Chevrolet Full Size Cars 1979-1989

Tailgate

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION





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Fig. Fig. 1 Tailgate assembly components

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Swing open the tailgate as a door until the tension is relieved from the torque rod. Remove the torque rod assist link retainer-to-body bolts. Remove the hinge link and disengage it from the end of the torque rod.
  4.  
  5. Close the tailgate assembly, then lower it open as a gate instead of a door. Support the tailgate in the full open position.
  6.  
  7. Remove the left side quarter trim.
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  9. Disengage the electrical harness connector(s). Remove the screws retaining the electrical conduit to the tailgate assembly.
  10.  
  11. With the tailgate supported open, loosen the retainer and remove the support cable assembly.
  12.  
  13. With the aid of an assistant, remove the left lower hinge to body retaining bolts.
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With the tailgate open in the gate position and the right and left upper locks manually engaged, the tailgate is in a vulnerable position and could drop from the right lower lock if the locking rod and the outside handle are activated. Do not pull on the rod or activate the outside handle, as damage to the tailgate or personal injury could result.

  1. Manually latch the left upper lock. Have the assistant continue to support the tailgate while you activate the right side door handle to unlock and free the right lower lock from the striker assembly.
  2.  
  3. Remove the tailgate assembly by lifting upward and than rearward.
  4.  
  5. If necessary, remove the torque rod retainer and attaching bolt from the side of the tailgate assembly. Drill out the rivet retaining the torque rod guide, then remove the rod and guide from the tailgate assembly.
  6.  

To install:

  1. If removed, rivet the torque rod and guide in place on the tailgate, then install the torque rod retainer and attaching bolt to the side of the tailgate.
  2.  
  3. With the aid of an assistant, position the tailgate assembly in place on the vehicle. Engage the tailgate to the lower right striker.
  4.  
  5. Install the left lower hinge-to-body retainers.
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  7. Install the support cable and retainer.
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  9. Engage the electrical connector(s) and install the electrical conduit using the retaining screws.
  10.  
  11. Install the left quarter trim.
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  13. Close the tailgate assembly, the swing it open as a door. Position the assembly so the torque rod will not be under tension.
  14.  
  15. Engage the hinge link to the torque rod, then install and tighten the hinge link retaining bolts.
  16.  
  17. Check and adjust the tailgate assembly, as required.
  18.  
  19. Connect the negative battery cable.
  20.  

ALIGNMENT



Before performing adjustments, always mark the original position of the hinge, lock or striker which is being adjusted.

To properly diagnose a misaligned tailgate assembly, remove the upper right striker from the vehicle, then operate the tailgate. If the tailgate rides upward or is pulled downward by the lower right striker when the upper right striker is removed, then the lower right striker should be adjusted.

If adjustment is necessary, most tailgate adjustments are achieved through the left hinges. The hinge assembly is designed to allow for adjustment of the tailgate position in the body opening, flush alignment of the tailgate outer panel with adjacent panels and for proper lock operation.

  1. Matchmark and remove the right upper and lower strikers before beginning adjustment.
  2.  
  3. If necessary, use the left lower hinge to adjust the tailgate up and down or side to side:
  4.  
    1. Remove the left quarter trim in order to gain access to the hinge-to-body attachments.
    2.  
    3. Loosen the hinge-to-body attachments and adjust up, down, sideways or rotate, as required.
    4.  
    5. To raise or lower the tailgate, open the tailgate as a door and support, then loosen the retainers and rotate the hinge slightly to raise or lower the right side, or move the hinge upward/downward to raise or lower the left side. If this adjustment is performed, check and adjust the position of the left upper hinge striker, as necessary.
    6.  

  5. If necessary, the left lower hinge may be adjusted at the tailgate attachment to achieve forward and rearward adjustments. This adjustment is primarily to achieve flush alignment of the tailgate outer panel with adjacent panels:
  6.  
    1. Remove the tailgate trim panel and left access hole cover in order to gain access to the hinge-to-tailgate fasteners.
    2.  
    3. Loosen the fasteners located inside the tailgate and adjust the tailgate on the hinge as required.
    4.  
    5. Hold the tailgate in position and tighten the fasteners to 20 ft. lbs. (27 Nm).
    6.  
    7. Move the left upper hinge lock as necessary for additional forward/rearward adjustment. This should be done now as 2 of the lock fasteners are usually located inside the tailgate (there should be at least one other fasteners located outside the gate assembly) and they can only be accessed with the trim panel and access cover removed.
    8.  
    9. Install the left access hole cover and trim panel.
    10.  

  7. Once the hinges have been adjusted, check adjustment of the left upper striker. If necessary, it may be adjusted up, down, or side to side. After adjustment there should be 5 / 16 in. (8mm) clearance between the bottom of the left upper hinge lock on the tailgate and the top of the left upper hinge striker.
  8.  
  9. Install and adjust the right upper and lower strikers. Use the marks made earlier for reference.
  10.  

 
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