By on November 16, 2017

Say you’re planning on hauling items of uneven length in your next full-size pickup. Eventually, everyone does. Those extra-long pieces of lumber, a disassembled bed frame, tubing, you name it, would normally poke out the top of the bed, resting on a closed tailgate.

Not in the 2019 Ram 1500, it seems.

Spy photos of the next-generation Ram full-sizer reveal a very suspicious seam in the vehicle’s tailgate, and there should be no mystery as to what it means.

You can see the image, along with other photos, at TTAC sister site AutoGuide. Don’t be shy — click the link. The image shows a tailgate with a roughly 60/40 split, with the seam located to the right of the tailgate handle.

Ram has tinkered with trucks beds in the past, offering its novel RamBox cargo system and following Ford’s “Man Step” with one of its own. This feature, however — a split-folding tailgate that can either fold down or open up like barn doors — could make Ford and GM tailgates look antiquated by comparison.

This camouflaged test vehicle seems to be sporting a feature we first saw back in 2014, originating in a patent filed the year before. In it, the individual “doors” are actuated by touchpads, allowing an owner to leave just one side open (or down) if his load calls for it. If not needed, the tailgate can revert back to traditional form. (This Allpar post shows the proposed doors in action.)

Ram accomplishes this tailgate magic through a series of electromechanical locks. There’s a possibility that Ram omitted some of the patent’s functionality in the interest of simplicity for the production model. In that case, the doors might just fold down, together or separate.

It’s easy to see FCA offering the feature on uplevel trims of the next-gen Ram 1500, which debuts (and starts production) in January, 2018, or making it available throughout the Ram range as an option. Given the age of the patent, let’s hope FCA engineers took the time to test the long-term durability of such a crucial vehicle component.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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33 Comments on “Ram’s Weird Dual Tailgate Appears Ready for Prime Time...”

  • avatar

    Honestly can’t decide if that would ever be useful for me or not. Maybe it’s for the people who buy their trucks with the shortest bed available? I’m guessing if that door swings out there must be something that will hold it in the “out” position so it doesn’t just swing all over the place while your driving?

    At any rate, at least it looks like they’ll have to shrink the size of the RAM logo on back since it appears that it’ll be cut up by that seam, which is a positive.

    • 0 avatar

      I feel that this is one of those answers to a question no one really asked. If one has cargo that pokes out the back, having the tailgate down provides extra support. I’ve seen a few Ridgeline’s where the owner have actually opened the tailgate from the side but they did this to help load groceries into the mean under bed storage compartment.

      The Safari van had an optional dutch door but I rarely ever see those around and have yet to see that configuration in a work van.

      What ever happened to pickups with 8 ft boxes? They are a dying breed even in HD’s.

    • 0 avatar

      We looked at trucks a few weeks ago when the car was in for its free oil change. With the height of the beds these days I can see where opening the gates sideways would help those of shorter stature get groceries out of the bed easier since you can lean in without the tailgate in the way as Lou said. The other advantage would be for opening and closing sideways you don’t have the weight to deal with when closing.

      You can still use it in the conventional sense for supporting your 4×8 sheets of sheet rock.

  • avatar

    Weird? Suspicious? Unfounded durability concerns? Must every news item be reported in such an affected manner?

  • avatar

    I’m not convinced there’s enough marginal utility here to justify it. The benefit would be in being able to carry longer items while leaving a portion of the gate up to prevent smaller items from rolling out the back. However, it doesn’t appear that the open section would lay flat to support the long portion of the load.

  • avatar

    “Those extra-long pieces of lumber, a disassembled bed frame, tubing, you name it, would normally poke out the top of the bed, resting on a closed tailgate.”

    If I’m hauling an over-length load, I leave the tailgate down and if necessary use ratchet-straps to tie the load to the anchor points in the corners of the box. I also tape a red flag to the end that’s hanging out, as legally required.

    The only clear advantage I can see to this barn-door style tailgate is that you don’t have to reach over the lowered tailgate to access things in the box. I wouldn’t pay extra for this versus the simplicity and durability of a standard tailgate.

  • avatar

    How about a “magic doorgate” like the full size Ford/GM wagons of yore?

    I could see a usefulness in that.

  • avatar

    I can see the advantage with loading things directly into the bed without having to slide them across the tailgate. Like a skid being loaded with a forklift.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s right and I leave my tailgate at home when I’m just hand-loading bags of crete mix, sod, blocks, etc. Just for regular stuff, you don’t realize how often the darn tailgate gets in the way.

      Barn doors would make man-steps totally unnecessary. And I’ve had too many forklifts crush the edge of the tailgate. I also wouldn’t have to cringe siding 600+ lbs items across the tailgate.

      • 0 avatar

        When I’m loading things in my truck bed with a fork lift I take the 27 seconds to remove the tail gate, set it aside and once the load is in the truck take the 45 seconds to put it back on and close it.

        • 0 avatar

          Right, but now you won’t have to!

          Most people find this to be a chore.

          • 0 avatar

            So if a forklift operator often damages the tailgate in the standard position, what makes anyone think that the dude isn’t going to hit the tailgate opened up like a door?
            Is this tailgate designed to swing completely out of the way?

  • avatar

    the new grill looks dumb. like hog nostrils.

    your mileage may vary.

  • avatar

    I’m curious if the made it an uneven 50/50 split to use the short side as a step in looks like the bumper has heavy camaflouge. There may be a way to step on the bumper in walk in the short side of the gate.

    • 0 avatar

      I think it would be an advantage where you have limited space to open it. The short side would come in handy if you were parallel parked, for example, and had a smaller item(s) to load.

      • 0 avatar

        “The short side would come in handy if you were parallel parked, for example, and had a smaller item(s)”

        Cue Big Al and a tirade about pickups as grocery-getters for hairdressers.

  • avatar

    Still not buying one.

  • avatar

    What could go wrong with this, lots of electronics (designed by FCA) in the harsh environment that is a tail gate, not to mention the fact that in heavy use tail gates take a lot of knocks and get dented, bent and generally beat up. I see lots of potential areas where the wear and abuse will add up to something that either won’t latch or won’t un-latch when you need it too.

  • avatar

    I know it’s a prototype, but the uneven lines would bother me every time I approached ‘my’ truck.

  • avatar

    How much is this questionable useful option going to cost me?

  • avatar

    So an article about this tailgate with no picture of it?

  • avatar

    This gimmick reminds me of the old GMC Envoy XUV with the sliding rear roof which was just a rehash of the old Studebaker Wagonaire station wagon. I’m thinking it will be just as popular as those two.

    FCA would have done better to bring back the old Chevy Avalanche folding midgate. That was actually useful.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    Around these parts the tailgates must be up or off. Nylon flappers are legal but one can’t rest anything on them. All loads have to be secured, too. A County Mountie told me to imagine my truck being held upside down: every single item that fell out was worth a ticket.

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