The new model Ford F150 comes with a power tailgate that you can operate electronically with remote control and manually from inside by pressing the latching handle.
In the case of a tailgate broken handle or faulty opening mechanism, there can be several possible causes due to any defective parts of the locking system.
How to Open Tailgate with Broken Handle on Ford F150? You can use screws and rods to move the rotating latch to open the tailgate with a broken handle on Ford F150.
How to Open Tailgate with Broken Handle on Ford F150?
Different parts of the tailgate on Ford F150 include a handle, rotating latch with two rods on either side in which 2-latches on both ends to lock it with the truck body in case of a closed tailgate.
You will also find an electronic actuator that automatically latches or unlatches the gate by pressing a push-button or via a remote control.
The tailgate handle enables you to open with your hand by pulling it upwards. The rotating latch attached with a handle and an electronic actuator controls the side locks on both sides via a pair of rods on either side.
Working Mechanism of Tailgate Lock
Opening the tailgate is a simple mechanism that works as soon as you lift the handle upwards. The rotating latch attached with the handle rotates and pulls the attached rods in an inwards direction.
That results in drawing back of latches on either side of the gate. A hydraulic mechanism gradually pushes the gate downwards until it achieves its horizontal position.
It is essential to prevent the tailgate from falling with a bulging sound and save the truck from damage.
Symptoms of the broken tailgate handle
Proper working and regular maintenance of all the moving parts including, the rotating latch, handle, and electronic actuator mandatory that unlock the tailgate with ease.
Some of the common symptoms of the tailgate unlocking failure are broken handle, malfunctioning of the actuator, broken rotating latch, presence of dirt or grit in gears of rotating parts, and defective side locks.
You will observe any of the symptoms during the tailgate operation and any unusual sound or if you are unable to open it despite pulling the handle or pushing the remote control button.
What Causes the Tailgate Handle to Break?
Proper rotation of the latch attached to the tailgate handle is vital for smooth operation. If any parts of the rotating latch or itself get stuck due to corrosion, rust, or dirt, you try to operate it will become difficult for you.
As the latch does not rotate and all the applied force consumes on the handle. It results in a broken handle as it is unable to bear such heavy pressures.
The most probable reasons for breakage of the handle are rusting side latches as they are present on the tailgate sides and susceptible to exposure to moisture, dirt, and dust.
Handle links to the rotating latch with the help of a small metallic spring which transfers the force as you pull the handle to open.
In case of excessive pressure, the spring breaks, and the linking mechanism between the handle and latch breaks. In that case, your handle becomes inoperative, and you have to open it by accessing its internal parts.
Easy Methods to Open the Tailgate with a Broken Handle on Ford F150
The tailgate lock assembly can locate on its interior side inside the panel cover. You can get the back tailgate portion by climbing on the truck bed.
Unlock the panel cover by opening the screws manually. In front, you will find the rotating latch with two rods on either side.
Rods have threads on their ends to adjust their length according to lock settings. Two plastic retainers with locks keep them in their place.
First, you should try to move the rotating latch to unlock the gate. In case of restricted movement, problems can be in the side latches or actuator assembly plastic gears.
In that case, you unlock the plastic retainers to release the rods that connect the rotating latch with side latches. As soon as you free the rods, the tailgate will open to its horizontal position.
After the gate is open, you should check the possible reasons for this fault and take remedial measures. In case of broken parts, you need to purchase a new one and replace them with faulty ones.
How to repair the tailgate handle and its assembly?
The broken tailgate handles resulting in the latch defect and getting stuck. Another cause of its failure due to the compressive load from a rear-end collision.
Another way, if the handle is complete breaks off, then first locate the bar which attaches. It opens in a way that you put your hand into the handle space use for its opening. If you cannot repair this, then remove it with the well-reputed brand new.
Sometimes the latches are the famous reason for this defect. These are present on the tailgate on both sides.
It becomes coated with dust and dirt resulting in lubrication, or white grease vanishes with time resulting in stickiness. You can apply a sufficient effort to open this tailgate leads to stress and breakage occur.
If you put the new handle and do not focus on the latches, your new one also breaks down in a short time.
The latches connect fix through 2-bolts, remove one by one and apply some penetrating oil like the ice graphite type.
In this case, this become evaporates, and constituents like graphite absorb inside the latch. The protective layer form gives the fine working.
How to replace the tailgate broken handle?
When your truck tailgate handle break due to various causes, you have to replace it. It includes few steps which discuss in detail.
Remove the tailgate liner and access panel
For the removal of the tailgate handle, you have to remove the assembly. The tailgate liners fix with T27 Torx Bit eight bolts, so you have to unscrew and remove it and detach it.
The handle mechanism cover by the access panel. You have to remove that access panel for the easy access of removing and replacement of handle. The bolts still hold it in its position so it can fall off right away.
Unscrew the nuts to remove the handle
For this step, you require a socket and ratchet. Tailgate handle screw with 2-bolts of around 10mm. You have to unscrew it with the required tool kit.
Pull the handle right back and remove out. You detach in this way. The inner mechanism becomes stuck or freezing, and the handle breakdown.
Spray penetrating oil and white grease
The handle mechanism and latchet require penetrating oil. You have to spray it on either side to free it up. White grease also helps in its movement, so apply it.
Install the new handle
For the new installation, you require the same dimension of the tailgate handle as a reputed brand. Replace it with the new one and align or fix it with the new bolts for attachment. Tight it with the socket and ratchet.
Reinstall the assembly
In the end, position the access panel and liner back to its position and tighten it with eight Torx bolts. In this way, you can fix the tailgate handle assembly.
Cost of Replacing the Tailgate Handle
Tailgate handle is the most common part you can purchase from hardware stores or order it online.
It is pretty much inexpensive and costs around $15 to $20 for plastic ones according to your location and truck model. You will find improved versions with a metallic body in the price range of $25-$30.