Most helpful positive review
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Not for Complete Amatures - but good
on August 11, 2013
(WARNING- This is a long review for people who are paranoid when it comes to disassembling their vehicles - like I am!)
I got this tailgate lock after the excitement of buying my new Tacoma and realizing AFTER the purchase that it didn't have a tailgate lock. Even if it's one with a key, I don't care. People steal tailgates (I live in a high vehicle theft area). I thought "well, maybe Toyota knows something I don't...maybe tailgate theft is on the decline..." so I did a little research. WRONG! Tailgate theft is ON THE RISE (especially as of the writing of this review). The fact that this tailgate has a backup camera would make it rather expensive to replace - and, as good a driver as I am, I cannot back my truck up without that camera, so a tailgate theft would be a personal disaster.
After reading the reviews and thinking about how it would look on the outside (versus the other types of tailgate locks), how effective it would be, etc. I decided on this one. I am NOT mechanically inclined when it comes to vehicles. I am gifted in many ways, but I know when I'm out of my league and it's time to call a professional. Fortunately, I'm connected, so I asked a friend who is a mechanic if he would install it if I bought it - he said yes. I sent him the file of the directions from the Pop n Lock website and he said it looked easy. Then...he suddenly became unavailable. I looked up local truck places (closed on Saturdays). I called my salesman at the Toyota dealership (a really great guy - not just trying to make a sale) and he said Toyota would do it but he would work on getting me someone cheaper. Didn't hear back from him either. As luck would have it, I mentioned my dilemma to (are you sitting down?) - my MASSAGE THERAPIST who said, "I do stuff on my Jeep all the time, how hard can it be?" This thing bills itself as "installs in minutes" after all (and you're right, the trick is it doesn't say HOW MANY minutes - a year is only 525,600 minutes right?). But I will say it took us (mainly HIM) about 2½ hours to get it done from start to finish.
I was more than apprehensive - this guy is NOT a mechanic by trade, I love my truck, and the thought of ripping it apart to put this lock in was causing me heart palpitations. But, it's late in summer, I'm a teacher, and school starts soon - it's now or never...so I pretended to be calm and we proceeded.
After reading through the 10-step directions (yes, that's all there are - TEN STEPS) we started crawling under the truck to identify the various places we would need to access in order to install the lock. My message therapist/mechanic located the areas almost immediately. The next challenge was finding the right T-30 Torx driver bit for my drill. We discovered that a T-27 worked just fine - so we decided to hold our collective breath and start.
The directions are fairly accurate - it would be helpful for the diagram to show which way you're looking at the gate (like labeling the top or bottom of the gate) but we got that one figured out without much trouble. I was also initially panicked that there was no "mounting screw" in the package as shown in the "layout" diagram - do not panic, the mounting screw is already in the tailgate mechanism itself. Just remove it and then replace it to hold the unit in place according to the directions - we were even able to do it by skipping the "release the driver's side rod" part of the directions. I was also pretty surprised at how quickly and easily the inside of my tailgate came off (no wonder thieves can remove your gate in 30 seconds - completely dismantling it took about 60) - HELPFUL HINT - there is a little protrusion on the inside gate liner that snaps into a hole in the metal on the tailgate (2013 model). It is right in the center, if you're aware of it ahead of time, you won't have to be concerned when the piece doesn't come right out.
One reviewer mentioned that his didn't have the foam piece mounted to the unit to keep it from rattling. If this happened to you, return it or if you have some heavy black foam laying around, glue it to the unit on the side that will face the metal part of the gate. I can't imagine this unit rattling around in there every time you opened or closed the gate or hit a bump. Also one reviewer complained that one screw didn't seem adequate to hold it in the mounting. I think it will be just fine.
Now for the biggest complaint...the directions nonchalantly say "Feed the round bullet connectors on the end of the short wiring cable into a drain hole at the bottom of the tailgate..." Here's the deal: those "bullet connectors" are just a tad bit thick for the rectangular drain holes. Learn from my mistake - DO NOT attempt to pry the drain hole to make it slightly wider. We did this (carefully) and still managed to put a tiny outward dent into the bottom of my tailgate (only I can see it - but I'm a perfectionist and it will probably bug me 'til the day I no longer have the truck). You can force those suckers through - but it takes a screw driver and a heck of a lot of patience. I nearly cut them off and then re-attached them after feeding them through, but thought that may compromise the integrity of the lock operation. If you have a small grinding bit, be prepared to grind out a small part of the drainage hole so these things will fit through more easily. (incidentally, it is this part that caused me to withhold one star on my review - had that not happened, it would be a definite five-star). Also, it says to pick "a" drain hole. Logic would dictate picking the one directly under the unit, but ya never know. If you DON'T pick the one in the center, you're going to have some cable dangling under your gate. If you choose the CENTER drain hole, there is a nice big square hole in the bed liner for you to feed the wiring through.
The rest of the installation pretty much went as planned; however, the connecting ends of the wires have large flat ends. There is NO WAY you're going to fit those through the grommet under the truck as suggested. We had to cut them off. This was fine because the connections to the truck's wires are made with wire crimps anyway, but the "tools needed" should say you need a wire cutter and stripper along with some electrical tape.
Also, there is a tiny spring on the unit (still not completely sure of its purpose) which had come loose during installation. We noticed that sometimes (not every time) when we clicked the lock open, the locking bar didn't quite clear the gate mechanism. We reattached the spring and messed with it but noticed it didn't do much good. I suggested that gravity would handle the problem when the gate was up - which it does for the most part. While it may not go completely past the latch mechanism every time, the end of the latch mechanism is curved, so it is able to slide past the bar on the power lock and open the tailgate without any trouble.
I have tried the lock with the button on the door, with the key fob, and by inserting the key into the keyhole lock on the drivers door. All three methods successfully lock and unlock the gate along with the door. Hopefully this will be a good product as I continue to use it. I see many reviewers decided to ignore the driver door hook-up and do the passenger door instead to save wear on the unit. Since I usually unlock and lock all of my doors anyway (I usually have stuff to load and unload from the back seat) I stuck with the driver's door installation as in the instructions. However, I'm hoping it continues to function. I did have an experience with a previous vehicle where an actuator failed in the driver's door. Once that happens, there's no gettin' 'round it - not with the fob, not with "touch entry" (that car had a button on the handle if you had the key in your pocket), not with the key, not with the lock/unlock button inside the door, and not even by manually locking or unlocking the door from inside - I had to crawl over the center console from the passenger side. So I am HOPING this type of failure never happens with this lock (permanently locking my gate).
If you're apprehensive about this purchase as I was (I kept looking at it for a WEEK on Amazon before making the decision to move forward with the buy), don't be. If you're a good do-it-yourself mechanic, certainly don't worry. If you're not but have a friend who sort of knows what's up, you'll be fine. By the time we tore the inside of the truck gate apart, I was fine and feeling a lot more confident about the install. Others have said the lock is "too loud" - well - the tailgate is metal, the unit is sturdy steel, and it's hollow inside your gate - how quiet would you expect it to be? I like hearing it - let's me know it's working!