I think they have 3 different positions, ON/OFF/ON WHEN GATE IS OPEN. Not sure, but in seems like mine are that way...because depending on how many times I press the button they are off completly and then on all the time, and then only come on when the gate is dropped.
I had to take mine apart and clean them to get them to turn off properly. I always seem to bump into them when getting stuff in and out. Look out late at nite and see them lighting up the back just fine.
Mine come on when I 1) push the little pushbutton on the handle, or 2) swing the gate open like a door. Not slamming the gate will not only leave my lights on, but also turns on the Gate Ajar lite in the instrument panel. I tend to use the gate as a drop down because of this annoyance. Oughta be a switch somewhere that can be adjusted but I've never found it - kinda figured it was inside the latching mechanism on the door. If it's any comfort I've been slamming mine (to put the lights out) for 8 years and the situation hasn't gotten any better or worse - maybe GM designed it to be slammed?
I agree, my lights don't come on when I drop the tailgate, only come on when I open it like a door.
The switch on each handle will turn them on or off if the gate is not open like a door.
I think if the lights are on the Rear Gate Ajar light is on.
I also avoid using it like a door, because I hate to slam it.
The cargo light switch is in the latch mechanism located in the passenger side of the endgate where it latches to the body pillar. It is accessable by removing the endgate trim. It can be loose. If not, it is available separately. The lights cannot be turned off when the endgare switch is made.
I found a 92 Roadmaster wagon in the junkyard today and it has the switch in the right rear latch, I went ahead and grabbed it if you need it. $5 It only has one phillips screw holding it in. E-Mail me at [email protected]