Tailgate latch ideas?

Randyzzz

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#23
That is not one of Jeeps / AMC better design areas. Any time a top is on, it is just difficult.
I’ve come up with some ideas, the hard part is designing something that is “bolt-on” and doesn’t require messing with the exterior paint.
 

FLCJ8

Legacy Registered User
City
Palm Bay
State
FL
#24
I’ve come up with some ideas, the hard part is designing something that is “bolt-on” and doesn’t require messing with the exterior paint.
How about replacing the "swing latch" with a toggle clamp, something like this:

https://www.mcmaster.com/toggle-clamps/

I'm sure you could make up a plate to secure the latch to the existing bolt hole without any mods to the body or paint. :thumbsup:
 

Loyalpoke

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City
Stillwater
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ok
#26
Agreed Randyzzz. I have the same issue. I haven't put on the bumper stops like you see on jpduece's first pic because it will keep the tail gate from lining up with the body. Something inside like the white plastic peice in your pic has to be the answer so the latches will keep it tight. I'm out of town for a few days or i would send a pic.
 

Randyzzz

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#28
I would be curious to know, did the taligate line up with the top of the bed from the factory.....
Hard to say. The old weatherstrip was pretty weathered and flat, so the tailgate lined up with light pressure but was loose. I’m realizing that the main culprit is the too-fat weatherstrip. That’s a common problem with most replacement weatherstrip. The second part is the latch system- the two spring washers allow too much slack, and the sheet metal “striker” is not tall enough or adjustable.

I looked into the draw latches, but they look a little to much like an add-on. Maybe a marine style latch might work, but no matter what you install there, it’s going to look hokey. That was my initial thought- there’s even a couple of 90 degree ones that might work.

I’m thinking that a rework of the original latch, installing a large fender washer in place of one of the wave washers. That would give the rotating lever something other than the tailgate to scratch. Maybe bend the short end of the lever down some so it sits more level. Then make a better UMHW wedge that will install permanently. That still puts a lot of tension on that one bolt into the tailgate.

As a last resort, I’ll remove and either rework or eliminate the weatherstrip so it takes less pressure to compress it. If I remove it I’ll find some type of rubber bumper to keep the tailgate tight.
 

OGRES

Ramblin' Wreck
LIFETIME
City
Suwanee
State
GA
#29
I am also looking to do something different with the tailgate latches. When you use the Bestop Supertop, you have to unzip the back to reach in and release the latches on the tailgate. I am annoyed with this at best.

I need to find an old tailgate and try some different options on it.
 

hefavitzen

Scrambler Junkie
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Rock Hill
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SC
#30
Bringing this thread back from the dead. Has anyone figured out how to build a better mousetrap? I mounted my tailgate tonite and while it fit great, the latches are loose. I even went for the Kentrol replacements. And once I installed the weatherstrip, it stuck out 3/8” on the top corners! I made some UHMW spacers and that helped some, but there’s got to be a better solution. Any ideas?

Tailgate installed.
View attachment 88301

Closed with spacers-
View attachment 88302 View attachment 88303

Spacer-
View attachment 88304
Totally not helping this topic, but daggum your Scrambler is nnnniiiiccceeeee :)
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#31
Just for the sake of throwing out ideas (but not one that will help you @Randyzzz, sorry) for this thread, here's a different kind of thought.

I have absolutely fallen deeply and madly in love with the TnT Customs body-mounted spare tire carrier that I put on the Postal a couple years ago. I have become convinced that it's not possible to improve on how well and rattle-free it holds my 35" spare and the fact that it's one simple latch that swings completely out of the way is just stellar.

(I welded my Runck rear bumper flush to the rear crossmember to reinforce the rear of the frame and replace my rotted rear body mounts, so I couldn't use any tire carrier that needed a bumper.)

https://www.tntcustoms.com/jeep_par..._86_jeep_cj7_cj8_scrambler_rear_tnt_customs_0

Jeep_CJ_Tire_Carrier_76-86_Jeep_CJ7_CJ8_Scrambler_Rear_TNT_Customs___Jeep_Aftermarket_Parts___...jpg

Big note: the other two "installed" photos on the TnT web page for this don't show the tire installed correctly IMO. I have the depth of the actual tire mount set so that the tire is pulled back pretty hard against the carrier frame/tubing by the lug nuts when they're run down. This cinches the tire and wheel against the tubing and makes it literally impossible for anything to rattle or vibrate after you set the alignment properly for the latch to really tighten everything down.

Since I took the World Cab off, I didn't bother putting the tailgate back on because this carrier fits so tightly to the body that only something small could slip out between the carrier and body. I got addicted to the back being completely open with just the one latch (mainly because I also despise the stock latches).

The idea hit me that I could mount the tailgate to the back side of the tire carrier with some standoffs and the way the carrier opened would be perfect to swing it open at the same time. I'm picturing four stainless or aluminum standoffs with some all thread. The carrier is so solid that you could really fine-tune the fitment and seal it up perfectly, even with fat weatherstrip.

So this is just a "two birds with one stone" kind of thought for someone with fab skills and in need of a tire carrier anyway :shrug:

A couple pictures from the install on my Jeep, so you should be able to see how it could work out, even though I haven't done it yet (I still am just running without one at all.

My other thought was to "fill" the tailgate opening by mounting one of the "long" Rotopax fuel carriers across the back side of the carrier in lieu of any actual tailgate. The more I've thought about this one, the more I like it for the way I use my Postal.

Installed pics:
you can see how close the frame is to the tailgate when closed. The standoffs wouldn't have to be very long at all. The other thing I want to do is drill a hole in the latch plate to add a padlock
IMG_6340.JPG

Showing the spacing and how I cinched the tire against the carrier frame to eliminate any vibration. I have looked at this multiple times trying to line up the standoffs between the gate and the frame, it just looks like it would be pretty straightforward.
IMG_6346.JPG

Anyway, FWIW...
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
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#32
Actually, @Randyzzz, this is a completely bolt-on solution outside of the holes you'd have to drill in the tailgate. You could just do some touch-up with the body paint and even color-match the carrier. I want to add a couple of the plastic spacers like you made for your tailgate for the spots where the tire hits the tubing, so it's not sitting on the painted surface directly. You could add those and put your CHMSL on it along with anything else you want to mount on the carrier...

Correction, there is the one outside hole for the latch plate you'd have to add. Mine fell exactly on one of the PSC corner armor holes, so I didn't actually have to drill that for the install, hence why I forgot about that one.
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
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City
Redmond
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OR
#37
Eric- I had thought of doing that on my Copper Scrambler. My mental gymnastics imagined a Poison Spyder swing down carrier with the tailgate attached. I gave up when I tried to design a power lift assist because that would be a hefty load. Would have been cool on Copper.

While I think doing something like you suggested would work great, I just don’t want to do that kind of a mod on this Scrambler. I want to keep the tailgate. The draw latch on your picture was an option I had considered, mounted on the rear supports, but I decided that would look a bit “off” on my build.

Keep the ideas coming! I enjoy seeing what you all come up with!
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
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Dexter
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MI
#38
Eric- I had thought of doing that on my Copper Scrambler. My mental gymnastics imagined a Poison Spyder swing down carrier with the tailgate attached. I gave up when I tried to design a power lift assist because that would be a hefty load. Would have been cool on Copper.

While I think doing something like you suggested would work great, I just don’t want to do that kind of a mod on this Scrambler. I want to keep the tailgate. The draw latch on your picture was an option I had considered, mounted on the rear supports, but I decided that would look a bit “off” on my build.

Keep the ideas coming! I enjoy seeing what you all come up with!
That’s why I initially said it wouldn’t be one for you. Just letting the ideas flow...
 

Randyzzz

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#39
That’s why I initially said it wouldn’t be one for you. Just letting the ideas flow...
And I appreciate it!

I wonder if a combination of the plastic inserts/shims and a more ergonomic handle would be the hot ticket. I realize that it would not help out on a soft top equipped Scrambler. I had that sorta worked out for Copper, but again never got around to implementing it. It involves a central T-handle, actuating rods inside the tailgate body, and something like hardtop window latches on the tailgate surface.

Another cool idea would be to have the bearclaw latches mounted on the body, a paddle handle latch on the upper left with a cable running under the bed to the right latch for a release.
 
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