'05 KJ Tailgate Latch Failure, 3 options

p14175

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Hi! I think this is my first post here.

I was at the grocery store this morning. I loaded my groceries in the back of my '05 KJ and went to close the tailgate. It wouldn't close on the first try, but it appeared to work the second time. Okay. So I headed home. Made a left at the corner and the rear glass popped open and the tailgate swung out. Pulled in to a steakhouse parking lot and started playing with the lock. The latching mechanism was loose and there's no way it was going to stay latched. Called my DH to bring me a ratchet strap so I could at least get it home without incident.

I'm looking at 3 options.

Option 1
Buy a new latch (MOPAR part 55360641AB or Dorman 931-713 or some other aftermarket part).

Option 2
I found this video.
xc_hide_links_from_guests_guests_error_hide_media
In it, the guy says the actuator for the tailgate is a MOPAR part only and quite pricey, but the same same actuator (55360641AB) is used on the left rear door (55177045AI). The metal part of the latch is different, but they can be swapped. The left rear door latch is cheaper than the tailgate latch. Has anyone tried this? Does it work?

Option 3
I am not too thrilled with the power latch on the tailgate and would prefer a manual keyed latch instead. These were available on the '02 models. I don't know if it work with the '05 wiring harness or if it matters. Will it work?

I like Option 3 the best, but the other options are also okay.

What would you suggest?

Thanks!
Linda
 

JeepJeepster

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Option 3
I am not too thrilled with the power latch on the tailgate and would prefer a manual keyed latch instead. These were available on the '02 models. I don't know if it work with the '05 wiring harness or if it matters. Will it work?

I like Option 3 the best, but the other options are also okay.

What would you suggest?

Thanks!
Linda

Anytime I see someone say 'DH', I wonder why they've kept their dead husband around.

Anyway, I 'think' the keyed part was just to manually lock and unlock the tail gate. You still needed to partially pull out the handle to pop the glass open. The passenger side also had a key hole but they removed them b/c they claimed it increased security... In other words, it saved them $0.05 per Jeep...
 

LabRat

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I just rebuilt mine (an 07) yesterday. It really wasn't too hard. I had the opposite problem- gate wouldn't open and glass wouldn't latch however.

First order of business was to pull the spare out of the way.

To get my door open, I had to pop out the roughly 5 by 7 access panel in the trim panel, then reach inside and actuate the latch manually by pulling the rod gently. On yours, you may find the linkage arm came off or is loose.

Next I removed the swing gate trim panel with a flat wide tool (I used trim pry bar, buy anything flat and wide will easily pop it off).

Under the trim panel is a very important water/vapor barrier. Carefully remove this with a putty knife you will need to put it back when you are done or the rust monster will attack. Mine had self adhesive backing on the edges that was pretty much shot, but some years they used a black, very gummy and soft adhesive that will stick to everything, so set this aside in a dust free place away from all your other parts. (GooGone will remove and residue very easily I found)

Since I had the swing gate apart, I went ahead and removed the rear wiper arm too, as this is a good time to clean the linkages and **** it all up.

Had my wife operate the fob a few times to observe the auto open mechanism. You can here it click and the like when it works. In my case it was working, so I disconnected the wires from it to troubleshoot the mechanical portions.

Next step is to trouble shoot the latch mechanism. Good news is this is easy! Check the latch pad on the vehicle door frame and make sure it isn't loose, bent or broken. Fix accordingly. This would be the first thing I'd look at on yours from what you describe. If it still isn't working, take a good look at the latch mechanism itself inside the swing gate.

Have a helper pull on the handle a few times and watch it with a flash light. You should see various bits move. I bet with yours you may not see much move if the linkage to the handle is intact. You may find it easier to remove the latch mechanism for cleaning, inspection and lubrication. reach in a wiggle it around, if it is loose, there's your problem! Things aren't lining up right. Tighten it up and try the door!

Please DON'T use WD40 to clean and **** it- it will get sticky with age and gum it up all over again. Use a silicone based special protective wax or other dry film spray **** will really help you out. (you can get SPW at the autoparts store. CRC brand makes a great one in a green spray can that has the added bonus of smelling like mint chewing gum!)


For the glass whale tail on mine, it was a matter of poking the actuator hook with a ***** driver to get it to release, then a good cleaning with 70% alcohol and a few swabs. I followed that up with a good shot of the "SPW" a silicone based protective wax lubricant. In my case this was the cause of all the issues as it was stuck and holding the actuator in the wrong position.

Check all that stuff first IMO before buying anything- I almost spent a few hundred dollars on parts, but found out it cost me nothing but time and a little cleaning and inspection to restore all functionality.

Note: pics are for 06, yours might vary
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Billwill

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Hi! I think this is my first post here.

I was at the grocery store this morning. I loaded my groceries in the back of my '05 KJ and went to close the tailgate. It wouldn't close on the first try, but it appeared to work the second time. Okay. So I headed home. Made a left at the corner and the rear glass popped open and the tailgate swung out. Pulled in to a steakhouse parking lot and started playing with the lock. The latching mechanism was loose and there's no way it was going to stay latched. Called my DH to bring me a ratchet strap so I could at least get it home without incident.

I'm looking at 3 options.

Option 1
Buy a new latch (MOPAR part 55360641AB or Dorman 931-713 or some other aftermarket part).

Option 2
I found this video.
xc_hide_links_from_guests_guests_error_hide_media
In it, the guy says the actuator for the tailgate is a MOPAR part only and quite pricey, but the same same actuator (55360641AB) is used on the left rear door (55177045AI). The metal part of the latch is different, but they can be swapped. The left rear door latch is cheaper than the tailgate latch. Has anyone tried this? Does it work?

Option 3
I am not too thrilled with the power latch on the tailgate and would prefer a manual keyed latch instead. These were available on the '02 models. I don't know if it work with the '05 wiring harness or if it matters. Will it work?

I like Option 3 the best, but the other options are also okay.

What would you suggest?

Thanks!
Linda

I have this Keylock on the rear Gate on my 2002 Export CRD.

My understanding reading the 2002 Jeep KJ Service Manuals is that this rear Keylock is purely an electrical switch which informs the BCM to lock/unlock the rear door.
It has no mechanical parts at all to affect the locking/unlocking of the Rear Gate so I do not think that this "Option 3" will achieve anything on your vehicle.
Also the wiring from this switch goes to the BCM up front so your vehicle will probably not have these wires in the harness and the BCM will probably not recognize them in any case!o_O

Great writeup by LabRat on how to take the mechanism apart, clean and lubricate!;)
 

p14175

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Thanks a bunch! It looks like I'll be giving up on the '02 manual lock and just buy a new '03-'07 one. They aren't that expensive. If I can fix the old one I'll keep it as a spare. Plus I'll put a ratchet strap in the tool kit in order to keep it from happening again!
 

LabRat

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I have this Keylock on the rear Gate on my 2002 Export CRD.

My understanding reading the 2002 Jeep KJ Service Manuals is that this rear Keylock is purely an electrical switch which informs the BCM to lock/unlock the rear door.
It has no mechanical parts at all to affect the locking/unlocking of the Rear Gate so I do not think that this "Option 3" will achieve anything on your vehicle.
Also the wiring from this switch goes to the BCM up front so your vehicle will probably not have these wires in the harness and the BCM will probably not recognize them in any case!o_O

Great writeup by LabRat on how to take the mechanism apart, clean and lubricate!;)

LOL...I just now caught this is on an 02...for some reason I read it as an 05...I blame whiskey...
 

p14175

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Well, my DH replaced the latch this morning. Found the old one filled with dirt, enough to keep it from latching. The dirt also destroyed the latching mechanism, which is plastic. Dirt is an excellent abrasive and can do a lot of damage if left where it doesn't belong. Anyway, the old latch went in the trash.
 
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