YJ/TJ/LJ Drop Tailgate Conversion

Page 3, Installation continued


Step 9:  We now re-install our door plates and using two of the 1/4" x 20 button head bolts per side we attach each hinge using only the top 2 holes in each hinge.  Leave the bolts a bit loose so you can position the hinge and be sure that the barrel is level to the door opening.

Step 10:  With the hinges in place we now mark the location of the 4 lower hinge holes using a sharpie marker on the lower plate.  Center punch each hole location and using the #7 bit again, we drill each of the 4 holes per side through the lower plate and the lower body panel of the Jeep.  Be very careful that the lower plate doesn't move or walk on you, take your time here and do it right.  Once all 8 holes are drilled we remove the lower plate and drill out the holes in the lower body panel with a 25/64" drill bit.  This is important as we will be installing the Nutserts in the next step.

Nutsert and installation tool


Installing the Nutserts


Nutserts installed





Step 11: With the 8 lower holes drilled out to 25/64" we install 1/4" x 20 Nutserts in each hole.  the Nutserts should fit tightly in the holes and might need to be tapped in with a hammer.  If they won't go you might have to run the drill bit in and out of the hole again to shave them a bit.

We now use a Nutsert installation tool which we bought at a local hardware store for $8.50.  Resembling a large nut the tool has a flange on one end which fits the inner bore of the Nutsert while being installed and is smooth down the inside.  We would highly recommend that if you have never installed a Nutsert before that you buy a few extras and practice on a piece of sheet metal first.

To install the nutserts we insert a 1/4" x 20 bolt through the tool and into the Nutsert.  Using an end wrench to keep the tool from turning we use our air ratchet to run the bolt in and pull up the back of the Nutsert much the same way a pop rivet compresses.  You can also use a hand ratchet if you don't have an air ratchet but be sure to keep the tool flat to the surface and not tilted in any way.  Don't over tighten the Nutsert.   If the Nutsert should happen to spin while you are trying to tighten it down you can back out the bolt and then insert a star washer between the tool and the Nutsert.  The star washer will dig into the Nutsert and keep it from turning.

After the Nutserts are all installed we give each one a few taps with a metal working hammer to dimple them in a bit with the surrounding metal, this will help the plate sit more flush with the body when it's installed.

Now it's time to put everything back together.

We re-install the lower plate with the center bolt to hold it in place then attach our hinges using the 1/4" x 20 button head bolts.  Install all the hinge mounting bolts only hand tight.  Due to the beam running through the door the lower bolt hole on the upper hinge side may need to be much shorter.  With everything put together we now remove the upper factory hinge bolts from the tailgate.  Open the door and lower it.  Now close it, open it, close it, open it, cool ain't it.  If the latch doesn't align the first time keep trying, it will eventually.  This is the reason we kept the hinge bolts only hand tight.  Once installed the hinges need to move around to "seat" so that they work correctly and for the door to close and latch.  Once you have it, you can then take everything apart to paint it.


Next up the tailgate cables to hold the door up and the passenger side latch.


On to page 4