GM Buick/Oldsmobile/Pontiac/Full-Size 1975-1990 Repair Guide

Station Wagon Tailgate



See Figure 1

To perform this procedure, you will need a length of rod3/16in. (5mm) in diameter and 12 in. (305mm) long. You will also need new, service hinge pins and retaining rings.

  1. First, rotate the tailgate up and down until the torque rod tension has been eliminated. This occurs at a point near the vertical position of the gate, when spring tension is not required to keep the gate under control. You should be able to feel the point at which there is no longer significant weight to be supported as you raise the gate, and stop there.

Proceed carefully with the next step in case there is still some tension on the torque rod.

  1. Mark the position of the torque rod assist link on the rear body pillar, and then remove it.
  3. Open the tailgate and support it in the horizontal position. When the gate is securely supported, disconnect the support cables at the sides of the gate.
  5. Place the length of rod against the point of one of the hinge pins. Strike the rod hard with a hammer to force the pin out of the hinge. You have to shear the retaining ring tabs to do this. Repeat this on the hinge on the other side. Then, remove the tailgate.

To install:
  1. Install new retaining rings in the grooves in the new hinge pins, positioning the rings so the tabs point toward the heads of the pins. To install, first align the gate to the body and so the hinge halves fit together properly. Then, tap the new hinge pins into position in the same direction in which the original pins were installed. Reverse the remaining procedures, installing the torque rod assist link in the same position, according to the markings made earlier.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Station wagon tailgate components


Adjust the tailgate horizontally by loosening all the hinge-to-body bolts, repositioning the gate, and then retightening the bolts. Make sure to retain all the shims in position, unless the gate is too close to or too far from the body.

If it is necessary to move the tailgate bottom in or out, loosen the hinge bolts and add or subtract shims between the hinge and body.