Project Gone Titan - Part 5

""The Good, the Bad , the Ugly""

Dec. 01, 2006 By Sam Knight


Being in need of a spare tire carrier and a way to store my Hi-Lift Jack, Bob of Wilco Products came to the rescue. After telling Bob of my dilemma, I had a freshly coated TireGate shipped to me in a matter of days. This innovative company, based out of Santa Ana, Ca, has been in the aftermarket industry for over twenty years. I have been eyeing their top product, the TireGate, for over a year now. A very creative style of tire carrier that replaces your existing tail gate, but keeps the tire in a more accessible location in case a flat on/off the trail. Wilco’s first design is the prerunner style.

I held off getting the TireGate because I always wanted some sort of shell or canopy covering the truck bed. I randomly check Wilco’s website and discover two new designs: the Vertical Series and Horizontal Series.



The VT SERIES was the perfect choice.

Once again, this completely replaces the tailgate of the truck. The tailgate comes off easily by disconnecting the tether cables on both sides and then lifting the gate at 45 degree angle and slide out of the joints on both sides. Laying out all components to get a visual pre-install. This helps during install when looking for proper pieces during stages. Like they say in the restaurant business, MIS EN PLAS!

Now assemble the right and left support brackets with the lower center connector tube. Make sure you follow the provided instructions and use the proper bolts assigned to each stage.

The versatility of the other two series is the option of flipping the gate. The tires can be inside the bed or outside. The VT, however, keeps the tire outside, especially that it can hold up to a size 40”. So, make sure you install the rubber inserts on the proper sides of the actual gate. The oval slotted grommets (ORANGE PULL PINS) go on the left and the circled holes for the assembling bolts on the right.

Tap in your plastic end caps and check gate for easy operation.

Install the jack carrier assembly. Be sure to line up holes of the jack with brackets. Here, the brackets are best close in the center, if you opt to carry the jack on top of the gate. The spare tire will have trouble sliding on to it’s support if jack brackets are any wider. I later desired to have the jack in a vertical stance. When placing the jack brackets on the left support tube of the gate, keep the bottom bracket low. This will assure, in combination of inserting that bolt with lowest hole of the jack, the gate can close without the jack clearing the rear bumper of the truck.


“THE BAD(A$$!!)

I recently contacted ProComp Motorsports to upgrade my rear suspension. For the MX6 Resevoir I also opt for Pro Comp's new billet Aluminum Reservoir Shock Clamps. They are CNC machined and feature a finned design dissipates heat transferred from the remote shocks reservoir. Hardened steel threaded inserts prevent stripping threads and cross threading of the single mounting bolt. Mount Pro Comp's MX6R reservoir to the shock body or to a 1.5" diameter shock hoop. Additional sizes are available to mount any 2" diameter reservoir to a 1.5" or 2.0" body/hoop.

Knowing that the undercarriage took some beating on our last trail. I call Mike down at Automotive Customizes ( He makes me a great deal on a debut edition, rear differential skid plate. This thing was easy to install and strong as an ox! Rear differential skid plate is made of 3/16" steel. Covers your rear differential with virtually no ground clearance loss. Comes with hardware. Designed to protect your thin differential cover and bolts from damaging rocks and debris. Black is only option, the grey was for picture purposes only.


While I’m in the fiddlin’ mood, and since the T-MAX winch is on a portable carrier, I went to my local off-road shop and got a set of the Warn Quick Connectors. There have been times I did not bring the winch along due hassle of having to connect the positive/negative cables to the battery terminals. Very Easy modification! Just cut the cables, about a foot away from the winch. Strip the tips about an inch and a half. Slide on the metal tips and crimp. I did not have a strong enough tool to crimp, so I braced it against the ground and the wall to keep a firm fit of the tip on the bare wire. Then, hammered the metal sleeve until firmly clamped onto the wire. After this step, slip on the tether wire for black weather covers, this will keep your connectors clean and dry between use. Slide the cables to the matching and labeled slots on the red connectors. If paying attention, and match cables to (+) and (-) signs on red connectors, the hard part is over. Now feed the wires through the easiest and less obtrusive route through the front of the truck, behind headlight assembly, and connect to battery. Keep black covers on when not in use.




Just as complimenting and informing readers of quality products and excellent customer service. Such as ExplorerProComp, Automotive Customizers, PRG Products, Wilco Products, and I believe it is also my responsibility to give fair warning of those less desirable and prevent my readers from falling into similar situations.

The Scoop: Back in February, I start a search for bumpers, Mainly a rear bumper with tire carrier and other options. Kennesaw Mountain Bumpers of Georgia ( were contacted. Kyle seemed to be very enthusiastic of my project and supposedly, had a previous customer back out on a rear bumper assembly with tire, jack, and gas can options. Kyle offered a package price for a front and rear bumper. I was flabbergasted! To make a VERY LONG STORY short, It took four months to get the front bumper. After politely and patiently waiting all summer and fall, I have yet to receive the rear. Courtesy calls and emails were only once a week to check status of delivery. For months I kept hearing, “I’ve been busy, will ship” ,“It’s on the road” , and “For someone getting hooked up, you should be more patient!”. Needless to say, even when on a budget, sometimes it is better not settle.

Thank you for following “goneTITAN”!

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