Monday, May 05, 2014

Topic today? Another variation of a CJ tailgate with a YJ hard top. A recent trip to the Spring Carlisle auto flee market netted a latch from a vendor that we figured might work for the CJ tailgate that we planned on using with the YJ hard top. There have been several right ups on this conversion, all pretty ingenious in their own way, but for our street only version of this build, they just didn't meet our needs. Those being, lockable, open from the outside without it looking like a utility box and without opening the lift gate, water tight (as much as a stock CJ could be) no protruding latches and be able to sit on it. The fact that a CJ gate opens from the inside
versus a YJ from the outside was the problem. A YJ lift gate opens only after the bottom gate is opened, so if you can't get to the inside to open the bottom gate, well I'm sure you get the picture. This is a problem we knew we would face, but was put on the back burner until hopefully a solution fell in our laps. So $5.00 for the latch, we took a chance. I spent more for a Big Smokey sausage sandwich an hour earlier. Once home we analyzed the latch, Jeffrey commented that it looked familiar. Turns out it is the same latch that Poison Spyder uses on
their tailgates. The latch is made by Southco and if you can't find what you need from this company you better give up. The latch we used for mock up is not lockable, but a lockable version will be purchased from Southco. Poison Spyder makes a nice quality gate, but we didn't like the exposed latches on the inside. We like a tailgate to sit on, and we were thinking more along the line of hidden, as in two rods hidden inside the gate exiting out both sides into the body. Did some preliminary measuring and found the latch was thicker than the gate was thick. So a decorative aluminum housing was milled to
rectify this. This put the latch out further, and by cutting off some of the extra long shaft it would clear. Started by downloading specs from Southco and cut a hole in the face of a trashed tailgate we kept just for this purpose. Then an access hole was cut on the inside to facilitate hooking up the rods. Later a sheet metal cover will be fabricated to cover the inside hole and will eventually be covered by carpet. An actuating bar was made with a double D hole to slide over the latch shaft and bent to clear the clamp screw that holds the latch in place. Two holes are drilled and tapped 6-32 to fasten the rods. Two bushings were cut from 3/16 brake line tubing for
the 6-32 screws to pass through and tighten down without pinching and binding the flattened ends of the rods. The rods are 5/16 diameter with one end flattened and drilled 3/16 for the bushings. Holes were then drilled at each end of the gate for the rods to pass through. A slight curve was bent on the flattened end of the each rod to produce a longer movement for body engagement. This also limits the rods from dropping out the inside of the holes. After the gate is mounted to the body for it's final alignment, a dab of grease will be applied to each rod end, then actuated out against the body for accurate hole alignment to be drilled. Factory
weatherstripping can be utilized for a rattle free tight seal. So there you have it, another version of a CJ gate on a YJ and you can sit on it and crack open your favorite brew.


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