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Author Topic: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT  (Read 4592 times)

Texdan25

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Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« on: August 30, 2019, 07:32:27 AM »
I would like to haul my golf cart in my truck bed (Chevy 2500 HD with 6-1/2 bed) while towing my travel trailer and the only way I can do it is for the tailgate to be down as the back wheels sit on it appx. 8".  I currently have about 2" clearance between the tailgate and electric tongue jack.  If I change out my 12" shank with an 18" one I will then have about 8" of clearance.  Would this be enough to be able to make 90 degree turns without hitting the jack?  Any other ideas?  A hitch extender won't work as it reduces the hitch towing capacity.  Thanks.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2019, 08:12:46 AM »
I don't think that's enough, but you have to measure.  Put the extended shank ball in (or simulate it with a board and a nail) and put a cord with a loop on one end over the ball location.   Holding the cord at the 8" clearance point, pull it taut an swing to the side.  That's equivalent to the position of the trailer jack post.  If during the side-swing the 8" distance point intersects with the tailgate, the distance is too short. 

How much clearance distance do you have now, with 12" shank and tailgate up?  How close does the jack post come to the back of the truck in a turn? I'll bet its fairly close at a sharp angle.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 08:15:49 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2019, 08:29:10 AM »
I don't think that's enough, but you have to measure.  Put the extended shank ball in (or simulate it with a board and a nail) and put a cord with a loop on one end over the ball location.   Holding the cord at the 8" clearance point, pull it taut an swing to the side.  That's equivalent to the position of the trailer jack post.  If during the side-swing the 8" distance point intersects with the tailgate, the distance is too short. 

How much clearance distance do you have now, with 12" shank and tailgate up?  How close does the jack post come to the back of the truck in a turn? I'll bet its fairly close at a sharp angle.
Thanks Gary.  Not quite following you with the board and nail simulation.  Are you saying that I put the WD hitch on the truck?  And where does the nail come into play?  I don't know my current clearance, will have to go hook up the trailer and measure?  I do a pretty good jackknife when trying to back it into my driveway when preparing for a trip.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2019, 08:56:19 AM »
I was suggesting that you make a simulated 18" shank ball mount using a 2.5"x2.5" board or piece of scrap metal. The nail is to establish the point where the hitch ball would normally be and give you a place for the loop on the measuring cord.  The simulator board is for use if you don't already have the 18" shank ball mount on hand to try.  If you have the 18" ball mount, just put it on the truck and place the cord loop over the ball. No need for board or nail.

The whole idea of the cord is to give a way to measure where the hitch post would be without hooking up the trailer and actually making a sharp turn. The looped cord simulates the trailer tongue, with the loop as the ball coupler and 8" point on the cord as the jack post location.
Yes, hook up the trailer and measure. However, you know bout what the distance is: it's the width of the tailgate when down, plus 2". Probably around 20-22" total.  You are proposing to replace that with a mere 8" clearance and that probably is not enough.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 09:02:14 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2019, 09:48:12 AM »
Thanks Gary.  I doubt if it will be enough but saw a few posts from other folks who used the 18" shank with tailgate down and said it worked for them.  Only true test I would think is to get a shank and try it out but I'm gonna try what you suggest first.  Appreciate the feedback!

lavarock1210

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2019, 10:59:17 AM »
Would a 5th wheel tailgate solve your problem?

https://www.etrailer.com/Tailgate/Stromberg-Carlson/VGM-07-4000.html

Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2019, 11:43:49 AM »
Would a 5th wheel tailgate solve your problem?

https://www.etrailer.com/Tailgate/Stromberg-Carlson/VGM-07-4000.html
The design might work but it would be too lightweight for my application as I need to drive my golf cart onto the truck using ramps so even using support bars instead of cables I don't think these are made for that kind of load.  Plus the rear wheels would be setting on it appx. 8 inches.  I wonder if there are stronger ones made of the same design?

Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2019, 11:49:05 AM »
Thanks Gary.  I doubt if it will be enough but saw a few posts from other folks who used the 18" shank with tailgate down and said it worked for them.  Only true test I would think is to get a shank and try it out but I'm gonna try what you suggest first.  Appreciate the feedback!
Well, I tried the 'stick and string' test, actually modified it a little and just did my measuring from the ball with the hitch installed using a stick and nail.  Anyhow the best I could tell I would be able to turn appx. 70 degrees (eyeball guess) before hitting the tailgate.  I don't know what my max turning degree currently is, I doubt if anyone turns 90 degrees with a bumper pull?

lavarock1210

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2019, 12:20:54 PM »
The design might work but it would be too lightweight for my application as I need to drive my golf cart onto the truck using ramps so even using support bars instead of cables I don't think these are made for that kind of load.  Plus the rear wheels would be setting on it appx. 8 inches.  I wonder if there are stronger ones made of the same design?

Sorry I did not notice what the tailgate was made from.  The one I have on my truck is an all steel tailgate and I am sure it could handle the golf cart.

Here is a steel one.

https://www.carid.com/custom-flow/elite-series-5th-wheel-tailgate.html
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 12:24:02 PM by lavarock1210 »

OBX

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2019, 12:21:30 PM »
I have been considering the same thing for a while.  I may try laying a small platform in the bed of my truck to raise the golf cart up.  My plan will be to get the bumper of the cart to be higher than the tailgate.  I'm still researching golf carts that will fit with Ram Boxes (48" max width).

Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2019, 12:53:40 PM »
Sorry I did not notice what the tailgate was made from.  The one I have on my truck is an all steel tailgate and I am sure it could handle the golf cart.

Here is a steel one.

https://www.carid.com/custom-flow/elite-series-5th-wheel-tailgate.html
That looks a lot stronger but no info on the website.  Trying to contact them now.  So have you ever put a load on yours and if so how much? Thanks.

Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2019, 12:58:50 PM »
I have been considering the same thing for a while.  I may try laying a small platform in the bed of my truck to raise the golf cart up.  My plan will be to get the bumper of the cart to be higher than the tailgate.  I'm still researching golf carts that will fit with Ram Boxes (48" max width).
You might want to look into this:  https://www.rizerback.com/  . We talked with them and they said it would move the rear tire forward about 8".  But doesn't look like a golf cart would work very well, they are made mainly for ATV's.

OBX

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2019, 01:32:52 PM »
That looks cool Tex.  Thank you.

Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2019, 02:29:37 PM »
Sorry I did not notice what the tailgate was made from.  The one I have on my truck is an all steel tailgate and I am sure it could handle the golf cart.

Here is a steel one.

https://www.carid.com/custom-flow/elite-series-5th-wheel-tailgate.html
Well, I 'chatted' with Carid and found out the steel tailgate is rated for 200# which is 100# higher than the other lightweight ones.  Not sure how much weight would actually be put on it while driving up the ramp and how much with the 2 rear tires sitting on the ramp.  Gotta do more research!  Update:  just for grins I tried to pick up the rear of the golf cart, no go.  However I was able to pick up the front.  I'm guessing then engine weight is more toward the back, plus it has the back seats and platform and don't know how much they weigh.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 07:17:16 PM by Texdan25 »

grashley

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2019, 06:43:37 PM »
Here is a crazy, off the wall idea.  Can you remove the tailgate and secure a pair of ramps in the bed of the truck with a 10" overhang.   Run the golf cart onto those ramps.  The extra 2" gives room for a tie down point.  There is no full length tailgate to interfere with turns.  Hopefully, the ramp extension will miss the jack.
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Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2019, 07:13:36 PM »
Here is a crazy, off the wall idea.  Can you remove the tailgate and secure a pair of ramps in the bed of the truck with a 10" overhang.   Run the golf cart onto those ramps.  The extra 2" gives room for a tie down point.  There is no full length tailgate to interfere with turns.  Hopefully, the ramp extension will miss the jack.
'
Great minds think alike!  A while back I made a rack out of 2x8x86" long and secured them to the front bed tie downs.  I also had cross boards to sturdy it up.  I then ran the cart onto the truck.  The wheels hung off the back about 10" and gave me plenty of clearance but it just didn't look safe having that much of the cart hanging off the back on boards.  I suppose I could put 4x4's under them and sitting on the bumper but my wife nixed the whole idea.  Wish I had taken a picture before disassembling the whole thing.

Rene T

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2019, 07:36:40 PM »
'
Great minds think alike!  A while back I made a rack out of 2x8x86" long and secured them to the front bed tie downs.  I also had cross boards to sturdy it up.  I then ran the cart onto the truck.  The wheels hung off the back about 10" and gave me plenty of clearance but it just didn't look safe having that much of the cart hanging off the back on boards.  I suppose I could put 4x4's under them and sitting on the bumper but my wife nixed the whole idea.  Wish I had taken a picture before disassembling the whole thing.

If your boards run all the way up to the front of the bed and you could bolt them down to the bed, back the cart, rear end 1st, then all the weight or most of the weight would be  on the boards in the front of the bed, and the light end would be on the overhang of 10".
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lavarock1210

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2019, 08:58:29 PM »
Well, I 'chatted' with Carid and found out the steel tailgate is rated for 200# which is 100# higher than the other lightweight ones.  Not sure how much weight would actually be put on it while driving up the ramp and how much with the 2 rear tires sitting on the ramp.  Gotta do more research!  Update:  just for grins I tried to pick up the rear of the golf cart, no go.  However I was able to pick up the front.  I'm guessing then engine weight is more toward the back, plus it has the back seats and platform and don't know how much they weigh.

What is the weight rating of the factory tailgate?  From looking at the tailgate system it appears to me the limiting factor would be the steel cables.  The 5 th wheel tailgate uses the same cables that the factory tailgate used.

Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2019, 03:33:48 PM »
If your boards run all the way up to the front of the bed and you could bolt them down to the bed, back the cart, rear end 1st, then all the weight or most of the weight would be  on the boards in the front of the bed, and the light end would be on the overhang of 10".

Definitely need to consider this as an option.

Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2019, 03:34:52 PM »
What is the weight rating of the factory tailgate?  From looking at the tailgate system it appears to me the limiting factor would be the steel cables.  The 5 th wheel tailgate uses the same cables that the factory tailgate used.
  Not sure the weight of the factory tailgate.  I would not use the factory cables but instead would by the bars from DG industries.

Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2019, 09:10:05 AM »
Well here's an update:

Bought an 18" extended shank and hooked up the trailer to test in our storage unit area.  It gave me about 6" of clearance between the tailgate and trailer jack.  Was able to make a 90 degree turn and still had appx. 2" of clearance with the jack but propane tank cover was right against the tailgate.  I then had a brainstorm (for me anyhow).  I removed the tanks and there's plenty of clearance.  2nd 'brainstorm' is that since the jack is easily removable with 3 bolts why do I need a longer shank, why not just use the regular 12" shank, load the golf cart, hook up the trailer, and unbolt and lay down the jack and remove the tanks leaving a wide open space on the front of the trailer?  Thinking about buying a manual jack that could just swing up so that I don't have to remove/install the power jack each time.  Anyone think of any 'negatives' for doing this approach?

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2019, 09:15:09 AM »
Tank covers are cosmetic - do you have enough clearance with the tanks in place but cover removed?
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Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2019, 10:39:10 AM »
Tank covers are cosmetic - do you have enough clearance with the tanks in place but cover removed?
No, tanks were right against the cover.  But very easy to remove and re-install.  Biggest concern now is the jack with my normal 12" shank.  Also will be buying a winch as I'm not crazy about driving a golf cart up the ramps.  900# plus another 200# for me.  Any tips on installing a winch in the front of the truck bed?  I'm thinking a 2x8/10/12 running across the front of bed with winch bolted on but gotta figure out how to attach the board to the front tie-downs (or whatever they are called).  Any ideas?

grashley

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2019, 06:16:50 PM »
The winch should work fine.  Is there clearance to bolt the board or metal mounting bracket to the bed?  (Clearance to reach between cab and bed to attach bolts.)  Remember this is adding weight to the truck, but with the 2500, you should have enough payload.

DOWN SIDE  With tanks removed, you can not run the refrigerator while traveling.
The swing back jack worked fine on my pop up with 200 # tongue wt.  Fairly easy to turn, but not as convenient as the electric!
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Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2019, 08:03:17 AM »
The winch should work fine.  Is there clearance to bolt the board or metal mounting bracket to the bed?  (Clearance to reach between cab and bed to attach bolts.)  Remember this is adding weight to the truck, but with the 2500, you should have enough payload.

DOWN SIDE  With tanks removed, you can not run the refrigerator while traveling.
The swing back jack worked fine on my pop up with 200 # tongue wt.  Fairly easy to turn, but not as convenient as the electric!
I didn't think of that, I will have to check the clearance but good idea. And payload is not a concern. No big deal about the frig. as we don't do that anyhow.  As for jacks I know some TT's are sold with manual jacks but I don't know what their tongue weights are, I'm wondering if a 6-800 TW would be able to be raised manually?  Most manual jacks I am seeing have a 1000# capacity and 10" lift, not sure how much lift I need so gotta check my power jack.  Definitely not as convenient but if it works and buys me clearance I could live with that as we only take our golf cart 1-2 times per year when we go to the beach.  Thanks for the comments!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 08:05:55 AM by Texdan25 »

SpencerPJ

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2019, 10:17:32 AM »
10" lift, barely ok for the beach but not most of these campgrounds I end up in.  I wouldn't feel that comfortable with those weigh numbers either. If it were me, I would simply bolt and unbolt the 3 bolts that hold the electric jack, put a nice electric plug on it, and worry about getting that golf cart secured.

I also came across this winch idea, looks interesting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK8Idd6kqAc

 
« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 10:21:03 AM by SpencerPJ »
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Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2019, 10:41:50 AM »
10" lift, barely ok for the beach but not most of these campgrounds I end up in.  I wouldn't feel that comfortable with those weigh numbers either. If it were me, I would simply bolt and unbolt the 3 bolts that hold the electric jack, put a nice electric plug on it, and worry about getting that golf cart secured.

I also came across this winch idea, looks interesting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK8Idd6kqAc
Thanks for the comments.  I don't have a sliding back window so that winch idea wouldn't work, but I figure if I put a winch on the cart and not the truck I could put a chain across the front of the bed to hook on to but I'm still leaning toward putting the winch in the truck bed.  Then have to figure out what to tie on to on the front of the cart (EZGO S4 gasser), don't know if the brush guard is strong enough?
As for the jack, still not sure what to do, never thought about installing a plug, was figuring I could just leave wiring attached and lay the jack across the front of the TT.  But will look into that option too.  Thanks for ideas.

SpencerPJ

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2019, 10:51:57 AM »
A couple times a year, you might just get a manual come along.  A winch much better, but $$.
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2012 Puma 21BH TT
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Texdan25

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2019, 11:35:40 AM »
A couple times a year, you might just get a manual come along.  A winch much better, but $$.
I was thinking of that too or perhaps a boat winch, they are rated for 1500#.  Would still have to figure out how to mount it and not sure if it would work winching a golf cart up the ramps.

SpencerPJ

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Re: Tailgate clearance needed while towing a TT
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2019, 02:43:20 PM »
Would still have to figure out how to mount it and not sure if it would work winching a golf cart up the ramps.
Do the rails still have those 2"x3" holes in them?  Maybe the front slots, put wood in each side, then take a landscape timber and throw it across.  That should be solid enough to pull a rolling golf cart into the bed.  Seems a come along or winch would work better than the boat winch for the leverage, but a younger healthy man, a boat winch would work too.  ;)  A come along could have other uses in life as well  :) 
2020 F150 Lariat, Max Tow, 3.5 Eco
2012 Puma 21BH TT
Paul & Julie


"Never argue with stupid people. They bring you down to their level and beat you with experience" - Mark Twain