Tundra Tailgate Design Flaw Update

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In response to some questions about our last Tundra Tailgate post, we’ve done some more investigating, and we think we’ve figured out how why you should never drive with your Tundra’s tailgate unsecured.

1. The gas strut assist.

The Tundra’s tailgate is slam-proof because a gas strut (hidden inside the wall of the bed) reduces the effect weight of the tailgate as well as dampens any rapid movement. There is an un-intended consequence here: if the tailgate isn’t secured (i.e. in the closed position OR locked in the down position by the bed-extender or some weight) it may “levitate” at the removal angle.

2. Tailgate removal without tools.

Try this experiment: Lower your Tundra’s tailgate. Now, with it in the down position, “throw” the tailgate up into the air. When you get the force right, you’ll find that it will “hover” at about a 45 degree angle for a second or two. Keep in mind that 45 degrees is the angle you need to hold the tailgate at in order to remove it. In fact, hold the tailgate in this position and see just how easy it is for your to remove it manually. It needs just a slight lifting motion and it’s off the truck.

3. The right combination of bumps/motions will cause the tailgate to fall out.

With your tailgate hovering in the removal position, all it would take is a sudden motion that would cause your truck to lurch forward. For instance, when you hit a pot-hole, your truck first drops suddenly as it falls into the hole (thus raising your tailgate). When your truck hits the back side of the hole, your truck is not only suddenly pushed up but it is also pushed back. This backward force could be enough to dislodge the tailgate.

Toyota Tundra tailgate design flaw explained
Tundra tailgate could fall out under the right circumstance
How we think unsecured tailgates can fall off of the Toyota Tundra.

4. Toyota warns you not to drive tailgate down.

If our explanation isn’t enough, check out page 35 of your owner’s manual. That’s as good of a confirmation of a flaw as you’ll see from an auto manufacturer.

Bottom Line: Our previous tailgate warning was incorrect – you can drive with your tailgate down, but only if it’s locked into that position by the bed extender or the load you’re carrying. Otherwise, you should drive with the tailgate up. If it’s free to move, there’s a chance it will fall out. Thanks again to Glenn for bringing this to our attention. Also, while we’re on the subject, you should always lock your tailgate when you park your truck outside (the tailgate is just too easy to steal).

Filed Under: Tundra NewsTundra Recalls

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  1. Glenn says:

    I would say that is a perfect explanation of how damage was incurred on my truck. I hit a dip at the intersection in the road, and was travelling right at the speed limit at the time. All forces in balance as suggested by the research, it came off and caused the damage.

    FYI: The local dealer is willing to have a look at the tailgate to see if there is something “Wrong” with it, but I am sure that I am going to have to take a day off of work and drive 20 miles to show them that there is nothing any different than any other Tundra. Their willingness to investigate is noteable. I do not know if they will make any fixes available. Time will tell.

  2. JKD says:

    If you install a QUALITY worm drive type radiator hose clamp around the right side anchor pivot that will cover the release slot and prevent the gate from coming out at the 45 degree angle.

  3. admin says:

    JKD – good tip.

  4. Reid B. says:

    Wish someone would post this explaination on the Tundra solutions website. Personnally, I use two motorcycle straps attached to the tie down loops at the rear corners of the bed and wrap them across the back edge of tailgate and attach to the safety chain loops on the hitch. I used to to this on my other trucks to keep them from bouncing. Never thought of one falling off.

  5. Glenn says:

    The local dealership is replacing my tail lights at no cost to me. They are on order now. Toyota is not reimbursing them, to the best of my knoledge.

    Luckily, I somehow chose the best dealer in my area.

  6. admin says:

    Glenn — that’s great news. Glad to hear they took care of you. Thanks again for bringing this to everyone’s attention.

  7. […] for the Tundra’s tailgate popping off it’s hinge if you drive with it “down” position, Toyota’s official response is that the […]

  8. Ken Herkert says:

    My gate fell off with a load of sheet rock in the bed. The rock went all over the road. Now my tailgate has scratches, and several small dents on the outside from hitting the tow ball.

    I talked to the Body Shop manager about it today, he said he had not heard of it happening to anyone else. I found the memo from Toyota to the dealers, and just emailed it to him. He is Clinton Woodward @ New Country Toyota in Clifton Park, NY.

    I decided to research it myself, and was surprised to find all of this.

    Very disappointed.

    There is a petition on one of the forums you can sign

    Ken Herkert Saratoga Springs NY

  9. lexziken says:

    I got a 2008 Tundra 5.7l V8. My truck was shaking on the freeway. It shake real hard. It tailgate seem like it want to fall off a part. Especially; on a bad pavement roads. The 2002 Tundra 4.7l V8 more like a good rides cause it frame seem more solid, and I drive on the same roads it doesn’t shake at all.

    Please! any body out there know how to fix this problem to stop the shaking. And I knows somebody out there know what I am talking about. This is a seriously shake people. I believe it was a bad frame.

  10. Lexziken – It’s called bed bounce – try searching for “bed bounce” on the site and you’ll find lots and lots of info…but no solution.

  11. lexziken says:

    Thank you! Mickey, and thank admin(Jason). Yes, I am still looking for a solution.
    Hey Mikey ! I did look a the web site that U posted on April 05,2009 at 6:05 pm those are very interesting article.

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