The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Temporary ratchet strap solution

ratchet strap tailgate fix low tech

I made another adjustment to the tailgate latch mechanism, but it still has a tendency to fly open if I hit a hard bump in the road.

A medium sized ratchet strap proved to be an easy and effective way of keeping it shut for my trip home with the mulch.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Whenever I've had this problem--and because it came on all at once--the problem is likely that one side of the bed has sprung out from the pressure of a load. You can test this by pulling the sides together when the gate is closed with a come-along. Place it so it doesn't stop the gate from opening and see if there's still a problem.
Comment by Errol Sun Jun 5 20:42:56 2011
This wasn't an all at once thing for us. One side was already not latching much (or at all?) when we got the truck, and then the second side started being unable to do all of the work. On the other hand, I could see how leaving the truck full of manure for two weeks while we waited for the rain to go away could have sprung that second side.... :-) We'll have to give your test a shot.
Comment by anna Sun Jun 5 21:11:23 2011

I went camping one year with a slide-in camper that wasn't in very good structural shape. It made it through the camping, but on the ride home it started to slide out of the back of the bed. We managed to get to a wal-mart and pick up a ratchet strap that let us get back home without losing the camper. Since then, I always keep a few of the smaller ratchet straps and one of the hefty buggers in the truck or van.

Comment by diggitydog Sun Jun 5 21:58:14 2011

Do you know the load limit of your truck?

With the back full of heavy materials like manure or rock chips you might have accidentally overloaded it. The tailgate latch is then one of the first places where you'd then expect trouble.

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Jun 6 01:17:14 2011

Diggitydog --- It took us a while to learn to use them right, but now we love them. They're especially helpful for quickly tying down lots of supplies on the golf cart as we bump around over rough terrain.

Roland --- I'm ashamed to admit that I tend to think if it fits in the bed and the metal doesn't sag down to touch the wheels, we're okay. :-) Probably should check the load limit.

Comment by anna Mon Jun 6 07:50:30 2011

Rolland-Your comment got me to thinking of another possiblity. The previous owner had a massive camper attached to the truck, and if I'm remembering correctly the tailgate was off to make room for a door. Maybe once the camper went away the tailgate got re-installed in a less than accurate manner? I'll have to take a look at it with this new angle of thinking.

Diggitydog-I agree with the term "essential" when it comes to ratchet straps. They really can save the day in several situations. Thanks for including your blog "Death to Zombies" I don't have a "Get Home Bag" yet and your March 3rd post has got me to thinking maybe I should give it some consideration.

How's your new garden going? Any luck with the job search?

Comment by mark Mon Jun 6 07:52:40 2011
Mark, try loosening the bolts/screws that fix the tailgate to the hinges (or the hinges to the truck bed) at bit so you can wiggle the gate a little. Then close the gate so that both latches lock. Then tighten the bolts/screws again.
Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Jun 6 13:06:22 2011

Thanks for all the feedback on this problem, it's really helped me to zero in on what could be wrong.

I can see where that might work depending on how much wiggle room you've got while still keeping the hinge in place.

That might be a good plan B if the come-along/hand winch idea doesn't do the trick, which is what I'll try tomorrow or the next day depending on the honey-do list.

Comment by mark Mon Jun 6 18:51:29 2011

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