REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
- Disconnect the negative battery cable. Partially open the tailgate to achieve a neutral torque rod position or until tension on the torque rod has been relieved.
- With the tension relieved remove the torque rod assist link retainer to body attaching bolts.
- Support the tailgate in the full open position and remove the support cable to left upper hinge and striker assembly attaching bolt.
- On models equipped with electrical options in the tailgate, remove the inner panel water deflector and access hole cover. Disconnect the wiring harness connectors and pull the wiring from the tailgate.
- With the aid of a helper, remove the left lower hinge to body attaching bolts.
- Using a suitable tool, manually lock the right and left upper locks. Push the arm down and in to lock the left side and rotate the lock forward to second click to lock the right lock.
- With the aid of a helper support the tailgate, actuate the inside door remote handle (right side) to unlock and free the right lower lock from the striker assembly. Remove the tailgate by lifting upward then rearward.
- Reverse the above steps to install the tailgate assembly.
Before removing the tailgate assembly fabricate a 1 / 4 -20 X 1 in. fixture bolt to serve as a roller stop for the removal of the tailgate assembly.
- Be sure an protect the surface of the tailgate assembly by covering the rear bumper upper surface with tape or equivalent.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Raise the tailgate to the latched position and remove the left side access cover.
Be sure to maintain the firm grip on the tailgate assembly when performing the following removal steps.
- Remove the regulator hinge arm to tailgate retaining screws. On manual tailgates actuate the control knob to unlock the gate.
- Lower the gate to clear the lock assembly and allow the gate to pivot rearward about 45 degrees.
- Insert the homemade fixture bolt into the key slot at the upper right end of the channel guide assembly below the roller. This will hold the synchronizing tube assembly in position during the tailgate removal process.
- Scribe the location of the right lower roller support on the tailgate. Remove the retaining bolts.
- Move the right side of the tailgate rearward to clear the body opening.
- Slide the tailgate to the right and out of engagement with the left torque roller shaft assembly.
- Remove the tailgate assembly from the vehicle.
- Position the tailgate in place on the vehicle. Slide the tailgate to the right and engage it with the left torque roller shaft assembly.
- Using the scribe marks align the components. Install the retaining bolts.
- Remove the homemade fixture bolt.
- Install the regulator hinge arm to tailgate retaining screws.
- Raise the tailgate to the latched position and install the left side access cover.
- Connect the negative battery cable. Adjust the tailgate as required. Remove the protective tape from the bumper.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Open the tailgate until the tension is relieved from the torque rod. Remove the torque rod assist link retainer to body bolts.
- Close the tailgate and open it as a gate.
- Support the tailgate in the full open position. Remove the support cable to the left upper hinge striker assembly. Remove the left side quarter trim.
- With the aid of an assistant, remove the left lower hinge to body retaining bolts.
- Disconnect the electrical harness connector. Remove the screws retaining the electrical conduit to the tailgate assembly.
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.
- Manually latch the left upper lock. With the aid of an assistant support the tailgate, activate the right side door handle to unlock and free the right lower lock from the striker assembly.
- Remove the tailgate assembly by lifting upward and than rearward.
- Position the tailgate assembly in place on the vehicle.
- Install the retaining bolts.
- Install the electrical conduit to the tailgate assembly.
- Connect the electrical harness connector.
- Install the left quarter trim.
- Install the left upper hinge striker assembly. Adjust the tailgate assembly, as required.
- Connect the negative battery cable.
The tailgate can be aligned slightly by loosening the hinge and/or the latch bolts, then adjusting them. The bottom of the tailgate on 1977-78 vehicles can be adjusted in or out by adding or removing shims between the hinge and body.
When adjusting the hinge/latch-to-body positions, be sure to use alignment marks as reference points.