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How hard is it to steal my tailgate?

strantor

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I just got a 2021 Ram 2500 tradesman and I live in Houston TX where stealing tailgates is as popular as football. I'm fabricating a bed cover for it that will be as close to "impenetrable" as a bed cover can get. The idea is that if you want my tailgate or whatever is in my bed your only options involve power tools and/or an acetylene torch, and you'll probably want to have a tow truck handy so you won't be doing all that heavy demo out in the open. Back at your chop shop you'll find that it will be easier to cut a hole through the side of the bed than through my bed cover.

The only unknown of my plan is the tailgate latch/lock. It seems pretty secure to me since it locks electrically with the door locks and has no keyhole to pick. My truck doesn't have that keyfob sensing/auto unlock feature that seems to be the weak point of modern Mopar vehicles due to black market repeaters. So if you can't repeater your way into the cab and you don't have a lock to pick, what options are left? Can they get a slim Jim between the tailgate and bed and finnagle the actual latch open? If they smash a window and hit unlock will it unlock?

If it's as easy as that, then I'll incorporate the tailgate in my plan so when the bed cover comes down it slides some heavy steel dowels into the tailgate, making it impossible to open unless you've first managed to get the bed cover open. But I would like to avoid this as it would significantly hamper my own daily use of the thing.

I doubt your average tailgate collector is going to make any attempt at it but it's less about the tailgate and more about the tools in the bed that are worth more than the truck, and I drive across the country staying in hotels not always in nicest areas, That's why I'm going to such extremes.
 
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Jimmy07

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If I was to set out one night specifically in search of 2019+ ram HD tailgates, all I would need is a 12v battery that fits the palm of my hand with a two wire pigtail. Seeing a truck with a contraption of a bedcover you are describing would be a prime target I would be curious to see what’s inside. The only thing that would deter me is if the bed cover rolled over the top of the tailgate, preventing it from being opened, regardless if it’s locked or not.
 

strantor

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If I was to set out one night specifically in search of 2019+ ram HD tailgates, all I would need is a 12v battery that fits the palm of my hand with a two wire pigtail. Seeing a truck with a contraption of a bedcover you are describing would be a prime target I would be curious to see what’s inside. The only thing that would deter me is if the bed cover rolled over the top of the tailgate, preventing it from being opened, regardless if it’s locked or not.
Got it. Unbelievable it's that simple. I mean headlights have canbus, why can't a tailgate lock? Thank you!
 

LateToTheParty

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It sounds like you may have some welding skills, so one thought would be that you could simply weld a small plate over the "gap" on the passenger's side tailgate hinge, keeping the rotation, but preventing removal. Granted, you'd have to grind it off if you ever needed/wanted to remove the tailgate yourself, but would prevent easy removal by the typical tweaker, as well as the more sophisticated electronic defeat as Jimmy suggested.

Of course that doesn't do a thing to prevent opening it and getting to the bed, but maybe with the contraption you're planning to build, you could account for that?
 

dmk9

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If I was to set out one night specifically in search of 2019+ ram HD tailgates, all I would need is a 12v battery that fits the palm of my hand with a two wire pigtail. Seeing a truck with a contraption of a bedcover you are describing would be a prime target I would be curious to see what’s inside. The only thing that would deter me is if the bed cover rolled over the top of the tailgate, preventing it from being opened, regardless if it’s locked or not.
How would this work?
 

H3LZSN1P3R

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Buy one of the tailgate hinge locks and replace the allen head bolts with Security torx bolts.... most people dont have the bit for em
 

revjvegas

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I'm more concerned about the catalytic converter getting stolen than the tailgate to be honest.
Those are up like what..400% here in the Houston area.
 

Jimmy07

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How would this work?
Just unplug the 4-way connector by the spare tire (the one that gets disconnected anyway when removing the tailgate), and apply 12v and ground to the latch release terminals- there’s only 3 pins in the 4-way connector, so it won’t take long to figure it out.
 

Eatonpcat

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If I had to guess, putting them on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for a quick buck.

How many people have destroyed their tailgate on a 2019+ truck...seems like it would be a small market. I can see older models as around here they tend to rust.
 

LateToTheParty

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How many people have destroyed their tailgate on a 2019+ truck...seems like it would be a small market. I can see older models as around here they tend to rust.
I am far from an expert, but I do scour Craigslist pretty frequently. Last week (in my area) there were at least a dozen posts for tailgates for 19+ HDs and today there's only one. No clue if all of the others sold or if the ads just came down, but there is at least some movement.

And while not directly correlated, I've also heard 3 neighbors come home in the last week missing catalytic converters, stolen while they were out running errands.

Bottom line, thieves will be thieves.
 

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