loosen the hinges, can the tailgate be adjusted so that the fit isn't so tight? Any other advice?

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Old 05-20-2011, 08:58 PM   #2
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Seriously doubt it's the contacts. They are spring loaded switches. For either interior lamp operation or a tail gate ajar warning lamp.

Check first that the gate isn't sprung, like someone had a mega spare on it. This will tweak the hinges so the gate doesn't line up.

Then the latch has to climb up on the striker (pin thing on the body the latch grabs)
If such, you can try a jack and block of wood, on the gate, to tweak the hinges back. GO SLOW and a little at a time. Also if you have a mega spare take it off.

Lastly the striker on the body is adjustable. It can move slightly up/down/in/out.
Use this to fine tune the latch matching up and closing smoothly for you.

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Old 05-20-2011, 09:04 PM   #3
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I periodically have to REALLY lubricate the latch and lock assembly on my '04 Sport. Also make sure your hinges are lubed as well. Side note-mine was replaced with one from a junk yard as it got "bent" when I was rear ended by a Dodge Ram--totaled the Ram. They are pretty forgiving as far as alignment-but do need to swing free.

If the contacts are truly an issue maybe they need lubed? The springs?
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:08 PM   #4
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How does it move in?

Is it threaded?
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:10 PM   #5
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Doesn't say much for "Ram Tough" does it?
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panther57 View Post
Is it threaded?

The switches?

I know as I had ours apart last week. Pop the cover. Tin bracket inside holds two plastic metal tipped pins, with a wire connected to each pin. Springs are not much more then ball point pen springs. Not even as much tension as a door jamb switch has.

Just plastic pin in plastic bushing, spring holds em out. Closing the gate springs compress as pins move back.

I'd think the whole assembly would bend back if the pins were frozen up.
It's that cheezey of a set up.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:22 PM   #7
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Or the striker?

It is threaded into it's bracket. The holes for the three bolts in the bracket are larger then the bolt diameter. This allows the whole thing to be shifted on the body of the jeep.

If you pop one of those bolts off, you'll see what I mean.

Loosen all three bolts a little bit, close the gate, if necessary move the striker/bracket so it meshes smoothly with the latch. Snug up the bolts, open the gate, tighten the bolts.

Get it right and you can close the gate with one finger. Regular spare hanging on it an all.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:22 PM   #8
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Well, stay tuned tomorrow, which is when I plan to go out there and play around with it. The spare isn't much larger than a stock tire (8.5x15), so I don't think that's the cause. Lubing the hinges isn't the problem. The thing is, I gotta really, really slam it shut to close it. The latch lines up alright with the striker. I'll update this tomorrow after I see what I can try to do with it. Thanks for the advice, everyone. This forum is awesome.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:26 PM   #9
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Last one, if the latch is hitting the head of the striker instead of the body of it, most likely someone bent the bracket. You can either try and bend it back, or simply unscrew the striker from the bracket, add a washer or two to get it where it needs to be, and reinstall the striker.

And yep as stated, make sure the hinges are lubed and the latch. PB Blaster works great for this.
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Old 05-28-2011, 10:05 PM   #10
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As it turns out, the problem was a 9.5 inch spare tire that was touching the bumper at the base of the tire. I removed the bumper, and end of problem.

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closing tailgate , spare tire , tailgate

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