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How to Replace Tailgate Latch Rods 98 Ford F-150

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How to Replace Tailgate Latch Rods 98 Ford F-150

Created on: 2021-01-16

DIY auto repair video and quality auto parts

  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 :Removing the Tailgate Latch Rods
    • Pry the latch rod tabs with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Release the latch rods
    • Press in the tabs on the retainer clip
    • Prop up the tailgate
    • Remove the two T40 Torx bolts from the latch rod
    • Slide the mechanism up and out
    • Slide the rod out of the mechanism
  3. step 3 :Installing the Tailgate Latch Rods
    • Insert the latch rod into the mechanism
    • Slide the mechanism into the tailgate
    • Tighten the two T40 Torx bolts to the tailgate
    • Lock the rods into their tabs
    • Test the tailgate latch
    • If the tailgate won't close, give the rods more slack
  4. step 4 :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


  • Screwdrivers & Related

    Flat Blade Screwdriver

  • Star Drivers & Sockets

    T40 Socket

    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 F150. We're going to show you how to remove and replace your tailgate latch rods.

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 or go to

Here are the items you'll need for this repair: T30-T40 Torx sockets, ratchet, flat blade screwdriver

You have eight pieces of hardware securing the cover and the back plate 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.

Use a small flat blade screwdriver to pry up the tabs. Release the lock rods from the tailgate.

Removing your latch rod is the same on either side. We've already got it unhooked from the mechanism, so now you'll push in the tabs on this retainer clip about halfway down the latch rod, and push it through. In order to remove the latch rod, we'll need to take out the actual latch with these two T40 Torx bolts. Now, one of these does hold the tailgate cable, so if you want to do this with the tailgate on the truck, make sure you only do one side at a time, and lift up slightly while undoing the bottom of the cable. Slide the mechanism forward. Bring it up out of the tailgate, and slide the latch rod out with it. To remove the latch rod, you need to pull it toward you and get that S-bend out of there.

Install your latch rod into the mechanism and slide it back into the tailgate. Slide the latch back into place. Reinstall your two T40 Torx bolts. Make sure you line up the tab on the washer at the bottom of your cable so it sits in there right. Reinstall the support in the middle of the latch rod. Now, when reinstalling the latch rods, you'll want to pull the slack out of them without actually moving the latch and lock them back into their tabs.

Now, before we reinstall our back cover, we'll open and close the tailgate a few times to make sure our latch rod adjustment works. Now, if the tailgate won't close fully on one side, you'll need to back off the adjustment a little bit and give the rod some more slack, or if it's difficult to open with having this off, you can reach in there and pull it manually to release, and then you'll want to pull a little more slack out of the latch rods.

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. 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

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Flat Blade Screwdriver

  • Star Drivers & Sockets

  • T40 Socket
  • T30 Bit

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