1972 Plymouth Suburban Wagon. Tailgate Stuck OPEN! Help?

Mopar Wagons

  1. MBar

    MBar Active Member

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    Finally got her painted...opened swung open the tailgate and it won't close. It never did hinge down but now it won't close....seems to be blocked by something... help please
     
  2. shooter65

    shooter65 Appalachian American FCBO Gold Member

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    Total guess on my part but I had an old truck that the tailgate wouldn't latch. The issue was that the grease got thick and the spring wasn't strong enough to activate the latch. The first thing I would do is remove the latch, clean it up and coat it with silicone grease before reinstalling.
     
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  3. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    My understanding is he can't even lift it up to close it - there are some pretty stiff torsion springs and if one has popped out or something, no one is going to be able to lift it
     
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  4. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Member

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    72 is a "Door-Gate"...so is it in Door or Gate mode?
     
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  5. MBar

    MBar Active Member

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    It is a door-gate... meaning it will either swing open outward or downward. Mine wouldn't swing down and I hadn't gotten around to working on that. Yesterday, I used the key at the tailgate to lower the window and swung the tailgate "outward" (not down). Went to close it and it for sure has a very hard stop.
    I know that's a special hinge mechanism and it looks pretty solid, does that come apart? Not much of it is inside the door. I removed the tailgate cover from the inside and didn't see anything that would be stuck. Seems there is a rod from the external handle going toward the driver side where the hinge is. The handle mechanism seems real loose. I squirted penetrating oil on all mechanical-looking stuff and after my coffee this morning I am going to go out there and stare at it.

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  6. FURYGT

    FURYGT Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    It has been a lot of years since I sold my '72 Custom Suburban, I recall having a problem with the tailgate but sadly don't remember the issue. What I do recall is that a small spring, similar to a long throttle return spring had broken and fallen into the bottom of the door. My recall is that spring controlled something with the door latching mechanism. I also recall that I had to lift up on the tailgate handle a bit to get the latch on the door to match up with the striker on the passenger side tailgate opening. Suggest you get a factory service manual or buy one on CD and look at the schematic of the tailgate latching mechanism to see if something is missing, bent, broken etc. Good Luck!
     
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  7. 68PK21 440.6bbl

    68PK21 440.6bbl Old Man with a Hat

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    Your lucky as I seem to remember the GM's had a tendency to completely fall off the car when the modes got stuck, I've fixed a few GM ones, can't really remember what it was thou after all these years.
     
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  8. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Member

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    Hard to tell from what is shown. Everything looks super dry in the door jamb, I'd start with some penetrating lube on the hinges first and look for obstructions.

    Next I'd roll the glass up and try it that way. The glass must be down to run the gate function, not so for the door function.

    With the glass up I'd then look around inside to see if everything looks alright.
     
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  9. MBar

    MBar Active Member

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    I've squirted penetrating oil on any and everything that looks like it moves. This is really becoming a problem as I can't park it anywhere except halfway in the garage. I am considering removing the tailgate just so I can park it but the thought of that big empty cavern and no solution is scary. After work today I'm going to hotwire the motor to roll the window up and down and see what happens.
    I was able to use the key to get the window down just before this happened and I notice that key isn't working...is there something that cuts off the motor when the gate is open? Could that be the same thing causing this lockup?
    It for sure is a HARD stop and I do t want to break anything. It is wide open and I get about a fifth of the way closed before the stop.
    I did disconnect the rod that works that side of the tailgate and it moves a lever on the inside of the tailgate where the hinge is but I don't know if that's enough....uuugh...
    Maybe something inside the hinge has broken or come loose? Should I be looking for a replacement assembly? Anybody have one?
     
  10. shooter65

    shooter65 Appalachian American FCBO Gold Member

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    I would recommend you download the service manuals.

    Service Manuals – MyMopar

    They don't have the 72 but they do have the 71 body manual so that should get you what you need. Further recommend that you pick up the manuals for your car.

    Good Luck
     
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  11. '66 Fury I

    '66 Fury I Member

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    I had a '72 Coronet years ago that had the drivers door refuse to close. I found that the lever/spring that was designed to hold the door open had malfunctioned and was the source of the trouble. This is "fuzzy" after 40+ years, but removing the spring and lever got me mobile! Wishing you success! Lindsay
     
  12. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    I think '66 Fury I is on the right track.

    I bet the door check is dry and or rusty and it doesn't want to pop past the check. The arrow points to what looks like the door check mechanism. I would soak that down real good with lube.

    tailgate.JPG

    I don't think there's any mechanism inside the door that will stop it from closing. Everything that affects how the door swings open is contained in the massive hinge assembly on the left side.

    I can take a look at one of my 72's,, but I don't know if I can get the door open far enough to see anything. Unfortunately, my other '72 that is accessible is the one that the tree fell on and the tailgate doesn't open at all on that car due to the damage.

    The 1971 manual won't be of any help because '71 had the old style tailgate with the exposed hinges that you had to put the window down before it would swing open.

    The last thing you want to do is try to remove the tailgate. It is extremely heavy.

    Jeff
     
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  13. FURYGT

    FURYGT Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Trust me on not removing the tailgate. It is so heavy and the 2-way hinge is a bit complicated. Removing the tailgate is a 3 person job IMHO.

    In my experience tailgate windows usually go up and down better if the car is running.

    You mentioned that the tailgate handle is loose. I would look at the mechanism connected to the handle as your problem.
     
  14. bigmoparjeff

    bigmoparjeff Senior Member

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    As I suspected, I can't get the tailgate open far enough to see how that mechanism works.

    I think you should carefully inspect the area that my arrow points to and look for any problems, plus soak it good with lube.

    Jeff
     
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  15. MBar

    MBar Active Member

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    I soaked the door stop...in fact, it does move when I use my hand so it's not the culprit.....I'm so hesitant to remove the tailgate...I have friends for the heavy part...I just am afraid of a can of worms... Really appreciate the replies guys! I will for sure follow up when I figure this out so maybe it will help the next guy...
     
  16. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Any chance the cam stop (since it does move) has been flipped to the wrong position? Kinda like a dead bolt won't let a door close if it's poking out, and needs to be retracted to allow a door to close fully.

    I don't know how it works entirely, but it's a thought. Maybe that part has been moved to the wrong position inadvertently...
     
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  17. '66 Fury I

    '66 Fury I Member

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    In my case the cam and spring had gone "out of whack" spontaneously and had to be removed to allow the door to close. May not be your problem but it was mine.
     
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  18. Boydsdodge

    Boydsdodge Active Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Is it possible the door was opened too far and that flat arm (in the above photo the yellow arrow is pointing to) should be behind the hinge pin. It looks to me that it is on the wrong side. I looked through my service manual and found no pics of hinge. I'll look in my 74 manual.
     
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  19. Boydsdodge

    Boydsdodge Active Member FCBO Gold Member

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    72 parts catalog shows the arm is facing the opposite direction yours is. look at number 23.

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  20. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    That's exactly what I mean. That arm has flipped over to the wrong side.