Tailgate Load - Nissan Frontier Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 09:36 AM
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Tailgate Load

HI:

I just bought a 2012 Frontier with the 5 foot bed. I own a Harley Heritage Softail that weighs about 750 pounds. When I put the bike on the truck, the rear tire sits about 4 or 5 inches from the rear edge of the tailgate. Can the tailgate safely handle that load or is there something I can do to reduce the load on those cables. I am thinking if I put 3/4 inch piece of plywood between the tracks of the utili track it will help.

Can the utili track handle that load as well?

Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Bruce
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#2 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 10:04 AM
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hi bruce,

utilitrack rating should be in the owner's manual (i don't know it).

tailgate rating is probably around 250 lbs. google "tailgate saver" and find something that pops up for you that would work. they are commonly used for quads. they basically use your towing hitch to provide a platform above the open tailgate to take the load off the gate.
someone on here made one for his quad/bike but i can't remember who.

you might be able to get away with putting the front tire of your bike on the tailgate. maybe it would be lighter than the rear and easier on the gate.

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#3 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 11:00 AM
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Unfortunately there is no way for me to back a 750 pound bike up my ramp. Do you think a thick piece of plywood would help to distribute some of the weight? Is there any system of brace or cable that can reduce some of the load off of the cables that hold up the tailgate?

Thanks

Bruce
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#4 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 11:05 AM
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plywood, no. 2x, yes.
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#5 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 11:23 AM
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I am not all that well versed in lumber. What is 2X?

Thanks

Bruce
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#6 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post
plywood, no. 2x, yes.
+1 3/4" plywood would not help much. Wood is more elastic than the steel cables, so the cables would take most of the load.


I'd go with a 2x12. If you have both the front wheel and rear on it it should keep the tailgate load under spec, and if you nail a 2x4 on either side to form a U channel it would be quite a lot stronger and stiffer and it would probably be easier to keep the bike on it.

My truck manual says 200 lbs on the tailgate.

That still leaves the problem of getting the bike up there without putting all 750 lbs onto the tailgate while the bike is on the ramp.

I don't know how strong the utilitrack is, but I doubt it's rated for large loads pulling it away from it's mounted surface (it's aluminum). My impression is that it's designed to keep things from sliding, but it does not look to me like it's going to handle hundreds of pounds of tensile loading.

A 2 foot lever on a 5 foot bed still leaves 300 lbs at the end of the board at the cab end of the bed. That's a lot of tensile loading and I don't think I'd trust those aluminum tracks.

If you can find a ramp or loading dock that would allow the bike to roll straight into the bed it would work because it would be a lot easier to share the loading between the external ramp and the truck bed/tailgate.

I used to live in a house that had a drainage ditch in the front yard. When I backed the truck into the ditch I could drive my motorcycle right into the back of the truck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cigars01 View Post
I am not all that well versed in lumber. What is 2X?

Thanks

Bruce
It's two inch thick lumber (only 1.5" thick nowdays). I recommended using a 2x12 which is 11" wide and 1.5" thick. Avoid having knots over the gap between the bed and the tailgate.

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#7 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 11:32 AM
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Thanks I will have to check into that. I am glad that I dont put the bike in the truck all that often.
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#8 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 12:59 PM
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THe manual says that the side cleats are good for 200 pounds so if you are using 4 of them to strap your bike upright you shouldn't have any problems in normal driving.

I don't think the weak link in the tailgate is the cables. Apparently the hinges are the weak link.

I've had 400+ pounds of people sitting on the tailgate without any problems.

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#9 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 01:28 PM
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Not sure if it's an issue with the newer Frontier's, but i've seen it on a bunch of the 2nd gens - the tailgate gets dimpled from the inside from standing and putting too much weight on the tailgate. To the right and left of the handle.

On my 06 it happened to me when my brother in law stood on the tailgate and lifted the rear of a motorcycle. I didn't have the bolt on hard plastic liner.
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#10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 01:31 PM
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Thanks for the info.

The cleats wont really be supporting the entire weight of the bike so they can handle it ok. I think that is what you are saying?

The big question then is what do you feel is the best way to alleviate some of the weight off of the tailgate so its safe to not cause any damage? The total weight is 750 but i have no idea how to figure how much of it is over the rear wheel.

Bruce
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