View Full Version : Trailer Tailgate Latch Ideas?

07-18-2010, 01:06 PM
I've got a utility trailer tailgate latch that's similar to the old pickup tailgates with the "S" shaped hook on a chain. It seems like the tab that is on the trailer bed is always getting bent which makes it difficult to fit into the tailgate. The tailgate is actually a tall loading ramp which is truly an awesome feature. I've made several solo loads & unloads of large refrigerators and freezers with nothing more than a fridge dolly. The trailer sits low enough to the ground and the ramp is long enough so it has a gentle slope, especially when backed up to a sloping driveway. The problem is the ramp is really heavy and you have to hold it closed with your shoulder as you try and latch it closed.

Anyway, I need to replace this latch system with something better. Yesterday on the photo forum I saw an ATV trailer with a simple spring loaded slide bolt. Pretty smart idea. I'm not sure if something like that would be safe enough for a large heavy tailgate though. I'm sure there are some other good designs out there, so what have you got?

Thanks for your help.

07-18-2010, 03:28 PM
Don't forget that gravity is very reliable, if you can set it up so a pin drops through a hole on the ramp, it would be difficult for the pin to rattle out if gravity is pulling the pin down.

A spring loaded pin should also work.

I would put a pin on both sides of the ramp to make it more secure.

One time I designed a cart with a somewhat heavy ramp. I had vertical pipes on both sides of the ramp, with a pulley at the top of the pipe. A heavy weight was put inside the pipe, the cable ran from the weight to the pulley to the ramp. It was so well counterbalanced that I could drop the ramp on my foot from 3 feet off the ground without hurting my foot. Obviously there was some design and calculation involved in making this work right, but it worked very well. I even satisfied the safety guy, who thought for sure that this design would hurt somebody, until he saw me demonstrate it and drop it on my foot.