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Old 06-26-2013, 12:59 PM   #1
jp2code
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Default Rear Tailgate Latch Issue

My wife has a 2003 Frontier.

Lately, the tailgate has been locking itself for her. She has been accusing me of doing it for the longest, but finally she admitted it was magically doing this itself.

Of course, these are manual locking tailgates. I dunno if there's a power lock tailgate out there. Anyway....

Yesterday, the latch broke. So, I need to fix it.
  • Is this an issue anyone else has run into in the past?
  • Any idea what I need to tackle or what to approach?
  • Any special tools?
  • Is there a part I should order before I pull everything apart?

I've also got the 2003 Frontier Service Manual. If anyone is familiar with this book, I'd be glad to hear you tell me what section this information is in.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:42 PM   #2
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Come on!

Somebody knows something, right?

There was a little metal rod with a plastic piece that crushed inside this area.

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Old 06-28-2013, 04:19 PM   #3
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Default

Maybe it locks automatically when the mechanism fails, sort of like a safety feature.

Is that the lock, at the top left of the image?

The rod for the other side must connect at the hidden side of that lever (at just past one o'clock.)
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:57 PM   #4
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There is a Little Bar (term that I'm going to use) that is used to open the latches. Locking the tailgate moves this Little Bar out of the path of the latching mechanism.

The Little Piece (tem I'm going to use for what broke) kept this Little Bar in place.

With the Little Piece removed, the Little Bar will slide some every time the tailgate latch is pulled. After 3 pulls, the Little Bar has shifted out of the path of the tailgate latch, effectively locking the tailgate.

Once I find out what that Little Piece is, I can order another one.

However, I have no idea where the Little Piece goes!

When it broke, my wife was wrestling with it in a grocery store parking lot. Some *passerby helped her remove it, but he didn't leave his name or sketch out a picture for me. So, I don't know know where it goes when I put the new Little Piece back in.

* that bastard.
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Old 06-30-2013, 12:41 PM   #5
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that latch assembly looks totally different from mine. here is what her latch looks like. dunno if it will help or not.

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Old 06-30-2013, 12:42 PM   #6
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my latch is totally different.

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Old 06-30-2013, 12:45 PM   #7
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i find it hard to believe that the actual latch rods are broken. from the image of the new one for her truck, it looks like there should be a second latch rod for the drivers side on the top, above the metal where you cant see it in your picture.

is there anything rattling in the tailgate? if that plastic part broke, the drivers side rod could have fallen down and you would hear it slapping around in the tailgate frame.

from your picture, it makes me think that only the passenger side is operating, but it wont open unless the other side releases too.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:29 PM   #8
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No, I think our Good Samaritan must have tossed that piece out when he helped.

She is out of town right now, so I can't get any better pics.

That pic actually helped a lot. I was able to find the eBay listing from the link, though the actual link to the eBay listing would have helped more! {cough}{bastard}{cough!}
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:02 PM   #9
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error noted. post all links to items for sale, even if the new item pic is used for comparing an old item LOL
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:16 PM   #10
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Default My 2002 Frontier truck does the same thing

Mine got to the point that after self-locking itself it would not unlock. I took it to the dealership. They replaced the cylinder. I noticed it self-locking again and took it back to the dealer the next day. They said they self-lock after opening and closing 3 times. I thought that was BS since i have been driving the truck for over 10 years before that started happening. but didn't feel like making a big deal of it. It is still self-locking and that is just driving around not opening and closing it. I plan to take it back. This time, i want an answer but not if it is going to cost me $big bucks. As in replace everything.
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