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Anyone Attach Rigid Molle Panel to Outside of Tailgate?

ravenrugger

New Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Sandy Hook, CT
First time hello from me. Recently sold my Harley to get into jeeping and the family has been having a blast this summer. I have a thought for some exterior storage for camping, tailgating, etc. and wondering whether anyone else has done something similar to help me think through best approach.

I don't run a spare tire on the tailgate and was thinking I could mount a fixed, rigid molle panel across the outside of the tailgate and could attach tents, bag chairs, a duffle with my frameless soft top, etc. with removable straps when we need the space in the "trunk" of the TJ.

I'm thinking of leaving the spare tire bumpers in place and then securing a panel with bolts and pulling it just tight enough to get just a bit of pressure against the bumpers and use them as isolation to prevent rattling and damage to the paint. This should give me a perfect amount of space behind the panel to fish straps and such through. I care less about this part, but I'm thinking that it might even look good (black powder coated or bedlined panel on my dark red jeep) when nothing is attached to it, or will at least look better than the current tailgate which does not have the spare delete panel in place and looks fine but not great.

Anyone ever done this? Pics or thoughts to share? If you haven't done it, what do you think of the idea - any advice or anything you would think twice about or do a certain way if doing it yourself?

My biggest concern/unanswered question is how best to mount it (remembering i need a gap behind so I can't just screw it on with self tapping screws) without destroying the tailgate and so that if I mount 20-30 pounds or so on there the panel will stay secure. Apprecaite any ideas or advice on this part too!!

Thanks and happy Friday everyone!
 

ranwilrw

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
137
Location
Georgia
First time hello from me. Recently sold my Harley to get into jeeping and the family has been having a blast this summer. I have a thought for some exterior storage for camping, tailgating, etc. and wondering whether anyone else has done something similar to help me think through best approach.

I don't run a spare tire on the tailgate and was thinking I could mount a fixed, rigid molle panel across the outside of the tailgate and could attach tents, bag chairs, a duffle with my frameless soft top, etc. with removable straps when we need the space in the "trunk" of the TJ.

I'm thinking of leaving the spare tire bumpers in place and then securing a panel with bolts and pulling it just tight enough to get just a bit of pressure against the bumpers and use them as isolation to prevent rattling and damage to the paint. This should give me a perfect amount of space behind the panel to fish straps and such through. I care less about this part, but I'm thinking that it might even look good (black powder coated or bedlined panel on my dark red jeep) when nothing is attached to it, or will at least look better than the current tailgate which does not have the spare delete panel in place and looks fine but not great.

Anyone ever done this? Pics or thoughts to share? If you haven't done it, what do you think of the idea - any advice or anything you would think twice about or do a certain way if doing it yourself?

My biggest concern/unanswered question is how best to mount it (remembering i need a gap behind so I can't just screw it on with self tapping screws) without destroying the tailgate and so that if I mount 20-30 pounds or so on there the panel will stay secure. Apprecaite any ideas or advice on this part too!!

Thanks and happy Friday everyone!
Here's what I did, it's a good down table for inside of tailgate. I replaced the wimpy cables with chain and ran bolts all the way through the tailgate and put fender washers on the inside.
IMG_20190727_101215.jpg
IMG_20190727_101100.jpg

IMG_20190727_101100.jpg
 
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ravenrugger

ravenrugger

New Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Sandy Hook, CT
Thanks for the feedback guys. @ranwilrw I actually already have a tailgate table that I made to go on the inside of the tailgate (it's in the video I attached here), but I really like your setup. I ended up having a couple beers and fumbling around Tractor Supply for some inspiration. Here's what I ended up doing - I'll post better pics if there's interest, but got this done late last night and forgot to take more pics.

I have two quick detach options on the outside of the tailgate now. The first is a quick detach X Track rail that I can fasten things to, add hooks, etc. to suit my needs. I mounted Tractor Supply bulldog farm jack mounts on either side of the spare tire footprint using metal screws and a couple anchored bolts. The carriage bolts on the jack mount easily pop through and run into the tracks on the x track rail and it secures with a large washer and wingnut on each side. I did this a few days ago and it holds my bowless soft top and a couple camping bag chairs very well, nice and snug to the tailgate without any loosening or rattling. Super nice and convenient.

I also wanted some storage that locked and for things that are less easy to strap down. camp stove, blutooth speaker, even groceries if I have the boys in the back and need storage - so I started thing ink about mounting a cargo box to the x track system I got set up. This sort of worked but I was worried about the stress that the size and weight of a loaded utility box would put on the mounts I installed. A few more beers and I started eyeing the old spare tire carrier. I mounted the spare carrier to the back of the utility box by drilling three holes in the box, popping the 3 posts for the spare through, and securing with a mending plate and lug nuts. Then, five bolts to stick it on the tailgate where the spare tire mount would fasten from factory, and it is securely in place. I plan on securing a few fastening points to the top of the trunk so that I can attach the chairs, top, popup tent, etc. right on top. Doesn't rattle or seem structurally insecure. Five minutes on and five minutes off and it locks with a padlock. In theory someone could grab a socket and remove and run away with the whole box, but it's big and I don't frequent many places where I'd be concerned about that. The pic makes it look crooked (before I changed to spare tire mount) but in real life it is dead straight now that mounted better (see video). **Also, the pic I posted shows the spare tire brake light still connected, but it is now removed and looks much better. I got this all done late at night and my son's room is right above the garage. Since there was one stubborn bolt that needed either an impact gone or Sawzall to deal with, I saved it for the morning.

When I don't want to run the utility trunk or the x track, all that stays on the jeep are two small jack mounts which blend in and look fine. I'm pretty happy with the outcome. Now we can camp or tailgate with the boys all in the jeep and pack our stuff.

So now, I have a few different options to suit my needs and I don't think it looks "too" rednecked on there

. What do you guys think?
Jeep Trunk.JPG
 
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moab

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Messages
1,246
Location
El Segundo, California
You might consider this (or one of their even heavier units) tow hitch shelf. It's rated to 500lbs. And only costs $56.


I'm not sure your plastic chest is going to stay there with just bolts holding it. If packed full. And you hit any kind of better bumps on the trail. I could see it simply falling off. And the bolts pulling thru the plastic. But you know better how you actually have it mounted. And what kind of bumps you regularly come across while out in the country.

The only drawback to the hitch mount unit. Is once it's loaded getting your tailgate open will not be as easy. But if you load it with all the stuff you normally take out of your Jeep anyway. It might not be an issue. Like cooler, water containers, firewood etc. etc.
 

ranwilrw

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
137
Location
Georgia
You might consider this (or one of their even heavier units) tow hitch shelf. It's rated to 500lbs. And only costs $56.


I'm not sure your plastic chest is going to stay there with just bolts holding it. If packed full. And you hit any kind of better bumps on the trail. I could see it simply falling off. And the bolts pulling thru the plastic. But you know better how you actually have it mounted. And what kind of bumps you regularly come across while out in the country.

The only drawback to the hitch mount unit. Is once it's loaded getting your tailgate open will not be as easy. But if you load it with all the stuff you normally take out of your Jeep anyway. It might not be an issue. Like cooler, water containers, firewood etc. etc.
I also have this handy dandy rack, $49.99 at Harbor Freight and has a 300# capacity. It normally does not pivot but just slot 1 of the bolt holes and there you go. I also assembled the platform closer to the bumper to make it even more compact. Google atv rack on h/f website, you'll see it. I guess I like things that fold up out of the way😊. But like you said, you can't open the tailgate with it loaded.

IMG_20190813_193645.jpg


IMG_20190813_193537.jpg


IMG_20190813_193731.jpg
 
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ravenrugger

ravenrugger

New Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
6
Location
Sandy Hook, CT
You might consider this (or one of their even heavier units) tow hitch shelf. It's rated to 500lbs. And only costs $56.


I'm not sure your plastic chest is going to stay there with just bolts holding it. If packed full. And you hit any kind of better bumps on the trail. I could see it simply falling off. And the bolts pulling thru the plastic. But you know better how you actually have it mounted. And what kind of bumps you regularly come across while out in the country.

The only drawback to the hitch mount unit. Is once it's loaded getting your tailgate open will not be as easy. But if you load it with all the stuff you normally take out of your Jeep anyway. It might not be an issue. Like cooler, water containers, firewood etc. etc.
Thanks for the feedback. I had the same though as you after I mocked the box up and added a mending plate inside the box between the plastic and nuts. Then, I realized that I had an extra 2 foot piece of x track that would provide even more structure so replaced the mending plate with that on the inside. now the thing isn't going anywhere. I loaded it with most of my camping stuff and took it out for a pretty rugged dirt road ride and nothing even looked like it thought about pulling or budging. So I think I'm gonna run it until I regret it.

I also have a rack for the hitch receiver that we use with the other vehicles and I;ve used it on the wrangler too. I really wanted an option that allowed me to open and close the tailgate without having to unpack and disassemble everything off the jeep. With the box on the back, I can bring what I need, open the tailgate, use the fold down table to put the camp stove or my beer on (or both) have a little fun and be ready to roll super fast. A good example of when this will be nice is when we're tailgating since I won't have to spend a half hour before going into a game or concert packing up and reassembling. Now I can just throw everything in the box that's valuable, lcok it up, close the tailgate and roll.