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DIY: tailgate license plate

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by TacoTuesday1, Jun 23, 2022.

  1. Jun 23, 2022 at 8:57 PM
    #1
    TacoTuesday1

    TacoTuesday1 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Untitfeafewled.jpg
    For: high clearance rear bumper without place to put plate
    Relocate plate to higher mounting location for more ground clearance/to avoid hitting, bending, and destroying plate on rocks

    Parts needed:
    -silicone plate frame/holder
    -x2 M6 hardware kit to secure top of it, such as long enough bolts, nylon lock nuts, fender-style flat washers, c-ring style spring lock washers
    -M6 rivnuts, x2
    -touch up paint

    Tools needed:
    -rivnut installer; Harbor Freight has a good one
    -drill
    -drill bits 25/64, 1/4"
    -smaller drill bits to start enlarging holes
    -marker to mark holes
    -center punch to mark/help start drill bit
    -compressed air to blow away shavings; can use a can of keyboard cleaner
    -tube wire brush to help clean out freshly drilled hole
    -harbor freight small pack of rare earth magnets, to align plate
    -measuring tools such as tape measure, calipers, ruler: to align plate
    -ratchet/impact + T30 torx to remove tailgate inner skin for access
    -wrench to counterhold whatever nut you have for the top hardware


    Put plate into silicone holder.
    Take rare earth magnets, putting 1 at top of plate hole (each, total 4) and 2 stacked on underside.
    To secure plate assembly to tailgate.
    Then, find a spot where you are satisfied, to place it, such as by looking visually, and measuring even distances.

    (note: follow coastal.tacoma on instagram, view his story on this and copy)

    When set, carefully remove one set of magnets at a time to mark hole, keeping plate in place.
    With all 4 marked, center punch, then begin drilling up to correct size in increments
    Clean area and apply touch up paint to bare metal holes

    Using rivnut tool, install x2 M6 rivnuts into bottom larger 25/64 holes (the harbor freight tool comes with these)
    and use your self-provided kit for the smaller holes, for temporary securing
    tighten using good hand feel, with tailgate inner skin removed for access, then re-install

    I think that's it. Warning, this is without lights.
    I have to go back in later (and you, if you do this) to fit Oznium license plate LED bolt/nut lights, facing down. I have a pair laying around somewhere. I still have to figure out how to do that, regarding making a harness and the best highest quality to tap power so the plate lights are active in Lights On position

    [​IMG]
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    bonus: now you have extra rivnuts and rivnut tool to upgrade the weak hardware mounting system of your inner tailgate panel later


    reason for fender type larger washers (outside and inside) is to spread the load applied to the license plate, to reduce the tendency to deform it/pull the metal, which would happen using a silicone frame if you use smaller washers

    the silicone frame should help seal out water because as the bolts tighten and conform the plate to the tailgate with a slight bend, the frame seals between the plate and tailgate

    Won't claim this is the best method. Just one/a method, that I did. If you find a better way to do it, etc. feel free to suggest

    also a good idea to watch how it opens to make sure you position it in a way where if you do put LED bolts that they clear the bumper with the tailgate down
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
  2. Jun 24, 2022 at 1:25 AM
    #2
    TACOMA2NDGEN

    TACOMA2NDGEN Well-Known Member

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    Just a thought but couldn’t you just glue the rare earth magnets to the license plate then stuck it to the tailgate. (Unless the tailgate is aluminum)No drilling and you can easily remove it. I did that with my old jeep. I had a really nice LOD brand mid with bumper and I just used magnets to hold the license plate on to it
     
  3. Jun 24, 2022 at 10:26 AM
    #3
    gotoman1969

    gotoman1969 Well-Known Member

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    This^^^!!! Why drill holes in your tail gate. Just some good magnets and stick to tailgate.
     
    Naveronski likes this.
  4. Jun 24, 2022 at 10:34 AM
    #4
    plurpimpin

    plurpimpin Well-Known Member

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    Wait so was the only point of the magnets to mark your drill holes? Or did I miss something? Why not just use a sharpie?
     
  5. Jun 24, 2022 at 10:37 AM
    #5
    EatSleepTacos

    EatSleepTacos Well-Known Member

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    deanosaurus likes this.
  6. Jun 24, 2022 at 10:41 AM
    #6
    deanosaurus

    deanosaurus Caveman

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    I used these and tapped them into the factory plate light wires: https://www.amazon.com/CZC-AUTO-Waterproof-Rainproof-Motorcycle/dp/B077Z6WQ6Q/

    Popped holes with a center punch and drilled to size, deburred with a small round file, painted the edges, and treated inside and out with Amsoil HDMP. I used fender washers inside and thick black delrin washers on the outside, between the bolt head and the plates. The silicone plate frame does a good job of acting as a gasket.

    IMG_20220624_133947.jpg

    Another hole and some loom to run through the bottom like the factory backup cam on the opposite side.

    Shitty pic showing hole from under bottom edge of tailgate:
    IMG_20220624_133755.jpg

    Top of loom with tailgate open:
    IMG_20220624_133746.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
  7. Jun 24, 2022 at 11:08 AM
    #7
    dtaco10

    dtaco10 Well-Known Member

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    You really don't need a rivnut installer, it just makes it easier. I've used a flat piece of aluminum and drilled a hole the size of the bolt/screw I'm using. I suppose you could use flat steel. Then I install the bolt/screw into the aluminum, screw the rivnut on, place it in the hole, hold one end, and use a socket of the correct size, and ratchet it tight. Hasn't failed me yet and the largest size bolt I've used this method on was a 10 mm bolt.
     
  8. Jun 24, 2022 at 3:25 PM
    #8
    TacoTuesday1

    TacoTuesday1 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    the magnets are useful to have in general

    they are to hold the plate temporarily to the metal tailgate, hands free.
    So that you can be free to stand back and look at it, and double check spacing measurements.

    then you remove the magnets from one corner at a time so it’s out of the way, allowing you to mark through the plate hole it’s position with a sharpie


    I mean it’s only $50 and will get more use later on to upgrade the tailgate hardware so might as well


    I’m not sure how coastal.Tacoma wired them but I believe he originally had issues tapping into reverse light wiring where it wouldn't have enough voltage for multiple components and cause flickering of the plate LEDs

    I don’t know if it’s worth it to build a harness that is more repairable in the future. Because that is what happens any time it bends a lot over time. It will rip. Like in car trunk wiring at the hinge. Sometimes improved routing helps.
    I know for doors, cars usually have it as a separate harness that connects at the door, making it replace when it fails at 100k+ miles from the door opening. However driver doors and car trunks get opened more often than tailgates.A089F5F3-27A3-4462-B375-0CE6FF7905DB.jpg5E170824-99C5-4775-8DBD-6B4C43219D7B.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
  9. Jun 25, 2022 at 2:34 PM
    #9
    deanosaurus

    deanosaurus Caveman

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    No issues here - they're steady and bright. I used watertight spade connectors inside the tailgate, in case I ever busted one of the bolt/lights off, with good quality 16ga automotive wiring running through the tailgate gap and soldered/marine heat-shrink splices into the factory harness.
     
  10. Jun 25, 2022 at 2:38 PM
    #10
    UnloadedRex

    UnloadedRex Tire and alignment guy

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    Here’s my version, had it rigged up between getting my truck back from maaco (terrible mistake, don’t do it) and putting my new bumper on.

    8556215E-24C1-4D95-8004-99FC926F190F.jpg
     
  11. Jun 26, 2022 at 10:19 AM
    #11
    Wattapunk

    Wattapunk Stay lifted my friends !

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    The only time I would go the maaco route would be for a beater vehicle or one I would sell, never my main vehicle. Sorry for your experience, I can see in that one pic that there's overspray on the frame and roof.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2022
    UnloadedRex[QUOTED] likes this.

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