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In essence, the design of the fifth wheel tailgates eliminates the need to spend a fortune customizing your factory tailgate to get the clearance needed for 5th wheel trailer towing.
Such tailgates also have numerous other benefits over their stock counterparts. First, they weigh less and offer better aerodynamics for enhanced fuel efficiency. They also provide better visibility thanks to the louvered frame (cut at the upper middle section).
With the best fifth wheel tailgates, you don’t have to stick to one direction of opening or closing your truck’s back door. Some models open sideways like a ranch gate, and you can even find those that fold downwards to create a ramp for mounting your Segway scooters or motorcycles.
Dive right in, and let’s study the specs, pros, and cons of 5 of the top models in the current market.
Top Pick Box
The Stromberg Carlson VG-97-4000 is a tow-friendly tailgate with a robust, yet lightweight PVC rubber composite construction. Visually appealing with a louvered design, easy to install, and designed to allow stress-free cargo loading.
5 Best Fifth Wheel Tailgates Reviews
Nothing is as important as finding a replacement of exceptional quality if you opt to change your rear cargo bed door. We did intensive research on your behalf and handpicked some of the best-reviewed 5th wheel tailgates in the market.
1. Custom Flow VEL28 5th Wheel Custom Tailgate (premium choice)
The unique design of the Custom Flow VEL28 is what gives it a top spot on our review. Unlike a decent number of tailgates in the market, this one has a pretty neat locking mechanism designed to keep the door bolted firmly.
Even with its sturdy construction, it is lightweight, and this enhances its ease of use to allow a DIY installation process.
This tailgate comes in a good-looking lacquered tint. However, you can always change the paint color to suit your preference.
What we could all agree during our tests is that it is unfortunate that this beauty of a tailgate only fits with a selected number of Ford series versions, mainly those released between 1999 and 2014
Overall, this is a well-made unit that can offer you all the perks of having the best fifth wheel tailgates. Installing it will enhance not only the appearance of your vehicle but also mileage. The factory-installed rotary latches and center handle allow easy opening and closing for improved user safety.
- Well-made and visually appealing
- Neat locking mechanism for enhanced user safety
- Customizable by changing the paint
- Sturdily built, yet lightweight (5lbs) for easy installation
- Designed to fit into the original factory hardware perfectly
- Only ideal for a few Ford series versions
2. Stromberg Carlson VG-97-4000 Louvered Tailgate for Ford (Top Pick)
Another tow friendly tailgate is the Stromberg Carlson VG-97-4000. Like most tailgates from the brand, it also boasts of a Louvered design. It is unique because instead of having a steel or aluminum construction, it is made from a sophisticated and robust PVC rubber composite.
This unit also ticks the right box for having a reliable theft-deterrent locking mechanism with rotary latches.
We compared this model to various other tailgates in its class and unveiled that it costs considerably more. Even so, a decent number of users still feel that the cost range is agreeable, mainly because of the enhanced fuel efficiency.
This unit’s design creates a bubble of air that flows like a circular vortex within your truck’s bed. The pressure difference created gives your ride a 1% aerodynamic advantage. Apart from reduced drag, users also benefit from improved vision when driving.
It’s hard to deny that this is a visually appealing tailgate. Among the many perks that make it our top choice is that it lays flush with the truck’s bed when opened, and this allows easy loading of cargo.
- Well-made with PVC rubber composite
- Designed to provide enhanced clearance and reduced drag
- Allows easy loading of cargo
- Theft-deterrent locking mechanism
- Unique and visually appealing design
- Best tailgate for Ford trucks
- Not ideal for step side trucks
3. Stromberg Carlson VGM-99-100 1500 Series Vented Tailgate (Budget Pick)
Stromberg Carlson is a family-owned company that has been around since 1959. Its commitment to producing RVing equipment designed for convenience, comfort, and complete confidence has seen some of its products make top-sales for years on end.
After plenty of research and deliberation, it was no surprise that the VGM-99-100 model from the brand emerged as our recommended budget pick.
This tailgate from the 1500 series is uniquely designed to fit GM and Chevrolet Series models, mainly those released between 1999 and 2006. You can also find almost identical versions from the 2500 and 3500 series that are suited for GM and Chevy Series released from 1999 to 2007.
Even though this product is a top choice for folks with decades-old pickup truck models, its quality steel construction and open design make it a worthy investment.
For a product that weighs 33.9 pounds and boasts of a whopping 100 lb weight capacity, its retail cost is almost half the price of similar tailgates in the class.
This tailgate is easy to install and well-constructed, and the product we tested was perfect. However, it has garnered substantial amounts of criticism for the lack of dependable quality assurance. Some users have received packages with no latching hardware, while others had to repaint the tailgate before use.
- Durable steel construction
- Practical see-through bar design
- Very affordable
- Excellent vehicle fit range
- Decent locking mechanism
- A few quality assurance issues
4. Custom Flow V-EL20 5th Wheel Vented Tailgate Fits 1997 F250HD and F350, 1987-1996 Ford Trucks
If you own a Ford F-150, F-250, F-250 HD, or F-350, then the custom flow V-EL20 is for you. It is designed to fit Ford truck makes released between 1987 and 1997 and is available in two versions. You can opt for the regular straight design or the louvered flow-through design ideal for 5th wheel towing.
Irrespective of the version you choose, this tailgate boasts of a sturdy galvanized steel construction clad with a black powder coat for unrivaled scratch and corrosion resistance.
The installation process is simple, and the tailgate matches the factory contours of the truck. This ensures that your ride gets a proper facelift, and you also benefit from improved fuel economy.
In terms of the locking mechanism, Custom Flow also ticked the right boxes with this model. It features a center handle that makes it easy to open and close the tailgate. Then again, the hooks and latches are smooth functioning, and you even get a key lock that helps to deter thieves.
We put the louvered flow-through design to the test because we wanted to know how practical it is for 5th wheel towing. Well, it has a high-performance score and does what it is advertised to do.
The cut on the upper middle section provides stress-free access to the RV’s kingpin. You don’t have to bear with the hassle of pulling down the tailgate when hitching your truck to a fifth-wheel hitch.
- Ideal for Ford F-150, F-250, F-250 HD, and F-350
- Available in straight and 5th wheel style
- Strong steel construction
- Perfectly matches the factory contours for a neat fit
- Compatible with the factory-installed hardware of a truck
- Reliable locking mechanism
- You can repaint the tailgate for a more customized look
- Key lock included
- Nothing worth mentioning
5. Stromberg Carlson VG-97-100 Vented Tail Gate Fits F250 and F350 Super Duty, 1999-2016
We could not resist listing yet another Stromberg Carlson model that genuinely excels as a 5th wheeler tailgate. The VG-97-100 strikingly resembles our budget pick the VGM-99-100, although it is made from a better grade of steel.
While the VGM-99-100 weighs 34 lbs this unit weighs a whopping 58 lbs. It is stronger and able to withstand 100 pounds of immobile pressure pressing down on the open design. When towing, the louvered flow-through style that improves vision by effectively eliminating the tailgate blind spots.
Fortunately, the difference in terms of price is quite minimal. This is also a perfect tailgate for folks on a budget, and it is designed to offer you the optimal bang for your bucks. It boasts of a bare-bone, simple design that makes the installation process a piece of cake.
Something you need to know before purchase is that the extra pounds make installation somewhat challenging. In this case, you may need an extra hand, especially if you lack the muscle to lift 58 pounds swiftly.
Another heads up is that the instructional manual for this product is neither detailed nor easy to understand.
- Designed to fit Ford F250 and F350 Super Duty
- Solid steel built for enhanced durability
- 100 lbs. weight capacity
- Open design for improved visibility and aesthetics
- Simple design for ease of installation
- The user’s manual is poorly written
Let’s be honest, while stock tailgates may pose challenges when towing a 5th wheel trailer, they have their perks too. Most of us use them as our grilling spots, seats, or workbenches.
So why give them up?
With the best fifth wheel tailgates, you may lose your workbench, but you will gain improved visibility, enhanced fuel economy, and ease of hitching.
Yet another top model that offers these benefits and so much more is the Custom Flow V-EL20. Everything from its design to its durable galvanized steel construction makes it perfect for avid campers.