- Reaction score
I assembled these 4 rails to provide support for a cover to keep snow out of the bed. They may come in handy for carrying things too. Directions below.
The only tools needed are a socket wrench and a vise.
This project can be done for $83.92 rather than the $93.57 I paid.
I purchased 2 sets of universal roof rails on ebay, the first costing $43.98. Then I found another listing for $41.96 for my second order. They seemed to come from the same place and delivery was quick, with no damage. In addition, the project uses 8 nuts (8mm x 1.25). I chose to order nylon insert stainless from a second ebay seller for $7.63 (pack/25), but you could use the supplied plain nuts and lock washers.
To assemble a rail, you insert two of the supplied 8mm x 1.25 t-bolts into the groove on the bottom of the rail. There is an unfortunate recess on the rail which I shimmed with the rubber washers which I had on hand (see photo). Then the "hook" pictured is attached, after it is repurposed by flattening it somewhat (see photo). One of the supplied flat washers goes on next, followed by the nut.
There is an elongated slot in the "hook" assembly. The hook is to be pushed outboard to .25" from the end of the rail. The t-bolt is to be pushed inboard to prevent the hook from slipping. Tighten down the first side using a 13mm or 14mm socket, depending on the flats size of your nut. Assemble the hardware on the other side loosely.
Remove the two plastic end caps from the rails. They are held in place with a single springy tab which can be released by pushing it up with a small tool, through a hole in the bottom of the rail.
When the rail is in place and centered, tighten the second side and shove it towards the cab. If properly centered it will clear an obstructing bit of the body about 2" down the rail. It will clear the big plastic tie-downs if you loosen them.
Repeat for the other 3 rails (or as many as you are using). If using 4 rails with a 67" bed there will be 5 even gaps of 11".
The rails cannot be fully tightened using the method above. I will be making some sort of spacers to drop in the side rail slots to maintain the correct spacing. You can snug up the rails by doing this: With all 4 rails in place, loosen the nuts on one side. Loosen the little bolts holding one of the side rails to the bed. Put wooden wedges behind it, holding it out 1/8"-1/4". Tighten the nuts as above. Remove the wedges and tighten the little bolts on the side rail, pulling the cross rails taut.
Using these rails the top of the rubber pad is 1/8" below the top ribs on the Ramboxes. If you want them perfectly flush, or higher, than the Ramboxes, insert an appropriate shim as large as the "hook" assembly, with a hole in it for the bolt. There are plenty of threads on the special t-bolt. By the way, you will only be using half of these t-bolts. They are valuable and very hard to find. You could use the additional t-bolts to fit something to the bottom of the 4 rails, such as a brace to link them together.
The solution to one problem has eluded me. The ends of these Chinese rails are now open, as the supplied caps can't be used. Rain is going to enter and there is no coating on the inside, so there will be rust, followed by rusty water draining out.
I will probably plug the ends with gray duct seal compound, but it cannot be painted, so it may be unsightly. Any other ideas? Whatever is used to plug the rails must be entirely inside.
I have also considered painting these rails flat black or with bedliner. That will have to wait for warm weather.
January 13, 2019: We got a 6" snow last night so I'm attaching a couple of photos to show that the system works. As far as using the rails to support a tarp, though, that won't work with snow without lots of bungees to prevent it collapsing. I'm not keen on the idea of attaching anything to the flimsy plastic wheel well surrounds either.