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John E Davies

HOW TO: Move the factory cargo tray to a rear rack

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I wanted to move my Oliver front cargo tray to the rear of the trailer to lighten the tongue. For a light duty truck like my Land Cruiser 200, the weight reduction is very significant. I normally carry two full 5 gallon gas jerry cans, an empty 6 gallon water can and my heavy rubber chocks. The tongue weight was 720 pounds with full tanks and full propane. After the mod it is around 480 pounds. I will probably continue to use the Andersen hitch for its excellent jounce control, but I have the adjuster nuts backed way off so that there is zero tension on the chains at rest. My airbags, at 10 psi, level things out and support the reduced tongue weight very well.

 

I won’t describe every step in detail. I will provide a basic materials list and some measurements. This is in NO WAY an easy mod, I rate it 7 out of 10, and this is for an ex-A&P mechanic who is comfortable working, shaping and drilling aluminum. The tray brackets on the bottom had to come off, and I left it to a local welding shop to mill them with their big milling machine, and to also weld some support spacers. Everything else I did in my shop with common hand tools, power tools, a handheld sander and a bench top sander, and a floor drill press.

 

The current factory bike rack (and previous versions) have double receivers that are bolted down to the frame. Because they attach to diamond plate, Oliver uses a hard rubber strip under each one to keep them from getting destroyed by the very sharp teeth. The two big attach bolts are located in the center and front of the receivers. There is nothing securing the back, which in my view is a problem, since that is where the most of the vertical force is applied from the cargo.

 

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I did contact Jason in Service and asked how the latest factory bike racks were doings and if loosening was a problem. He told me that there were no issues. ….. Still, I decided to bolt my support arms directly to the frame - no receivers - and to remove all the sharp diamonds from the waste cover. This would allow me to eliminate the rubber strips, which I think are not a wise choice. I wanted my arms to have an intimate and solid connection to the frame. I did add 1/8” strips of aluminum bar to replace the rubber strips, to provide bumper clearance.

 

Materials are aircraft grade 6061-T6, 1/4” wall, with square corners. This is close to the same stuff the factory uses for their racks and the trailer frames. All hardware is stainless, and I strongly recommend using silver anti-seize on all of them!

 

Bumper removal is required. One of my nuts seized and I was able to snap the bolt using a big breaker bar.

 

Waste area diamond plate cover removal is required. This was a bitch, I will make a new thread for that and provide a link.

 

Arm hole spacing: The critical factor is the forward hole, if it is too close to the hull, you won’t have room to get your drill in there because the hull swells out and interferes. I was JUST able to get my compact Dewalt drill in without any worries. If you have an angle drill, you could use it and a short 1/2” bit to get into this location. Beware!

 

Drilling: I drilled as many 1/2” holes as I could using the drill press, so they were dead straight. I used the drilled arms as jigs, to drill the frame holes straight, and afterwards I opened up the arm upper holes so I could get the hardware and a socket inside. See pictures.

 

When building something like this it is important to consider what happens if something goes seriously wrong, such as a major rear end collision. There needs to be a “fuse” - a designed-in weak point - where the rack can fail and hopefully minimize structural damage to the hull and frame. My rack is intended to fail where the cross beam meets the arms, not where the arms meet the frame (the underside of the frame rails is reinforced with an extra 1/4” bonded layer). Hopefully the rack will collapse upward and forward. The cans will meet the exposed rear tire and that will help to cushion the blow to the hull. These are real NATO style jerry  cans and they are extremely tough. I would not feel happy about transporting plastic gas cans here. OTH if there is going to be a big fire, better here than right behind the truck....

 

RACK:

 

1 - Crossbeam 2” x 4” x 52.5” long. $68.00 … I could have gone a little wider on the beam (Oliver uses 7”, the same as the bumper), but my supplier had run out of the larger sizes and I think this is plenty adequate for the load (which is centered directly on top of the crossbeam).

 

2 - Support arms 2” x 2” x 24” long. $45.00

 

1 - Bar 1/4” x 1 1/2 x 24” long. $5. For reinforcing inside of trailer frame rails (epoxy bonded).

 

1 - Bar 1/8” x 2” x 24” long. $6. For spacers between arms and diamond plate cover.

 

4 - Bolt 1/2”-13 x 2”. Arms to frame.

 

4 - Bolt 1/2”-13 x 1 3/4”. Crossbeam to arms

 

8 - Nylock nut 1/2”-16

 

16 - Washer 1/2” x 1.062” OD (SAE specs, thicker and a better fit than a common washer)

 

CARGO TRAY:

 

Labor: mill off lower brackets, weld on two 1/8” thick support pieces: $80

 

1 - Bar 1/4” x 3” x 24” long. $10. For the tray reinforcing supports.

 

4 - Bolt 3/8”-16 x 3” trim excess length if needed. Use in the ends of the tray.

 

4 - Bolt Countersunk Allen head 3/8”-16 x 3” trim excess length if needed. Use in the center of tray to minimize interference with cargo.

 

8 - Nylock nut 3/8”-16

 

12 - Washer 3/8” x 7/8” OD

 

MISCELLANEOUS:

 

2 - Tie-downs, Mac's: http://www.macscustomtiedowns.com/product/versatie-slimline-anchor-plate-assembly/Anchor-Plates

 

When doing a major job like this, fresh drill bits are important, or if you know how, sharpen yours. I bought new 3/8” and 1/2” bits. It makes the job go easier.

 

Large bits: I bought a set of 9/16” to 1” bits for $100. It is very rare that one would need them this big. The 9/16” fits the tongue bolts and hitch bolts. The 1” one I used to make access holes in the top of the support arms so the attach bolts would be recessed. Consider this optional, but if you follow my instructions you will need a 1” hole saw instead. OR use really long bolts and figure out a way to reinforce the arms internally with solid spacers.

 

Tape: You must protect the aluminum while working with it, otherwise it will get scarred and scratched. I used 1” blue masking tape an duct tape. Use something that will be easy to remove a week later if need be... not regular tan masking tape.

 

Files and sandpaper. I cleaned up cuts on the belt sander and finish polished parts with 360 grit wet-or-dry paper to make them look like the Oliver parts (which I believer are wire brushed).

 

Work stand. I used an old B&D Workmate. it makes drilling and sanding big parts easier.

 

Epoxy: JB Weld regular grade, to bond reinforcing plates under the top of the frame rails.

 

Primer: Duplicolor Self Etching for aluminum. For priming the top of the waste cover after sanding it down.

 

Lots of large clamps for holding everything together.

 

Carpenters angle, tape measure, machinist square: for ensuring everything is straight and true. Measure THREE times, cut once!

 

Patience, take your time, don’t make too many mistakes! If you want attempt this, good luck and feel free to ask questions.

 

Pics to follow.

 

John Davies'

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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I used this scrap to make a guide bar to sand down the diamonds on the waste cover, using a handheld 3" belt sander:

 

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I bonded the plate under each frame rail with small bolts coated in vaseline, until cured.

 

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More pics.


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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The spare tire will simply roll out to either side after you remove the big threaded rod in the center of the mount. You do not have to disturb the rack or any cargo. This will NOT work with a tire cover installed, for obvious reasons.

 

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It is hard to see here, I was able to position the eight tray 3/8” holes so that the washers fit neatly between the raised diamonds, not straddling them, which is not so good:

 

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John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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