Thunder Basket Mod
There’s a thick steel bracket attached to the lower edge of the Ford’s tailgate opening. It’s just a flat plate maybe 3″ wide. It sticks out about 5″ and has a slot cut in it that goes from the end almost all the way to its mount. I think it served to make sure that the tailgate didn’t work itself toward one side or other. Now that the tailgate’s gone, I’ve been wondering if there was some way to put that bracket to another use.
That use surfaced on the first trip into Wickenburg AZ some time back. When going in for supplies and to drop off waste bags, it’s best to have the small trash bags and the solid waste bag from the C-Head toilet sealed and conveniently placed for disposal. Just for the trip in, the latter was placed in the cargo box for the sake of any odor, and because available space in the cab is just that tight. The C-Head is virtually odor-free when closed despite not being vented to the outside. Once the toilet bag has been liberated though, placing it in a confined space allows what odor there is to permeate everything else in that space. Not the best situation, and leaving the lid open to the sun and wind to air the box out ends protection for the box’s contents.
I was tempted to attach a wire basket to the outside of the cargo box, but it’s already kinda busy, so the tailgate bracket beckoned. I ordered a basket that seemed big enough to do this temporary task without blocking off entry to the camper, and a local hardware/lumber store produced a free 12″x12″ board scrap, a carriage bolt, fender washer, and locknut. The board is already cracking from the dry air, so I debated between linseed oil or paint. You can’t buy just a little linseed oil, and then must either store or discard the remainder, so I opted for appliance paint. How it will do at protecting the board is anyone’s guess. Once the board was painted up and dry, drilling the single bolt hole and mounting it was extra-quick. Four wood screws and washers already on hand allowed securely holding the wire basket to the board. I would have preferred to eliminate the board and simply bolt the wire basket directly to the tailgate bracket, but the combo of short bracket and strong tapering of the basket’s walls prevents that.
I may eventually upsize the basket, but I want to see how this one does first. The flat top of the rear bumper itself always seems to draw miscellaneous little “workbench” chores to itself, and especially as a momentary shelf for items going in or out of the camper. I’ll be curious to see if the basket comes in handy for other minor things, too.