Installing Kentrol Tailgate Hinges On Your Jeep
Installing aftermarket parts on your Jeep is a hobby that many tend to get pretty involved with. One of the mods that many Jeep owners enjoy is installing Kentrol tailgate hinges. The odd time, installing so many aftermarket parts on your vehicle can sometimes cause problems with each of them fitting with each other, but that’s not always the case.
One Jeep owner stated that they installed the Tactik Hinge Reinforcement and Adjustable Spare Carrier on their vehicle, only to later install a bumper-mounted tire carrier instead. This was because the prior one was too bulky and they didn’t want any damage to occur.
The Jeep owner stated that it wasn’t exactly a bad modification, but that it just caused a few issues with clearance at the odd time. With that modification, the factory hinges had to be removed. With the removal of the tire from the tailgate, there didn’t need to be reinforced hinges installed any longer.
Kentrol is a manufacturer of stainless steel hinges that are compatible with the Jeep Wrangler JK. All of the applicable hardware comes with the hinges, and you can choose to get them in either stainless steel, black matte, or powder-coated finishes with a nice, black texture.
Many people will get this modification done just to have nicer-looking hinges, and that’s never a bad thing. A lot of people also decide to paint the hinges the same color as their vehicle so that it blends in better with everything else.
Other people will decide to install aftermarket hinges if they run into issues with their current hinges when opening or closing them. Sometimes the pivots begin to get rusty and can cause some squeaking noises which can get fairly annoying after a while.
Sometimes it’s good to do a couple of modifications at the same time while you already have all of the tools out. Because of that, this guide will go over the installation of Kentrol Hardtop Stainless Steel Hinges. If you want, you can also replace the ABS covers and do that at the same time. To top things off, you can also do a Jeep Wrangler rear wiper arm removal and learn what’s involved in painting wiper arms at the same time.
Painting your wiper arms provides them with an added layer of protection against the elements.
What Are The Tools Required For The Tailgate Installation?
- You’ll need a 13mm socket to take off the factory hinges
- 5mm Allen key
- T-47/T-50 Torx socket (each of these will fit)
- Wood blocks for bracing
- 6″ extension
- Primer to prevent rust from building up
- Paint to touch things up
- Masking tape
Tools Required For Jeep Wrangler Hard Top Hinges
- 10mm deep socket
- T-25 Torx bit
Supplies Required For Painting the Wiper Arm Cover
- Touch-up paint that matches the color of the Jeep
- Medium grit sandpaper
What’s Involved In The Tailgate Hinge Replacement?
Tailgate hinge replacement on your Jeep isn’t an overly complicated process. If you have some decent support holding up the center of the tailgate, things will go smoothly.
If you have a piece of wood or metal beam that’s just the right size, that will work perfectly to support the tailgate. You’ll position it right up to the bumper. Ensuring that nothing moves around in the installation process will lessen the amount of frustration you’ll be dealing with throughout the entire project.
Once you’ve got everything supported nicely, you’ll want to shut the tailgate and latch it closed. If you have factory hinges, you’ll be pulling in an upward motion on each of the four hinge covers. Reinforcement-type hinges will already be open.
Take off the 13mm bolts from each hinge. There will be four in total. After that, allow the hinge to slide open. Now, take out all six of the Torx bolts that are securing the hinge against the Jeep’s body. It should now be free.
If you happen to notice any rust left behind once the hinges are removed, you might want to take care of that before moving to the rest of the steps.
Get your masking tape and seal off the areas that you don’t want to paint over. Once that’s done, spray the rusted area with some primer to prepare it for the next step. If you have a lot of rust built up, then you’ll want to get your medium grit sandpaper and give it a rub to remove it.
After you’ve taken care of that, get your touch-up paint and spray an even coat over the area that you just primed. You’ll want to spray two coats on the area, waiting about half an hour between each coat.
Give it a chance to dry off and then take off the masking tape. The area should now be the same color as everything else.
The next step in the process is installing the hinge, and it isn’t too hard to do, given you follow all of the instructions properly.
There should be bolts and washers included with the hinge, and you’ll want to slide in and tighten both sets of mounting bolts until they are nice and snug. You don’t want to tighten them too much because you still want the hinge to be adjustable.
At this point, you can proceed to rotate the hinge against the tailgate. Take a peek through the mounting hole in order to get a better idea of where the centering plate is that’s located behind the hinge. You’ll want the centering plate to be as near to the middle of each tailgate hole as you can get. Once you’ve done that, you can now tighten up the 5mm Allen bolts to securely hold it in place.
Lift open the hinges and then give the inner mounting bolts some tightening. Once that’s done, shut the hinges and proceed to put the side bolts and washers into the tailgate.
Do a little test run to ensure that the tailgate closes and opens properly. If it does, then you don’t need to worry about adjusting it any further. If it doesn’t operate properly, then you’ll need to shut the tailgate, loosen the side bolts on the tailgate, and then tighten everything together again. Doing this will most likely align the tailgate to the hinges.
What About Hard-Top Hinges?
If you have hard-top hinges, you’ll want to take things a little slower. Doing each one at a time is the best way to approach it. Each strut is filled with gas, so supporting it shouldn’t be an issue.
To remove the ABS plastic hinge covers, you just need to get a tiny screwdriver and pop it in the little slot located under it. If new ones came with the kit that you ordered, then you can simply pull down using your fingers. The top tabs might bust off, but that won’t matter since you have a new set anyways.
On the passenger side, there will be two 10mm bolts that need to be loosened up. These bolts are securing the hinge with the hard-top.
After loosening them, you can now take off the T-25 Torx plate that’s securing the hinge to the glass. You’ll want to keep the plastic grommet that the bolt slides through because it will be installed later.
When that’s removed, you might notice that the hinge will be sticking to the glass. To break it free, you just have to hold onto the upper side of it. There will be two 10mm bolts in it that will prevent it from falling away. Once the glass part of the hinge is loosened and free, you can proceed to fully take the bolts out. You can now bring the hinge to a table or bench to work on.
You’ll notice that there is a plastic part on the hinge. This needs to be taken out and replaced with the stainless steel version in your kit. It’s not hard to remove the plastic piece, but putting the stainless steel one in can be a little tricky. Put the hinge on its edge of whatever surface you’re working on, ensuring that the hinge tab will be aligned with each of the guide pins on the lower side. If you then push down on the hinge, things should pop right into place.
You can now put the 10mm bolts/washers into the hard-top part of the hinge. When that’s done, you can proceed to the glass portion Torx bolt. Use the plastic grommet from the previous step and put it back in because it prevents the metal from brushing against the glass.
You can now proceed to the driver’s side. The first thing you’ll want to do is take off the wiper motor cover. This can be done by pulling in a downwards motion while the glass is open. There are three spring clips that are holding it in place, but it’s not too hard to get it off. Take off the 10mm bolts on the hard-top part of the hinge.
Get your 10mm deep socket and take off the shoulder nut that’s securing the mounting bushing with the stud.
Now, move the rubber mount towards the head of the stud. Sometimes loosening the opposite part of the wiper motor mount can make this step go easier.
Get your 10mm deep socket and take off the other nut that’s securing the hinge with the glass. There will be a grommet that needs to be removed here, and remember how you remove it because you’ll be using it again later. After you’ve taken it out, you can move the plastic surround to the new hinge.
Put the driver’s side hinge back in place in exactly the same way that you took it off. You’ll be using the stainless steel shoulder nut instead of the original one. Secure it to the hard-top side using your stainless steel bolts/washers that were provided to you. Now, you can remount the wiper motor.
To remount the wiper motor, you just have to pop it back in place and then shut the glass. Get your Kentrol hinge covers and then install them.
Kentrol Wiper Arm Cover
This short part of the guide isn’t a walkthrough on installing Kentrol Wiper Arm Covers, but just a little tutorial on how to paint them properly, because that seems to be a common question amongst Jeep owners.
Many people run into the issue of painting directly to stainless steel because it doesn’t adhere well. What you’ll have to do is give it a good scuff with an emery cloth. After that wipe it down thoroughly with rubbing alcohol to get rid of any leftover debris.
Ensure that no edges of the wiper are coming in contact with anything else. You can now spray it with primer. After spraying one coat, give it a good chance to dry off before spraying it with a second coat. It can sometimes take a while, so you just have to be patient.
After the primer has dried off, you can now apply the coat of paint. Ensure that you’re using the same color of the paint as your Jeep for the best results.
If you have a darker colored Jeep, you might not notice it as much as on the lighter colored Jeeps. After you’re done painting it, give it another wipe down with rubbing alcohol before finally installing it back in place.