I worked for a very nice family-owned Chrysler dealership all through the '90s and ran into this a few other times. The issue here is the part is too new to expect a lot of failures from wear or age, therefore it's not available separately yet. They expect to sell tail gates for crash damage replacements and the bushing is included. In a few years the part is pretty likely to be available. That's a huge improvement over Ford. It is real common with them to have parts be "no longer available" for a three or four-year-old vehicle, then you better hope the aftermarket industry comes up with parts. Their air springs are a real good example. Try getting replacements after a few years.
As the suspension and alignment specialist for ten years, I ran into this with inner tie rod ends. The only way to get them from Chrysler was on a replacement rack and pinion assembly, but you could get them from the local auto parts stores. Now you can get the inners from Chrysler. You also have to consider that Chrysler makes only about 20 percent of their own parts. They buy 80 percent from outside vendors. I have a suspicion that some company is making these bushings as fast as they can for new production trucks and they don't have any extra to sell at this time. Once a design change takes effect, they'll stop buying the part but the supplier still has the machinery to make them, so they maintain production but now there's a good enough supply to allow them to be made available. Normally you can get parts from Chrysler for a good ten to twelve years.
This is funny because I always joke that everything comes in pairs, even my replies on this site. When I'd have a bad rack and pinion assembly, I'd do the job on two cars on the same day. Bad struts? Two sets on the same day! Bad generator on a GM product on this site. Two in the same day! (Of course those are so common three or four per day is not unusual). My cousin bought a '98 Ford Ranger from Texas and had it shipped to Wisconsin last month. (Don't ask me why!). It had a broken bushing on both sides of the tail gate. He found them on eBay but broke the right one trying to pop it in. I was visiting him today and we put the new one in that he just got this morning. Go figure. I never did one before and I didn't even know that plastic piece was in there.
Thursday, May 21st, 2015 AT 8:12 PM