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Unread 01-06-2009, 09:33 AM   #1
firefighter315
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Tailgate project.....

I originally started this thread in Jan. 2009 and updated it for the FAQ/Projects section 05/23/2011 with some repairs. Updates start on page 4.

I know a million people have probably already done this, but I was a bit bored when I did it and ended up taking some pics, so I thought I might as well post a thread on it. I recently got tired of having the OEM tire mount and third brake light on my rear gate and took them both off. The PO only had a small dry rotted spare on it anyway and it served me no purpose when running 35s. I knew when I took it off that I had a little cancer along the bottom edge of the gate that needed attention. I also wanted to come up with a way to fill, cover, deal with the now empty bolt holes in the gate.

I originally threaded in some new hardware that I had painted to match, but ended up not liking the "Frankenstein" bolt look it gave. Being bored and looking for winter garage projects, I decided to remedy the problem and make the mounting holes go away. I never plan to reinstall a tire carrier to my gate anyway as I feel it is a bad design when it comes to larger tires. I started by grinding off the rust area along the bottom and another smaller area near the center. Quickly got to good metal and smoothed it out with a Dremel and some fine grit sanding discs. Rather than have a patch work paint job on the gate, I decided to fill, prep, and paint the whole thing. I'd rather have a slightly mismatched tailgate for a while than a gate with strips of varying color. I started by filling the bolt holes layer by layer with some 4 minute JB Kwik.

This stuff is great because it is workable so much faster than the original JB Weld. Downside is you have to work fast with it. I allowed the holes to self level and continued to layer the JB until each hole was hardened with a very slight concave surface to it.




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Unread 01-06-2009, 09:42 AM   #2
firefighter315
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I did this to all of the holes, including the one previously occupied by the wiring grommet for the third brake light and the ones where the rubber tire bumpers were.

After allowing the JB to cure, I roughed up the surface of each a bit and filled the now slight concave shape with Bondo glazing compound.

This brand glazing compound sets up in around 15 to 20 minutes and can be easily worked after around 30. I also used this to smooth and fill the area along the bottom edge where I removed the cancer.



To work and smooth the glazing compound, I used a 3M sanding block with 320 grit paper first, and finished with 800 grit. (would probably have been fine with just 320)

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Unread 01-06-2009, 09:50 AM   #3
firefighter315
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After working with it a bit and fixing mistakes here and there, I finally ended up with a nice smooth gate with all of the holes filled.




Now that it was time to prime and paint, I cleaned the surface carefully with some alcohol (isopropyl, not the good stuff) and allowed it to dry. I applied two or three coats of Rustoleum rattle can primer and it went on nice and even. I did put some hardware in the hinge bolt holes to keep from gumming up the threads with paint.
First pass....

After second or third coat....
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Unread 01-06-2009, 09:54 AM   #4
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looks good
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Unread 01-06-2009, 10:01 AM   #5
firefighter315
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I finished the paint job with some Krylon Fusion rattle can paint. This is the paint that is marketed for use on plastics, but it also works well with wood and metal applications (or so the can says). I guess I'll find out over the next couple of months if that is true. I put on three coats of paint and two or three coats of clear coat. No wetsanding in between and it still came out VERY smooth. I am pleased with the results of this rattle can paint job. It's amazing how well it works when you actually follow the directions on the can. I have a history of not doing that....

Here it is with the latching hardware reinstalled. I also cleaned that hardware up and hit it with some Rustoleum satin black.

After allowing it to cure for a day or two, I reinstalled it with the hinges that I had stripped and painted black along with all the other hinges on the doors and windshield....after a couple of adjustments, it was opening and closing smoothly....



Ignore the pitiful excuse for a hitch in those pics....PO installed and I don't use it. Hopefully I'll get it cut off soon and get some respectable bumpers on both the rear and front.....
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Unread 01-06-2009, 10:11 AM   #6
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I don't really mind the color difference for now. I will likely paint the whole Heep sometime this summer. I have a good friend with a great paint booth who is willing to paint for the cost of materials only!!!
While I was at it, I got rid of the brush guard hoop on the front and painted my headlight bezels to match the hinges.....told ya I was bored!!!


Well, that's it.......nothing spectacular or complicated. I am really happy with the results (other than the color difference, and I can live with that for a while) and like the clean lines of the rear without the factory carrier mounted to the gate. I plan to integrate a carrier with a new rear bumper project. Got to get a welder and get to practicing a ton before tackling that one.... Let me know what ya'll think and if anyone has any other ideas/comments. Next project this week (hopefully) is installing some Mesa 4x4 flush mount LED tail lights.....corner armor and fuel filler move after that....
Good thing I have a crappy old soft top that I won't use and don't have a hardtop for the winter....I'm getting a lot more done than I would if I was driving it all winter!!! Can't wait until spring!!!
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Last edited by firefighter315; 01-06-2009 at 12:16 PM.. Reason: typo
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Unread 01-06-2009, 10:12 AM   #7
rustywrangler
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Very well done my friend. Looks good.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 10:29 AM   #8
firefighter315
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suthernjeeper View Post
looks good
Quote:
Originally Posted by rustywrangler View Post
Very well done my friend. Looks good.
Thanks guys! This was sort of a learning experience for me, just like every other thing I have done to this YJ, because my body work experience is somewhere between 0 and 0.000000001......
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Unread 01-06-2009, 11:20 AM   #9
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Nice job, thats a good lookin jeep too!
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Unread 01-06-2009, 01:50 PM   #10
firefighterjeep
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Nice job. Maybe I'll swing by that tiny garage of yours and you can help me with mine!
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Unread 01-06-2009, 02:02 PM   #11
firefighter315
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Originally Posted by firefighterjeep View Post
Nice job. Maybe I'll swing by that tiny garage of yours and you can help me with mine!
Thanks Brother!!! (that's an inside jab he's givin' me....)
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Unread 01-06-2009, 02:06 PM   #12
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Man, just working on my personal workspace in the new workshop!!! Fire up the fridge!!!
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Unread 01-06-2009, 02:31 PM   #13
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Man, just working on my personal workspace in the new workshop!!! Fire up the fridge!!!
Wine coolers and spritzers for you, right? I'll have to run down to Liquor Outlet and get you some of those little umbrellas.....

Man, you know you don't have to worry about a spot! "You go, We go..." applies to walking into a new shop too whenever it should happen.....right?
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Unread 01-06-2009, 02:35 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by firefighter315 View Post
Wine coolers and spritzers for you, right? I'll have to run down to Liquor Outlet and get you some of those little umbrellas.....

Man, you know you don't have to worry about a spot! "You go, We go..." applies to walking into a new shop too whenever it should happen.....right?

You got it. In the bonds of brotherhood, man.
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Unread 01-06-2009, 02:55 PM   #15
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looks good it cleans the rear up so much i like it
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