2007-2013 Toyota Tundra Tailgate Handle Replacement

The tailgate handle replacement instructions in this article should apply to 2007-2013 Toyota Tundra pickup trucks.

The tailgate handle on our 2008 Toyota Tundra has been giving us issues for a few years. The tailgate handle would not release unless you pushed in on the tailgate while pulling the handle. After 14 years, the handle finally broke inside the tailgate, leaving us with no other option but to replace it.

Original handle we are removing because it broke not allowing us to open our tailgate.

In this article, we will go through the process of replacing the tailgate handle assembly, including transferring the back-up camera and keyed lock cylinder. It is a simple process you can complete in under one hour if you have a little time on your hands.

Tools Needed

  • 8 mm and 10 mm socket
  • T-30 Torx bit or driver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Spray lube

Updated Part Number

The original part number in our 2008 Toyota Tundra. Toyota has since upgraded the last two number from 50 to 51.
The original part number in our 2008 Toyota Tundra. Toyota has since upgraded the last two number from 50 to 51.

The original part number on our handle was ‎69090-0C050, but the local Toyota dealer said the part number changed to ‎69090-0C051, and it applied to 2007-2013 Toyota Tundra tailgates. He said they most likely upgraded the part to resolve the issue with it breaking. Ours broke after 14 years, and it’s been heavily used, so I wouldn’t say Toyota necessarily has a problem, but it’s always nice to see parts updated.

Please Note: The new tailgate handle assembly does not come with a new back-up camera or keyed lock cylinder. You will need to transfer these from the old housing to the new housing.

What Broke on our Toyota Tundra Tailgate Handle?

The black plastic piece circled in the photo is what broke. This piece presses against the mechanism to turn and release the latches.
The black plastic piece circled in the photo is what broke. This piece presses against the mechanism to turn and release the latches.

Before we get started, the picture above shows the actual part that broke inside our 2008 Toyota Tundra tailgate. This black plastic piece is what presses against the mechanism to rotate the part, so the end latches release, allowing you to open the tailgate. After the part broke, the handle dangled without any resistance.

1. Remove the Tailgate Access Cover

T-30 Torx bolts used to hold on the our bed protector and access panel underneath.
T-30 Torx bolts used to hold on the our bed protector and access panel underneath.

We have a black plastic bed liner protector on the tailgate, so our access panel was underneath. Once we removed the screws, both came off without any issues.

Access cover on inside of tailgate is held on with 8 torx bolts that need to be removed.
Access cover on inside of tailgate is held on with 8 torx bolts that need to be removed.

The handle on our tailgate broke while it was in the up position, so we had to remove the access cover with the tailgate in the closed position. I used a drill to slowly remove the screws with a T30 Torx bit. They came out easily, along with the plastic washers, giving me full access to the guts of the tailgate.

2. Release Orange and Purple Retainers from Latch Rods

The orange and purple retainers will pop open and release allowing you to disconnect the bars.
The orange and purple retainers will pop open and release allowing you to disconnect the bars.

The latch bars run from the end of the tailgate to the center and connect to the handle assembly like pictured above. If you release the orange and purple retainers, this allows you to pull up to release the bars from the tailgate handle mechanism. These latch bars will reinstall on your new part using the same orange and purple retainers that come included.

3. Release Back-up Camera Wiring Harness

You will need to squeeze the wiring harness for the back-up camera, so it will release. This is required, so you can remove the old tailgate handle assembly from the tailgate.

The backup camera harness will release like shown in the photo.
The backup camera harness will release like shown in the photo.

Pictured above is the Tundra tailgate back-up camera harness released from the camera itself. By releasing it at the camera, you will be able to drop the complete assembly out of the tailgate after you complete a few more steps to come.

4. Remove Two Bolts Holding Handle Assembly

By removing the two bolts shown in the photo above, you will be able to lower the old handle housing, so you can transfer the back-up camera and keyed lock cylinder to the new part.

There is a plastic clip that hold the handle housing in the tailgate once the bolts are removed. This clip will need to be squeezed to lower the housing down and out of the tailgate.

Fix a Broken Door Knob
Fix a Broken Door Knob

5. Remove the Back-up Camera

The back-up camera is one of the best features ever added to trucks, especially if you pull trailers. Moving this part over is as easy as unplugging a harness and removing two bolts. After removing the two bolts shown above, you can reinstall the camera on your new tailgate handle housing assembly the same way it came out of your old part. It’s so simple, anyone can do it.

6. Remove the Keyed Lock

The keyed lock on your old tailgate handle is numbered to match your ignition key. You will need to remove the cylinder off the old handle housing and transfer it to your new housing.

Keyed lock cylinder for 2007-2013 Toyota Tundra tailgate handle. The retainer clip is removed and the cylinder will now pull up to remove.
Keyed lock cylinder for 2007-2013 Toyota Tundra tailgate handle. The retainer clip is removed and the cylinder will now pull up to remove.

The removal process is completed by simply removing a metal retainer clip that is holding the cylinder in place. Once you release the clip, pull up to remove the cylinder. It will now slide down into your new housing. Make sure to install the lock cylinder arm back over the black plastic tab circled in the picture above. If not, you won’t be able to lock your tailgate. You’re now ready to use your key to lock the tailgate.

7. New Tailgate Handle Assembly Part Installed

In the photo above, the new Toyota Tundra tailgate handle assembly is installed. The latch bars are reconnected, the original keyed lock cylinder is installed, and the back-up camera is installed and plugged in. After reinstalling the two 8 mm bolts that hold the main housing against the tailgate, you’re done.

8. Reinstall Tailgate Access Cover

The access cover lays back down on the tailgate the same way it came off. Reinstall the eight Torx head screws using a T-30 Torx bit.

Our tailgate has a plastic bed liner, so the screws installed over the black plastic liner.

9. Lube End Latches on the Tailgate

Locking end latches on tailgate that engage the permanent stud on the truck to secure the tailgate. These need to be lubricated.
Locking end latches on tailgate that engage the permanent stud on the truck to secure the tailgate. These need to be lubricated.

After installing our new tailgate handle assembly on our 2008 Toyota Tundra, I noticed the handle was a little hard to pull. I spray some National 400 garage door lubricant on the end latches that engage the studs on the truck when the tailgate closes. After doing this everything loosened up making it much easer to release the handle when opening the tailgate.

How Much is the 2007-2013 Tundra Tailgate Handle Part?

New tailgate handle assembly installed on a 2008 Toyota Tundra.
New tailgate handle assembly installed on a 2008 Toyota Tundra.

Our dealer originally quoted us around $153 for the part, but when we got there, they charged us $136. If you search for the part online, you will find prices from $30-$100 on Amazon.com and other websites. With all the counterfeit products sold online today, we wanted to purchase from our authorized dealer to guarantee we were getting a genuine Toyota part. Especially since the tailgate handle is used daily.

Conclusion

That’s it. It looks intimidating, but it’s really an easy job to replace the tailgate handle assembly on your Toyota Tundra. Online, it says the 69090-0C051 part number supersedes the original part number 69090-0C050 that came standard on 2007-2013 Toyota Tundras. The only thing that changed was the “0” at the end of the part number is now a “1”. It’s best to take yours apart to verify the part number. Replacing the tailgate handle yourself on your Toyota Tundra will save you hundreds of dollars in labor and prevent any downtime from having your truck in the shop.

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