Ram Tailgate Won’t Open [Fixed!]

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Written By Waylon Joe

Hey, It’s Waylon “Joe” Kite here. I am a West Virginia native and a die-hard pickup truck fan. My story with trucks started with my dad’s 1989 Ford F-150, and it's still going on. I'll share all my trucking experiences (both great and gross ones) with you. I have a garage full of tools to fix and renovate trucks and a freezer full of ales. Do you want to join me?

A Ram truck’s tailgate is a crucial part of the vehicle that allows you to easily load and unload cargo. But what if it doesn’t open? That can be pretty frustrating and inconvenient, right? 

Well, there are several reasons why this might be happening, such as damaged cables, a misaligned latch, electrical issues, or a faulty handle. Each issue requires a specific solution like replacing tailgate cables, aligning tailgate latch, or replacing or repairing any damaged component.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at these issues. You will also find step-by-step instructions on how to troubleshoot and repair a Ram tailgate that won’t open. 

So, let’s get started and get that tailgate working like new again!

How Does A Ram Tailgate Function?

How Does A Ram Tailgate Function
Source: carpro.com

The Ram tailgate is a crucial part of a pickup truck that grants access to the cargo area. It operates using hinges and latches that enable it to be raised and lowered as required.

When shut, the tailgate fastens firmly to the truck body, preventing cargo from falling out. 

To open it, pull the handle or use the key fob button to release the latch. Afterward, lower the tailgate slowly to prevent sudden movements that may harm the cargo or the tailgate.

One noteworthy aspect of Ram tailgates is their ability to open partially. This allows users to create a flat surface to use as a workbench or step. To achieve this, one needs to release the latch and lower the tailgate partly.

Common Problems of A Stuck Ram Tailgate [Solved!] 

Tailgate Not Opening or ClosingDamaged or Worn Tailgate CablesReplace Tailgate Cables
Tailgate Not Latching ProperlyMisaligned or Damaged Tailgate LatchAlign Tailgate Latch
Tailgate Sticking in One PositionElectrical issues with tailgate release mechanismCheck the electrical components and repair or replace
Tailgate Handle LooseMalfunctioning Tailgate HandleReplace or repair any damaged component

Problem 1 of 4: Tailgate Not Opening or Closing

One of the most common symptoms of a stuck Ram tailgate is that it will not open or close correctly. When you attempt to open or close the tailgate, it may feel stuck or not move at all. There may be a clicking or grinding noise when attempting to open or close the tailgate. 

Cause: Damaged or worn tailgate cables

When the tailgate cables become damaged or worn, they may not be able to support the weight of the tailgate. This leads to the tailgate getting stuck in an open or closed position. This issue is a common culprit behind a gmc sierra tailgate not opening as well.

Exposure to outside elements, constant use, or heavy loads can cause cables to deteriorate over time. A damaged or worn cable could even snap, resulting in sudden tailgate collapse that could cause damage or injury.

Solution: Replace Tailgate Cables

Replacing the tailgate cables is a relatively simple process that you can do on your own. Follow these step-by-step guidelines to replace your Ram truck’s tailgate cables:

  1. Gather necessary tools and materials: Before beginning, ensure that you have all the necessary tools and materials at hand. You will need
  • A socket wrench 
  • A ratchet 
  • A set of pliers
  • New tailgate cables, and any other hardware required for the installation.
  1. Remove the old cables: Open the tailgate and locate the tailgate cable on either side of the tailgate. Use pliers to remove the cable from the tailgate by unhooking it from the latch mechanism. Remove the other end of the cable from the truck’s body by removing any retaining clips or bolts using a socket wrench and ratchet.
  2. Prepare the new cables: Before installing the new cables, check them for any defects or damages. Ensure that the new cables are the correct size and length for your Ram truck.
  3. Install the new cables: Attach one end of the new cable to the tailgate by hooking it onto the latch mechanism. Thread the other end of the cable through the opening in the truck’s body and attach it using the retaining clips or bolts. Repeat the process for the other cable.
  4. Adjust the tension on the cables: Close the tailgate and check the tension on the cables. If they are too loose or too tight, adjust the tension by either tightening or loosening the retaining clips or bolts.

Problem 2 of 4: Tailgate Not Latching Properly

Tailgate Not Latching Properly
Source: 1aauto.com

Another symptom of a stuck Ram tailgate is that it may not latch properly. When you try to close the tailgate, it may feel loose or not stay closed. You may notice that the tailgate bounces up and down while driving, which can be dangerous. 

Cause: Misaligned or damaged tailgate latch

A damaged or misaligned tailgate latch can prevent the tailgate of a Ram truck from latching correctly. The latch is responsible for securing the tailgate in the closed position. But if it is misaligned or damaged, it may fail to engage with the striker, leaving the tailgate open or partially closed. 

This can also cause the latch to become stuck in the closed position, making it hard to open the tailgate. The latch can become damaged due to wear and tear, an impact, or misalignment during installation. 

Solution: Align Tailgate Latch

Here is a step-by-step guideline to align your Ram truck’s tailgate latch in bullet points while considering the possible culprits behind this issue:

  1. First, open the tailgate and inspect the latch mechanism, cable, and hinges for any damage, wear, or rust.
  2. If there are any issues with the cable or hinges, replace them before aligning the tailgate latch.
  3. Now, loosen the bolts holding the tailgate latch in place using a socket wrench and ratchet. Do not remove the bolts completely.
  4. Gently push or pull the latch to the desired position, aligning it with the striker on the truck’s body. You may need to use a screwdriver to help guide the latch into position. You may also need to adjust the striker a bit.
  5. Then, check the alignment by attempting to close and latch the tailgate. If it does not latch properly, continue adjusting the latch until it is aligned correctly.
  6. Now, Tighten the bolts using the socket wrench and ratchet. Make sure not to over tighten the bolts, as this can cause damage to the latch mechanism.
  7. Finally, Test the tailgate by closing and latching it securely. Check for any excessive movement or noise.
  8. If the tailgate is still not latching properly, inspect the cable and hinges again for any issues. Replace or repair them if necessary, and repeat the alignment process until the tailgate latches correctly.

Depending on the extent of the misalignment or damage, you may need to repeat the alignment process several times.

Problem 3 of 4: Tailgate Sticking in One Position

Sometimes a stuck Ram tailgate may be stuck in one position. It may be stuck in the open position or closed position, and you cannot move it. This can be frustrating and can prevent you from using your truck’s bed. 

Possible culprits behind this can be a broken cable, rusted hinges, or a damaged latch mechanism.

Cause: Electrical issues with tailgate release mechanism

If the tailgate release mechanism of a Ram experiences electrical problems, the tailgate may become stuck in one position. The mechanism’s job is to release the tailgate latch and enable the tailgate to be opened. But electrical issues can cause it to malfunction. 

Faulty wiring or a malfunctioning switch can be the root cause. Sometimes, the release mechanism is motor-controlled, which can fail or become stuck, impeding the tailgate’s movement. 

Solution: Check the electrical components and repair or replace

Here is a step-by-step guideline to fix electrical issues with your Ram truck’s tailgate release mechanism, presented in concise bullet points:

  1. Check the fuse for the tailgate release mechanism in the fuse box under the hood of the truck. Replace the fuse if it is blown.
  2. Check the wiring connections to the tailgate release mechanism for any damage, loose or disconnected wires, or corrosion. Repair or replace any damaged wires or connections.
  3. Check the electrical switch located on the tailgate handle or the dashboard for any damage or wear. Replace the switch if it is not functioning properly.
  4. Use a voltmeter to check for any voltage going to the tailgate release mechanism. If there is no voltage, check the wiring and switch connections for any issues.
  5. If there is voltage going to the mechanism, but it still does not function, inspect the mechanism itself for any damage or wear. Replace the mechanism if it is not functioning properly.
  6. Test the tailgate release mechanism by attempting to open and close the tailgate using the switch or handle. Check for any unusual noises or movements.

Problem 4 of 4: Tailgate Handle Loose

If the tailgate handle is loose or wobbly, it may be a sign of a stuck Ram tailgate. When you try to open or close the tailgate, the handle may move, but the tailgate remains stuck. 

Cause: Malfunctioning tailgate handle

A faulty tailgate handle can cause the handle to become loose on a Ram truck’s tailgate. The handle’s job is to release the tailgate latch, but a malfunction can prevent it from engaging properly with the release mechanism. This makes the handle loose or difficult to operate. 

A broken or worn handle, or a problem with the connecting mechanism between the handle and the latch, can cause this. The handle can sustain damage from regular wear and tear, exposure to the elements, or an impact. Or, the connecting mechanism may wear out or become damaged over time.

Also read: How To Open Truck Bed Cover Without Key? Answered!

Solution: Replace or repair any damaged component

If your Ram truck’s tailgate handle is loose due to a malfunctioning mechanism, don’t worry! You can fix it easily by following these steps:

  1. Look for any damage, wear, or rust on the tailgate handle and surrounding area.
  2. Remove the inner tailgate panel using a screwdriver to access the handle mechanism.
  3. Check the handle mechanism for any damage or wear. Replace any broken or loose parts with new ones.
  4. Order the correct replacement parts for your Ram truck’s year, make, and model from a reputable dealer or online store.
  5. Install the new parts according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve removing and replacing screws, bolts, or clips.
  6. Reattach the inner tailgate panel by carefully clipping or connecting it back in place.

If you can fix your ram tailgate issues, you can easily solve any problems with any volvo cx70 tailgate not opening.

Read also: How To Fix Tonneau Cover Latch?

How to Replace a Ram Tailgate [Step-By-Step Guideline] 

Read also: How To Patch A Hole In A Tonneau Cover?

Replacing a Ram truck’s tailgate can be a daunting task, but it is a relatively straightforward process that you can do on your own. Follow these step-by-step guidelines to replace your Ram truck’s tailgate:

  1. Remove the old tailgate: First, remove the tonneau cover. Then, open the tailgate and locate the hinge bolts on either side of the tailgate. Use a socket wrench and ratchet to remove the bolts, and then lift the tailgate off the truck. 
  2. Prepare the new tailgate: Before installing the new tailgate, remove any protective coatings or wrapping from it. Check the tailgate for any defects or damages before proceeding. Ensure that any hardware or accessories that need to be transferred from the old tailgate to the new one are removed.
  3. Install the new tailgate: Have someone assist you in lifting the new tailgate onto the truck. Make sure to line up the hinge bolt holes on the new tailgate with those on the truck. Use the socket wrench and ratchet to reinstall the hinge bolts, but do not tighten them all the way just yet.
  4. Adjust the tailgate: Close the new tailgate and check that it aligns with the truck’s bed. Adjust the tailgate if necessary, by loosening the hinge bolts and shifting the tailgate slightly. Once the tailgate is properly aligned, use the torque wrench to tighten the hinge bolts to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  5. Check the latch mechanism: Make sure the tailgate latch mechanism engages properly with the truck’s striker plate. Test the latch by opening and closing the tailgate several times to ensure that it functions correctly.
  6. Test the tailgate: Close and latch the tailgate securely. Check that the tailgate opens and closes smoothly, and that it does not rattle or move excessively while driving.

Also read: Gatortrax Tonneau Cover Problems

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

What happens when you power lock the tailgate?

It’s a feature that provides added convenience and security to your vehicle. With a Power Tailgate Lock, you can lock and unlock your truck’s tailgate remotely using your vehicle’s original key fob. This means you don’t have to worry about manually locking and unlocking the tailgate or carrying an extra key fob. 

Where can I find the tailgate sensor?

The location of the tailgate sensor is beneath the center of the rear bumper. For the tailgate to open, one of your vehicle’s keys must be present and within close proximity to the truck, typically within 1 meter (or 3 feet) behind the vehicle.

Is replacing a Ram tailgate very expensive?

The cost of replacing a tailgate on a Ram 1500 varies based on the year and generation of your truck. The cost for an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement tailgate usually ranges between $280 and $920.

Read Also: 5 Common Retrax Bed Cover Problems

End Note 

That’s all for today. We hope that now you understand what happens when your Ram tailgate won’t open.

We’ll be back soon. Till then, adios!

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