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DIY pickup truck wood ladder rack

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by muncybob, May 25, 2011.

  1. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    We are going to pick up a 16' long awning this weekend, some 1.5 hours away. Obviously this poses some logistical problems with a bed only 8' long!
    Was thinking of making a ladder rack from some 2X4's I have in the garage. Plan is to rest one end of the awning wrapped in blankets on the truck cab roof and install some boards into the bed rail slots fashioned like a ladder rack in the rear of the bed. Tie down the awning to the bed and also the makeshift rack.
    Done this before? Any pointers? The awning is fairly heavy.

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  2. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I would be worried about the weight denting the roof of your truck without some additional support. If you hit a bump it *might* leave a divot in the sheet metal. Would probably pop out, but could crease the paint. I personally wouldn't want to do that to the truck I have now, but wouldn't think twice about it with the ol' beater I sold a couple years ago.

    Make sure you don't just "rest" it on the cab....tie it down so it doesn't go side to side on you.

    How far do you have to drive? Quick trip at low speed would be OK, but long distance at interstate speed I might be concerned.
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    While building the ladder rack, extend it over the cab of the truck. use the 2x4 on edge for strength. With the example rack (that is quite artistic I might add) you could even extend supports to the other side of the truck bed if needed.

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  4. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the advice. It's a long trip and may be some interstate driving depending on the route we decide to take. Good point about the cab, if it were my truck I wouldn't care but it's a friends and I don't want any damage at all. I think I will extend the supports...better to overkill than have to pick stuff up off the road! :(
    If I remember I'll snap some pics of the finished product but I doubt it will rival Jags artwork....:)
  5. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    My dad built one similar to what you described. He used garage door track for the horizontal supports (and extended them over the cab as Jags mentioned). Plenty strong and lightweight.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    This is a truck with a cab section and then a bed section. You may not realize it but these two sections move independently as you roll down the road. Especially over bumps or expansion joints in the concrete road. Point being that anything resting on the cab and the bed will have to slide back and forth to accomodate the movement and this will can ruin the paint on the truck cab.

    Buy, borrow, or rent a trailer. A standard car trailer would work great for this load.
  7. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Fasten, strap, upright 2 x 4 s to bed. extend 2x4s over cab without touching cab. Made one for an s-10 once but used small angle iron. worked great ! I was one of the first around here to have a ladder rack on a light weight truck around here 11 years ago.
  8. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    We decided to take the easy way out and use the small 2 horse trailer we own...the awning will stick out a few feet in the rear but we'll flag it and should be OK. We'll use more fuel this way but I would have had to buy lumber to build the rack and with everything I'm doing right now time is precious. Some good points made though, thanx!
    Looking forward to getting the awning installed to be able to sit outdoors on the deck while it's rainng....which it has been doing a LOT of lately!
  9. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    If you're getting a Sunsetter, they don't like a rain (water) load, you'll need to tip the awning to dump the water as it comes down. They tell you that in the fine print…
    I had a Sunsetter, and loved it! When it rained, we just shortened one leg so the water ran off.
  10. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Got it home Saturday..installed yesterday. Why do I seem to pick one of the hottest days of the year to do manual work!!??

    Yep, I plan to have it "tilted" when it's raining even though the center support does allow for a gable type pitch. I screwed up the wall support locations so I have some holes in my siding to patch but it looks good otherwise. Was a CL score @ $300 for 10X16, but I had to put a lot of elbow grease into cleaning it. Seems the guy perhaps rolled it up wet and left it out in the weather for about a year! Finally got it cleaned decently after 2+ hours of scrubbing and seems to be in good shape otherwise. I hate to say it after all the wet weather we've had, but I'm actually wanting it to rain for a few hours :)

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