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Discussion Starter #1
Ok guys here's an update both good news and bad news.


Good news is I've got some of my materials now and hope to run off a few tomorrow. Bad news is as of this moment I've only got enough material to make 3 sets. I ordered the stainless Clevis pins on the 10th and I still haven't received them as of yet from the vendor.



The final material is 3/16 x 1 303 stainless. For those of you not in the know 303 is a more machinable grade than 304(easier for me, yet more expensive 316 is more corrosion resistant but not available from my current vendor in the desired size). It's not bright and shiny like a stainless push bar or tube steps. It is corrosion resistant in most moderate duties(dipping in salt water for a long period of time will rust it, but normal day to day rain and pollution should give it a long life). I will polish these to make them look nicer and shinier(I like shiny things
) So Mackin, if you have any personal recommendations or suggestions I'm open.


Anyhow unless I make a goof, I'll mail out 3 sets on Saturday for the following people:
<UL>
<LI>Hoot our resident tell it like it is critic

<LI>Mobowhunter, seemed to be a frequent user and hard user of his tailgate

<LI>a64pilot, because he also has the capabilities(and offered) to do some stress testing on these down the road.
</LI>[/list]


Now I need you 3 to send me your mailing address's. Either through a PM or my e-mail address.


I also must emphasize at this point these have had no real world testing as of yet(I don't even have a complete set for myself at this present moment).


I need you 3 to understand at this point this could go either way. While I wish I could guarantee/warrantee these catch straps, you also need to realize at this point I'm doing this at my personal cost and time and hopefully for the good of us all that use our gates frequently.


I'm neither a business nor a vendor and hope that should something go south you won't hold me personally accountable. Should these get a good reception even at that point I may have to have everyone sign a liability waiver or apply for an
 

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Not to discurage you, but if one of them were to fail and I am not saying they will but you could be held liable. I am also not saying anyone on this site would do that either. Just something to think about.
 

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Victory Red,


Just a thought... would it be possible to set up the straps so we could use the spring retainers(I'm not sure what's the correct name) from our old cables? I know you were having trouble finding material that could be used for them.


I haven't peeled back the plastic coating to see how they are attached to the cable. So I really don't know if they would be usable by re-attaching in some way to your straps.



Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Joey,


I'm well aware of the possible liabilities. If you read my message closer that's why my options are either become an LLC corporate entity(read spend around $2000 in filing fees) so my personal assets couldn't attacked in a possible lawsuit or go a release of liability waiver that people must print out sign and mail with payment for the straps.


None of these routes are pleasant. This is also probably why no large accessory manufacturer has made these. Either too costly with possible liability which would make these replacements too costly to market, or they just feel the market isn't large enough for this particular item.


It's kind of a catch22 situation. The factory cables aren't of the best quality and can fail, often without notice. The ones I'm making won't split like the factory, but do have a possibility of failure if overloaded/abused/misused. I looked into making the old style for myself then figured what the hey see if anyone else would want them.





I never did this with the intent of making a profit for myself, just my desire to not be suprised one day when climbing in/out of my bed. The thought of someone possibly getting injured and the lawsuit happy world we live in make me very uneasy.


My only options are just to make these for myself and let everyone else 'do for themselves as they see fit', go corporate(which is not an option because of the costs) or treat it like the power box makers do "i'll make it, but it's not my fault if something goes wrong" with a waiver or disclaimer.


At this point it's everyone's personal choice, I will make these for you if you want them, but I can't put claim to it being a trouble free, they'll never break and cause property damage or bodily injury.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
1*,


That thought did cross my mind. Then I realized I didn't like the idea of having people hack apart the old straps.


I have found stainless spring steel. Problem is, only place I found it at sells it in 15m rolls only and it's pricey. While I don't mind making a few sets of these for members, as I stated earlier I'm doing this as a mostly non profit venture. The first few sets I'm making in-house so they'll be much cheaper to produce, but I've also fronted some cash for steel, pins, and rubber dip. I still need some odds and ends like mailers, screws for mounting the spring steel and some new bits because the ones we have aren't well suited for stainless. If these become popular the machining will get farmed out and the labor is costly.


I have access to standard iron spring steel, but that uncoated will rust. I'm going to try plasti coating it. I've been playing with the material and if properly applied and at the correct thickness it's quite durable. Too thin and it doesn't protect, too thick and it peels.
 

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It might also help to put a huge disclaimer that they are not meant for loads over 50 pounds(or even 5 pounds). Then it would be easier for you to prove they were misused/abused if they broke. Unfortunately nothing will completely protect you these days. Liability is why every things so expensive these days.
 

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We all know what we are getting ourselves into......just a basic disclaimer should hold up fine if push comes to shove.


Besideds.....sue happy people go after Co.s with big pockets....if they dont think you have big pockets or a big Ins co. covering you that they can get their grubby little mitts into then they will probably leave you alone. Thats why i dont ever worry about getting sued, the phrase "you cant get blood from a turnip" always comes to mind
 

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Ain't life a bi#ch when you can't help your fellow man without being concerned it will come back and bite you on the a#s.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah it does really suck when you think you have the possibility of offering something worthwhile and helpful, yet get weighed down by liability concerns, anyhow....





Stainless is much more difficult to work with than plain steel. Even the more expensive 303 which is supposed to be more machine friendly is tough. It actually burned away a bit of a general duty mill bit today(I've burned bit tips before, but never have I seen a bit actually begin to wear away). I may need to invest is some special bits capable of handling stainless steel.



The jig I made for my bends works better than I imagined. Downside is intially I was using 1/8" top and bottom. Then I decided to go 1/8 bottom 3/16 top. When my supplier didn't have 1/8" in stock in 303 I decided to go all 3/16". Well today I tried to bend it, if I try to do it too many times, I may need to buy my company a new arbor press along with some replacement bits. I'm starting to see why stainless is so much more expensive to have worked than standard steel. According to my vendor heating stainless is not recommended since it will tarnish the material and can actually lessen it's corrosive resistant qualities.


I'm going to make it from the 3/16" I have now, but more then likely will have to downgrade to the thinner 1/8" again for the lower part of the strap that has the bend in it. I'll also have to have it shipped from another one of their branches which will take an extra couple of days to get.



I did find some stainless spring steel, problem is it's 118.00 per roll. Thickness I desire is also 193 ft roll, more than I'll ever need. I can buy sheets much cheaper but come anywhere from 15" to 20" wide and 48" long. It would be a real pain in the butt to cut to size, then bend and heat(to harden). Than again, I'd either need a cookie cutter stamp machine to make these for me, then heat, or a really good pair of snips and a steady hand.


On the upside I did find by accident some teflon washers. Extremely low friction and high durability for use inbetween the two straps at the hinge for smoother opening and closing. They're also not that expensive(4.45 for a 10pk of 3/8") or .90 a set.





I should still have the sets done tomorrow, but a day later than expected. I may also be forced to keep a set of these for myself at this time for more extensive personal testing. The only one I have left is plain steel dummy prototype. I'd like to keep one of the very first stainless for myself.


One last thing I'd like to do is a tensile strength test on these. I'd have a better idea on the true capabilities/limits of these. Not sure who to call, where to go or how much it costs right now, but I'm looking.


I also was told that the reason stainless steel rope isn't used in applications like ours because it's harder/stronger than regular steel but also tends to be more brittle in situations where it's forced to flex often. So while it wouldn't rust, it wouldn't like the consistent flexing. This is what I was told, I'm sure Mackin can correct me if I heard wrong or stated it poorly.


I also forgot to state in my first post, to the 3 volunteers I've selected these will obviously be freebies for the testing. I
 

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I seen a post on another forum that there has been a case opened on the nhtsa re the cable failures be no recall yet. Point being this assures that GM knows there is a problem brewing. Perhaps they're already considering their options/resolution. Some of the complaints report personal injuries.
 

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Just want to give a little heads up. When you install the straps ,you have sent that "weak link" elseware. Don't know if anybody else has had this happen, but i have bent my box side area where the cable hooks onto the pin. I still have the cables and they never broke when this happened.


Truck was not 6mths old and loaded the truck up with 16ft lumber as i'm a contractor. The truck was loaded pretty good, but not a crazy load like i have done in previous trucks with no problem. Anyway got to the job site, unloaded and tried to close my tailgate. No go. WTF looked at the sides behind the taillight where the strap pin is and the sheet metal is bent, even down at the pivot point where the tailgate "hinges" was slightly bent. The gate was binding at the bottom against the bed. Gate would close until it was 6-8inchs from closing, then there was too much binding. Needless to say i wan't impressed. I have fixed it to a certain extent, but every time i open the gate now i have to push it in to unlatch, not a big deal but need both hands to drop gate.


Don't get me wrong, the strap idea is awesome, but just wanted to give a heads up that the sides might get contorted a bit. I obviously didn't have a tonne of weight directly on the gate, as the lumber is jammed under my toolbox, compared to say loading a quad or what have you. Maybe gm will read this and go back to the strap method as these cables suck, especially up here where the winter salt from the roads just kills them. Lost count how many times i've changed them now. Good luck in your venture. Later Jeremy
 

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Maby the best solution is to weld two legs on your tailgate so the ground supports the weight, but remember to mount wheels on the bottom for use when driving and wrap with yellow and black safety tape so no one will walk into those two daggers when the gate is closed.
 

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V Red,


I PM'ed you on how to setup an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in WI.


It's easy, and not expensive, check it out.
 

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Victory.... eliminate as much machining as possible. You should forget the clevis and just joggle the end of one piece. All you should be doing is drilling holes, bending and rounding the ends. 1/8" material should be more than enough.Edited by: hoot
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well I am going to back to 1/8" for the lower half. Other than that I'd like to stick with my design. I don't know the tensile strength of this design, but that isn't the true nature of what I'm doing here. I'm making these because they will be corrosion resistant and offer a visible warning of failure.


Anyhow I've got two of the three sets done I wanted to.



I'm hoping to receive the pins on monday. Once I get the pins I'll quick run off another two sets for testing. I'd like a full set for myself to play with. The first ones where plain steel and got passed around through various fabs more than I had them on my truck.
 

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Victory Red,


This is the first time I have posted anything on a computer forum.


I have been looking for evidence of anyone else making a strap replacement of the tailgate cables. I have been searching the internet repeatedly for the last month looking at sites.


I have a 1999 Chevy 2500 with 128,500 miles on it and have went through (3) sets of tailgate cables. The last set finally prompted me to do something about it.


I have approximately 150 uppers and lowers being manufactured currently. They should be completed by the first week of December. I basically come up with the same design as yours.


I made my prototypes out of 1/8"x1" aluminum flat stock. I used them to prove out my calculations and the dynamics of the movement.


I came up with a design I was comfortable with and then documented them with drawings and sent them out for quotations. Of course not noting what there use is.


My straps are being made from 304 stainless steel with a stainless steel rivet for the pivot point. Your selling price is in line with mine at $60.00 per pair.


I am wrestling with the same liability issues and have the view point that the deeper pockets draw lawyers. I know there is a need for these.


Of the approximately 75 sets I will have, about 25 are ear marked already for people I know who have had the same problem. It is the general public I am concerned about selling to.


My having a mechanical engineering degree and 22 years in the truck equipment industry I know this product will take off.


My questions are:


Before I invest too much more into this I want to know how many more people are doing it?


If GM is forced to do a recall on the 2,000,000 or so vehicles using this design will my inventory be worthless?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Phil,


I have no idea how many more people are doing this. None other than me and you that I know of. Although my price is going to be $46 shipped(so I guess I win the price war
j/k).


My finished product will look something like this and in a 303 stainless material





I like your rivet idea for the hinge point rather than the Clevis, but from what I've been able to determine that's the potential wear/weak spot. A clevis with a lock ring or pin, allows for easier maintainance and quick replacement available at most local hardware stores. Plus should need be, either top or bottom could be replaced rather than purchasing a whole new set.


I had also increased my thickness to 3/16 but after a weekend of testing I had some rubbing issues with the top standoff. So for the bottom half with the bend that attaches to the tailgate latch I'm forced to go back to 1/8".


Maybe you and I could collaberate our efforts into one setup.


As for the future of this, I honestly don't know. This is just a 'weekend project' for me. I'm not out for profit, but doing a good deed for lack of a better term.


It is a costly venture to gear up, collect materials,run off and time consuming. Thankfully, I'm set for the in-house machining for the short term and have access to 4 mechanical engineers to assist me and help with design issues.Edited by: Victory Red
 

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Victory Red,


I have an off set in the slotted strap also, this way I get the straps more centered in the space available and keep interference to a minimum. The tail light lense could be damaged if the strap is too close as the rivet head passes by it.


I have been reviewing all the other brand pick up beds and can see the possibility of expanding this for all of the full size pick up currently in production.


I am of the same thought that at least with this design it can be monitored on a regular basis.


The idea of wear is not a major concern because of the limited rotation of the rivet. The most wear the rivet will see is in the road travel of the vehicle due to vibration. I was very careful in my design to be sure the starps are not getting any load on them when the gate is closed.


There is the question of the strap swinging and possibly damaging the painted surfaces, but the foam tape will be an easy solution for that.


My straps are being made of 11 ga. 304 sheet stock and I am having them laser cut to my prescribed shape. The finish is unbelievable. They need vertually no finish work. Currently I have only my sample so I am not sure of the consistency of the cut quality or accuracy, but the samples where great.


Phil
 

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Phil said:
<snip>


Of the approximately 75 sets I will have, about 25 are ear marked already for people I know who have had the same problem. It is the general public I am concerned about selling to.


My having a mechanical engineering degree and 22 years in the truck equipment industry I know this product will take off.


My questions are:


Before I invest too much more into this I want to know how many more people are doing it?


If GM is forced to do a recall on the 2,000,000 or so vehicles using this design will my inventory be worthless?

I don't have a build date for my truck yet, but I'd be interested in your new straps.


Let me know if you'd like another added to your waiting list.


Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm starting with plain flat stock. The labor for the machine time is a killer. I sent out several Mechanical Desktop drawings to some of our vendors and in small quantities the labor was too costly. While I cannot guarantee laser cut precision, I designed and built a jig to handle the bends and will CNC the rest to maintain a tight tolerance.


I haven't sent any finals out as of yet because I'm trying to find the sweet spot between strength and space. This isn't something I'm willing to rush out.


Hopefully the people here aren't quite losing patience with me yet, but in the end with the final product they should understand my hesistance to push these out the door.





Once again, I must reiterate, I'm sure you won't have any problem selling yours around the net if that's the route you choose. As for me once I've had time to field test and send out samples to various members here I'll go to full production on a demand basis. Only difference here is you're stocking up on an untested product. Myself I'm going to make a few available for testing and if they go well make them available to all who want them.
 
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