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How to Install a Jeep Wrangler JL Tailgate Table

The Trailgater is one of the must-add modifications to any Jeep Wrangler JL.

Jul 1, 2020
One of the most underrated modifications for any Jeep Wrangler is the addition of a tailgate table. From holding sandwiches and cooking gear to protecting the tailgate from errant cargo on the trail, tailgate tables add a lot of utility to your Jeep.
One of our favorite tailgate tables is the Outback Adventures Trailgater. We've had these on a couple of these on our Wrangler JK projects and they dutifully served us for years on just about every trail imaginable, holding countless sandwiches and drinks at lunchtime, lanterns at night, and even the occasional tool, all without exhibiting one squeak or rattle.
Because we loved the Trailgater so much on our JKs, one of our first calls when we picked up our Wrangler JL was to Doug Horne at Outback Adventure Products to see if he'd be interested in sending a JL version our way to test.
When our package arrived, the first thing we noticed was how hefty the stainless steel table was. We were in awe of the quality of materials from the moment we pulled it out of the box, especially the removeable dark-stained bamboo cutting board that looks like it was liberated from a high-end kitchen. Overall the table's design and operation will be familiar to anyone who has used a Wrangler JK version, but there are a couple of differences that benefit Wrangler JL owners.
Photo 2/15   |   The Outback Adventures JL Trailgater Tailgate Table comes with everything you need for an easy install. It's an install so quick and easy that the only tools needed are a screwdriver and a trim popper.
For example, the table, when installed, is better integrated into the JL tailgate, looking more incorporated into the JL than the JK version. The JL Trailgater also seems to have tighter tolerances, as everything fits perfectly and the table itself just looks great. Installation is still similar, but there is no longer any cutting of trim or any drilling require, meaning you will have no issues with corrosion down the line. Installation is as easy as popping out the factory tailgate trim panel and installing the new Trailgater in its place.
The Trailgater is made in the USA from 14-gauge food-grade 304 stainless steel on the fold-down table portion and is designed to hold up to the heat of stoves or other cooking implements on the tabletop. The backsplash is made from 0.120-inch laser-cut, CNC bent and deburred aluminum that is covered in a protective layer of powdercoat. The Trailgater has 425 square inches of horizontal space from its 25 x 14.5-inch dimensions and can hold up to 65 pounds on the main table. Sliding out the 20 x 12-inch bamboo cutting board brings the total to 600 square inches, and it can handle about 20 pounds.
There are other tables on the market, but you'd be hard-pressed to find one with the same quality or fit and finish as the Trailgater, making it one of our favorite Wrangler mods. We can't wait to put it to good use on our Wrangler JL.
Photo 3/15   |   The Trailgater uses a roll of foam tape to space and insulate the table from the tailgate.
Photo 4/15   |   We found carefully placing the tape around the edges of the Trailgater, according to the installation instructions, was the most time-consuming part of our 20-minute install. It is important not to stretch the tape as you are applying it.
Photo 5/15   |   Here is how the table should look with the foam tape installed. Note that there are prescribed gaps in the application.
Photo 6/15   |   Next we popped the factory tailgate trim panel off the tailgate, giving us access to the tailgate structure. Make sure the factory green clips stay with the trim panel and none are left behind in the slots.
Photo 7/15   |   As with the Wrangler JK Trailgater, the JL Trailgater uses blind nuts (green) that push into slots in the tailgate and secure the tailgate table. Each one snapped in with an audible click.
Photo 8/15   |   Outback Adventure Products recommends pregaming the blind nuts by driving the #8 pan head screws in three to four turns before putting the Trailgater in place.
Photo 9/15   |   With the blind nuts in place and the screw holes started, we removed the cutting board to lessen the weight and lifted the Trailgater into place and began our installation of the screws, ensuring they were hand tightened.
Photo 10/15   |   Here you can see the mounting screws installed. Note the routing of the wiring harness through the gap provided.
Photo 11/15   |   With the backsplash in place, we returned the bamboo cutting board to the Trailgater.
Photo 12/15   |   Two stainless steel spring pins are used to lock the Trailgater in the upright position.
Photo 13/15   |   The table is kept snug by two rubber bumpers that can be seen under the locking pins in the photo. To lock the table in the upright position requires a little pressure against the tailgate.
Photo 14/15   |   The bamboo cutting board easily slides inboard and stows under the Trailgater, allowing the unit to fold up and lock in place. You can see the impressive tolerances of the Trailgater that aid in keeping the table rattle-free over any terrain.
Photo 15/15   |   When stowed, the JL Trailgater takes up less than 2 inches of depth and stands ready when you need a lunch break on the trail, a field desk, or a work bench.

SOURCE

Outback Adventures
(801) 631-7424
www.outbackadventureproducts.com
 

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