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?