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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really enjoyed the ingenuity of OldFart's tailgate backrest design. Certainly a cost improvement over the factory version and a pretty simple concept. As I was touring Lowe's and Home Depot to scope out the materials, I began to have some ideas about how I might use some of the garage-clutter that I already had laying around at home to accomplish the same goal. After some thinking and sketching, here is what I did:

  • 44" length of 2x4
    Two pieces 1/2" SCH40 PVC, cut to 20-1/2" long*
    Two 1/4" x 3" long carriage bolts
    Two 1/4" washers
    Two 1/4" nuts
    Two 1/4" wing nuts
    Foam Padding**
    Fabric cover***
    Staple gun or upholstery tacks

* - Length isn't super critical but it sets the height of the backrest above the tailgate "seat"...I found this length to be perfect for me...cut longer and trim down if you want to experiment...
** - I used polyester pillow stuffing just sorta laid on to the board, but you could use something like a 44" length of foam wrapped around the 2x4 and held in place by the fabric cover.
*** - I used regular fabric (some nifty NFL team logo stuff my wife had laying around, will be perfect for tailgating at the game) but vinyl or other upholstery is OK of course.

1. At both ends of the 2x4, drill a 1/4" hole centered 3/4" from the top edge and 5/8" from the end.*
2. Insert the carriage bolts through the holes in the 2x4. Secure each with a washer and a nut. Tighten the nut enough to draw the square stub under the carriage bolt's head into the wood so the bolt head is flush with the board surface. (This keeps the bolt from spinning).
3. Add foam padding and fabric to bolt head side of 2x4, wrap over top and bottom edges, secure fabric with staple gun or upholstery tacks on washer/nut side. Do not put any padding over the ends of 2x4 (a layer of fabric is OK though), because it will interfere with the fit of the backrest.
4. Drill a 1/4" hole all the way though each PVC pipe, 3/4" from one end.
5. Install the PVC pipe onto the carriage bolt, tighten wing nuts over pipe just enough to keep pipes from flopping around (don't over-tighten and break the pipes!).

* - Optional for advanced woodworkers -- countersink the holes so top of the nut is slightly overflush with the board surface after installation.

Backrest Installation:
1. Open hatch and put tailgate down.
2. Rotate PVC pipes so they are perpendicular to 2x4. Bolts should be at top edge of 2x4 when pipes are extending downward. Tighten wing nuts just enough to hold pipes in place.
3. With padded side of 2x4 facing you and pipes extending downward, put the pipes through the tailgate latch "loops" on either side of the tailgate opening.
4. Feed the ends of the pipes between the tailgate and the Element body, resting the ends of the pipe on the bumper.
5. Sit on tailgate, lean back, crack a cold one, relax, etc.
6. Remove backrest by simply lifting upwards so pipes come out of the latch "loops". Loosen wing nuts, rotate pipes inward (along the length of the 2x4), tighten wingnuts again, for compact storage.


El Paso TX[/b]

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540 Posts
That sounds so clever. I always admire people who can just look at various materials, see how they might come together, design and fabricate something cool. From junk comes - a thing. A good thing!

Way cool!

Share photos Bob!

· Registered
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, here are some photos. I didn't take any while building it :oops: but you should get a pretty good idea from the text and the photos together. Have fun!!

KenBobEl Paso TX

#1. Drilling of pipe & 2x4 and installation of hardware:

#2. PVC Pipies installed with wingnuts, shown "folded" for storage:

#3. Pipes rotated down for use:

#4. Put pipes through tailgate latch "loops":

#5. Ends of pipes rest on bumper between tailgate and body. You could cut the ends of the pipes at an angle so they sit flat on the bumper but note that there is practically no weight pressing down on the bumper; the weight of you leaning back is supported by the tailgate latch "loops":

#6. Installed and ready for use:
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