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Old 07-22-2016, 06:24 AM   #1
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Aftermarket Tailgates

For those who tow 5ers, other than the convenience of not having to raise and lower the tail gate when hooking/unhooking, is there any value in the various aftermarket tailgates? Some of the ads claim greater fuel economy. Any truth to these claims?

Thanks Paul.
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by paulstravels View Post
For those who tow 5ers, other than the convenience of not having to raise and lower the tail gate when hooking/unhooking, is there any value in the various aftermarket tailgates? Some of the ads claim greater fuel economy. Any truth to these claims?

Thanks Paul.
No, look for a show called Myth busters. They did an episode where they tested the tailgate up or down myth.
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:47 AM   #3
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No, look for a show called Myth busters. They did an episode where they tested the tailgate up or down myth.
That's with an empty truck, not towing.
I have an aftermarket tailgate and I can't say it has made any difference in fuel mileage, but I can say it eliminates the turbulence near the back of the cab. To me it seems (may be all in my mind) that the truck pulls slightly easier too. I won't get rid of mine!
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:27 AM   #4
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Some of the ads claim greater fuel economy. Any truth to these claims?
Yes, but it's an infinitesimally small MPG gain, resulting primarily from the lighter weight of the aluminum louvered tailgate compared to the heavy, heavy steel tailgate on most pickups. The weight you haul affects MPG. Plus with a well-designed louvered tailgate, there is also a very small gain caused by improved aerodynamics that results in less turbulence in the bed noted by MnTom.

Any improved MPG will be so small that you probably won't notice it with normal MPG calculations. Too many other factors affect MPG for anyone to isolate the effects of just changing the tailgate.

Here's the one I had on my F-250 that towed a small 5er for over 100,000 miles, plus another 100,000 miles running without the trailer, back in 1999 thru 2010.
Husky Liners Premium 5th Wheel Louvered Tailgate with Locking Handle - Aluminum Husky Liners Tailgate HL15340

The main reason I bought that tailgate was because I had a senior moment and pulled out from under the 5er without first lowering the stock tailgate. Made a mess of the stock tailgate. From campground campfire bull sessions, I learned that I'm not the only one that's had that happen. The 5er tailgate was several hundred dollars less than a new stock tailgate from Ford parts, then painted by a good body shop.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:28 AM   #5
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Put a V notch louvered tailgate on my '99 Ford with my first 5ver. No difference in mpg's. Also, DW didn't like the looks when disconnected. No advantage for us.
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Old 07-22-2016, 09:39 AM   #6
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Caught my tailgate many years past- I have had a 5th wheel tailgate for more than 20 years, would not be without.
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Old 07-24-2016, 10:52 PM   #7
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I watch fuel economy like a hawk on my truck. I have the basic fifth wheel tailgate like this http://www.etrailer.com/Tailgate/For...eid=2006302554. I don't keep it on the truck in winter or when I need a real tailgate. I do see a 1-2 mpg increase with the fifth wheel tailgate. Myth busters while is fun, doesn't go through all scenarios. I've only seen really short truck beds on those shows. A long bed like mine should act differently. But I'm just telling you my experience, there are far smarter people who are willing to tell you otherwise.


2006 F-350 monster towing a 2000 Wanderer Lite 22 foot baby trailer.
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Old 07-26-2016, 06:40 AM   #8
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Had one on my RAM 3500 DRW, would not do it again. First time I had a 5th wheel, bought the truck while waiting for delivery. I had always seen the V tailgates in the past (I had motorhomes then) and thought you had to have it. Went down to after market parts and bought it. Though it looked cool I found out I missed the camera in the stock tailgate and didn't want to spend more money to install one in the V. On the next one I'll just stick with the stock.
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Old 07-26-2016, 07:42 AM   #9
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I watch fuel economy like a hawk on my truck. I have the basic fifth wheel tailgate like this 2006 Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty Tailgate - Stromberg Carlson. I don't keep it on the truck in winter or when I need a real tailgate. I do see a 1-2 mpg increase with the fifth wheel tailgate. Myth busters while is fun, doesn't go through all scenarios. I've only seen really short truck beds on those shows. A long bed like mine should act differently. But I'm just telling you my experience, there are far smarter people who are willing to tell you otherwise.


2006 F-350 monster towing a 2000 Wanderer Lite 22 foot baby trailer.
If truck builder could get a 1-2 mpg improvement with a new tailgate design they would do it in a heartbeat. Think about how much they do with the engine e.g. using less cylinders; to get better gas mileage.
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:04 AM   #10
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I just remove my tailgate when towing. I've got a long bed truck and have plenty of room in front of the 5th hitch for all my truck stuff. I find it way easier to hitch up without the tailgate on. I've never ding it and want to keep it that way.
I've looked into the V 5'er tailgates but I'm not ready to drop $400 for a nice one. Best part about not having a tailgate on is that I don't have to deal with the 5er plug dragging on the tailgate. I don't have an in bed 7 pin plug so if the tailgates on the cord wants to rub on the outside of the tailgate.
As far as the mpg thing goes, well I highly doubt that you'd get better mileage with the tailgate on since you have a big 5th hitch sitting in the bed that's disturbing all the wind back there. You won't get the Myth Buster effect.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:17 AM   #11
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I have a Custom Flow 5er tailgate. All steel plus I bought it with the 'V' insert. I don't care about mileage - it wont improve much if at all. I do care about ease of hookup and the fact that there is little chance of dinging another original $$$ tailgate. One positive is that air flowing off the front of your 5er wont have a tendency to 'levitate' whatever you are carrying in the TV bed.

It's installed when we pull the 5er to the CG for the summer, removed then reinstalled when we travel later in the fall on our normal yearly long trip or two. That process takes about 10 minutes with much of that time looking for the key for the TG lock
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:54 PM   #12
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If truck builder could get a 1-2 mpg improvement with a new tailgate design they would do it in a heartbeat. Think about how much they do with the engine e.g. using less cylinders; to get better gas mileage.

I understand, but they also sell trucks to do a lot of things, most people need the full tailgate. They have to balance a lot of stuff in the design. I would hate buying a truck without the stock tailgate. I still use it.


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Old 07-27-2016, 05:48 AM   #13
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I understand, but they also sell trucks to do a lot of things, most people need the full tailgate. They have to balance a lot of stuff in the design. I would hate buying a truck without the stock tailgate. I still use it.


2006 F-350 monster towing a 2000 Wanderer Lite 22 foot baby trailer.
They put louvers on the front grill to improve mpg. I think they could figure out how to add louvers to a tailgate and keep the functionality if it improved mpg.
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Old 07-27-2016, 06:16 AM   #14
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An add on to my post above:

A 5er tailgate - for most, they work well for their intended purpose. If you feel the need (want?) then by all means get one.
If you don't, so be it, your prerogative

- You will not be free from possibly dinging it depending on your 5er site and your senior or other inattention moments.

- You will not experience dramatic fuel savings (or any most likely)

- You will see more crud in the bed of your truck while especially driving with no trailer attached.

- If you drive with a tonneau while 'bob-tail' you, again, will have crud and water if raining in the bed. A $10 piece of luan plywood cut to size will fix that.

- Steel versions are pretty heavy but survive. Aluminum isn't as beefy but may bend easier. Plastic - some are pretty good, others ..... All change out between the original and the 5er 'gate pretty easily.

- Aluminum versions are dang expensive, followed by steel. The plastic - fairly inexpensive. Some fit better then others.
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