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ARE T-Handle is Malfunctioning -- Vacation in Jeopardy

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by bps, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. Oct 12, 2013 at 5:26 PM
    #1
    bps

    bps [OP] Member

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    I have a problem that has me totally bummed out. I'm hoping my fellow TW members can give me some ideas that might help.

    I was just loading up my Tacoma for an extended trip to the Eastern Sierras when all of a sudden the single T-handle on the back of my ARE MX topper started getting difficult to turn. I was looking at it to see what was wrong, and in the process of turning the handle open and closed several times to investigate, it got progressively worse. Its now at the point where it will barely turn at all, and that's with putting enough force to the point where I feel like I'm going to break the handle. I was going to leave early tomorrow morning, but this is a show-stopper. I can't go on the road and leave my topper unlatched the entire time and full of gear. My plan was to trail run, photograph fall colors, and sleep in the back of the truck

    I bought this ARE MX topper new 4 months ago for my '13 Tacoma before moving from Colorado to northern California. If I can't figure anything out, then I'll definitely take it to an ARE dealer on Monday. I'll be bummed out if I have to start my vacation 2 days late, but I'll be crushed if they have to order a new part, which would take several days and cause me to cancel the entire trip.

    Has anyone encountered this problem before? It appears that nothing is inhibiting the locking rods from sliding back and forth, so I fear the problem may be within the T-handle itself.

    Thanks for any ideas that anyone can provide!

    Bryan
     
  2. Oct 12, 2013 at 5:28 PM
    #2
    Large

    Large Red

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    Spray some WD40 on it, maybe that will ease it. Would taking the glass door completely off be an issue?
     
  3. Oct 12, 2013 at 6:30 PM
    #3
    bps

    bps [OP] Member

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    Unfortunately, taking the entire door off wouldn't work either. I need to secure all of my gear and keep things (and myself) protected from the elements. Thank you though. I'm open to all ideas!

    Bryan
     
  4. Oct 12, 2013 at 6:34 PM
    #4
    nelson0584

    nelson0584 Member

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    Are the brackets that mount it to the bed loose? maybe the topper isn't square on the truck anymore. Happened to me once on an old truck. I loosed the brackets and adjusted the topper, and it was good to go after that. Good luck and I hope you make your trip.
     
  5. Oct 12, 2013 at 6:35 PM
    #5
    KenLyns

    KenLyns 8.75" Third Member

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  6. Oct 12, 2013 at 6:40 PM
    #6
    bps

    bps [OP] Member

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    Well, I think I just narrowed things down a little bit. While messing with it to see if I could figure out what's wrong, I noticed that when I turn the T-handle, it has a good 3/4 of an inch of play before it starts to engage (and then becomes nearly impossible to turn). I also discovered that when turning the key, the entire locking barrel turns about 3/4 of an inch inside the T-handle before engaging for a millimeter or two and then the locking barrel doesn't turn anymore. In other words, I'm pretty sure the entire locking barrel has broken inside the T-handle and the whole T-handle assembly is now bad. I unloaded my truck, hauled my vacation gear inside, and cracked open a beer. Pretty bummed about the timing. :(

    I guess I'm stuck until I can get to an ARE dealer on Monday. I really hope they have a new T-handle on-hand and don't have to order a new part. If they have one in stock, then perhaps I can get on the road Monday afternoon.

    Bryan
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  7. Oct 12, 2013 at 6:46 PM
    #7
    bps

    bps [OP] Member

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    Thanks Ken. Looks like it's a pretty common part. Certainly local dealers have them in stock. Or worse case scenario, perhaps I can find a place that will overnight one and I can replace it myself.

    Bryan
     
  8. Oct 12, 2013 at 6:48 PM
    #8
    KenLyns

    KenLyns 8.75" Third Member

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  9. Oct 12, 2013 at 6:56 PM
    #9
    dexterdog

    dexterdog My pee parts itch

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    Aren't both handles locking? I used to lock only one handle.
     
  10. Oct 12, 2013 at 8:55 PM
    #10
    bps

    bps [OP] Member

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    It's a single handle system on the back hatch, located in the middle. Not only is the lock broken, but the handle is now impossible to turn, so all you have to do is raise it up. (It doesn't turn and engage the locking bars.)

    Bryan
     
  11. Oct 12, 2013 at 8:56 PM
    #11
    bps

    bps [OP] Member

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    Ken,

    This is one example of many as to why this forum is so great. I'm going to check out this option first thing in the morning.

    Much appreciated,
    Bryan
     
  12. Oct 12, 2013 at 9:00 PM
    #12
    joes06tacoma

    joes06tacoma Well-Known Member

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    Any camper dealer should have one in stock. I bought a pair from my local dealer off the shelf for 20 bucks. I also bought an "L" shaped handle that does the same thing from my local NAPA one time when I was in a bind and needed one "right now".

    If there isn't one in your town, there will be in the next town up the road. Get your vacation on!
     

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