Late-model pickups have sophisticated tailgates that lower gently and easily to make life simpler for the owner. However, if you go back to say, 2005 or so, tailgates were the same as they had been since the 1960s: featureless, heavy steel appendages that slam down if you lose hold of them.
That’s why the Orion Motor Tech Tailgate Shock got my attention. A racing buddy had one on his truck, and when I saw him drop his old-school tailgate with a gentle swoosh, I had to have one.
The kit comes with all the hardware you need, including a vial of red thread locker, and for the price it’s hard to justify not having one. Installation takes about 20 minutes, and that included the part where I had to grind the lower bracket because it didn’t have the clearance to allow the bolt on the tailgate hinge to thread in straight. I found it on Amazon for $19.99 at time of publication.
For good measure, we’ll throw a little how-to in this installment of Speed News Race Gear column.
Remove the side bolt on the lower tailgate hinge. To give you an idea of how old school a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado HD is, the hinges are the same part number as those on a 1973 Chevrolet C10.
Install the shock bracket with the stud that holds the lower end of the shock. Look closely at the bracket and you can see where I had to grind it to get to fit around the hinge cup.
Remove the tailgate safety strap and remove the bolt on the bedside that it attaches to.
Use the provided thread locker on the new stud, and thread it into the bedside with the large washer provided.
The kits comes with a small sheet of adhesive Mylar to protect the bedside from scratches.
Cut the Mylar sheet at the edge of the bedside and around the taillamp attachment screws.
The included instructions say to attach the top first, but it works better to attach the bottom end of the shock first.
Lift the tailgate enough to the get the top of the shock over the stud and thread on the Nylock nut with the included washer. The Nylock nuts don’t need to be terribly tight. A little play lets the assembly work more smoothly.
The end result is a heavy tailgate that no longer comes crashing down. It also makes lifting a heavy tailgate easier. Pretty slick kit for $20.