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The previous owner of my elky attempted to fill the license plate pocket and he did it horribly. Based on the pics, do you think I should DA sand the tailgate to the metal and have a steel plate welded? Im guessing the guy just filled it with cardboard and body filler like he had done to the roll pan. Any help is appreciated, thanks.

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The previous owner of my elky attempted to fill the license plate pocket and he did it horribly. Based on the pics, do you think I should DA sand the tailgate to the metal and have a steel plate welded?

YES!! Get that junk out and weld in a new section,, I thought I have seen companys make a metal section to go in,, anyway get it ouit and then weld in a new one,, block the entire tail gate,, post more pics when ya start diggin` that batch job out,, matty man
 

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You know if he really only did cardboard and bondo it'd be real easy to just go back to the license pocket.
But yeah like Matty said weld a plate around it. Try to stay inside the slight recess that the edge of the license pocket mounts in. Use a MIG welder if you can and go slowly around the entire edge. Alternate where you weld to avoid distortion. But keep going back and forth side to side until it's completely welded. Then grind the edge smooth and you shouldn't need much filler.
 

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If welding in a patch, it is better to cut out the recess & make a true butt weld to avoid ghost shadowing later. Also fit the metal tightly even if migging to help reduce warpage after welding cooldown on the 20 gauge metal.
 
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