Tailgate latch ideas?

Kim Dawson

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Molalla
State
Or
#41
As long as we are just venting ideas here. I usually just bend the latch piece on the tail gate to tighten up the tail gate. But, if I knew I was having a soft top with hard to get the back open issues, I'd put a hole in the tail gate in line where the latch piece bolts on and weld a tube in between the sheet metal so no water could get inside the tail gate. Then screw a relatively flat latch on over the hole. The latch would have a square where a T handle with a square would fit in and turn the latch and the arm would swing out and lock behind the side of the bed similar to how the original latch would have latched. On antique cars, these were called budget latches. Keep the T handle in the glove box and get it out when you need it. CJ7s with Wrangler tops cause this hard to open up the back situation. This method wouldn't be friendly to a nicely painted tail gate.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#43
As long as we are just venting ideas here. I usually just bend the latch piece on the tail gate to tighten up the tail gate. But, if I knew I was having a soft top with hard to get the back open issues, I'd put a hole in the tail gate in line where the latch piece bolts on and weld a tube in between the sheet metal so no water could get inside the tail gate. Then screw a relatively flat latch on over the hole. The latch would have a square where a T handle with a square would fit in and turn the latch and the arm would swing out and lock behind the side of the bed similar to how the original latch would have latched. On antique cars, these were called budget latches. Keep the T handle in the glove box and get it out when you need it. CJ7s with Wrangler tops cause this hard to open up the back situation. This method wouldn't be friendly to a nicely painted tail gate.
This sounds like something someone with skills could make and sell to the entire CJ crowd. Though I’d think two versions would be needed, removable handle and permanent.

I could see some folks who don’t want to bother with having the handle separate. The removable handle is fine if you assume you’ll be getting out of the Jeep before needing to open the gate but I’d hate to have to get inside the Jeep every time I wanted to get the gate open if I wasn’t already in there :shrug: maybe even worse than the stock latches to me.
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#44
As long as we are just venting ideas here. I usually just bend the latch piece on the tail gate to tighten up the tail gate. But, if I knew I was having a soft top with hard to get the back open issues, I'd put a hole in the tail gate in line where the latch piece bolts on and weld a tube in between the sheet metal so no water could get inside the tail gate. Then screw a relatively flat latch on over the hole. The latch would have a square where a T handle with a square would fit in and turn the latch and the arm would swing out and lock behind the side of the bed similar to how the original latch would have latched. On antique cars, these were called budget latches. Keep the T handle in the glove box and get it out when you need it. CJ7s with Wrangler tops cause this hard to open up the back situation. This method wouldn't be friendly to a nicely painted tail gate.
That’s a great twist on an interesting idea. I had tossed about the twin T-handle idea, especially with a collapsible T-handle like on SnugTop camper shells. Great for full top Jeeps, but probably not necessary for an open bed. But a great idea!
 

Loyalpoke

Legacy Registered User
LIFETIME
City
Stillwater
State
ok
#45
I may try to tackle this issue this afternoon. Here is what I'm up against.

IMG_0954 2.JPG IMG_0954 2.JPG


First, I need some kind of bumper stop to protect the paint. I think the key is to keep it thin so the gate has the best chance to line up with the body fully closed. Working on the OE rotating latches... they may be bent a little from 38 years of use, I'll try to adjust. Next if I understand Randyzzz correctly, there is a spring washer under the latches. I'm in search of them today, won't hurt to try.
 

barrys

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
East Norriton
State
PA
#46
I have found the spring(aka wave) washers at my local Ace hardware in the Hillman fasteners area.
 
City
Halifax
State
UK
#51
I would of thought the wave washers were more to stop rattling and put a little bit of tension on the latch to stop it flopping about not for tension to keep the tailgate firmly closed, (only have one per side on each of mine!)
Has anyone on the forum got a tailgate that actually sits flush? i hadn't noticed mine didnt until i tread this thread and i also have an MD Juan tub where anything could of happened :D
 

Loyalpoke

Legacy Registered User
LIFETIME
City
Stillwater
State
ok
#57
Sorry, somehow I sent the last message in the middle of typing it.
When the gate is shut and lined up, the gap between the latch and the knob it's supposed to rest on is 3/8". Not enough space to bend the latch tight, may need to build up soething on the bump or knob side. Is my new tailgate a different thickness than the OE?
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#58
Sorry, somehow I sent the last message in the middle of typing it.
When the gate is shut and lined up, the gap between the latch and the knob it's supposed to rest on is 3/8". Not enough space to bend the latch tight, may need to build up soething on the bump or knob side. Is my new tailgate a different thickness than the OE?
No, that’s the common issue. If you install weatherstrip the latches are tight, the tailgate just sticks out a lot. In my pics I made some plastic spacers that took up that slack. That’s probably the easiest way to solve the issue, although there’s a bunch of good ideas posted up here. Just depends on how you want it to look.
 

jak inc

I H8 RUST!
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Merton
State
WI
#59
I think CJ7 with its covered top had gaskets while the CJ8 had two small bump stops therefore making the tailgate open for letting water out.
 
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