I have an 03 z-71 and I can close mine if I put it backwards. have you tried that?
I don't think so but I have never taken it off. I'll check my owners manual. I've made several trips to the hunting club without a problem. The tailgate is pulled up tight and doesn't even rattle.Does that model tailgate come off by opening it at a slight angle and lifting up? Don't want you to loose your tailgate on a bump in the road.
My ramps slide under the bike and will fit with the tailgate closed.That's a pretty good idea there,but I too would be worried about the tailgate coming off.Where do you keep the ramps? I leave my tailgate down,slide the ramps under the Foreman.My ramps are too long to close the tailgate.
The tie down hooks I'm definitely not worried about. I've used them for almost 10 years with several 4 wheelers and never had anything budge, not to mention everything else I've tied down with them. The Penda Hide-A-Hooks are rated for 400 pounds each.I really wonder if the tie downs that you have mounted in the holes of your truck are rated for the weight load? If a very fast stop is needed, would they be secure enough to keep from crashing into your windshield?