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Bronco Member
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My '83s tailgate is rusted inside and just now starting to rust on the outside (right under where the tire carrier contacts on the bottom...

I can fix the inside (maybe) and probably just cut the rust and replace the outside bottom with a piece aluminum diamond plate...or should I just shell out the $$$ for a replacement tailgate?

How much work is to move everything over to a new shell?

thanks,
reg
 

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Bronco Member
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62 Posts
here's some ideas

Well, if you want, you can fix the one you have if it isn't too bad. Once you have it done, maintain that t-gate inside and out- religiously! Wash your truck alot too, and spray out all the salt and dirt and junk with a hose, under the wheelwells, and the back of the lip on the bottom of the tailgate that rots and stuff.

Drill some drain holes in the bottom of the tailgate on the inside as far to the bottom as possible to keep the water from collecting. It may be hard to make the holes, but nothing is impossible, I think you have to open the tailgate and do it where the hinges are or something. You'll figure it out!

That is the reason these things rot, the weatherbelt in the back window gets deteriorated, and the water leaks in to the bottom of the tailgate and pools up, and rusts a way for it to get out! There are no factory drain holes in there (Damned Lee Iacocca and his theory of planned obsolescence!!) :mad:

Once you get it fixed and the holes drilled, spray the whole inside of the shell with undercoating or POR-15 paint, a spray-on bed liner or something like that.

Make sure there is no rust under the paint though, it will just rust again. You should put naval jelly on all the rust or sandblast the inside and prime it first, then spray the thick stuff on. You only need to coat the bottom, but if you want you can do the rest, just dont get it on the mechanical "organs" or the glass! Afterwards, put rubber grommets in the drain holes to keep the edges of the from rusting. Every so often, spray lubricant into these holes too, WD-40 is good.

If you should decide to get a whole new tailgate, get ready for a pain in the a$$! It costs a lot of money for the new shell, and you have to use all the old worn out mechanicals from your old one. JC whitney might have a cheaper one, but it may be a mickey-mouse poor quality one. It all depends on your vehicle year, the condition or your current t-gate and inner parts, and the probability you'll just smash it while off-roading, or how cheap you are, lol.

If you have a newer Bronco, get a new tailgate. If you have an older one, like your 83, get either a cheap new one, get one from the junkyard, or fix the one you have!

I'm surprised that yours has JUST BEGUN to rot, it being an 83 and all. My dads 85 was completely rotted through on the bottom by 1989! I've seen 94's with rot on them too. We've all been there!

IMHO, If it's not too bad on yours, I'd just repair it, you can always get another one if all else fails. Hope this info helps you out.

Happy Broncoing! :D
 

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Bronco Member
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31 Posts
Tail gate rust...

My '86 has a little bit of rust on the bottom side of the gate. I have the internal spare- tire holder. Also, my tailgate has drain holes in it, but it does not look like they were made in the best location.
I will most likely just cut out the small rusted areas and either install fiberglass or aluminum pieces over the damage. The POR-15 is a great idea though.
 

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Bronco Member
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my tailgate is terrible

yeah, I think POR-15 is very expensive though, I don't really know where to get it at! I have the internally mounted spare as well. Is fiberglass better than the plastic Bondo? You have to use that tape put the glass onto, right? I was thinking of trying that.
Ford probably does supply a couple drain holes, but they are most likely nowhere near where they should be, knowing how Ford thinks...LOL.
If you have a sandblaster, blast all the rot off the bottom, and all the paint to be sure. Then repair it. It will come out better. I wish I had a sandblaster, they're cool. :cool:

A very cost effective way to do it is with the diamondplate that the first poster, reg, suggested. My rot is just covered with a body colored plastic strip trim used for trimming screened in porches, LOL.
We got it at Home Depot, and My dad screwed it on there.

Later
 
M

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I replaced my tailgate

I bought a aftermarket tailgate from Ebay and got a fairly nice one, painted well and had all the right holes in the right places. i paid about 275. with shipping. It took my son and I a good 6 hours to remove and replace all of the goodies, repair the broken/corroded wiring harnesses and then test the glass operation. I also replaced both inner and outer seal around the glass and the seal around the door opening itself.

a good job, seals nicely, and the window works better than before.

I say go for the replacement and do a good job by taking it slowly and methodically. ;)
 

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Bronco Member
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
replacement tailgate

Thanks for the info! I figured it would take about about a day to replace the whole thing (for me anyway) :)

regards,
reg
 

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Bronco Member
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40 Posts
:damack:

That tailgate problem is so common it should be called Bronco-Rust. I also presume that you got that rust spot over the rear wheels too. I did not find a suitable replacement for my tailgate, but I used sheet metal to rebuild the tailgate completely. This at the time was the most practical thing to do. I purchaced a pair of rear wheel well body forms from J.C.Whitney for the wheel wells.
I added a new tailgate window rubber from Whitney also to the rebuilt tailgate. I removed all traces of rust with Naval Jelly, and completely coated the gate with rubberized rust proofing before reinstalling. I haven't had any problems from the gate or rust since I did this work. The total cost of the repairs was about $30.00
 

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Bronco Member
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69 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
tailgate rust and fender wells

Actually the only rust is at the bottom of tailgate and the only outside visible is where the tire carrier contacts! (keep fingers crossed).

I have noticed that the outside where the tire carrier contacts is rapidly rusting now that it has broken through...got to do something soon! $30 is in my budget... :)

regards
reg
 
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Tire Release

I've got an '80 Bronco with outside spare tire mount. The release handle is rusted out at the end where you press down on it. Does anyone know of an on-line aftermarket dealer where I can buy a new handle?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Bronco Member
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I do not know of any other source of these mounts, but I believe that you can modify your mount with a part available from the Home Depot. The lever to the tail gate is baically a piece of 1/2" steel, square rod; it may be possible to build a lever from steel or aluminum rod stock. In the Phila area there are many "junk yards" but the Bronco is so popular that there are very few units to be found. Good Luck with what ever you find practical.
JBP
 

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Bronco Member
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Tailgate Woah!!!!!!

I've got the same prob with the rusted out release mechanism for the rear tire mount. It still works but barely. Eventually i'll probably try ripping it apart and refurbishing/replacing pieces.

On a side note. Its a good idea to know where and what is spring loaded when disassembling parts on your vehicle. I had to find out why my rear defroster wasn't working anymore so i decided to undo the torsion arm so i could trip the switch and extend the window and actually get to the wire leads mounted on the bottom of the window. To my surprise the torsion arm threw the bracket holding it in place down the street about 4 houses. luckily i found the piece and found out the lead broke off from the window trace. Unfortunately i lost one bolt and have no idea how to repair the broken lead... kinda looks like it was welded on before... hmm
 

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Bronco Member
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Flying Parts

Yeah! you really gotta watch out when working around window regualtors (motors) that spring has about 200 Lbs of torsion when the window is down at the bottom. I am glad you didn't get hurt; because sometimes that spring flies back into your face.
 
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Once, while replacing my tailgate with an aftermarket shell, I had the tailgate torsion bar slip out of the retaining bracket(inside of the tailgate, where my hand happened to be) and smash the tips of my middle two fingers.

To make matters worse, I had a neighbor helping me, and he had placed one of the washers for the bolts which hold on the back window on upside down. The window shattered when the nut was tightened down.

So, smashed fingers and another $235 for replacing the window.
 
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