Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Toyota Tie Down Brackets

My wife asked for my advice the other day on securing something in the bed of the pickup. Since I know more than one knot I get all the pickup related rigging questions. A friend of hers asked for some help with a sheet of plastic. The sheet is for making art Monotypes. Eventually the sheet will be cut down into smaller pieces that will be painted on and run through a press to imprint a one time image on paper.

The problem is getting the sheet home from the plastic supplier. Its too large to fit in a passenger car, and to small to make it worth while to have it delivered. We have a small Toyota Tacoma pickup. It is not what you would expect somebody like me to have with the heavy duty machinery collecting habits you see on the blog. I guess I figured that most of the time I would be driving it around empty running small errands and commuting not really using the pickup part of the vehicle. Why pay for all that gas and tires for something you only use occasionally? Now when I see somebody going to the grocery store in their F-350 diesel 4 x 4 dually I just have to smile. When I need a heavy truck which is not very often I can rent one.

Back to the Toyota. The problem is she needs to transport the sheet of thin plastic in the bed of the Toyota. Its important that it doesn't get scratched or gouged so it cant flop around and most certainly cant blow out of the back. We live on the windy side of a bridge which has a habit of cleaning out the bed of a pickup when you least expect it. The crosswind can pick sheet goods right out of the pickup bed. In their infinite wisdom the engineers at Toyota only equipped the truck with tie down point near the tailgate.
I have run into this problem before. Its been on the list for a while to make or buy some additional clips so materials can be secured near the cab of the pickup. The tie downs along the edge of the bed are pretty wimpy and only suited for tying stuff that sticks up higher than the bed.
Two years ago when we were doing a lot of hauling in the truck I bought these nice brackets that fit the stock cargo rails in the bed. They work great but they don't do anything when you want to haul a sheet of plywood or sheetmetal in the bed. I needed something that I could pull down against just like the two near the tailgate.
Here is what Toyota gives you to work with. Of course my torx bits don't go large enough to loosen the big bolt holding the bed to the truck. I'm going out on a limb here and guessing I won't need this bit very much so I heading to Harbor Freight for a one time tool.
Here are the brackets I made up. I hate to paint anything so I made them out of stainless steel. The large keyhole is so I don't have to take the bolt all the way out of the bed and risk loosing any alignment. Looking underneath the bolt is about three inches longer than it needs to be. This worried me that it might be long to make any misalignment's easier to deal with on the assembly line. The large part of the hole fits over the head of the bolt.
Armed with the new huge torx bit and a couple of brackets I'm ready to install them. The foam pad is for my old man knees in the bed of the pickup. I'm a little worried that these large bolts are torqued to the moon by some automated installation impact driver. I looked up the torx driver specifications and the T55 is rated to almost 200 lb/ft. No wonder it comes on a 1/2 inch drive.
Well that was easy. The bolts weren't super tight and my holes were sized well. It took all of five minutes to put them in. My wife is supposed to pick up the plastic sheet later in the week so I'm sure I'll hear how it goes.

Thanks for looking.


  1. I enjoy reading your Posts and especially enjoyed your Metalworking book. (Wish I could have read it 20 years ago) Did you ever find someone to work with on a Metal Spinning project? After learning from Terry Tynan's DVDs... I'm making a larger metal spinning lathe just for the fun of it.

  2. Hi Charles,

    Thanks for the nice comment. To answer your question I have not found a metal spinner locally to show me the technology. We have a setup at work but the guy who ran it retired a while back.

    I would love to see your metal spinning lathe when you get it going. Send some pictures when you get close.


    Tom Lipton

  3. Seeing this for first time. Your brackets are great. Don't suppose you sell them? Ellen