Teraflex JK Tailgate Hinge
I had another XV-JP trip in the freakishly good Oregon spring weather. I figure I'd best get the truck out now given the likelihood of an early and serious fire season. Nothing special about the trip to pass on except for an obligatory "Ain't Oregon purdy?" shot of Mt. Hood behind Trillium Lake:
and a beauty shot of the Jeep in the trees:
The reason for the post is to tell about the new Teraflex rear door hinge. Now, understand that I'm not sure anything was wrong with the stock Jeep door hinge setup. I had added the rear case, the Molle rack and a bunch of stuff in the bags,
and all together, it weighed about the same as the stock tire carrier and spare. Then there's some weight, though not much, from the rear window and the framing riveted to the top of the stock door.
So it's pretty much unknowable whether someday the rear door would have started to tear from its hinges. However, it apparently is something Teraflex wants you to worry about, because they're selling a big slab of metal--the JK HD Hinged Carrier--to replace the stock hinges. Being both cautious and gullible, I bought one and proceeded to install it.
Installation is easy enough, especially if you watch the Teraflex YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJnwModQVOE) instead of using the directions, which while not horrible, rely on a couple of pretty murky black and white photos. The key to the whole install would seem to be making sure that you don't let the door move in the period between loosening the stock hinge bolts and tightening the new hinge bolts. Teraflex has you put support blocks under the door
and I went further by taping all around the door with wide sticky duct tape. Since the Teraflex hinge hardware goes in the same holes as the stock hardware. if the door doesn't move, the installation is largely a no-brainer.
As it warns in the video, there's not much clearance to put in the (not visible) T50 bolts that hold the left side of the hinge to the body and you have to use the supplied Torx key to tighten them up. No problem doing so, though, and everything else is socket-and ratchet stuff. When you're done, the setup looks like this. (Ignore the quarter-circle metal pieces to the left. They're spacers supplied to make the separately-purchased tire carrier fit right, and I need to use them to keep my Pelican case parallel to the tailgate.)
If you enlarge the photo, you can see that there are three empty M12 x 1.75 threaded holes on the inboard side of the hinge piece; these are used, along with the right-side bolt holes under the spacers, to connect the tire carrier. Since I don't have a tire carrier, I got three bolts to fill up the holes. Someday, I may think of something useful to put there, as it would provide a very secure mounting point.
The most interesting thing is that the new hinge makes the movement of the tailgate VERY smooth, but it also is tight enough that the tailgate will stay put at the angle where you place it if the truck is anywhere close to level. It's maybe not tight enough to keep it in place if a big wind hits it, but you probably wouldn't want it to be. On my tailgate, at least (YMMV), it's a perfect balance between non-floppy and easy-to-move. With the old hinges, the tailgate usually flopped to the closed position if the truck was even slightly off level. To hold it open, I ended up taping a strong magnet to the pivot of the former giant rack/tire carrier originally on the truck so it could grab the tailgate and hold it against gravity.
The new hinge doesn't allow the tailgate to open quite as far and the door ends up a little bit short of the magnet. So it's nice that the tailgate's no longer as floppy and I'll be detaching the magnet soon. (I'll probably keep the pivot point, though, in case someone down the line wanted to re-install a big swinging rack.)
All in all, it was a fine addition with no downside except that, boy, does it cost a lot. It's pretty much $500 for the cleverly-shaped pieces of metal, a couple of bearings and some bolts. It's one of those simple things that seems like it should cost way less, but I've got to admit that it's a nice piece of work and the confidence that my tailgate won't rip off on some bumpy trail is worth something.
One change I made before remounting the case was to make a modest adjustment to the position of the case dividers so that the right side that is used to carry the Honda eu1000i generator can also be used to carry two folded Pico chairs. When the generator is along, the chairs are clipped down in the cabin, but the generator isn't carried all that often, so this will make a great place to haul the chairs.
2007/2012 custom Jeep Rubicon expedition motorhome
2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee
2006 Honda PS250 Big Ruckus Expedition Scooter
1996/2002 Honda XR600R highly-modded