Hinged RTT bed rack design

osidepunker

Adventurer
Hello! :)

I just purchased a Tepui Ruggedized XL. Should be here tomorrow. So now I need to design a bed rack. My truck is going to be in the shop for the next month or two while it gets the rear suspension upgraded so I have some time to design this. My main challenges with this build are the following:

1) Budget <$750

2) Packaging. The RTT needs to be mounted as low as possible for two reasons: it wont fit in my garage if its taller than the cab and I am interested in maintaining good weight distribution with my gear; the lower it is the better the handling. So this pretty much means that the bottom of the tent will be at the same height as the bed sides.

3) Gear access. I can fit all my gear under the tent. 6 jerry cans mounted just behind the cab, two full size spares just behind the cans, and gear boxes/firewood behind the tires to the tailgate.

4) Truck use. This is our overlanding rig, but I am building out the suspension to be able to reliably handle trail speeds up to 80mph. All my gear needs to be mounted solidly. So i need sturdy and simple with this design.



The RTT weighs 200lbs. When folded its 6' along the hinge and 4' wide (6'x8' open). So it will pretty much cover the whole bed. Theres no getting around it, I need to hinge it. Its the only way I can see to access my gear easily. Slides and lift mechanisms are too complicated. This is my current plan:

1) Two load bars, front and rear. 1"x3" rectangle tube, steel, .120" wall thickness. I will connect them front to rear with the same rectangle tube to form a rectangle. This should help with with twisting (more on this in item 5)

2) Heavy duty gate hinges for the drivers side, weld on. Like these:

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3) For the latches, I plan on either a quick release pin or just use a Tbolt. I cant find any latch that will hold tight structurally. Whatever I choose to lock it down has to be as strong and tight as the hinge side. Still researching this one...

4) Attachment: From my research I am finding out that the stake holes are not good places to mount from. Most hard core trucks are seeing the racks pull apart the metal in the stake hole over time. The consensus seems to be to weld angle steel to the bedsides to distribute stresses and attach what you need to those reinforcements. So all I need to do is weld angle steel in 4 spots to the bedsides. I may look into welding diamond plate to the whole length and ditching the plastic covers, but that may cost too much.

5) Gas strut: I will have a half bed cage in the front of the bed for my SUA conversion. I plan on mounting a gas strut from the cage to the front load bar. This strut does not need to be able to lift the whole weight, it just needs to take most of weight off so that I am not trying to swing up the whole 200lbs. I will source one that can hold the tent up at almost 90 degrees. This is why I chose rectangle tube. Since I am only going to mount a strut on one side, I figured the rectangle tubing would twist less.

Cost: hinges are $60 a piece. The tubing and angle are just over a hundred. Haven't picked latches yet. Then I either need to hire a welder or buy a MIG and start learning. How much labor do you think this will take?

comments??? Do you guys think this will be reliable on the trail? Do you have any recommendation on the latch? Do you think the hinges or the tubing I chose are overkill? Not enough? I have never built anything like this before so I am doing all this planning from web research. I dont even know how to weld. Right now I am bouncing back and forth between buying a MIG and learning to weld or just paying a welder to put it together. I am a hardware engineer by trade. Im pretty sure I could learn to weld properly, just not sure that I would have enough projects to keep the skills sharp.

Let me hear your thoughts homies, good and bad :)
 

pray4surf

Explorer
Go for it! In building my one-off bed rack, I ultimately found a cheap welder in Escondido to weld it all together. I tried my hand at welding with a borrowed setup and found I didn't want to undertake the lengthy learning curve. Though I still would like to learn the skill.

If / when you get to the gas charged struts, call on Brandon at Lift Supports Depot in Vista. With his assistance, we were able to swap out various strength struts to find the right ones for my application.

Are you set on hinging on the side? I keep picturing the hard (fiberglass) tonneau covers that hinge at the cab. May be easier to reinforce the lid and use standard Yakima / Thule crossbars to mount the RTT. If you're adventurous enough (LOL) you may consider altering the fiberglass lid to hinge on the side.

Keep at it! From one one-off builder to another, don't let the lack of responses prevent you from dreaming.

Rick
 

osidepunker

Adventurer
Go for it! In building my one-off bed rack, I ultimately found a cheap welder in Escondido to weld it all together. I tried my hand at welding with a borrowed setup and found I didn't want to undertake the lengthy learning curve. Though I still would like to learn the skill.

If / when you get to the gas charged struts, call on Brandon at Lift Supports Depot in Vista. With his assistance, we were able to swap out various strength struts to find the right ones for my application.

Are you set on hinging on the side? I keep picturing the hard (fiberglass) tonneau covers that hinge at the cab. May be easier to reinforce the lid and use standard Yakima / Thule crossbars to mount the RTT. If you're adventurous enough (LOL) you may consider altering the fiberglass lid to hinge on the side.

Keep at it! From one one-off builder to another, don't let the lack of responses prevent you from dreaming.

Rick
What up man! I saw your rack, pretty badazz! Can you PM me your welders name? I am probably just gonna skip this one and let a pro do the work. I'll be calling brandon too. I had been wondering how I was gonna pick the right strut and where I was gonna source one.

As for the hinges... hinging from the side was just the first thought that popped into my head. It seems natural. But now that you mention it... I might look into hinging from just behind the cab of the truck. idk. Fiberglass and thule/yakima are out because they are not strong enough. I will be subjecting the load bars to a lot of stress.

Thanks for the encouragement mang! I keep getting cross eyed looks every time I tell someone what Im trying to do lol
 

osidepunker

Adventurer
Ok. Talked to a few fab guys over the last few days. Looks like welding the bed caps might be a crap shoot. The tundra bed is all sheet metal. Apparently welding 1/8th plate to the sheet metal can be done, but it takes a very experienced welder and I have had 3 welders say no to the job.

New plan is to bolt angle to the bed caps and fab the load bars, hinges, and latches with fasteners instead of welding. This is more in my wheel house anyway (I am in aerospace). I am working on simplifying the design now. Still about a month out so stay tuned.
 

osidepunker

Adventurer
I need some ideas on the best way to attach the load bars to the bed side when the RTT is flat. I will have a 4" wide, 1/4th" thick aluminum to attach to.

I would like some kind of quick release pin or something along those lines, but I dont have the tools to fab something precise. I dont want any movement or rattles. I need it to be structurally secure so that I can tie both sides of the bed together with the load bars for strength. Also needs to be simple, durable, and corrosion resistant. I dont want it to come apart in the middle of nowhere or become a pain in the azz.

Any ideas??? Just throw it on the wall and lets see if it sticks
 

JKFox88

New member
Figures you would finally make a thread here to ask more on how to build! ;)
GOOD Luck man Im hoping to start talking with Dana and Joe at Das Mule about fabricating one. Ill let you know how it goes they just got a fabricator and shop and Im local so Im hoping to be there often.

T-Rex on TT!
 

Willman

Supporting Sponsor - Sierra Expeditions
Here's some motivation...



Sure love my bed cover with my Eezi-Awn 1400 series RTT. Bed cover is all alum. with bed liner coating on the outside. Came out pretty slick. I bought a Miller 211 welder with a spoil gun. Best welder i have ever had. The amount of money you save for garage fab(doing it your self), you can buy that welder depending on the project.
 
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JamesDowning

Explorer
I'd try to use a couple of destaco clamps for the latches. They seem to work well in a lot of harsh vibrating conditions.
 

osidepunker

Adventurer
RTT rack should get some attention after thanksgiving. I have settled on two 1.75" .120" DOM tubes front to rear for base support; welded to the bedcage in front and the frame in the rear. I will use 1.5" .120" square tube, four pieces arranged in a rectangle, gusseted at each corner, to serve as the rack to which the RTT gets mounted to. On the passenger side I will hinge it to the DOM and use gas struts for lift, latches to lock it down the drivers side.

Im not gonna attempt to do the work myself, I will just use a good fab shop. Anybody have any good recommendations within a few hours of SoCal?

Figures you would finally make a thread here to ask more on how to build! ;)
GOOD Luck man Im hoping to start talking with Dana and Joe at Das Mule about fabricating one. Ill let you know how it goes they just got a fabricator and shop and Im local so Im hoping to be there often.

T-Rex on TT!
What up buddy! Post a thread on TT so we can get some more ideas floating over there. Das Mule is great, I'm sure they will take good care of you :)

Here's some motivation...



Sure love my bed cover with my Eezi-Awn 1400 series RTT. Bed cover is all alum. with bed liner coating on the outside. Came out pretty slick. I bought a Miller 211 welder with a spoil gun. Best welder i have ever had. The amount of money you save for garage fab(doing it your self), you can buy that welder depending on the project.
Thank you for that! That is pretty much what I am looking to do expect I dont need to fully enclose it. I'm also shooting for close to 90 degrees when open so I can stand. Im glad to see someone hinged their rack. I was starting to think I was drafting a wacky idea here lol

I'd try to use a couple of destaco clamps for the latches. They seem to work well in a lot of harsh vibrating conditions.
Thanks! I'll look into them
 

osidepunker

Adventurer
RTT rack got slipped to the right a little and I had to increase the budget by a few hundo. But its gonna happen. Last weekend I dropped it off at DMZ Fab and Race Prep.

After a little brainstorming with Tim we have decided to go with 2" square tube, .120 for the base and the rack. We will mount base rails to the existing bed cage and run a small support tube to the middle bed bolt in order to support lateral shear stresses in the rear better (sry, side to side movement lol).

The rack will be a rectangle, gusseted, and hinged with simple tabs and sleeved bolts.

we haven't discussed latches yet; I just told Tim to come with something simple and reliable.

Gas struts are not in the budget at this time, but they are easy to add.

Stay tuned, we are building this rack to be able to support a 180# RTT while bombing the desert at 80-100mph...
 

NatersXJ6

Explorer
Sounds like I'm late to the party and you already got it sorted out. I would have suggested a steel space frame built inside the bed and bolted through to the frame, like a roll cage or fifth wheel hitch would be. If you think you're going to run desert roads in excess of 80mph, you probably have shock towers through the bed anyway, and can tie them in to the frame?
 

osidepunker

Adventurer
Sounds like I'm late to the party and you already got it sorted out. I would have suggested a steel space frame built inside the bed and bolted through to the frame, like a roll cage or fifth wheel hitch would be. If you think you're going to run desert roads in excess of 80mph, you probably have shock towers through the bed anyway, and can tie them in to the frame?
I have a bedcage that we are gonna build off of. Its directly connected to the frame at 6 points; four in the front and two in the rear. The frame is also boxed at the bumps, about a 12" section. We are worried about lateral stresses when I hit the trail hard so we are going to add another frame connection in the rear. We will connect at the middle bed bolt and run a lateral support tube to the base. This should help with side to side stresses.

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osidepunker

Adventurer
Just tested my setup, four days in Mojave/BigBear. Huge success! I was super warm even when temps were down around freezing. I smashed the rack all over the place and it was super solid. Just gotta get the gas struts and I will be good to go. Big thanks to Tim at DMZ Fab and Race Prep for doing an excellent job on the rack and having me ready for the trail in time for my trip. Here are a couple shots of my new RTT and rack:

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SDDiver5

Expedition Leader
So where exactly is it hinged? And what is the purpose of the hinge? Just to access the bead easier? Is the RTT on your truck all the time or is it just when you're on a trip?

Love the look of your truck, especially with the rear suspension and RTT! Excellent work!
 

osidepunker

Adventurer
So where exactly is it hinged? And what is the purpose of the hinge? Just to access the bead easier? Is the RTT on your truck all the time or is it just when you're on a trip?

Love the look of your truck, especially with the rear suspension and RTT! Excellent work!
Thx! Its been a long time coming. I bought the tent last June! But it all came together nicely.

RTT will be mounted most of the time. I dont see a reason to take it off. However, I will build a single pulley and hand crank system in my garage and that is how I will remove it if I need to haul big stuff in the bed.

Hinges are on the passenger side. I am going through great pains to manage weight and CG on the Truck. So my gas/water is mounted just behind the cab (6 jerry cans total), two f/s spares laying flat between the wheelwells, and gear boxes/firewood near the tail gate. The RTT weighs 180lbs and the rack is probably another 30-50lbs. I did not want that kind of weight mounted high. So we mounted as low as we could while still fitting two spares under it. Since it is so low, I need a way to access my gear without crawling under the rack. Hence the hinges.

I blew my budget by a couple hundred so I decided to wait on the gas struts. My thought was that I could just muscle it up for now and use a kick stand.... no way man! Its way too heavy. But after I get the struts installed, it should be eazy peazy. Also, when the tent is pitched, I can still lift the rack and access my gear which is cool.
 
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