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4x4tographer

Jeep JL Teraflex Alpha HD Tailgate Reinforcement

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Got the opportunity to work on installing the Teraflex Alpha HD Tailgate Reinforcement over the last few nights. It was a surprisingly simple install, complicated by a few additions I'd already made to the Jeep. 

 

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First things first - I had to empty my drawers! (also, pardon how absolutely filthy the Jeep is - dust, road salt, and mud!). 

 

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The install requires you to access the internally mounted hinges and completely remove them. To get to the bolts, you'd got to remove the internal trim + subwoofer assembly. In my case, it was dominos - where I needed to remove box my Tuffy Tailgate Box and my homemade DIY drawer system.

 

Here's the tailgate box removed:

 

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All of my junk in the trunk:

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Next up was to pull the trim/subwoofer assembly off the passenger side of the trunk. The amount of dust and filth behind that panel was pretty surprising!

 

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Next up was to remove the spare tire and the spare tire mount. Since we're removing the hinges completely, you need to tape the tailgate to the body to keep it from falling off while you're working. Additionally, they note you need to add a horizontal mark to both left and right tape strips to help with aligning the tailgate later if it shifts (and with a heavy spare tire on it).

 

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Once you get all of that weight off of the tailgate, it's incredible how light it is, being mostly aluminum. I can't imagine the total tailgate weighs more than 15-20 lbs.

 

Here's a shot of the factory hinges removed. 

 

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When you remove the hinges, you'll find the factory just sprays the paint directly over the installed hinges, which was a bit of a fun find. Interestingly, a fair amount of dust/dirt found its way behind the hinges where they mount on the tailgate. My guess is that the weight of my 111lb spare was already causing some droop/warping and made a large enough gap to allow filth to creep in.

 

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Since all of the doors and the tailgate on the JL are made of aluminum and magnesium there's no worry about rust. Teraflex provides thick rubber gaskets with 3M adhesive to mount over various contact points on the tailgate:

 

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Here are a few shots of the factory hinges against the one-piece Teraflex hinge. The Teraflex hinge is notably beefier and thicker:

 

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Here's a shot of the hinge fully mounted.

 

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The kit also comes with a new detent arm since the swing arc of the new hinge is more than the factory arm can handle.

 

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All in all - without the remove of all the extra stuff I have in the back of the Jeep, I'm pretty confident I could have gotten it done in about an hour!

 

When it came time to re-install the factory tire carrier, I ran into a bit of a snag. You need to pick up a set of relocation spacers in order to make you're factory carrier compatible with the tailgate reinforcement. The below photo illustrates what I mean. The thickness of the material of the new reinforcement comes into contact with the back of the carrier.

 

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Personally, I feel this was done intentionally by Teraflex to force you into either buying their relocation spacers or their adjustable Alpha HD Tire Carrier. The only real solution is to use one of their solutions.

 

More to come and more impressions of the Teraflex Tailgate Reinforcement as I get the carrier sorted out! For the moment, running without a spare - so fingers crossed the Yokohama G003s continue to shine!

Edited by 4x4tographer
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After coming to a stoppage with the reinstall of the factory tire carrier I went ahead and just plunked down the cash for Teraflex's Alpha HD Adjustable Tire Carrier. Normally $316 at Northridge, I had a coupon code that dropped the price to $260 shipped, so that was a score! The alternative (to reuse the factory carrier) was TF's relocation bracket/spacer kit for $150. The factory carrier is plastic, so the added steel beef of the full blown Alpha carrier was a better long term decision for me.

 

The install is pretty straight forward. You mate up the carrier bracket to the tailgate and install your 8x 13mm bolts.

 

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Drop the adjustable carrier/wheel stud bracket into the carrier. This allows you to choose from 3 different tire heights and allows you to choose from a huge range of tire offsets to allow for a nice custom fit.

 

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Here is a photo of the top of the Alpha Tailgate Reinforcement. It comes with a number of mounting hole for future accessories. Note that curvature of the supposedly "flat" tailgate.

 

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Here's a photo of the hinge on the reinforcement and some additional accessory mounting holes.

 

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The top of the tire carrier. You will install a pair of bolts and a double washer to allow you to adjust the carrier forward/backwards to account for your wheel offset and the thickness of your tire.

 

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Here's a shot of the underside of the offset adjustment with twin bolts and "double washer".

 

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The Alpha carrier allows you to relocate your factory rear camera into a nice metal housing.

 

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You need to torque down the wheel studs to 150 ft/lbs. A little blue LocTite and some jam nuts are used to do this. I went for the center mounting holes for a "34 to 36 inch tire". This give me about 2-3 inches of clearance above my factory plastic bumper.

 

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Camera bracket installed and wired. The camera housing doubles as a "helper" when you're loading up the heavy spare. It allows you to rotate the tire around to more easily align the holes with the studs.

 

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Spare tire test fit and 3rd brake light relocation:

 

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The spare fits night and tight to the tailgate - way closer than that factory carrier allows. So close that I didn't need to install my tire bump stops. In the future if I add any accessories to the carrier, I'll probably need to move the spare out away from the body a bit. At that point I'll need to add in the bumps, but for the moment we're going to let it ride.

 

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And that's it! Overall it's a very straight forward installation. Time will tell of it's durability, but I'm very happy with the fit, finish, and added peace-of-mind with the new beef holding up the spare.

 

Supposedly it will support up to a 40 inch tire :D but I have no intention of ever going there. 😉

Edited by 4x4tographer
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