Fifth Wheel Tailgate Options for the Toyota Tundra
If you decide to make the move to a fifth wheel trailer hitch, then you are going to have to also eventually replace your Toyota Tundra’s tailgate. While some people choose to drive around without a tailgate at all, this represents a fairly big compromise in terms of the type of cargo you can carry safely, a problem which might rear its head at the worst possible moment and leave you in the lurch.
There are a number of different aftermarket companies out there that manufacture tailgates that feature a fifth wheel cutout that allows enough room for safe operation. Many of these tailgates offer a louvered, grille or bar design, which is intended to allow air to pass through the tailgate while towing and theoretically reduce the amount of drag encountered by your truck while traveling at highway speeds. The fact that the air is simply passing through the tailgate and hitting the trailer head-on seems to be ignored by the manufacturers of these units, and it’s in fact almost impossible to find a non-pass through fifth wheel tailgate design.
Let’s take a look at a few of the available fifth wheel tailgates for the Toyota Tundra.
Stromberg Carlson 4000 Series
The Stromberg Carlson 4000 Series is a louvered fifth wheel tailgate that comes with coated cables, a keyed locking handle in the middle of the unit as well as a paintable black finish that can be left as is or color-keyed to the hue of your truck. The tailgate weighs 35 lbs and covers all of the basic criteria for fifth wheel hauling, making it a good starter tailgate at a reasonable price of around $350. The tailgate is manufactured in the U.S. and comes with a one-year warranty.
Custom Flow Elite Series
Custom Flow is a popular name amongst fifth wheel tailgate shoppers, and the Elite Series tailgate offers a bit more style than the Stromberg Carlson option. The tailgate offers a smooth, contoured frame on either side of the unit that is designed to match the body work of the Tundra, and it comes with black powder coated louvers. Custom Flow claims that the louvers make it a big easier to back up and mount the hitch, which seems to be a more reasonable claim than reduced drag. Although it can cost as much as $100 more than the Stromberg Carlson tailgate (about $350 at StreetSideAuto.com), Custom Flow only recently added a lock to the center latch. Warranty information is not provided by Custom Flow online, so make sure to ask for the details from your vendor.
The Husky Liners Fifth Wheel Tailgate is the most expensive model so far, retailing for around $550. This lockable, louvered tailgate boasts a very deep V cutout as well as a “bright dipped” finish that is a nice departure from black. The tailgate comes with a one-year warranty, and is designed to be lightweight (featuring an all-aluminum design) and easy to mount. It’s difficult to see what makes the Husky Liners unit worth the extra bucks compared to the Custom Flow, other than the reduced mass of the aluminum construction, but it certainly does the job and is a solid choice for Tundra owners.
Go Industries offers a long list of fifth wheel tailgate options for the Tundra:
- Air Flow Painted V-Gate. This mesh-style tailgate honestly looks fairly cheap, and is built out of 16-gauge steel that features either a painted white or black power coated finish. Although it’s exposed supports might not be high class, it comes with a serious warranty – three years on all models, with an additional six-months on powder coated units. It also comes with an inexpensive price of just $300.
- Air Flow Louvered V-Gate. The Black Louvered tailgate from Go Industries is much more attractive to the eye, featuring a curved tubular stainless steel top rail that is mounted over painted black louvers. The tailgate comes with a three-year warranty and is priced between $325 and $400.
- Air Flow Chrome V-Gate. This tailgate features chromed tubular steel frame and a minimalist wire grid design that is made out of quarter-inch steel mesh. The Chrome V-Gate looks a bit flimsier than most other options out there, which might be why it comes with only a one-year warranty. Pricing is somewhat premium for this unit, coming in at around $400.
- Air Flow Stainless V-Gate. 304 stainless steel tubing serves as the frame for this particular V-Gate, as well as the horizontal lattice that adds a reserved, attractive look to the unit. The Stainless V-Gate comes with a three year warranty, and is perhaps unsurprisingly one of the most expensive Go Industries options, starting at just under $700.
One thing to keep in mind about the V-Gate series – none of the tailgates offer a traditional center latch or locking system, so if those features are important to you, you might have to look elsewhere.
Filed Under: Toyota Tundra Accessories