Easy Tech Tip – Eliminate Tail Gate Noise

My Wrangler makes plenty of squeaks, pops, bangs, and whirring sounds that any new one can really get on my nerves.

One of the newest noises began after I installed our latest tire carrier review. After aligning the tailgate and the new hinge mechanism I had developed a loud thump at the latch side.

Check it, check again, and still a thump.

Man shouting, pulling hair

Naturally, I figured something wasn’t lined up, or some part of the install was loose. I pulled the spare off, pulled the cargo area interior back off, removed the taillight and rechecked every single bolt. I did find some fasteners that weren’t 100% torqued to spec so I thought I had my solution.

I went for a drive the next day over the same section of road and once again that thumping noise was there. The worst part is this type of noise is intermittent, doesn’t happen on every bump, and sometimes it occurs when it seems like it shouldn’t.

I checked every fastener again. I tightened the hinge guide bolts and fingers crossed I had it. Nope.

Sometimes it’s best to focus elsewhere to fix a problem.

I spent quite a lot of time working on the carrier side of the problem I neglected the lath side where the noise actually was. I noticed the latch was a little low in the opening of the tailgate. Then I had my “doh” moment.

With all of the realigning of the tailgate, I never checked the isolation block alignment. A lesson I learned on the JK, whenever you change the tailgate alignment you need to double-check the isolation block spacing.

I am referring to the plastic V-shaped block on the latch side of the rear opening. There are two 10mm bolts that hold it in place and it helps to stabilize the tailgate.

Loosen both bolts just enough to let the block move. Move it out to it’s farthest point, and then close the tailgate. Open the tailgate, move it out a 1/16th of an inch and tighten. You may have to move it back in slightly if the tailgate won’t close or there is tension on the latch.

A wasted effort for a simple solution.

I spent two days and several hours trying to fix a noise by working on the opposite side of the noise. Clearly my fault for focusing on the part installed and not the noise itself.

Hopefully, this little tip will help you avoid my mistake. For the record, the thump is gone and the carrier is stealth quiet.

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