Latest project: Truck rack

posted in DIY

Latest project: Truck rack

This project has been in the back of my mind for a long time. My truck has approximately a 6′ bed and therefore longer items (lumber, ladders, sheet goods) either lean up against the cab, which dents it, or protrude out the back. The solution was to build a rack that would create more options for loading.

Until very recently I was planning to make a long ladder rack, the kind that cantilevers forward over the cab. But I realized that something simpler would meet my needs and require less steel, making it lighter as well. The design I eventually settled on comprises two separate racks, one directly behind the cab and one over the gate. They are connected by a pair of rails. If the rear rack is removed, two small mounts (not pictured) can take its place, allowing the rails to remain.

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The racks, front and back, are mounted on pieces of steel angle, 15″ long and 2-1/2″ wide. They are built of 1-1/2″, 14-ga. square tube steel, and braced with tube steel at a 45 degree angle at the base. At the top, the rack is 4′-1″ wide (inside dimension) to allow for standard sheet goods to be carried. Stubs extend 4″ high on either side to prevent sliding.

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The rails are 1-1/2″, 14-ga. square tube steel and have a short plate of 11-ga. flat bar on either end that connects to the racks. Each end is attached with a 3/8″ galvanized hex bolt. Because a second bolt would not fit on either end, I devised a key-and-slot system: the rail slides down onto a key on either end, then the bolt is installed.

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The rack is attached to the truck in two ways. Each rack support is positioned over one of the stake pockets in the bed rails. A piece of steel (not shown), cut from a 2″ square tube, is welded below the steel angle to fit into the stake pocket. A 1/2″ galvanized hex bolt is then threaded through the side of the stake pocket and through a hole in the steel piece, preventing it from pulling out. To secure against rattling, a 3/8″ galvanized hex bolt (shown above) attaches to steel angle directly to the bed rail.

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Comments? Let me know what you think!


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