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08/03/2005

  Rattling Estate Tailgate

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Estate Tailgate Rattle

A common problem soon faced by the Estate owner is that the tailgate can become 'loose' in the catch. First the tailgate may squeak slightly over uneven ground. Then it will rattle lightly, then worse and worse until over uneven country roads it can become quite annoying.

Lifting up the tailgate and examining the latch plate and pin will soon show the reason.

The latch plate on the floor of the Scorpio estate is the three-bolt plate of conventional design on which is mounted the latch pin, which is gripped by the latchlock mounted at the bottom of the door.

Close up of the latch plate mounted on the bottom of the door. The forward lever is ready to pass the pin, and the part of the lock to the left receives the latch pin and forces the whole plate to swivel, so that the long part passes across the face of the pin and locks it tight. It is this movement that cuts through the plastic, especially if the tailgate is slammed shut on some obstacle.

The latch pin surface is covered by a hard plastic sleeve to prevent a metal-to-metal contact between the pin and the latch lock. Here on the rear (non-struck) part, the latch sleeve is intact...

But the forward surface of the pin has been cut through by the metal latch lock. There is no tension applied to the lock by a plastic surface and both surfaces are free to squeak and rattle. You could buy another latch plate, as I did - this is the old one - but before long a new latch pin will have been worn through just like this one.  Fortunately this is very easily repaired ...

...with ordinary black insulating tape. As you can see, the standard tape fits exactly round the latch of the pin.

and a 1.5 inch length of tape wrapped tightly round the pin will replace the missing plastic sleeve and prevent that metal to metal contact that is so annoying. I keep a reel of insulating tape under the spare wheel cover so there is always some available if the latch is cut through again.

The latch about to close - the insulating tape on the latch pin can just be seen, protecting the metal of the pin from the latch lock. The long arm to the left of the pin is the latch lock and this is driven anticlockwise round the pin as the door is slammed shut. The problem is that if the door is held slightly open by an obstacle then the latch lock cuts into the plastic sleeve as it rotates. Once the metal is exposed noise is inevitable. If I were designing the latchpin I would have used a slightly larger diameter pin (and a correspondingly larger latch lock groove) and used a roller of very hard rubber. If the latchpin sleeve was free to rotate it would not be damaged so easily.

Using insulating tape is a very simple and efficient repair that lasts perhaps a year - then the tape is removed and replaced with a new strip. Problem solved and peace is restored.

EricR

 

 

 

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