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Tailgate / Liftgate Alignment

Hi everyone, I posted in another thread, about my tailgate issues. I agree the robots should be checked here. My lift gate was off to the left, and rubbing at the top. My dealer did not have a body shop ( with enough experience, new dealer). I called my old dealer and he recommended a very good body shop they used. The dealer sent all notices from Ford about this issue, and 3 days later it was done, no further issues. My only comment, the lift gate is not an exact panel match by no means, but you can't tell by looking. Hope this helps. Just a note, you can't tell they touched the bolts on the hatch.

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Joe Dirt said:
Why would adjusting the panels lead to squeaks and rattles? They are supposed to be/are adjusted at the factory, that's why the panel fasteners are made with adjustment ways in them.

I am not sure how all of this works. Are you saying the inside door pannels already have some kind of mechanism allows them to be adjusted? As for the liftgate I assumed the only way to do it is by loosening the bolts and re align it.

Inside? I thought you were talking about the liftgate, etc.- you called them panels, so I called them panels... That is the only way to adjust them...

who has pics of misalignment of the lift gate? I cant see it or maybe i am blind.

I thought since this post already has pictures of gross liftgate misalignment I thought I would add my own. Plus my spoiler is so misaligned it has rubbed paint off the car.
Currently waiting on Ford to inform dealer how to fix. Looks like the hatch is distorted some how. Sticks out on bottom left, flush top left, sunk in on bottom right and flush top right. Left gap 2-3x larger than right gap. Right hand side sits higher up than left hand side.

Sorry pictures not great since the car is black. But, I can assure you that it look v.bad.

Spoiler LHS


Spoiler RHS


Liftgate gap LHS


Liftgate gap RHS


RHS sticks out


My lifgate is aligned pretty good, but I have a dent in the bottom of it on the right side. Been that way since I bought it, but I never noticed it. Honestly think that several spots were damaged nd repainted, and they missed that dent.

Oh well.

Wow zed512, that is a bad alignment job. Does is leak? The dealers body shop ought to be able to fix it. No offense intended, but I can't imagine Ford would not fix this right away so other potential customers aren't turned off by this poor workmanship. An inspector somewhere ought to be fired for letting this get by.

Yes it is bad... in fact the other tsb issues seem minor compared to this defect. My dealership believes the liftgate was made incorrectly and the best option is to replace the whole liftgate. I just want it fixed.... I just don't understand why I need to wait weeks until Ford provide direction...

When I first picked mine up my lift gate was bad. They took it back and fixed it at the bodyshop. Any competent bodyshop could do the fix required. Yes it was as bad as this. Haven't had a prob since. Not sure why Ford spent all that money on those friggin lasers that are supposed to check for fit and finish. Personally I'd fire the idiot in charge of that department.

Chimoman, how did they fix it? Did they adjust the top hinges and striker latch?

I'm not sure of the exact process. I can speak to the bodyshop next week to see what they did. Ill let you know

That would be great. As I said my body shop informed Ford that it requires a new liftgate in order to fix the misalignment.

Had my ex serviced today, bsr's, a-pillar buzz/rattle(which they no to tsb), rain noise and rear hatch alignment. Well ordered parts for the rain tsb, and they said they could not duplicate the noise on the a-pillars.
This is the best, drum-roll, and the real reason the hatch is not aligned is for WATER DRAINAGE!
Yep, that is what I think, Ford does not want to pay for hours of warranty labor to align them is what I think.
So, a gap I can put my pinky in on the left, to the right side where I cannot put my pinky in to the nail.
Guess I will take it back when the roof tsb comes and complain again, if same answer go back a few days later and complain, and then mention our lemon law and mediation. Denying a problem exists, and refusing to fix it with examples out driving and on the parking lot is (to me) breaking warranty.

That is unreal... actually my misaligned tailgate and spoiler are my biggest complaints with this car. It looks so bad, almost like the car has been repaired after an accident. But really it just demonstrates lack of quality control.

As I have said before mine was so bad that the spoiler was too far to the right and was rubbing paint off the car and spoiler. The paint work is still damaged (until Ford decide what to do).

Finally my car is going to be inspected by Ford Rep and Dealership together this Thursday.

I would like to see some more pictures of this issue if anyone else if willing to share. Thanks

Could Corey or Rebecca get us the official company line?
Since some dealers are repairing and some doing nothing, say it is designed that way or the other vehicle we is the same way.

Your not alone, my lift gate was as bad, the dealer sent the ex to a high end body shop, to repair the rub at top left and realign the gate better. I'm with you the gate was poorly made from the line. Maybe a Friday gate!

Could Corey or Rebecca get us the official company line?...
Hey guys,

I’m not a technician so I’m not allowed to guess; I can assist by arranging a call from the Customer Service Manager in your region. So I can do that, please send a PM with your contact information, VIN, approximate mileage, and dealer name/state.

A big thanks to everyone who took time to help and post in this thread.


Misaligned Tailgate Experience

CDNexp -

As over six months have passed since your last post, perhaps you've already proceeded with the re-alignment. Nonetheless, I'll share my experience. In two words: "NOT GOOD." I originally purchased in November '11 and noticed the tailgate misalignment in Feb 2012. One side appeared flush with the body, the other side was inset about 3/4 inch. My service rep commented that they've seen a few misaligned tailgates from the factory and would contact the Ford rep to take a look. Long story short, one month later I received my Explorer back with a brand new tailgate. Despite attempts to realign and adjust, ultimately the decision was made by Ford that a new tailgate was the only solution. While I was very unhappy with the delay and poor communication, it was great to have my vehicle back (despite a second trip to the dealership to fix a new rattle in the tailgate that was caused by a wiper arm that was not properly reconnected).

Wouldn't it be great if the story ended there? Approximately two months later, the tailgate issue started all over again. I first noticed a problem when I walked out of my grocery store to find my Explorer in the parking lot with the tailgate wide open. Seemed very strange as I'm quite the consciousness person and not one to just leave a tailgate open and walk away. Thankfully nothing was taken. I shrugged it off until two days later (while visiting family) I looked out the window of their home and noticed the tailgate was again open. My brother was heading outside so I asked him to close it. This is when I realized there was again a problem, as he pushed the button several times, the door would attempt to close, hit the metal catch and then re-open. The inability to close the tailgate seemed worse on unlevel surfaces. Another trip to the Ford dealership and another week in the shop resulted in replacement of the catch mechanism and another realignment. All good.

Or so I wish. Two weeks ago, just before departing on a road trip with my family and a fully packed car, I pushed the button to close the power liftgate. The gate came down, made a grinding noise and wouldn't close, returned to the fully open position (despite having set a lower opening height) obtaining a nice deep scratch in the paint upon striking the open garage door. Frustrated, I tried pushing the button a few more times, all unsuccessfully, finally resorting to manually and forcefully having to close the liftgate in order to drive away. Once closed, I noticed that the tailgate was once again misaligned.

I called my service rep and explained that I've had enough and either Ford needs to make this right and fix it once and for all, or replace the vehicle. It's now become an unpredictable nuisance and security and safety issue, as the tailgate is closed but there is a large gap between the gate and the body and I'm positive it is not closed tightly. Perhaps having it pop open on the road would get Ford's attention. My service manager called me back and wanted to get with the Ford Expert Technician to see what they could do. That was a week ago and I've heard nothing back. I'll give it another week and then perhaps I should resort to sharing my story with youtube videos and tweets of the tailgate repeatedly failing close.

Thanks for reading my story. Hope this helps a bit. In short, be wary of getting that tailgate realigned.


Adam, don't get me started... Once I have enough energy I will officially reply to this thread. Basically ford have no clue how to fix this issue. The result is your car will be gone for weeks, new hatch fitted and it may look worse than you started with. Everyone... Check the gate, if it looks bad don't buy the car.

Now I look at every car in front of me and think how did ford mess up so bad... In terms of misaligned tailgates. To me it's shocking. In my old job I was taught ford fmea's... Total joke now

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Hi Adam, thanks for sharing... after first attempt to re-align going bad. They had to replace the Latch mechanisim And I decided to just live with it. The dealer has no clue how to fix it so till Ford figure it out I will not let them touch it again.