DIY Jeep Tailgate Carrier

Requires at least some kind of fabrication knowledge. The total cost for the materials and paint is about $90. The real cost is a bit more when you factor in welding gas/supplies, etc. This carrier has been designed to work with the Terafex HD Tire Carrier and Hinge. You can modify the mount to fit your tailgate setup.

There are three different pieces to this project. The basket, the supports, and the tailgate mount.

Tools and supplies

–Pencil
–Tape measure
–Paper towel
–Various clamps
–Paint brush

–Eye protection
–Ear protection
–Gloves
–Respirator mask

–Drill (3/8 and 7/16 bits)
–1/2 socket and wrench
–12mm socket
–File
–Cutters
–Grinder
–Cut off wheel
–Wire wheel
–Welder / supplies

Materials

–8 bolts M8x1.25 60mm
–8 washers M8
–8 bolts 3/8-16” x 2”
–16 washers 3/8

–10” of square tubing 1 1/4” 16 gauge
–9’ of square tubing 1” 16 gauge
–34’ of square tubing 3/4” 16 gauge

Start out with building the basket. My basket is 40″x20″x6″. It’s important that you figure out the measurements for your own setup as each bender and die may be different. Take a 10’x3/4″ 16-gauge piece of square tubing and stick it out of the bender 15 1/4″. Bend it 90 degrees. Measure 15 1/4″ from the outer edge and bend it 90 degrees again. To measure from the outer edge I placed a flat bar on top to use.

Now measure 35 1/4″ from the outer edge and bend it 90 degrees. Now measure 15 1/4″ from the outer edge again and bend it 90 degrees. This should give you a nice rounded rectangle. Trim the excess length so the two ends meet up. Repeat and good luck creating an exact duplicate. The closer you can get to an exact duplicate the easier it will make life down the road.

Clean up and weld the ends of the loops together.

Next cut 10 uprights from the 3/4″ square tubing that are 5 1/4″ long. Then cut 3 pieces about 38 1/2″ long. These pieces need to fit snuggly in between the rails so measure and cut them to a length that fits your setup.

Weld in the floor supports. Start with cleaning up the metal where the supports will get welded in. Weld the center support first and center it in between the side rails. Then weld the other two also centering them.

Move on to welding the uprights. First clean up all the supports and then space them appropriately. 3 on the long sides and 2 on the short sides. For the long sides I placed the outside support right at the end of the bend and then centered the third support. For the short sides I placed the supports on the inside edge of the outside long floor supports. See images for placement or just place them however you want. Tack them all in place and then go around welding them all on.

Time to weld on the top loop. This can be easy or difficult based on how well the two loops match up and if the uprights are all the same size. Place the upper loop on top making sure the side with the weld is on the same side as the bottom loop weld. Line it up with the bottom supports best you can and weld one side of one support at a time. I needed to use clamps to get everything lined up and fitting tightly. Once one side of each support is welded and you’re happy with how it’s all lined up, finish welding all the other sides of the uprights.

With the basket done it’s time to move on to the tailgate bracket and supports. This bracket has been designed to work with the Teraflex Heavy Duty Tire Carrier. It required I also use the Teraflex Spare Tire Spacer to give some extra clearance for the upright supports. While the basket is generic and can be used with any setup, the bracket and upright might need to be customized to fit your setup.

Cut 2 pieces 5″ long of 1″ 16 gauge square tubing and 2 pieces 5″ long of 1 1/4″ 16 gauge square tubing. These prices are going to act as spacers to space the mounting plate out from the tire mount.

The 1″ pieces go on the right side and the 1 1/4″ pieces go on the left side. Line the pieces up behind and centered then mark where to drill holes. Drill the holes in each piece with a 7/16″ drill bit.

Cut out the backing plate from 16 gauge sheet metal. 17 1/2″ x 12 1/2″. Clean up the edges afterwards if necessary.

Measure out and mark the area that will be cut out later. The long side goes side to side and the short side goes up and down. Draw a vertical line down the center as everything will be based off of this. Measure out a box 2″ down and 9″ across. Measure out a box 4″ down and 5 1/2″ across underneath the previous one. Finally draw a box 3 1/4″ down and 2 1/2″ across. Fill in the boxes as all of this will get cut out later. See the images for details.

Before cutting that out, bend the edges up first as it will be easier now. Bend the right and left edges up 1 3/4″.

Center the carrier on the sheet metal, mark the holes to drill, and drill the holes with a 7/16″ drill bit.

Now you can cut out the section that you drew earlier. This will allow it to slip over the tire carrier.

Flip the sheet metal over to weld the square tubing spacers on the back side. Now with it flipped over, the 1″ pieces go on the left side and the 1 1/4″ pieces go on the right side. Line up the holes and weld them in place. They’re not taking any weight or support. You’re more just welding them in place to help with assembly and to keep them from not moving when putting it together.

Time to do a test fit. Using the 8 new longer M8 bolts, thread each one in loosely before tightening any of them down.

If all that fits well then move on to creating the upright supports that will hold the basket. Using the 1″ 16 gauge square tubing, cut two pieces 20″ long and two pieces 28 1/2″ long. If you run larger than 35″ tires I would recommend making the 28 1/2″ pieces slightly longer.

Clean up and weld the short pieces on top of the longer pieces.

Using 1″ 16 gauge square tubing and cut two pieces 5″ long at the longest point. Cut the ends at at 45 degree angle. Clean up and weld them in the corners of each support.

Using a section of punched flat bar as a guide and a 3/8″ bit, I drilled 2 sets of four holes on each support with the idea that I could adjust the carrier up or down based on my tire size. Unfortunately I didn’t start at the right spot so my carrier is already adjusted up as high as possibly to clear my tire. The holes in each set are 1″ apart and the distance between a hole on the top and the matching hole on the bottom is 8″.

Clamp the two supports on and mark where to drill holes for the supports. I used the second from the top holes so that I would be able to adjust the carrier up more than down. Use a 3/8″ drill bit and drill the four holes into the tailgate mount. Bolt the supports in using 3/8″ bolts 1 3/4″ long and spacers on each side.

Put your basket up on top and center it. The back of the basket should line up with the back of the supports. On the floor supports of the basket, mark where the upright supports run. This will help center the plates you’re going to make. Using 16 gauge sheet metal, cut four pieces 3″ by 5 1/2”. Weld the plates on the underside of the basket. They should be centered to where you drew your previous marks and should be in the second and fourth openings. (See pictures) Using a 3/8″ drill bit, drill holes through the plate and upright supports. When drilling the holes for the rear plates (toward the front of the vehicle), make sure to drill far enough away from the angled support that you can get a bolt down all the way and a nut on it. Bolt the basket on with four 3/8″ bolts 1 3/4″ long.

Rough up and clean all the metal up with some acetone and get to painting. I used Herculiner which has been nice and durable. I sprayed it on but I would highly recommend brushing it on instead. Once that’s dry, reassemble everything and enjoy.

Put some plastic end caps in if you’d like. They help improve the look and prevent water from getting inside the tubing. You’ll need ten 1″ square plastic caps and four 1 1/4″ square plastic caps to put in the upright supports and the tailgate mount.

Couple additional notes. I ended up getting the TeraFlex wheel spacer to bring the tire out farther to clear the upright supports. The basket could also use some additional support by creating something to go on top of the spare tire for the basket to rest on. I’ve not done this yet but plan on it before putting any significant weight in it. In the meantime the basket has held up great with some lighter items. I would use 14 gauge sheet metal instead of 16. Lastly, I used 16 gauge tubing for the basket but I would recommend going with a thinner gauge, possibly 18. The basket is very heavy duty and heavy in general. I think a thinner tubing would hold up just fine.

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