Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Land Cruiser 100 Tailgate Cover

One glaring weakness of the Land Cruiser 100 series is the tailgate cover.  We absolutely love having the tailgate but for some reason Toyota chose to cover it in carpet backed by thin fiber board.  If you are doing anything beyond keeping your cruiser in the garage then you are bound to get mud and at a minimum rain on the tailgate.  This quickly makes the carpet look terrible and slowly erodes the fiber board backing. Eventually the backing won’t hold to the retaining clips if you can stand the condition of the carpet that long.  There are a number of small companies out they that make everything from aluminum covers that include storage doors to simple cutting board style covers to linexed covers.  We were part way through the construction of our off road storage drawers when we recognized that if we had a board ready to go we could coat it with monstaliner at the same time that we coat the drawers. 
We decided to go with ½” pine sheathing for the wood.  This is cheap wood and would have preferred to use ½” birch to ensure a smooth finish but that was not available. 
  1. First we traced the outline of the carpeted cover on the plywood and cut out the board. 
  2. Second we used a router to round the edge of the board.
  3. We developed a template for the holes in the board using standard poster board.  We place the carpet cover on top of the poster board bottom up and used a punch to mark approximate hole locations based on the locations of the clips.  This got us within a sixtennth of an inch between holes.  We knew we needed these holes to be precise for the fasteners to work properly.  To get them very precise we fine tuned the punch markes with exact measurements between the holes working from hole to hole, starting in the middle and moving to the sides measuring the tail gate and then transferring to the poster board.  The last few on each side were done triangulating between two other holes.  
  4. Following that we drilled 5/16” holes at each location on the poster board and verified accuracy of the placement.  There were a few holes that were off slightly.  We covered those holes with duct tape and used a punch to mark the exact location with a punch while in position on the tail gate.
  5. We used the template to drill holes by first counter sinking with a 3/8” spade bit  to accommodate the screw head and washer and following with a XXX” bit for the screw. 
  6. Following the hole prep for the fasteners we coated the board with monstaliner
  7. The board is attached using well nuts that are 5/16” wide (Amazon link below).  It is necessary to place small washers on top of the well nut to shim it up to the board due to recesses in the the tailgate.  This ensures the well nut is fully seated in the hole and gives the maximum hold.  We applied a small amount of lock tite and placed each screw through the hole in the board with one washer on the top and the number necessary to properly shim we started a couple threads on each well nut and then aligned them to each hole in the tail gate.  Then we tightened each screw until firm but not too tight.

The plywood was $16 and we only used half.  The screws and washers were about $8.  The well nuts came in a pack of 25 and were $19 but glad we have the spares.  The tinted monstaliner was about $150 for a gallon and we used about half of that for the drawers and the tailgate cover took maybe 12-20% of the liner we mixed, so if I had to guess maybe $15 worth of monstaliner.  Of course you only get that deal if you have another project for the liner.  Cost was $43 plus $15 for the liner for a total of $58 with enough wood to make the next one.  Considering many of the replacements you can buy are in the 300-$500 range I think this is one hell of a deal and definitely worth the labor.

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