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    "Trailgate", Part 2

    Here is the bed support/tie down rail that I built in part one as it installs into the bed. We drilled 5 holes into the bed and bolted it on. It will provide strength to the bed and a place to hold the front tires of 2 dirt bikes.

    Here is how the thing works. It has a loop in the middle for the strap to hook on eliminating the need to cross straps and/or route them through the tires of the 2nd bike.

    Here is the other end. You can see how the end hole doubles as the 2nd hook for the other strap.

    The bed is now straight and much stronger with the added support of the rail. It shouldn't bend again and it should hold the tire in place as designed.

    If you remember from part one, I had just cut the tubing for the hinges on the tailgate. For the ford, it ended up being 1.5" id pipe. In this step I cut some plate with a 1.75" hole saw to cap the ends.

    After welding the plate to the tubing, I enlarged the hole with a step drill to the correct size for the plastic bushings that came off the stock tailgate. I cleaned the welds up with a grinder and a file.

    The stock ford tailgate has a notch in one end to allow easy removal of the tailgate. I cut the notch to match the stock tailgate so it will install just like the stock one. These "hinge" pieces will rotate on the plastic bushings, so it's important that the inside surface is as smooth as possible to eliminate binding and reduce wear on the bushings.

    Here's how the hinge pieces look welded onto what will be the base of the tailgate.

    I got the basic frame of the tailgate done today along with the cables to hold the gate up when lowered. I now need to add tubing to make the rest of the tailgate and extend it far enough to add the length needed in the bed and incorporate some ramps into the tailgate for loading. It will lower the height of the gate beyond stock when lowered for easier loading as well.

    A close up of the notched piece. When the gate is lowered halfway, this notch lines up with the post on the truck and the gate can be lifted away from the truck. When it's finished the gate will lock shut eliminating the possibility for it to be removed by anyone else, and keeping the bikes secure and locked when they are being transported.

    It doesn't look like much now, but it will begin to take shape over the next couple weeks or so. I'll be using the bender to shape the pieces which should add to the look and functionality of the gate. Hopefully it won't end up looking to dorky since it's being built for function first, mainly to extend the bed a few inches so the dirt bikes will fit with the tailgate closed.

    Part 1
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5, Finished!

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