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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anybody REALLY know how to remove the entire tailgate latch assembly on a 2004 Frontier? I took off the two 6mm thread nuts (10mm socket) and the two rods, does the assembly then just pry off?
I have the 2004 factory service manual and it's zero help. The lock cylinder seems to be OK, it's just that convoluted linkage that seems to be the hold-up. And very dumb that the tailgate protective cannot be removed unless the tailgate is open, when that is the problem in the first place !

I don't want to have to pull on the two rods to open it every time. Thanks.
 
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If nobody responds to this by tomorrow, hit me up and I can look on my online program at work.

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I'm gonna open mine up as soon as I get home tonight since I need to adjust the door lock actuator in my tailgate. I'll let you know shortly.

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I don't know the their proper name but there are 4 white plastic mounting clips, one in each corner that you have to pinch and pull from the under side and remove the entire cover.
I saw those, tried pinching them with a needlenose Vise-Grips to loosen them while gently pulling on the cover - and I was NOT successful. I was pinching the tops and bottoms of these, where the extended part was. Any hints?


In this YouTube video, looks like those white parts shown in above picture might just be the retainers for the clips. Look at 3:39 in this video for a good clear picture of the actual clips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
After removing the actuator rods and the two nuts, I just had to tug and pull the assembly rearward. Yes, some of those clip retainers broke, but rubber grommets served me as "push nuts" on reinstallation.

The lock cylinder seemed to be OK, it's just that convoluted linkage that seemed to be the hold-up. And it seems like it really needed a little spring to be engineered-in. So I engineered one. And now it works great !!!


I used rubber grommets as push-nuts to hold the rear panel in place, but the two nuts really hold that in place.

I attached the bottom of the plastic "bedliner" onto the tailgate using two sheet metal screws, so now one could remove that piece and get to the reverse of the tailgate latch if this happens again. Bad latch design - I can somewhat understand that; but covering the access plate with a bedliner piece which "has to be broken" for access - that's ridiculous !!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Glad to hear you got it taken care of. I'm curious to see the spring you engineered but it says "blocked image" for some reason.
That photo is hosted on a Mazda truck site, see if you can see it here 2004 Frontier King Cab - Page 4

I haven't used Photobucket for a while since they started holding ransom fees for hosting for sites such as this, but I've installed a workaround on my computer, you may also have to do that. I think ClubFrontier has that posted somewhere.


If not, PM with your E-mail address and I'll send the photo.
 

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Yes! That part that you added the spring to is exactly what is causing my issue with my door lock actuator not unlocking 100% of the time. That part seems to drop and make contact with the side of the other metal part which prevents it from completely sliding over. Excellent idea there sir.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes! That part that you added the spring to is exactly what is causing my issue with my door lock actuator not unlocking 100% of the time. That part seems to drop and make contact with the side of the other metal part which prevents it from completely sliding over. Excellent idea there sir.
This assembly seems to fail quite a bit. Same Dorman replacement latch is available from Autozone and O'Reilly, about $45 plus tax across town, or 1 day from Phoenix warehouse to closer store. I decided to try the fix, why not, was pissed at the poor engineering, and that even the Dorman kits do not include the plastic retainers which hold the "pins" into the tailgate itself.

So I used washers and rubber grommets as push-nuts to hold the rear panel in place where such retainers could not be re-used, but the two nuts really hold that in place. I painted the part of the rivet that shows black.
 

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I think the Tailgate latch was one of the very first things I replaced. It was broken when I bought it. I remember the parts rep telling me it's a common and frequent scenario for the handle to break. I ordered the entire aftermarket assembly, because at the time I didn't know you can just purchase the handle. I ended up using the original plate though, because the new one didn't have a decal on it. Swapping everything out wasn't too bad, but my overall impression is that (like so many things on the Frontier) the tailgate latch is a POS.

-- A plastic tailgate latch... way to go Nissan (thumbs up) --
 

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The plastic tailgate latch as one of Frontier's problems would be pretty far down my list. I would probably raise total junk knock sensors to the top of my rants on these trucks. And I have a Supercharged one. UGH!!! Thanks for letting me vent.....
 

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I'm replace my knock sensor as I write this. Aside from the fact that Nissan could have just as easy have mounted the knock sensor to the front of the block, my real complaint is that the idiots could have easily added a connector extension so we didn't need tear the God damn engine down to the block just disconnect the sub-harness!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm replace my knock sensor as I write this. Aside from the fact that Nissan could have just as easy have mounted the knock sensor to the front of the block, my real complaint is that the idiots could have easily added a connector extension so we didn't need tear the God damn engine down to the block just disconnect the sub-harness!
Agree: too many times just a little consideration for replacement of such part would go a long way. This goes for other manufacturers, not just Nissan.

At work, there was an instrument where replacement of an electronic glow-ignitor required rewiring a 3 foot wire through the instrument chassis, or one could cut the wire and solder on a new ignitor. After a few years the manufacturer re-designed this so the last few inches of the ignitor now had a connector.

But not just manufacturers: look at service manuals. In the early 1980s, my neighbor had a Datsun truck, and a repair manual, trying to replace his rear brakes. Service manual said "remove rear drums". didn't say a word about threading in two metric bolts to extract it, I helped him with that !!!
 

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seems like it really needed a little spring to be engineered-in. So I engineered one. And now it works great !!!
Hey Cusser, I recently replaced my tailgate handle / cover with one I got off a 2001 Frontier and I noticed the cause of the slide dropping issue that you remedied by adding a spring. It seems both of our 04 model tailgate handles are missing a long white cylindrical plastic tensioner type of part that has a metal ring on the end. Check the attached pics. First pic has arrow pointing to where the missing part should be.
I don't know if all 04's are missing this little part or if we just got lucky. Both covers have the part in the pic posted by Josh Campbell. Just thought I'd let you know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Those 2 photos do look different to me, I can't tell what's going on there.
My full photo is at the bottom of this post. I didn't realize what that plastic "hole" was for, that it actually should've contained something, or I might've pursued threading in a bolt or even a carriage bolt there from the rear side. I can report that I did not find any broken parts laying in the recess when I finally got the tail gate handle assembly apart. And that my "fixed" tail gate handle still works fine.

Here's a 2001 handle from the Internet


This is also interesting.
My fix for a 2001 - 2004 Frontier tailgate latch that won't catch - Nissan Forum | Nissan Forums
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If I had noticed the two semicircular recesses in that metal tab, I might've been able to figure out a different fix. Thanks, I learned this, will keep in my memory bank.
 

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You're welcome sir. I'm curious to know if all 2004's are without this part. When I removed mine that part is also missing and didn't have any broken pieces or any signs of damage. Sorry for confusion with the first two pics. I had failed to mention that the thing with the black wire is a camera that I installed in the hole where the lock assembly is supposed to be.
 
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