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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
 
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Pop&Lock = Crap

Well, I just shot myself in the @ss.

My tailgate handle has been acting up for a few weeks. The passenger side latch seemed to be sticking and needed an extra yank to get the tailgate open. I figured it was the cheap crap Pop & Lock I installed a few years ago, since it was troublesome from day one.

First, it was a pain to install. I had to grind parts of it, and bend things in a vise to make it work properly. Then, it would ALWAYS freeze up in the winter. Combine that with a Bakflip tonneau cover and the cheezy plastic tailgate handle, and I just knew it would catch up with me sooner or later.

Today it caught up with me.

I always assumed some thief or vandal would break my tailgate handle, attempting to defeat the Pop & Lock. Nope, today I did it. I needed to get a broom I had in the back, and I went to open my tailgate. Of course it was sticking, and I assumed it was the Pop & Lock giving me problems. I thought I had left it unlocked (the lock cylinder was also getting balky), and gave it an extra hard yank.

That broke the crappy plastic tailgate handle. When I checked, I noticed it was actually in the locked position. I think in soccer, that's what they call an "own goal".

But it gets better -- Since I have a (leaking like a sieve) Bakflip tonneau latched down, I couldn't get access to the box. I tried to grab the broken stub of the tailgate handle with a pair of needlenose pliers. Of course, the pliers slipped off -- several times -- catching a few nice deep scratches in the paint around the handle.

Oh good. More stuff to fix.

I finally got it open, after much un-Christian language.

================================================== ====

So here's what I'm thinking, and feel free to tell me any better ideas.

Pop & Lock -- it's gotta go.

I saw they have non-OEM tailgate handles for Rangers made out of *METAL* available on eBay. This seems the way to go. The OEM plastic Ford handles have way to much give and seem fragile. It's a tailgate handle forchrissakes!

Also, my girlfriend, Princess Auto, has solenoid actuators on sale for $10. I'm thinking I make my own tailgate locking device, that works with the stock remote door locks. Naturally, this will take a bit of [email protected] around, but I want to solve this crap once and for all.

Any input or ideas?

If Princess Auto were a real girl, I'd ask her to marry me.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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I was warned away from putting a lock on my ranger, as i keep having the same problem you do, passenger side sticking. Having a roll up tonneau has saved me a couple of times. I have just picked up a newer tailgate latch for that side once I get it on I'll let you know if it fixes it.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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That's too bad. Now I am not looking forward to receiving my order for a P&L tailgate lock. It was ordered from a local Ford dealer several weeks ago.

Dave
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 09:15 PM
 
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I've had mine in for about a year and no problems yet.

It is too bad it is plastic and not metal. In regular use it feels cheap but then again what is made to last nowadays.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, unfortunately there's not an alternative to the Pop&Lock that I know of. I guess it is what it is.

I was just out in the garage looking at the whole mess. I think what I'll do for now is try to repair the broken part of the plastic handle with some ABS cement and seeing if I can wire it together a little bit. Hopefully that will hold me until I get a metal handle.

As far as replacing the Pop&Lock with an electric lock actuator, I think it could be easier than I initially thought.

I can reuse the internal mechanism of the Pop&Lock and run an actuator rod to the generic Princess Auto power lock actuator motor (only $10!!!). That will be mounted somehow inside the tailgate. I'll either use some metal mounting straps, or maybe I'll get fancy and fab up some sort of mounting plate.

Then, I'll run the wiring out the drain hole of the tailgate with a good water-tight connector in case I want to easily remove the tailgate. I'll hook it up to the passenger side door actuator, so it will take two clicks of the remote to unlock the tailgate. That way, I'll also know that whenever the passenger door is unlocked, so is the tailgate.

And as a final touch, just to make it all more idiot-proof, I'll run a piece of aircraft cable to a snap-hook, connected to the release-cable inside on my Bakflip tonneau. I'll run it somewhere non-obvious, like into a stake pocket, or down under the box somewhere. That way, if the power lock actuator ever fails, I can still get into the box.

Since I'm tapping into the power door lock and running external wires, it also gave me an idea for if I ever lock the keys in the truck, and/or the battery dies. If I isolate the passenger door lock with diodes, I could have a hidden connector somewhere under the truck. Then, all you'd need to do is plug in a 9 volt battery to pop the passenger side door lock, and/or the tailgate and you're in. Don't know if I'll go that far, though.

@jdcrush -- did you have problems with a pop&lock? Or is it just the latch? On the pop&lock what happens is it has an arm that blocks the passenger side "scissor" assembly the tailgate handle presses down on. Sometimes the pop&lock starts to flex or wear, or whatever, and interferes with that side of the "scissor", even when it's not locked. Since the stock tailgate handle is plastic, the whole thing flexes and twists, until in my case, I finally ended up breaking that side of the handle. My latches work fine by themselves.

The latches are easy to test. With the tailgate down, just push it in. It should spring back out smoothly. I may be that the rod that connects to your passenger side latch isn't pulling it back far enough to disengage the striker plate. Just open up the panel on the tailgate, and you can adjust the rod on the inside handle mechanism. If the latch is sticking, flush it out with WD-40. Sometimes sand and grit can get in there. I wouldn't grease it, because that'll just attract more dirt. I think it has plastic bushings anyway, so it shouldn't need any lube.

If Princess Auto were a real girl, I'd ask her to marry me.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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I picked up a pop & lock when I got my new Ranger.

I spent about 15 minutes trying to install it, realized that it wasn't going to fit, and took it back.

b4, I'd try epoxy for your tailgate handle instead of abs cement, as long as it's clean when you put it back together it should be stronger than stock.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
 
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@ Blue Oval --
Even though I didn't think ABS cement wouldn't work, I gave it a shot anyway. It didn't work. Whatever kind of plastic the handle is made from, it's not regular ABS. I've never actually found any kind of glue that works on automotive plastics, but I keep trying anyway.

So, I scraped off the dried ABS cement and used my Dremel tool to roughen up the plastic where I could. I drilled some small holes to run some 20 ga. steel wire through the broken parts and tied them together as tightly as I could.



Then I used some industrial grade Loctite fiberglass reinforced epoxy to make sort of a "cast" around the break. I'm pretty sure the epoxy doesn't adhere to the plastic much better than the ABS cement, but if you get it on thick enough, it'll have its own structural integrity.



I reinstalled everything, once the epoxy set-up enough. It seems to hold together okay for now, but I suspect it would break again with a hard enough yank.

In the meantime, I ordered a metal handle from LMC Truck Parts. They list the same handles for '93 to '10 models, $14.95 USD. A Ford dealer and a Mazda dealer I called around here each wanted around $62 for the original plastic part.

One odd thing I found on eBay was a store that sold different handles (metal & plastic). In their discription they noted that their metal handles were 5 1/8" long, and not interchangeable with the longer 6 1/8" handle, like I have. They don't have the 6 1/8" handle in metal.

http://cgi.ebay.ca/FORD-RANGER-TAILG...item483b8a16a5

But according to the LMC catalogue, they're all interchangeable. The only thing I can think is that the eBay guy means the shorter handles don't fit the cutout in the tailgate as neatly? Oh well, I guess we'll find out soon enough. In any case $14.95 is a price I can live with, but not $62.

The nearby Princess Auto is out of stock on their individual power lock actuators. I'll call the one on the south side this week and see if they've got it. I think it'll be pretty straighforward to rig it up. Hopefully it will be more reliable and not freeze up in winter, like the Pop&Lock lock cylinder.

It should be pretty straightforward to install, using the pop&lock internal mechanism. Even without it, I can see how you could make it work, particularly with the metal handle. I've looked at photos of aftermarket ones on the net, and they seem really simple. Easily something you could make yourself. I'll do a little write-up when I get the parts I need, if anyone is interested in making their own power remote tailgate lock.

If Princess Auto were a real girl, I'd ask her to marry me.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 06:32 AM
 
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Why not just get rid of the tailgate handle entirely. Use your girlfriends solenoids to actuate the release and put a button in the cab. Ya gotta fix the paint anyway. This way you might not use as much un-christian language. It'll be like having a power trunk release. Use shocks to keep it from slamming open.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Destructicon View Post
Why not just get rid of the tailgate handle entirely. Use your girlfriends solenoids to actuate the release and put a button in the cab. Ya gotta fix the paint anyway. This way you might not use as much un-christian language. It'll be like having a power trunk release. Use shocks to keep it from slamming open.
That would definitely be the cool way to go. However, it's worth noting that I am incredibly lazy, and that would be a lot more work and fiddling around.

Plus there's a danger to having a popper on a truck tailgate, as opposed to a trunk. If you accidentally set it off while driving ... well, you get the idea. I'd rather have it work like the power locks in the doors, so you still have to physically open the tailgate. No additional switches or relays required. I just want a bit of security for my box.

Oh, and for me, "fixing the paint" may or may not involve the use of a black Sharpie. Not that I'm admitting it

If Princess Auto were a real girl, I'd ask her to marry me.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 05:13 PM
 
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Shame, but good to hear. I have been considering putting one in the Ranger (whenever I actually get a better canopy to make it worthwhile) to lock it up better, glad to know they're not worth it. For now I just stuff anything valuable in the cab and throw a blanket over it and lock the doors.. not that its hard to break into a Ranger anyways. LR

Matt T.

'09 Ford Ranger FX4 with a mean owner
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