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DIY low profile, light duty bed rails / rack

Discussion in 'General Tundra Discussion' started by AustinOX, Feb 22, 2020.

  1. Feb 22, 2020 at 3:48 PM

    AustinOX [OP] New Member

    Dec 27, 2019
    2018 blue 5.7
    TRD Swaybars, Smartliners, UWS toolbox
    Thought I'd share my stupid simple low-pro bed rail setup. I have a Yakima basket with bike racks from my old Forester XT that I wanted to be able to mount to the Tundra easily and inexpensively. I didn't find anything that was a direct solution to my problem that wasn't way more than I was willing to spend. Here's my solution.

    I started with a set of knockoff Thule style rails from Amazon:

    INNO Square Base Bars for Roof or Truck Bed Rack Systems

    The 71" size is perfect. They put the weight on the bed caps rather than the rail system, but barely stick out past the bed on either side. I purchased a Warehouse deals set for $65. The only issue to speak of was that they were missing their caps.

    Then I bought stainless T-slot nuts and bolts, also from Amazon:

    GZSJY T Slot Nuts for Toyota Bed Deck Rail, 4 PCS Stainless Steel Nuts for Tacoma & Tundra Cleats, Tie Downs and Accessories 3/8"-16 Thread 304 Steel ($15)

    Hillman Group 44018 3/8-16 x 1-Inch Button Socket Cap Screw, Stainless Steel, 5-Pack ($5)

    I rounded out the hardware at Lowe's, with three inch 90 degree brackets and stainless 1 1/2" bolts, washers, and nuts to attach the brackets to the bars. Total cost was about $100.

    With one bracket attached I was able to mark new holes for the button bolt to line up with the bed rail system. Once those were drilled, I bolted all of the brackets to the bars and spray painted the hardware black. The brackets did want to bend when tightened to the rail system, so I put large washers on the rail side of the brackets to prevent this.

    With the brackets bolted to the T slot nuts, the bars are plenty stable. Loaded with the basket and two bikes I could see a hint of bow, but nothing concerning. I drove a total of about five hours at interstate speeds with it loaded and it worked perfectly. I had three 45 gallon Husky bins underneath, with a kid's BMX on either side of the bins. I used some pool noodle sections to keep them from getting damaged.

    After camping I wanted an easier way to haul BMX bikes, which don't have quick release front wheels. I took off the basket and rear rail, and adjusted the front rail so that the front tire on my 24" cruiser would fit between the rail and my (short and shallow) toolbox. I set the bikes on the stems, on top of the pool noodles. It was like it was taylor made for my 24" bike, and both tires rested on the bed. I chris crossed two tarp bungees through the fork, around the bar, and over the frame. It was completely stable. My son's 20" bike rested with the front wheel off the bed, so it wasn't as stable, but a couple of bungees through the wheels solved that problem. With the tailgate down I might be able to load a mountain bike the same way for local trips.

    The bars can be slid right up to the toolbox when not in use. From here on out ill probably attach the pool noodles with tarp bungees instead of zip ties, and permanently store both bars all the way forward.


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