Fixing Jammed F-150 Tailgates

Fixing Jammed F-150 Tailgates

Last Updated May 22, 2024 | Andrew Boyle

What good is a truck if you can’t use the bed? Without it, you are essentially driving a bigger and less convenient car! If there’s anything that is preventing you from successfully using your truck’s bed, then it’s absolutely critical that you get it fixed.

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Some F-150 owners have struggled with jammed tailgates over the years. A jammed tailgate can be quite annoying and can really hinder your ability to use your truck. Here are some of the potential problems and solutions for your F-150’s jammed tailgate.

Causes and Fixes For Tailgate Jams

There are various ways that your F-150’s tailgate could initially become damaged. If it was released abruptly and quickly or involved in a collision, it could fail to be unlocked or fail to stay locked. In the case that your tailgate is entirely stuck in the upright position, then the following instructions are for you.

Some of the main issues with F-150 tailgates have to do with the rod that connects the tailgate handle to the tailgate locking mechanism. A lot of the problems that F-150 owners are having with engaging their tailgate’s locking mechanism comes from certain faults in this part. This is a good place to check when trying to fix your jammed tailgate. Here’s how you could go about troubleshooting and potentially repairing tailgates that are jammed as a fault of a damaged connecting rod.

Inside the F-150's Tailgate

Climb inside the bed of the truck and unscrew the panel that is on the back of the tailgate. Once that’s been removed, unscrew 8 more bolts that are on the top of the tailgate back. After these have all been unscrewed, remove the entire panel away from the truck.

Once the tailgate mechanism is fully exposed, locate the connecting rod which should be in the center of the entire tailgate. Using a pair of channel pliers, pull down on this rod. This should allow the tailgate to be disengaged and fall back down. While the tailgate is finally down, it isn’t necessarily fully unjammed yet. The chance remains that once brought back into the upright position that it would be stuck once again. From this position, check the status of the tailgate connecting rod. If there are any bends or curves, then it should be removed to either be replaced or repaired.

If this all sounds too difficult though, there are some quick and easy tricks that some F-150 owners have found useful. For one, pressure can be applied to the area to the left of the tailgate handle. This effectively allows the tailgate connecting rod to slide out of place and consequently let the tailgate loose.

Black F-150 Tailgate

Another potential cause of a tailgate jam is the two pieces of rubber that cushion the tailgate’s fall. These pieces of rubber underneath the tailgate can become rotated and block the tailgate from being able to move into the “down” position. This is a quick and easy thing to check. If you notice that the bottom of the tailgate is colliding with these rubber inserts, turn them so that they are no longer colliding with the tailgate.

Tailgate Mods For Your F-150

If all of these problems with your tailgate have inspired you to give it an upgrade, then a tailgate damper kit is a great option. These kits can be installed in a matter of minutes, and they can help keep your tailgate in better working order in the future. If you want to see what the installation looks like and how it works, then check out this install video from CJ Off-Road’s YouTube channel.

While you're at it, there are plenty of other ways to spruce up your F-150's rear end. You could install a hitch step to give you easier access to your bed, or you could get a slick decal to make your tailgate stand out. All in all, the tailgate is a very important part of your truck (if you plan on using the bed, of course).

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.