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How hard is it to steal my tailgate?

strantor

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I keep stressing how (for me) this is less about the tailgate and more about the tools in the bed, so may as well show the bed cover. This is where I'm at so far (not very far):

Some scraps of 3/16" aluminum sheet cut and shoddily "welded" into the general shape of my bed.
20210516_194403.jpg
I had to weld in a 3" strip in the middle to make the two sheets cover the whole bed. Turned out badly. I hate welding aluminum. I thought I was extra careful to not get too much heat in it, only little stitches an inch long, every foot or so, let it cool, come back and do it again, repeat. Nah, still warped. I'm going to cut out the middle section and replace it with a wider strip and probably not weld it this time, just silicone the seams. There will be 3/8" HDPE sheet (or maybe UHMW if I can get some for a reasonable price) over the top of the aluminum, nobody will see it.

This picture represents the completeness of my thoughts about how it's going to attach to the truck:
20210521_064618.jpg
It's going to be a scissor lift action or something close to that. I've decided to make everything out of unistrut as I've got a lot of it laying around and it's like an erector set for grown men. Since I'm just going about this renegade style, no drawn plans and only half thought out mental ones, the unistrut will offer maximum flexibility to my mechanisms functioning as intended. I'll be able to tweak the hinge/pivot points and gas strut mounting points.

Here's how the scissor action will happen:
20210520_213050.jpg

20210520_213101.jpg
I cut these plastic slider things on the lathe out of UHMW drops. They're round but they're not intended to be rollers; it would be better if they were rectangular but I found it's a lot easier to make things round when using a lathe. they're a tight-ish fit so there's very little slop but they slide freely inside the unistrut with no lubrication.
 

strantor

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I foresee a lot of little scratches on your tailgate where the magnet goes. You don’t think the electronic mechanism is enough annoyance / deterrent? There are easier targets in the parking lot
I can put a bumper sticker over the Reed switch area so the scratches don't make it obvious where to put the magnet (assuming someone knows a magnet is required). But trucks are supposed to have scratches. Maybe I'll scratch up a different spot as a decoy :D.

You're probably right and I don't have much to worry about but that won't stop me worrying anyway. Maybe this is more about peace of mind than functional security but I'm too far into it to stop and self-analyze. This is my livelihood we're talking about. It's taken my whole career to accumulate my tools and they're worth more than this brand new truck (to me anyway). I travel with a fire extinguisher, and a gun, and life insurance "just in case" the unlikely happens. This is no different.
 
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McHenry2500

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I'm just curious to see someone actually make something for their truck!

Hard to tell from the pictures but will the cover hinge from the front of the bed?
 

strantor

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I'm just curious to see someone actually make something for their truck!

Hard to tell from the pictures but will the cover hinge from the front of the bed?
I have two (ok, more than two) competing ideas. The first is the scissor lift style that I described. The solid 1-piece bed cover would lift straight up like this:
Screenshot_20210521-084249_Drive.jpg

The other one is like one half of a scissor lift, so it could hinge up from the front or from the back, or both at the same time, similar in function to this (but simpler design):
 

Brewbud

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I can put a bumper sticker over the Reed switch area so the scratches don't make it obvious where to put the magnet (assuming someone knows a magnet is required). But trucks are supposed to have scratches. Maybe I'll scratch up a different spot as a decoy :D.

You're probably right and I don't have much to worry about but that won't stop me worrying anyway. Maybe this is more about peace of mind than functional security but I'm too far into it to stop and self-analyze. This is my livelihood we're talking about. It's taken my whole career to accumulate my tools and they're worth more than this brand new truck (to me anyway). I travel with a fire extinguisher, and a gun, and life insurance "just in case" the unlikely happens. This is no different.

I had a hidden magnetic reed switch to start my old Jeep. I didn't have to hold the magnet against the area where the magnet is. Only get it close. It was there for over 15 years and you still couldn't see where the magnet needed to be placed.
 

g00fy

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I keep stressing how (for me) this is less about the tailgate and more about the tools in the bed, so may as well show the bed cover. This is where I'm at so far (not very far):

Some scraps of 3/16" aluminum sheet cut and shoddily "welded" into the general shape of my bed.
View attachment 16605
I had to weld in a 3" strip in the middle to make the two sheets cover the whole bed. Turned out badly. I hate welding aluminum. I thought I was extra careful to not get too much heat in it, only little stitches an inch long, every foot or so, let it cool, come back and do it again, repeat. Nah, still warped. I'm going to cut out the middle section and replace it with a wider strip and probably not weld it this time, just silicone the seams. There will be 3/8" HDPE sheet (or maybe UHMW if I can get some for a reasonable price) over the top of the aluminum, nobody will see it.

This picture represents the completeness of my thoughts about how it's going to attach to the truck:
View attachment 16604
It's going to be a scissor lift action or something close to that. I've decided to make everything out of unistrut as I've got a lot of it laying around and it's like an erector set for grown men. Since I'm just going about this renegade style, no drawn plans and only half thought out mental ones, the unistrut will offer maximum flexibility to my mechanisms functioning as intended. I'll be able to tweak the hinge/pivot points and gas strut mounting points.

Here's how the scissor action will happen:
View attachment 16606

View attachment 16607
I cut these plastic slider things on the lathe out of UHMW drops. They're round but they're not intended to be rollers; it would be better if they were rectangular but I found it's a lot easier to make things round when using a lathe. they're a tight-ish fit so there's very little slop but they slide freely inside the unistrut with no lubrication.


This is OT but i really like what you did there with those UHMW sliders, I really want to make a sliding bed extender like i used to have in my old nissan frontier (way more handy then the stupid fixed flip Mopar bed extender) that would fit into the side brackets like you put in. Wish i had a lathe to make my own sliders.
 

strantor

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This is OT but i really like what you did there with those UHMW sliders, I really want to make a sliding bed extender like i used to have in my old nissan frontier (way more handy then the stupid fixed flip Mopar bed extender) that would fit into the side brackets like you put in. Wish i had a lathe to make my own sliders.
Thanks. I'll wait and see how they perform with a 250lb bed cover bearing down on them before I give myself any back pats.

They sell unistrut trolleys with bearings on Amazon that might work for you. They're really meant to hang down for making something like an improvised gantry but I made these instead since I had the materials and since I've got the unistrut sideways and wasn't sure how well the trolleys would do sideways.

If you want to make some, you don't need a lathe but it does make things easier. You could cut it out with a hacksaw and then it would be rectangular which is probably better anyway.
 

strantor

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Got the bed cover basic frame complete. I was going to use unistrut for everything but I thought this heavy wall 1x2" rectangular tubing would be better. This was way more challenging than I had expected. There are no right angles in the bed. It's roughly 4" wider at the front than at the rear, and the rails have a 5 degree downward slope which made each cut of the angle iron into a compound cut with a weird angle. I gave up on trying to measure angles and scribe lines, just got it close and attacked each corner with the angle grinder until everything fit nicely, then tacked it in place on the truck to make sure the shape was right.

20210522_213758.jpg

In the picture above you can see the unistrut doesn't line up with the bed rail. the unistrut is straight, parallel with the other piece on the other side. The bed rails are not straight. Tapers toward the rear
 

strantor

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Well turns out the UHMW unistrut sliders didn't make it into the final product. Not sure if they work under load, never tested them. I went for the simpler design, half-scissor (is there an official name for this?)

You can now see what I meant about lifting from the front, rear, or both. I'm pretty stoked that it works in real life just like it did in my head. That doesn't always happen.
20210523_164529.jpg

20210523_164713.jpg

20210523_164814.jpg

I have 2 pairs of gas struts coming tomorrow, thank goodness. This thing is stupid heavy and I am going to have a real hard time lifting it with the aluminum deck on it.
 

ckreef

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If nobody steals my tailgate why do I need one. I already have one..
 

strantor

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Just some info on how the tailgate “lock” works so you can figure accordingly:
There is no actual lock solenoid, so there’s no lock and unlock driver circuits like there are for the door handles. It’s a switch on the tailgate handle, and two electronic latches. You press the switch on on the handle, and it sends a pulse to the BCM, who in turn, sends the release signal to the latches. If the BCM recognizes that the doors are locked, it ignores the signal from the switch. If the BCM recognizes that the doors are unlocked, then it will recognize the signal from the tailgate switch and allow the signal to the latches.
I found the wiring diagram for the tailgate today, I see they're using a sourcing input to the BCM for the tailgate switch. Pretty silly IMO. If that wire chafes against the frame or anything else metal along its path to the BCM, the tailgate will open as soon as the doors are unlocked.
 
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Rockcrawlindude

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I found the wiring diagram for the tailgate today, I see they're using a sourcing input to the BCM for the tailgate switch. Pretty silly IMO. If that wire chafes against the frame or anything else metal along its path to the BCM, the tailgate will open as soon as the doors are unlocked.
Why would it do that? When has that ever happened where a wire just gets nekkid under your truck and starts rubbing on metal and opening things or unlocking things? All the wiring is adequately protected.
You have serious trust issues, dude.

using your logic .. there are only 4 bolts holding the driveshaft in. They could all loosen up and the shaft could jettison at anytime
 

strantor

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Why would it do that? When has that ever happened where a wire just gets nekkid under your truck and starts rubbing on metal and opening things or unlocking things? All the wiring is adequately protected.
You have serious trust issues, dude.

using your logic .. there are only 4 bolts holding the driveshaft in. They could all loosen up and the shaft could jettison at anytime
You've never had a wire chafe against metal and short out? I think I've had that happen on just about on every vehicle I've owned. But those vehicles all used positive (sinking) logic* so when the wire shorts out it blows a fuse instead of initiating some kind of unpredictable action. Probably most of your vehicles did too, and that's why the concept of the tailgate popping open seems so ridiculous to you. That's why I commented on it. Because it's weird and unconventional*. I'm not sure why you seemed to take it personally and replied in a way that I'm supposed to take personally.

*it is common to use sourcing inputs for the ECU, and sensors in the engine bay that are located near the ECU, but this is different.
 
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Jimmy07

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I found the wiring diagram for the tailgate today, I see they're using a sourcing input to the BCM for the tailgate switch. Pretty silly IMO. If that wire chafes against the frame or anything else metal along its path to the BCM, the tailgate will open as soon as the doors are unlocked.
I know what you are thinking, but it doesn’t work that way, and that won’t happen.
 

Rockcrawlindude

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You've never had a wire chafe against metal and short out? I think I've had that happen on just about on every vehicle I've owned. But those vehicles all used positive (sinking) logic* so when the wire shorts out it blows a fuse instead of initiating some kind of unpredictable action. Probably most of your vehicles did too, and that's why the concept of the tailgate popping open seems so ridiculous to you. That's why I commented on it. Because it's weird and unconventional*. I'm not sure why you seemed to take it personally and replied in a way that I'm supposed to take personally.

*it is common to use sourcing inputs for the ECU, and sensors in the engine bay that are located near the ECU, but this is different.
Lol. You’ve had wires chafe against metal and short out in every vehicle you’ve owned? That’s some bad luck.

Maybe thats why people drive with their high beams on. Their wires must have chafed.. and I just thought they were stupid.
 
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strantor

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Lol. You’ve had wires chafe against metal and short out in every vehicle you’ve owned? That’s some bad luck.

Maybe thats why people drive with their high beams on. Their wires must have chafed.. and I just thought they were stupid.
I get it, you think I'm an idiot. You might be right, I always suspected... but my mommy always told me I'm such a clever boy :D
 

strantor

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20210524_212713.jpg
Got it standing up on its own two "legs?" tonight. Gas strut geometry was a little abstract but eventually got where it gracefully comes right up nice and level. Will probably have to rework it once I put the aluminum deck on but for now this will make working on it much easier.
20210524_212924.jpg

20210524_213821.jpg
 

MEGA HO

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Not exactly sure which metal the tailgate is made from, but it's very likely the magnetic field will not pass through it it's steel.
Test it before you start hacking wires and things.
 

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