The tailgate handle is designed more for utility than for aesthetics, but without it, the tailgate will lose its functionality. So in order to give the tailgate a sleeker look without throwing away the tailgate handle, you will need to relocate the handle to the inside of your car's truck bed. In this guide, we will show you how to relocate the tailgate handle in your truck using a tailgate handle relocator kit.
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Handle relocator kit
- Torx socket set
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Die grinder
- Sanding blocks
Step 1: Remove the plastic trim panel around the the tailgate handle. The trim panel has snap-clips that attach it to the handle and can be pried off using your fingers. Be careful not to damage the clips.
Step 2: Unscrew the Torx bolts from the back of the tailgate handle inside the truck bed. The bolts hold a metal panel in place; this should be removed as well once the bolts have been unscrewed.
Step 3: Pull the handle out of the tailgate and use the flat screwdriver to pry out the linkage rod from each side of the tailgate handle.
Step 4: Align the template from the relocator kit with the three tailgate handle mounting holes and mark the sheet metal for removal.
Step 5: Using a die grinder or a jigsaw with a steel cutting blade, cut out the marked section of the sheet metal.
Step 6: Bolt the tailgate handle onto the tailgate handle relocator mounting plate using the hardware supplied in the relocator kit. Use the studs that also come with the kit to attach the handle to the relocator; using the old factory bolts to attach the handle may damage the tailgate's outer shin.
Step 7: Screw the tailgate handle relocator plate with the handle in place on the tailgate and center relocator with the self-tapping screws from the kit. Once they are in place, attach the handle linkage rods onto the tailgate handle.
Step 8: Snap the plastic trim back on the tailgate handle.
Step 9: Grind the paint off the area where you removed the tailgate handle and weld the filler panel in place. Note: Don't weld with one continuous bead, as this will damage the surface of the tailgate.
Step 10: Grind down the welds, apply body filler, block sand, primer, and paint over the filler to match the rest of the tailgate.