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Old 11-21-2009, 10:44 AM   #1
Dave G
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 4738
Join Date: Mar 2001
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Philadelphia PA
Vehicle:
2006 Baja Turbo
Blue

Default tailgate won't close, unless I slam it three or four times

I did a search in Baja forum, and saw a couple old posts where people had similar problems, but nobody talked about the solution because their dealer fixed the problem.
My car is out of warranty, so I'd prefer to tackle the problem myself first. Otherwise I'm guessing the dealer will just spray some WD-40 and charge me $100++, not to mention that I'll have to pay for a rental car to get to work or I'd have to take the day off.

My tailgate doesn't want to close or lock in place etc until I slam it three or four times (or more), and its getting worse. I haven't done anything to it, nor abused it etc. I've probably only used the tailgate once a month (since late 2006 when I bought the car).
I do not have a bed cover or tonneau cover. The bed is always open. The car is usually garaged, but not always. But it sits outside at work during the day, and the car has about 56K miles on it, although this problem has been occurring since about 42K miles.

Does anybody have ideas about what to do, as a do-it-yourself project?

Will some moving parts just need lubrication? Or will I need to replace some parts?
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:19 AM   #2
kidjoe
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Member#: 120797
Join Date: Jul 2006
Chapter/Region: E. Canada
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Vehicle:
2004 Baja Turbo
Blue

Default

My 04 baja did the same thing......the tailgate latches were sticking. Very much a do it yourselfer!

You will need to remove the plastic bedliner on the inside of the tailgate (uses torx screwdriver....don't know the size off hand). Under the plastic cover is a metal cover plate that runs the length of the tailgate (also torx), you will need to remove this as well. Once it is off you will be able to see both latches at either side of the tailgate. Chances are the springs on the latches are sticking due to corrosion or grime. You we need to work the springs free with some sort of penetrant (pb blaster, liquid wrench, wd40...etc). Once the latches are free and the tailgate closes lubricate the latches with something like white lithium grease (spray).

Last edited by kidjoe; 11-24-2009 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:13 PM   #3
speedymatt
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Member#: 54910
Join Date: Feb 2004
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Chesapeake,VA
Vehicle:
2003 BAJA Classic
Silver/Silver/& uh Silver

Default

^ what he said!
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Old 11-21-2009, 02:27 PM   #4
sabber
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Member#: 224705
Join Date: Sep 2009
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Indianapolis IN.
Vehicle:
2003 NA Baja sport
Silver

Default

My tailgate latch sticks too. I just push the latch into the closed pasition by hand and close the gate.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:23 PM   #5
Bajabeef
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Member#: 151304
Join Date: Jun 2007
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Philadelphia, C.C.
Vehicle:
2003 Baja Sport
Yellow/Silver

Default

My latch sticks as well, and i do the same, by putting it in the closed position then closing the gate
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:40 PM   #6
shipjumper
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Member#: 6307
Join Date: May 2001
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: defrosted FINALLY, VT
Vehicle:
what I has no car...
am carless

Default

I have done it twice to my handle and again, if I dont physically return the handle to the "out" position, it will not close, so I have trained myself to do that...
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Old 11-24-2009, 04:22 PM   #7
seaview
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Member#: 201074
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Port Townsend, WA
Vehicle:
2003 Baja
Silver

Default

Me too.............Pete L.
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:54 PM   #8
Dave G
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 4738
Join Date: Mar 2001
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Philadelphia PA
Vehicle:
2006 Baja Turbo
Blue

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidjoe View Post
My 04 baja did the same thing......the tailgate latches were sticking. Very much a do it yourselfer!

You will need to remove the plastic bedliner on the inside of the tailgate (uses torx screwdriver....don't know the size off hand). Under the plastic cover is a metal cover plate that runs the length of the tailgate (also torx), you will need to remove this as well. Once it is off you will be able to see both latches at either side of the tailgate. Chances are the springs on the latches are sticking due to corrosion or grime. You we need to work the springs free with some sort of penetrant (pb blaster, liquid wrench, wd40...etc). Once the latches are free and the tailgate closes lubricate the latches with something like white lithium grease (spray).
Thanks for the info!
I did the fix a few weeks ago and it worked great.
I used white lithium grease, a Torx 25 screwdriver, a Phillips #3 screwdriver, and some rags, and I finished in about 15 minutes.

As some other posters mentioned, the biggest issue was the tailgate handle sticking. The white lithium grease fixed that too.
Now the tailgate works like new.
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Old 07-02-2010, 06:43 PM   #9
jayshawaii
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Member#: 250277
Join Date: Jun 2010
Chapter/Region: HIIC
Location: Big Island, Hawaii
Vehicle:
'03 Baja
Black/Silver

Default Baja tailgate stuck closed

My problem is just the opposite. The tailgate on my '03 Baja is stuck in the closed position. I took the plastic liner and the metal hatch off, from inside the bed, to take a look. It appears that the whole latch mechanism is a bit weak, or I have a very heavy, ham-hand.

When the release handle, at the back of the gate, was engaged, to open the gate, the latches (inside the latches, on both sides of the tailgate) malfunctioned. The pawls that lift the latch mechanisms, came past the latch lifters. They are, now, just floating above the latch. Now there is no way to get them to go down past the lifters, within the mechanism, to be able to re-engage the latch. It would be a royal pain to try to remove the latches when they are engaged in the closed position.

Has anyone else had this problem? Or, does anyone know how to get the latches to disengage from the outside so that I can let the gate down to disassemble the latch mechanism to get the lifter pawls to re-engage the latch?
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:44 PM   #10
drchiro1
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Member#: 252101
Join Date: Jul 2010
Default sticky tailgate

I have same problem with tailgate. Noticed that the handle gets stuck. If you manually push the handle back to its starting position the gate will close on the first attempt. I still need to dismantle the door to lubricate necessary parts.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:29 PM   #11
vfr750mmm
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Member#: 252685
Join Date: Jul 2010
Default Tailgate Not Closing?

Like others who have posted, my 2003 Baja also will also not close unless I push the latch into the closed position by hand and close the gate. Slightly a pain if your other hand is holding something. Also be careful not to let the gate slam closed once the latch it secure as the plastic lip on the gate will catch and tear skin EASILY.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:50 PM   #12
jayshawaii
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 250277
Join Date: Jun 2010
Chapter/Region: HIIC
Location: Big Island, Hawaii
Vehicle:
'03 Baja
Black/Silver

Default Baja tailgate stuck closed

Sorry to see that no one has come up with a solution to this problem. Guess I'll have to bite the bullet and take it to the dealer. Cheers.
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:29 PM   #13
Samirr76
Scooby Guru
 
Member#: 4835
Join Date: Mar 2001
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Fl33tw00d, PA
Vehicle:
2003 Baja 5MT
Yellow w/ 220,000 miles

Default

Its normally not the latch, the plastic handle is whats sticking. Just need a new handle, or just lube it. <-------SOLUTION
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:16 PM   #14
moonzie
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 128537
Join Date: Oct 2006
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Vehicle:
2004 Baja Turbo
Red/Silver

Default

This is not a difficult fix, it's very simple.

1) Take off the rubberized cover on the inside of the tailgate.

2) Take off the large metal panel sheet that you'll find under the rubber cover.

3) Take some WD-40 to all moveable springs, pins and latches. Open/Close the tailgate several times - work the lube in there real good. Squirt a little more WD-40 in there to be safe.

4) Put it back together.

TaDA!

NOTE: I had to do this for my `04 Baja earlier this summer - had the same problem. The steps above solved the problem.
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