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Old 03-08-2011, 02:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Help me find a latch for my tailgate - wheelchair-accessible jeep

Hey guys, odd request here. I need to find a latch to hold my tailgate shut. Right now it's being held by a hydro ram & it's not solid enough due to geometry... lemme expain via photos:

First, this is my rig. Roofline is raised because I use a wheelchair full-time & can't stand up. I get in through the tailgate & transfer to the driver's seat, which rotates 90 degrees backwards and raises.



Tailgate open:



A little closer... there's a ram mounted on the inside, on the wheelwell... it pushes the tire carrier / tailgate open. This is so I can open/close everything independently.



With the wheelchair lift folded up:



Closed up:



And here's where I need to mount a latch:



It holds itself closed decently well, but will wiggle open 1-1.5" while driving. I want to get this more secure though. The corners are steel & I can have someone weld to them directly. I just need to find a latch that can be opened easily... AND from inside... if this means drilling a new hole to feed a cable, or even a piece of climbing rope that I can pull from inside, so be it.

Thoughts? Any idea of something I can use here?

Thanks!
Scott
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A basic spring loaded camper door latch, I've seen smaller, but something along the lines of this;
http://rvsupplyandparts.com/storefro...roducts_id=270



Alex.

Last edited by GMGuy; 03-08-2011 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Is it missing the factory one because the tub side 'stub' was in the way for the lift mechanism or because of the plate across the back? if it would still physically fit I'd think you could add a keyless entry actuator for the lock and have it wired into the door open mechanism to allow it to unlock it.


Do you have any info on who did the work on the top? I'd love to hear about it (PM if you have the time).




Thanks
Jason

Last edited by alosix; 03-08-2011 at 05:01 PM. Reason: almost had an idea...
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The door latches used for walk in freezers are BEEFY and they have an easy, big push button emergency escape button that through mounts on the inside. They're pricey, I've seen them for sale from SpaeNauer (sp?) but that might be a canadian only company.

Like this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/LATCH-Handle-Kas...item1c0b9d0a9a

But it says the inside release parts are sold separately.

We use them undergroung mining on drills and they last good, if it lasts in hardrock mining, it's tough.
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How much clearance is there between the moving arms of the lift and the corners? Looking at that again, a paddle latch isn't going to cut it.

What about a hybrid cage door latch? Or even a fence gate styled latch? You've got structure on the spare tire carrier to mount the paddle, can be opened from inside or out.



Alex.

Last edited by GMGuy; 03-08-2011 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Why not use a LJs tailgate latch and install an actuator from a keyless entry module? Could tie it into a key fob.

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/po...3/#post9040996
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What about something like this:

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/DES...XF7?Pid=search
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hey Scott, glad to see you enjoying your truck. I am building a Scout for a guy in a chair, I would love to have your input. I'm sorry I don't have anything for the latch, maybe a solenoid of some kind ~electric~

By the way I am not a fan of exo cages they are usually gay, I must say you Jeep looks bad ass, I am a Scout guy but I would drive that one.


Check out the build here.
/forum/international-harvester/911614-hand-controlled-scout.html
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:18 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd keep it all mechanical how ever you do it. You'd hate for it to fail if it were electric and either keep you in or out of the back. I'm sure you lift is triple tested, over rated, meant for what it is - but an automatic door look dealio is probably made by the lowest bidder...

I'm invisioning maybe two independent latches - one inside and one outside. Stupid simple and easy - but nowhere near as cool as the other options being discussed.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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My Mom's in a chair and my dad and I just got into wheeling, got any more pictures of your setup? I would love to see what's possible.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:43 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I
Quote:
Originally Posted by alosix View Post
Is it missing the factory one because the tub side 'stub' was in the way for the lift mechanism or because of the plate across the back? if it would still physically fit I'd think you could add a keyless entry actuator for the lock and have it wired into the door open mechanism to allow it to unlock it.

Do you have any info on who did the work on the top? I'd love to hear about it (PM if you have the time).

Thanks
Jason
Yes, the factory one was removed for the lift. There's roughly a quarter inch of clearance on either side.

The top is a frankenstein job of the original soft top, some components from another, and some matching material found by an upholstery shop in Northern Virginia: Browning's Auto Upholstery. The fabrication work for the frame was done by Eric Shearer of Freaky Tree Off-road in Manassas. PM me if you want to know more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xmptsunami View Post
The door latches used for walk in freezers are BEEFY and they have an easy, big push button emergency escape button that through mounts on the inside. They're pricey, I've seen them for sale from SpaeNauer (sp?) but that might be a canadian only company.

Like this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/LATCH-Handle-Kas...item1c0b9d0a9a

But it says the inside release parts are sold separately.

We use them undergroung mining on drills and they last good, if it lasts in hardrock mining, it's tough.
Interesting idea. Probably not an ideal solution, but a good conversation piece nonetheless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMGuy View Post
How much clearance is there between the moving arms of the lift and the corners? Looking at that again, a paddle latch isn't going to cut it.

What about a hybrid cage door latch? Or even a fence gate styled latch? You've got structure on the spare tire carrier to mount the paddle, can be opened from inside or out.



Alex.
Yeah, there's not enough clearance. I need to mount something on the exterior to the corner and the tube on the tire carrier.

Something with a similar kind of function is what I'm going for though. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepbeater View Post
Why not use a LJs tailgate latch and install an actuator from a keyless entry module? Could tie it into a key fob.

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/po...3/#post9040996
I'll have to figure out where Eric put the original latch. At this point, I agree with the poster below who suggests keeping it completely mechanical. The remote receiver we used is fried, but if I get another one, it will have the functionality to accommodate this… but the less electrical crap I have to depend on, the better.

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Originally Posted by MochaMike View Post
I've seen those, and I like them, but the problem is that the latch needs to engage automatically when the tailgate closes (and I'm inside).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JetFxr View Post
Hey Scott, glad to see you enjoying your truck. I am building a Scout for a guy in a chair, I would love to have your input. I'm sorry I don't have anything for the latch, maybe a solenoid of some kind ~electric~

By the way I am not a fan of exo cages they are usually gay, I must say you Jeep looks bad ass, I am a Scout guy but I would drive that one.


Check out the build here.
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=911614


just PM me if you have any questions and/or need input on your build.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uglyscout View Post
I'd keep it all mechanical how ever you do it. You'd hate for it to fail if it were electric and either keep you in or out of the back. I'm sure you lift is triple tested, over rated, meant for what it is - but an automatic door look dealio is probably made by the lowest bidder...

I'm invisioning maybe two independent latches - one inside and one outside. Stupid simple and easy - but nowhere near as cool as the other options being discussed.
Stupid simple and effective is all that I want here. I don't know where I could mount a latch inside though. Even if I could just tie a piece of climbing rope to the latch handle and feed that inside, it would work for me to just pull it when need be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by highsidezx12r View Post
My Mom's in a chair and my dad and I just got into wheeling, got any more pictures of your setup? I would love to see what's possible.
Yeah, I'll dig up some pictures and post them later. If you've seen the six-way seat bases that are used in full-size vans (they look like scissor lifts), that's what I have under the driver's seat. There are hand controls installed as well.

Last edited by scott pruett; 03-09-2011 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:17 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Maybe a spring latch could work? Still digging around the web for ideas... better/more ideas are welcome.

I may just need to buy a complete door latch assembly & find someone fab a box for it & weld that to the corner, and weld a pin to the tire carrier.

e.g., http://www.thehoffmangroup.com/autol...so?itemid=BCLG


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Old 03-09-2011, 11:09 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by scott pruett View Post
I
Interesting idea. Probably not an ideal solution, but a good conversation piece nonetheless.
Now that I'm home, I found the Spaenaur part number for the freezer latch I was talking about, it better shows the interior "push to open" knob:

http://www.spaenaur.com/pdf/sectionL/L95.pdf

I'm curious as to what you don't like about this setup?

-mounts on the outside of the door/frame with no complicated internal cables, etc.
-slams closed
-just need to drill one through hole to provide interior opening knob
-super beefy and nearly fail proof (I like the roller striker)


I'm just curious what else you're looking for in a door latch.

Edit: Nevermind

I see now that the folded up lift would interfere with the interior push knob (and you probably don't wanna put an access hole in it). Also you may not have enough clearance with your spare tire to mount the handle (I didn't realize the door was mounted on the tire carrier) I thought the tire carrier could be opened first.

Last edited by xmptsunami; 03-09-2011 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:47 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Why not use a normal everyday trunk latch. You could extend the tailgate a little to overlap the fender. Put the latch inside the fender. Then your electronics for the lift can opperate the latch. It works automatically when it is shut. And they come by default with a mechanical override. It would take a little welding but would be a really simple addition. Plus the parts are available at any junkyard around.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:56 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Why not use a normal everyday trunk latch. You could extend the tailgate a little to overlap the fender. Put the latch inside the fender. Then your electronics for the lift can opperate the latch. It works automatically when it is shut. And they come by default with a mechanical override. It would take a little welding but would be a really simple addition. Plus the parts are available at any junkyard around.
All the new cars have that nice remote release cable, that's a good idea.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm curious as to what you don't like about this setup?
From first glance it looked a bit overkill, but after looking at the PDF, I guess it was a decent suggestion. My bad. The other points you discuss are issues though, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DownNDirty View Post
Why not use a normal everyday trunk latch. You could extend the tailgate a little to overlap the fender. Put the latch inside the fender. Then your electronics for the lift can opperate the latch. It works automatically when it is shut. And they come by default with a mechanical override. It would take a little welding but would be a really simple addition. Plus the parts are available at any junkyard around.
Good thought. Question: would a trunk latch be strong enough? The rear assembly is partially held in place by the hydraulic ram, so it could work... but I think I'd hesitate if it were the only piece holding things shut. The weight of a 35" spare + the tube could stress it, no?

I'm gonna pass on integrating it w/ the electronics for now, but that's not a bad idea for the future.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott pruett View Post
Good thought. Question: would a trunk latch be strong enough? The rear assembly is partially held in place by the hydraulic ram, so it could work... but I think I'd hesitate if it were the only piece holding things shut. The weight of a 35" spare + the tube could stress it, no?

I'm gonna pass on integrating it w/ the electronics for now, but that's not a bad idea for the future.
I am not sure it would be strong enough without the hydraulic ram, but with it I wouldn't see any problems. You are really just looking for something to assist the ram and keep things latched up tight. I imagine the reason you need an additional latch is the 35". The ram on a lot of equiped vehicles don't have any problems holding the door shut. I would guess the additonal weight of your setup combined with a possible bleed down of hydraulic pressure is causing the problem.

The up side is that the remote actuation is a cable so you could route it up to where it is comfortable for you to use. I use one to hold the trunk of my buggy shut and initially I had the cable come up into the interior. It is just a simple pull cable so they are super simple to source and install.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:41 PM   #18 (permalink)
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what about using the latch from a 4 door suzuki sidekick it opens the same your jeep. The door on the sidekick is even heavier than your jeeps

can't find a good pic but you get the idea. you could use an electric door pop hooked to a remote to open it
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:12 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Golden Boy Mobility in San Diego has done a number of Jeeps very much like this one and they would be who I would reach out to for advice.
Or the Street Rod shops as they deal with this style latch.
Bear Claw is another brand of latch I saw posted about on Expo.
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:37 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I am not sure it would be strong enough without the hydraulic ram, but with it I wouldn't see any problems. You are really just looking for something to assist the ram and keep things latched up tight. I imagine the reason you need an additional latch is the 35". The ram on a lot of equiped vehicles don't have any problems holding the door shut. I would guess the additonal weight of your setup combined with a possible bleed down of hydraulic pressure is causing the problem.

The up side is that the remote actuation is a cable so you could route it up to where it is comfortable for you to use. I use one to hold the trunk of my buggy shut and initially I had the cable come up into the interior. It is just a simple pull cable so they are super simple to source and install.
Yup, we're on the same page here.

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Originally Posted by supazuk94 View Post
what about using the latch from a 4 door suzuki sidekick it opens the same your jeep. The door on the sidekick is even heavier than your jeeps

can't find a good pic but you get the idea. you could use an electric door pop hooked to a remote to open it
cool, I'll look into it. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1 Leg Lance View Post
Golden Boy Mobility in San Diego has done a number of Jeeps very much like this one and they would be who I would reach out to for advice.
Or the Street Rod shops as they deal with this style latch.
Bear Claw is another brand of latch I saw posted about on Expo.
I think I talked to a guy in San Diego way back when I started this. If the guy's name is Gary, he was less than helpful & wouldn't tell me anything b/c of "trade secrets" or something along those lines.

The latch I posted above is a Bear Claw. Looks good, price is decent.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:11 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Take and do like barred door setup Take rod and put through a sleeve which is welded or secured to tailgate then on each side have a like tumble bar indexed the same on each side of tailgate that drops into pocket and keeps it engaged. Kinda similiar to a chain link fence gate latch But instead it grasps the tub on each side and it is stupid simple. Just make sure to flip up before you hit door opener...

Update:kinda similar to this setup but with a pocket to keep it from rotating around

http://www.hooverfence.com/catalog/cpage75.htm

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Old 03-10-2011, 03:44 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Sounds like you need a electric latch that will release with you ram is pushing the door open. You use a relay an wire it to the solenoid power for you door ram. That way when the ram solenoid is energized so it will allow it to unlatch and latch.
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