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Old 03-17-2015, 01:51 AM
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Rear tailgate wont shut unless slammed

Hey guys this probably sounds stupid simple to fix but my rear tailgate won't shut flush unless I REALLY push it in. I usually stand behind the wheel and kinda lean into it quickly and really forcefully to get it to shut properly. It doesn't feel right doing that though. If I just shut it normally it still latches and stays closed but there's probably a quarter inch gap there.



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This is when I slam it shit


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Old 03-17-2015, 01:53 AM
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And also when I have to slam it shut, when I open the door back up it clicks open very strongly and kinda pushes itself out like it's under a lot of pressure. Any help/tips on how to get it to quit doing that would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 03-17-2015, 03:29 AM   #3
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Take something reasonably straight and check to see if your tailgate is kind of twisted. Do this with the tailgate open. I used a 4' carpenters level but choose the straight edge of choice. First, check from side to side at the top and bottom. Then check corner to corner.

You will likely see some twisting. It is easy to see how this can happen with the spare mounted on the tailgate. You might try taking the spare tire off and see if there is any significant difference.

I have seen a TJ with big 35" tire hanging off the wheel mount on the tailgate that had fatigued and cracked the metal around the wheel mount. Just goes to show you that metal will give some.

All of this having been said, this is a Jeep. They are outstanding works of American engineering but they all have some little quirks that we tend to accept. As long as it latches securely, I would just use the "shut it harder" technique.
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:51 AM
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I just have the stock tires on it so no crazy amount of weight is on the tailgate. I'll definitely check that though when I get home, that's a good idea. You would really use the harder method? Don't you think over time that might mess something up?
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Old 03-17-2015, 04:12 AM   #5
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Can't the tailgate latch bar be loosened and moved a little? I thought it could. Might help if things aren't quite lined up right.
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:07 AM   #6
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Your jeep may have been wrecked at one point ,, mine was hit pretty good on the rear drivers side corner. Had it straightened up real nice. But the tailgate hasn't shut quite right ever since
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:31 AM   #7
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Could be several things. I would remove any other influence from the area (tailgate bar, spare tire, soft top, etc.) and start by checking alignment all the way around the gate. What I noticed in your first pic is that on the latch side, it appears the bottom makes contact before the top does, indicating that the gate is tipped out. Does it appear the same on your hinge side? While open, grab the gate and lift, any play in the hinges? Someone mentioned the gate is possibly warped, another good thing to check. The latch pin can be loosened and adjusted, but it'd be wise to straighten the alignment first.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bath93 View Post
And also when I have to slam it shut, when I open the door back up it clicks open very strongly and kinda pushes itself out like it's under a lot of pressure.
Sounds like it's hinge bound. The hinge side is fully closed before the latch side is. There could be a few reasons. Either the gate is bent, or there is something on the hinge side that is holding it out. Make sure the flap on your soft top isn't getting stuck. As Ryan Angela mentioned, remove everything else from around it and try it. Readjusting the pin without solving the problem will only make it worse.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:12 PM   #9
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I used to have the same behavior with my tailgate. Do you have something stretched across the rear of your roll cage? I mount my hi-lift across the rear with muffler clamps attached to the cage and realized if I tightened it down too much it pulled the cage inward slightly (and therefore the body), making the tailgate fit too tightly.

The solution was to ensure the hi-lift is mounted solidly without over-tightening and impacting the tailgate fitment...
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Old 03-17-2015, 02:15 PM   #10
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I am running a spare that's a little larger than stock, if I tighten it down it will warp the door causing the same problem you have.

I installed a spacer and she closes like new.
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Old 03-17-2015, 05:04 PM
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Thanks everybody, I'm going out to the garage right now to start trying to figure this out
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Old 03-17-2015, 05:05 PM
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And no I have nothing on the roll bar inhibiting it, nothing on the spare tire holder other than the stock spare tire itself.
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:46 PM
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Okay so what I've found is that when my rear window is rolled up (no bottom bar attached) it's a little easier to shut with the tire on. I took the tire off and it shut like brand new, no force required at all. Then I put the window down (with the bottom bar attached still no tire) and it's easier to shut but still requires a little bit of force. I took a level to it and found that there is a pretty significant dent right next to the latch.

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Old 03-17-2015, 06:53 PM
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Let me know if you guys want more pictures, I appreciate the help
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:33 PM
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No play in the hinges at all either
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:40 AM   #16
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I just have the stock tires on it so no crazy amount of weight is on the tailgate. I'll definitely check that though when I get home, that's a good idea. You would really use the harder method? Don't you think over time that might mess something up?
While heavier tires will make the problem worse faster, it is a simple matter of physics. It happens to some degree to everyone who has the tire mounted there.

Imagine if you took a perfectly flat tailgate attached to a jeep and attached a pole to it instead of that tire. You can probably see that if you push down on the pole, you are going to cause some twisting.

Your tire is hanging there 24/7... when parked, it is pushing down with a constant force. Add in the dynamic force of bouncing down the road or trail, you may be amazed it isn't worse. Then add in the times the tailgate is open and only supported on one end.

Some people take the spare off to lighten the load to save gas. This doesn't fix the problem but you might not see as much gap. I personally think a jeep without a spare looks like wrong, but that may just be my personal bias.

Some people (me included) elect to buy bumpers with tire carriers because of the concern about the weight and because tires bigger than 31" may not fit with their current bumper. One reason I chose this is that there are some fairly beefy bumpers and tire carriers to choose from... but no matter how much you spend, given enough time, physics will win out there too.

As long as it latches and stays latched, I personally have no problem using the "close it harder" approach, especially with the small gap you show in the photo. I look at it the same way with doors. As long as there is not something interfering with closure like a wrench, crow bar or finger, it typically works ok.
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:26 AM   #17
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I have steel body armor rear corners with a swing out rear mount that hinges on the armor and latches to the armor on the other side

No load on tailgate or bumper

Down side is you gotta open it before opening the light glass and tail gate

My wife's rubi has a fancy bumper pivot spare carrier that actually opens with the rear gate in one motion so the tail gate latch controls it but the weight is on the bumper and it has worked well for the last 5 years
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:31 PM   #18
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A suggestion,

Put the spare back on the factory carrier, just don't tighten the lug nuts and see how the door closes, that will tell you if your problem is weight or the door flexing by tightening.

Or you can secure the spare and let the air out.

I did this and found that the last socker mom who bumped the Jeep must have done some damage. I put several 1/2 inch fender washers to space out the wheel.

This was also the reason my 3rd brake light wasn't working.
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Old 03-23-2015, 12:17 PM
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That's what I did, I put the spare back on and didn't tighten down as much on the lugs. It shuts a little easier but still not perfect. Whenever I get my spare tire carrier and rear bumper I shouldn't have any more problems period but this will do for bow

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