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Thread: '02 2500HD tail gate won't open

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    Pearland, Texas, USA
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    Default '02 2500HD tail gate won't open

    Got the tires on the wife's Tahoe PPV swapped off the rims. Picked up the wheels/tires in the GMC and loaded them up in the bed. Got home to unload, and the dang tailgate won't unlatch!! Could not get it to budge at all. It was fun unloading 17" truck tires with PPV steel wheels out of that bed, overe the gate!

    I've done some searching, and it looks like there's some sort of plastic holder that frequently breaks on these trucks? While I verify, where does one get these now, if that is the problem? The online GM stores are showing pretty much everything but the striker bolt to be discontinued. Thanks.
    Gene Beaird
    Pearland, Texas
    '02 2500HD D/A - Race Car hauler

  2. #2
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    Yeah, it's the plastic retainers. They are easy to replace, but you must remove the plastic trim over the latch handle. The trim is tab/slot, and secured with double-side tape. Use care getting it off, then secure with thin double-side tape again. Leave the scissor mechanism dry, or use a dry lubricant such as graphite (lock cylinder lubricant). Lubricating it wet can attract dirt and it will fail sooner. You can get the retainers from the dealer or parts stores, or from online outlets like Amazon or Ebay. They are two of them, and they are left and right specific. They can be used on either side, but can fail sooner if used on the wrong side (they should snap over the top, not from under). Get 2 sets and keep the extra in the glove box. I'm really surprised any 2002 models haven't had them replaced less than a few times over the years.
    1985 Blazer 6.2
    2001 GMC 2500HD D/A
    dmaxmaverick@thedieselpage.com

  3. #3
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    Thank you, Maverick. We don't use the truck much, only when we need to tow the race car, or haul something heavy, or dirty, or both. It only has about 80K miles on the clock. Additionally, I'm careful about closing the tailgate. I'll pull the handle, and push the gate closed, then release the handle. That's why I imagine they've lasted so long. It stays in our shop when not in use, so is protected from the weather and sun.
    Gene Beaird
    Pearland, Texas
    '02 2500HD D/A - Race Car hauler

  4. #4
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    How you close the tailgate has no effect on the retainers. All they do is retain a rod in a hole, while a piece of it acts as a bushing for the rod. I think their failure is probably related more to the climate and time than anything. I've replaced my a dozen times (it seems, and many others), but the temperature extremes it sees here can be teens to 115F, season to season, always parked outdoors. A more moderate climate friendly with that type of plastic may see them last longer, and indoor parking would certainly help. When I have removed them, they are very brittle, but the replacements are quite flexible. Perhaps it's a poor choice of plastic, or just the nature of them with my parking conditions. The way you are closing the tailgate was beneficial for older styles of latch (bolt/striker, like in your home), but it won't matter with your 2002. It has latches like the cabin doors, so holding the handle may actually add wear to the latch scissor mechanism and the retainers from additional use, and does nothing to ease wear, where they fail. You also run the risk of the tailgate closing, but not actually latching, creating a possibility of it falling open while driving. But, at the rate your rate of use, it probably won't make a difference. Mine sees a lot of use, almost daily, and it closes just as tight as it did 20 years ago.
    1985 Blazer 6.2
    2001 GMC 2500HD D/A
    dmaxmaverick@thedieselpage.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    I have had two sets of plastic tailgate linkage clips fail, the original and a replacement set for $3.00. Recently I went to Van Chevrolet in Phoenix and the current price is now $9.00 EACH CLIP plus 10% tax. I politely told the parts guy to put them back in stock because the price was outrageous. He was not happy because he had already written up the invoice TS. On my way home I stopped at Home Depot and purchased steel clips for $0.65 each. I suspect that the steel clips will last the life of the truck.

    Good Luck
    John
    *2006 Chevy, 3500, 4X4, DRW, (LBZ) D/A, CC, LT, 252K Miles, 19.5" Wheels, Mag Hytec Transmission Pan and Differential Cover, SS Grill Guard, Racor 2 micron aux fuel filter, 100 Gallon Aux Fuel Tank, using Edge Evolution, Predator Diablosport, Kennedy ECM tune, Fitch Fuel Catalyst.

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  6. #6
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    Metal clips would last, but it still needs a soft bushing or it will wear through the plate and/or rod. Most of the wear will occur from vibration, not only use.
    1985 Blazer 6.2
    2001 GMC 2500HD D/A
    dmaxmaverick@thedieselpage.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DmaxMaverick View Post
    How you close the tailgate has no effect on the retainers. All they do is retain a rod in a hole, while a piece of it acts as a bushing for the rod. I think their failure is probably related more to the climate and time than anything. I've replaced my a dozen times (it seems, and many others), but the temperature extremes it sees here can be teens to 115F, season to season, always parked outdoors. A more moderate climate friendly with that type of plastic may see them last longer, and indoor parking would certainly help. When I have removed them, they are very brittle, but the replacements are quite flexible. Perhaps it's a poor choice of plastic, or just the nature of them with my parking conditions. The way you are closing the tailgate was beneficial for older styles of latch (bolt/striker, like in your home), but it won't matter with your 2002. It has latches like the cabin doors, so holding the handle may actually add wear to the latch scissor mechanism and the retainers from additional use, and does nothing to ease wear, where they fail. You also run the risk of the tailgate closing, but not actually latching, creating a possibility of it falling open while driving. But, at the rate your rate of use, it probably won't make a difference. Mine sees a lot of use, almost daily, and it closes just as tight as it did 20 years ago.
    Yeah, rate of use probably does have a say in this thing. I try to be easy on the parts. I’ll adjust things so they take just a gentle push to close. Things DO last longer that way, as has been proven by several of our other vehicles in our collection.

    HELP! Parts have been ordered, and I’ve re-epoxied the bottom tabs to the bezel. Hopefully, they hold, but a replacement bezel is inbound, in case they don’t. Note that there was no double-sided foam tape in the OEM install. There are two pieces of foam padding on either side of the handle opening on the OEM part, but it is not double-sided.

    I’ll post more info and details on the replacements when they get done.
    Gene Beaird
    Pearland, Texas
    '02 2500HD D/A - Race Car hauler

  8. #8
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    I guess I'm lucky. No problem with mine, but it is an '06. I think I may order a set and keep in the truck. My luck, one will fail when I'm in the middle of nowhere.
    Ed
    KM4STL

    '06 Sierra LBZ 4x4 Crew SB, Titan 52 gallon fuel tank, TTT/Schefenacker Mirrors
    '98 Suburban, 245,000 - sold 7-4-06

  9. #9
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    Even when they fail, it isn't critical. Once the trim/bezel is removed, the loose rod is easily accessed and pulled to release the latch. When the retainers fail and the rod falls loose, it just rests on a ledge even with the bottom of the opening.
    1985 Blazer 6.2
    2001 GMC 2500HD D/A
    dmaxmaverick@thedieselpage.com

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DmaxMaverick View Post
    Even when they fail, it isn't critical. Once the trim/bezel is removed, the loose rod is easily accessed and pulled to release the latch. When the retainers fail and the rod falls loose, it just rests on a ledge even with the bottom of the opening.
    +1. Note that there are some square posts that insert into keyways at the bottom of the opening, and the bezel clips in from the top. So you carefully lay the bezel back from the top until the two plastic clips pop free of the opening in the tailgate. Even though trying to be very careful, I broke both of the bottom posts. I've epoxied them back on, and will at least attempt to reuse the old bezel when things go back together. I did order a new Doorman replacement bezel, though, just in case. Even for our '02, it looks like the bezel is still available from GM, but I opted to at least try the Doorman to see how well it matches. The Doorman unit was like $9, wereas the GM part was nearly $30, IIRC.

    So if you opt for spare clips, throw a spare bezel into the spares pile, because you may need it. Again, I'll note that ours didn't have any two-sided foam tape, but did have a couple of foam bumpers adheared to either side of the opening in the bezel which I'm sure is for NVH control.
    Gene Beaird
    Pearland, Texas
    '02 2500HD D/A - Race Car hauler

  11. #11
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    Mine used to stick. I broke the tabs on the bezel about the second time I took it off. I don't recall exactly how I did it, but I ended up with a screw in the center under the handle to hold it in place. Made future repairs a snap.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnC View Post
    Mine used to stick. I broke the tabs on the bezel about the second time I took it off. I don't recall exactly how I did it, but I ended up with a screw in the center under the handle to hold it in place. Made future repairs a snap.
    Not a bad idea. A $.10 screw is a lot less than a replacement bezel. I didn't reinstall the bezel the last time. Previously, I replaced the double-sided tape. It worked, but is a pain to remove. The mounting tabs are long gone on my original bezel (it's fine, otherwise), and the replacement cost turned me away. I think a countersunk sheet metal screw would solve all that. I'm not too concerned with appearance, but it would probably be seamless and unnoticed.
    1985 Blazer 6.2
    2001 GMC 2500HD D/A
    dmaxmaverick@thedieselpage.com

  13. #13
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    Got everything back together, and at least working with the repaired OEM bezel. The Doorman Help! P/N for the bezel is 76106. It is a decent match. The clip kit is Doorman P/N 75450. It comes with way more parts than are needed for this job, so the left overs went to the parts bins. The white and black clips in the kit are what are used here. There may be other kits out there with just the clips, OR you can get one at a time, but I opted for overkill here, as I wanted this fixed now! Just be careful installing the clips, as it's in an akward position, and it's easy to drop the clips down inside the tailgate. I thought about tieing a string to them at least until I got the clips on the handle, but didn't. I'd really recommend doing this. Had to use a small flat-blade screw driver to help the clip end bend around the rod. It took longer to clean the filthy tailgate and fetch the tools to do the job than to do the job.

    Here are some cr@ppy cell phone pics to document the job:

    Here's the backside of the tailgate bezel. Up is to the left. The two pegs on the bezel closest to the old clips are the ones I broke and repaired.

    Tailgate bezel 1.jpg

    Bezel removed, showing the latch actuator rods as you'll discover them when the clips break:

    Tailgate with broken clips.jpg

    Here's a fuzzy picture of the repair clips installed. As I said, it's at an odd angle, and dim light, so the photography isn't the best.

    New clips in place.jpg

    Here's a picture of the Doorman parts you'll need for the job.

    Tailgate repair parts.jpg
    Gene Beaird
    Pearland, Texas
    '02 2500HD D/A - Race Car hauler

  14. #14
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    Great guide! I have the same issue with my tailgate....

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdHale View Post
    I guess I'm lucky. No problem with mine, but it is an '06. I think I may order a set and keep in the truck. My luck, one will fail when I'm in the middle of nowhere.
    I'm glad I saw this thread a couple of months ago and ordered a set of the clips. I had never heard of this issue. Now fast forward to this week. One of my original clips since new broke, but I had a spare set and a few minutes later all was working again.

    And Yes, I have another set on order for the globe box.
    Ed
    KM4STL

    '06 Sierra LBZ 4x4 Crew SB, Titan 52 gallon fuel tank, TTT/Schefenacker Mirrors
    '98 Suburban, 245,000 - sold 7-4-06

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdHale View Post
    I'm glad I saw this thread a couple of months ago and ordered a set of the clips. I had never heard of this issue....
    Published in 2011... Still available to subscribers.

    GM Truck
    Tailgate Service
    The tailgate on my truck refused to open recently due to a failure of one of the latch components. Solving the problem allowed for an in-depth look at the latch and hinge components. What follows here is a step-by-step guide showing you how to service the tailgate and keep it functioning for years into the future. Servicing the latch and hinge components every year or two will keep them in fine shape and will help to prevent rust. I've neglected mine for far too long.
    ------------------------------------------------------

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