Best Fifth Wheel Tailgates

The term ‘tailgate’ can always pique a certain level of curiosity, especially among those who are not accustomed to its usage in a sentence. An experienced driver would often start a heart-thumping but ruined Monday morning when another reckless motorist is ‘tailgating’ him/her along the freeway. However, a new countryside resident would always feel that he/she belongs in the neighborhood if the old inhabitants invite him/her to go ‘tailgating.’

The initial context describes the act of overtaking another vehicle within a very dangerous proximity. The second context describes an outdoor picnic that specifically observes the custom of using vehicle rear (trunk) to serve food and beverages. At first look, these homonyms don’t seem to have something in common.

But curiously, both varying perspectives are originally derived from the same exact concept. By simple definition, a tailgate is the rear door of a pickup truck’s cargo bed.  Ultimately, a tailgate affects driving a pickup truck and towing a van in more ways than one.

The Advantages of Customized Tailgates

Most people (especially those who have read this far) pretty much understands what tailgates are. But what are fifth wheel tailgates? This kind of pickup truck rear door is specifically designed to easily attach a van or trailer to the cargo bed. It is primarily characterized by U-shaped or V-shaped cut that removes the partial obstruction for the trailer king pin if the tailgate is closed up.

In essence, you do not have to unbolt this special tailgate to complete the trailer’s attachment. But there are more advantages this type of truck backdoor has than just easy coupling access. You may consider the following benefits of buying this customized fifth wheel accessory:

Better Visibility

The aforementioned cut at the upper middle section of tailgate’s body serves more than just an immediate access to the RV kingpin. The sizable cavity enables you to see the precise angles of the coupling entry straight from your rear window. Not only can you forego the idea of pulling down the tailgate when you’re hitching a van into your fifth wheel hitch, you can also do it behind the steering wheel without having to step down from the driver’s seat.

Aerodynamics

Speculations about airflow affecting gas mileage are conflicting at best. Many proponents seem to agree that better aerodynamics for a moving vehicle practically cuts down fuel consumption by a very small margin. Since every fifth wheel tailgate sports a louvered frame, it is safe to assume that the idea motivating this design stems from the principles of aerodynamics.

Flexible Design

Ordinary tailgates generally have one direction for opening and closing. Customized replacement tailgates, on the other hand, utilizes a certain degree of uniqueness in terms of its fundamental functions. There are some varieties that open sideways like a saloon door or a ranch gate, while there are others that fold down at an oblique angle to form a ramp for wheeled payloads (e.g. ATV, motorcycle, or Segway scooters). 

5 Best Fifth Wheel Tailgates

Professionally altered tailgates often cater to a number of consumers who only intend to ‘partially’ replace the rear cargo bed door. On the other hand, there are fifth wheel tailgates of exceptional quality that is best suited for customers with a keen hand for mechanical DIY installation. Here are the following popular options you can consider in your personal comparison roster:

Stromberg Carlson VGM-99-100

  • Item weight: 34 lbs.
  • Vehicle fit: GMC and Chevy

This type of tailgate specifically fits the version models released between 1999 and 2006 for the classic body style or noncomposite box of the 1500 series. For the 2500 and 3500 series, this tailgate is ideally suited for 1999 to 2007 versions. Compared to other brands, the retail cost for this item is nearly half the average price distributed in the market.

While this product best appeal to vehicle owners with decades-old models for General Motors and Chevrolet pickup trucks, it also garnered its share of criticisms. For one thing, consumers often point out how the material integrity of the tailgate often accurately reflects its low retail cost.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Good vehicle fit range

Cons

  • Subpar strength

Husky Liners 15130

  • Item weight: 33.8 lbs.
  • Vehicle fit: Ford

This tailgate model is genuinely made in the United States and fashioned out of aircraft-grade aluminum. It also sports a sophisticated contour that is suitable for both a 98-04 F150 and 99-16 F250 SuperCab. Most importantly, you would love the fact that this tailgate possesses a user-friendly array of bolts and hinges for convenient DIY installation.

Unfortunately, it can’t help but receive its share of poor consumer reviews. The usual contributors of the lowest ratings point to mismatched measurements. In other cases, subpar distribution often delivers a wrong frame color.

Pros

  • Quality material
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Potential incompatibility

Stromberg Carlson VG-97-100

  • Item weight: 58 lbs.
  • Vehicle fit: Ford

This model of fifth wheel tailgate strikingly resembles the first-mentioned item in this list in terms of appearance. But unlike the previously mentioned model, this item can withstand 100 lbs of immobile pressure bearing down its opened frame. Such quality does not come as a total surprise for items made of steel.

Similar to the Stromberg Carlson VGM-99-100, this model is also very suitable for those on a tight budget. While most consumers could attest to its simple installation, a significant fraction of these buyers could also confirm that the instructional manual is not helpful. 

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Durable material

Cons

  • Complicated instructions

Custom Flow VEL28

  • Item weight: 5 lbs.
  • Vehicle fit: Ford

Unlike most tailgates, this tow-friendly custom model sports a neat locking mechanism that keeps the door bolted securely. The impressive weight of this product only adds more ease to the DIY installation process. While already clad in sophisticated lacquered tint, this model allows imaginative consumers the liberty of changing the paint without considerable inconvenience.

Anyone would want this item to fit into any brand of a pickup truck. Unfortunately, it only accommodates a handful of Ford series versions released strictly from 1999 to 2014. Furthermore, the budget it entails is also relatively significant.    

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Sleek and easy to install

Cons

  • Expensive

Stromberg Carlson VG-97-4000

  • Item weight: 30.8 lbs.
  • Vehicle fit: Ford

This version of the Stromberg Carlson tow-friendly tailgate deviates from other similar namesake models in a number of ways. While most cargo bed doors are fashioned out of steel or aluminum, this model is clad in a sophisticated PVC exterior. In addition, it also sports a unique locking mechanism that prevents strangers from pulling it down.

Curiously, this variety is more expensive compared to other items of its kind. While it most consumers would find the cost range agreeable, the most glaring criticism points to the missing crucial components. Just imagine installing a hardware with missing bolts, screws, and even the keys to the lock itself. 

Pros

  • Unique and aesthetic
  • Offers theft protection

Cons

  • Potential missing parts

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