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How to Open Stuck Tailgate 97-04 Ford F-150

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How to Open Stuck Tailgate 97-04 Ford F-150

Created on: 2017-04-05

Is your 97-04 Ford F-150's tailgate stuck? 1A Auto shows you how to open it in this video.

  1. step 1 :Opening the Stuck Tailgate
    • Remove the eight T30 screws from the tailgate cover
    • Remove the two T30 Torx bolts from the metal backing
    • Remove the metal backing
    • Check the leg that actuates the arm
    • Check the actuator
    • Check the latch rods
  2. step 2 :Reinstalling the Metal Backing
    • Tighten the two T30 Torx bolts to the metal backing
    • Tighten the eight T30 Torx bolts to the tailgate cover

Tools needed for replacement

  • Ratchets & Related


  • Star Drivers & Sockets

    T30 Bit

Installation Video
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Hi, I'm Mike from 1AAuto. We've been selling auto parts for over 30 years! We're dedicated to delivering quality auto parts, expert customer service, and fast and free shipping, all backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. So visit us at, your trusted source for quality auto parts.

In this video, we're going to be working with our 1998 Ford F-150. We're going to show you how to get into a tailgate that is stuck in the closed position, and get it down so you can work on it and fix whatever got it stuck.

If you like this video, please click subscribe. We have a ton more information on this and many other vehicles. If you ever need parts for your truck, you can follow the link down in the description of the

Here are the items you'll need for this repair: T30 Torx socket

Now we're going to open the tailgate to do this, but if yours is broken and preventing you from opening the tailgate, these same steps can be followed from inside the bed with the tailgate in the upright position. You have eight pieces of hardware securing the cover and the backplate onto the tailgate. Ours have clearly been replaced a few times and are various styles and sizes of hardware. Use the appropriate tool and ratchet to remove whatever hardware is securing your plastic back cover.

If you don't have this plastic cover the hardware should be the same and in the same locations to remove the steel backing. Remove the plastic backing if you have it. Once you remove your plastic cover, if you have one, you'll have two T30 Torx bolts you need to remove. I'm pretty sure this is the original hardware that should have been holding the plastic piece of the tailgate onto, so you probably already have this tool out. Remove the metal backing.

Once you've got the back cover off, there's a few things that could be preventing your tailgate from opening. Either this little leg, which is what actuates the arm and turns the mechanism to open your latches, is broken off, and not moving the actuator, or the actuator is stuck and your latch rods are broken or out of adjustment. If the latch rod is broken, grab the mechanism or, as close as you can to the mechanism here, on both sides, and pull both latch rods towards the center.

Open your tailgate. Reinstall the metal cover. Now if you have the plastic cover, start by installing the two T30 Torx bolts. If you don't have the plastic cover, reinstall all 10 of your T30 Torx bolts at this point and tighten them down.

Now, if you have the plastic cover like we do, reinstall it and you should have eight T30 Torx bolts to reinstall. We have miscellaneous hardware that we'll be putting back in. Close your tailgate and you're good to go.

Thanks for watching. Visit us at for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.

Tools needed for replacement:

    Ratchets & Related

  • Ratchet

  • Star Drivers & Sockets

  • T30 Bit

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