Only soft-top Samurai, Sidekick and Tracker models are equipped with tailgates; the hard-top Samurai, Sidekick, Tracker and Sidekick Sport models are equipped with a back door, and the X-90 model is equipped with a trunk lid.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
See Figures 1 and 2
An assistant is necessary to safely remove the tailgate, because of its weight, from the vehicle.
Before proceeding with this procedure, purchase new inner tailgate panel retainers from a dealership or an aftermarket automotive parts store. The retainers are plastic, and the old ones will most likely break during panel removal.
- Remove the spare tire from the mounting bracket.
- Open the tailgate.
- Use a pair of pliers to pull, or a mallet to drive, the retaining pin up and out of the tailgate stopper strap and body bracket.
- Using a floor jack with a soft-faced pad or folded towel on the jack support pad, slightly support the tailgate.
- Remove the inner tailgate panel plastic retainers by pressing the center pin of the retainer in until the retainer is fully disengaged, then pull the entire retainer out of the inner tailgate panel. Separate the panel from the tailgate.
- Disengage the license plate light wiring harness connectors from the vehicle wiring harness connectors. Then, pull the vehicle wiring harness out of the tailgate, making sure not to damage the rubber boot seal.
- Remove the spare tire mounting bracket from the outside of the tailgate by loosening the mounting bolts.
- If the original tailgate is going to be reinstalled, matchmark the hinges to the tailgate.
- Remove the hinge-to-tailgate retaining bolts, then carefully lift the tailgate away from the vehicle.
If the tailgate is going to be replaced with another tailgate, transfer the following components to the new tailgate:
Tailgate trim panel and watershield
- Using your assistant's help, support the tailgate on the padded floor jack and maneuver it close to the vehicle. Position the tailgate so that the hinges can be situated against the tailgate.
- Install the tailgate hinge retaining bolts finger-tight.
- Align the tailgate in the tailgate opening, as described later in this section.
- Tighten the hinge-to-tailgate bolts securely.
- Route the vehicle wiring harness into the tailgate, ensuring that you do not damage the rubber boot seal, then reattach all of the applicable wiring harness connectors.
- Position the spare tire mounting bracket against the outside of the tailgate, then install the mounting bolts. Tighten the bolts securely.
- Position the inner tailgate panel against the inside of the tailgate, then insert new plastic retainers in the panel mounting holes. Engage the retainers by depressing the retainer center pins until they are flush the rest of the retainer.
- Reinstall the retaining pin so that the tailgate stopper strap is properly engaged with the tailgate pillar bracket.
- Carefully close and open the tailgate to ensure that it is properly aligned to the body.
- Install the spare tire onto the mounting bracket.
See Figure 3
The tailgate hinges allow sufficient movement to correct most tailgate misalignment conditions. The hinge mounting holes are elongated to provide movement for tailgate alignment.
Never attempt to remedy tailgate misalignment solely by repositioning the latch striker.
To adjust the up-down position of the tailgate and the in-out position of the right-hand side of the tailgate, perform the following:
- Determine which hinge bolts are to be loosened and back them out just enough to allow movement.
- Move the tailgate safely by using a padded pry bar to correct the misalignment condition. When the tailgate is in the proper position, tighten the bolts securely, then check tailgate operation. There should be no binding or other interference when the tailgate is either closed or opened.
- Repeat Sub-Steps a and b until the tailgate is properly aligned in the tailgate opening. The gap between the edge of the tailgate and the body should be uniform all around the tailgate's perimeter.
To adjust the in-out position, and to fine-tune the up-down position, of the left-hand edge of the tailgate, perform the following:
Loosen the tailgate latch striker and door stop mounting screws, then position the striker up and down until the center of the striker is aligned with the center of groove C on the tailgate latch. Move the door stop so that it engages properly with the C-shaped cup on the tailgate opening frame.
- Move the striker in or out so that the tailgate will be flush with the body metal when closed.
- If it is necessary to move the striker fore or aft, add or remove shims from beneath the striker plate.
- Tighten all mounting screws securely.
- Loosen the tailgate latch striker and door stop mounting screws, then position the striker up and down until the center of the striker is aligned with the center of groove C on the tailgate latch. Move the door stop so that it engages properly with the C-shaped cup on the tailgate opening frame.
- Lubricate the striker joints with oil or multi-purpose grease.