Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon banner
  • Hey Everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of this months Ride of the Month Challenge!
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
859 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The RTT that I am using did not disclose that their mounting system would add 1” to the overall height on the bed rack. They may have adjusted their website since, but at the time it was not disclosed.

It’s been bugging me for almost 2 yrs, and I finally got off my but and am doing something about it. Since there are many smart folks on here, I wanted to solicit your input. Keep in mind that fabricating is out of my element if you use nomenclature (I may have to look it up) or shorthand lingo that may or may not make sense to the layperson.

The problem: A 1” riser that facilitates mounting the RTT to a bed rack.

5B433C3E-52F7-4E55-B178-C49B38CF8575.jpeg


Another perspective:

FC25053E-E234-45D2-9304-10845EC6C861.jpeg


The base of the RTT has 4 holes, bolts go through those holes into the 1” essentially square aluminum bar seen above.
The aluminum bar has a type of slider inserted (prior to installing the plastic end caps) that allows the bolt from inside the tent base to go through into the slider, and then two other bolts to be used to secure the slider (and ultimately the entire tent) to the bed rack.

What I have decided to do (but haven’t done yet and am open to changing direction) is to eliminate that 1” aluminum mounting bar, enlarge the holes in the base of the tent to accept a 3/8” carriage bolt, 3” in length, and run that bolt through the RTT base and into the mounting bar on the bed rack. IOW, mount the RTT directly to the bed rack.

I am using a rather large washer secured to the carriage bolt.
Now don’t laugh...(never mind that I am laughing as I‘m typing this).

C5D32175-38A6-4ABC-A15A-1606C0D9F284.jpeg


F09855C4-A439-4298-965A-46E2EB645B95.jpeg


EB1DF168-91FD-4BAB-BC20-C8D59C99259F.jpeg


The large washer will be inside the RTT with the bolt going downward to secure the RTT to the bed rack.

I am planning to run a type of gasket along the top of the bed rack (neoprene), between the underside of the RTT base and the top of the bed rack.


Thoughts, improvements or suggestions?
 

·
Registered
2017 Colorado ZR2 as it came from the factory
Joined
·
232 Posts
I think I would need to see this in person but from what I see I think they are using that aluminum track as both structure and ease of universal mounting. Now if you have it aligned to where you can bolt it down directly though the base of the tent to the rack in all four corners then good. But where it overhangs the rack may be too weak without the track. And of course it may not be as well. That's the in person side of things.

Not to side track here but how's the rack holding up for you with the RTT? And do you actually use the handles on it? I'll be getting a Datin Fab Softopper rack later this year I think and figured I would ask since you have one of their mid height racks.

Sit, Ubu, sit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 93Duc

·
Registered
2017 AT4 2.8L CCLB Dark Slate Metallic
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
have you discovered the "industrial erector set"?

you could re-engineer your own mounting system

 
  • Like
Reactions: 93Duc

·
Registered
Joined
·
859 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, that’s correct - the aluminum track serves as both a structure and universal mounting device.
The RTT will be aligned and mounted using all 4 corners. While I don’t know the gauge metal used on the bed rack, it is immensely solid, no concerns on that part. The neoprene gasket will distribute the weight more evenly across the bars of the bed rack.

The rack is fantastic. I honestly could not ask for a better rack. It weighs in about 100 lbs (a bit more as I have added a few weight bearing side supports, it is high enough to see out the back window while driving, backing up, etc, maintains a good center of gravity and has one of the best, if not the best powder coatings I have ever encountered.
Yes, the handles are great and I use them every time I use the tent or inspect the top (very handy - pun - in the wet and cold, muddy hand, etc).

Two years of ownership it is the rack I would purchase all over again, IMO nothing comes close for the money or even more expensive (It would merely be trade offs such as higher center of gravity for a Leitner, reduced visibility for a lower rack, or several times more expensive for a custom aluminum rack).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
859 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
have you discovered the "industrial erector set"?

you could re-engineer your own mounting system

Thanks, I’ll have to take a close look at their offerings. At a glance though, I would probably have to replace my Datin base station to get the end result I am looking for.

I guess I didn’t mention it in my original post, but my objectives are to lower the RTT by 1” for garage clearance primarily and to see if it has a positive impact on reducing wind resistance of the RTT (thus improving fuel economy - which would be great).
 

·
Registered
2021 Black \/6 4WD Z71 Crew Cab Short Box
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
Can you flip the bars going front to back on the rack?
From what I see they’re super beefy. I would not expect it to cause any problems with the lip that is currently sitting on top of the cross bar being underneath. It doesn’t look like it’s gets back the full inch but I usually come up a little short. ;) this should allow you to maintain the structure provided by aluminum crossbars.
413446
 

·
Registered
2021 Black \/6 4WD Z71 Crew Cab Short Box
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
Also it looks like the front to back bars are channel? If so and if you flip them I’d make sure there’s a couple of drain holes in the channel.
 

·
Registered
2017 AT4 2.8L CCLB Dark Slate Metallic
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
Thanks, I’ll have to take a close look at their offerings. At a glance though, I would probably have to replace my Datin base station to get the end result I am looking for.

I guess I didn’t mention it in my original post, but my objectives are to lower the RTT by 1” for garage clearance primarily and to see if it has a positive impact on reducing wind resistance of the RTT (thus improving fuel economy - which would be great).
I figured that's what you were getting at, my thinking was that you could replace or modify the existing mount system to accommodate that drop you are looking for. That mount system was likely made from the same aluminum type bar stock, so you should be able to find any specialized channel fasteners you might need.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 93Duc

·
Registered
2017 Colorado ZR2 as it came from the factory
Joined
·
232 Posts
Also it looks like the front to back bars are channel? If so and if you flip them I’d make sure there’s a couple of drain holes in the channel.
If they were flipped the gains wouldn't be what the op is looking for in 1". Also the aluminum track/support would be eaten alive by the two sides of that channel digging in under flex and such. Maybe a stainless cap plate bent over the channel then but still not at the 1" wanted.

I would think about removing the tracks and dispersing the bolted load like the op is but I would likely add shelf style supports off the outer edges where the tracks were to support loads at the edges of the tent down to the side supports of the rack. All worries would be gone at that point. I just think without the supports out past the rack it will just end up with lots of flex and possible damage from roads like those here in Missouri and off-road ruts etc.

Sit, Ubu, sit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 93Duc

·
Registered
2021 Black \/6 4WD Z71 Crew Cab Short Box
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
@BlueLaser17
Yeah I hear ya. It looks to be in garage at the time of pics so I assume 3/4 is as good as an inch. I also definitely agree my idea lacked a means of dealing with the edge of the channel against what we can assume is soft aluminum. Your idea of a stainless sheet metal plate is excellent. I would try to maintain the tent as is/oem if possible. (Guessing that’s where the money is)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 93Duc

·
Registered
2021 Black \/6 4WD Z71 Crew Cab Short Box
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
Another thought would be to move the front to back bars down by drilling the rack and offsetting the bars left and right. I love this type of puzzle…. If there is a flap that sits on top of the rack ceoss bars it would need to go via grinder.

or to go back to my first idea, you could slot the existing holes in the rack cross bars as well as flipping them to get the additional drop required.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 93Duc

·
Registered
2017 Colorado ZR2 as it came from the factory
Joined
·
232 Posts
Another thought would be to move the front to back bars down by drilling the rack and offsetting the bars left and right. I love this type of puzzle…. If there is a flap that sits on top of the rack ceoss bars it would need to go via grinder.

or to go back to my first idea, you could slot the existing holes in the rack cross bars as well as flipping them to get the additional drop required.
There's a thousand ways to skin a cat, and each one is right in someone's eyes.

Here is what I would do if it were me.
Aluminum already has its finish all the way through. The rack is powder coated so any drilling opens up possible issues later on when paint wears down. I would flip the top bars to lower it the guestimated 1/2" from the pictures. Then I would bend stainless to cap over that channel so it's the gap from steel to aluminum to prevent corrosion or rust from the channel edges. I would then set the RTT on the rack exactly where I wanted it to be with the stainless in place. Then I would mark the aluminum track at the edges of the stainless and remove the RTT. This is where it gets a bit more difficult. I would then notch out 1/2-3/4" of the aluminum track where it's a perfect fit over the stainless cap points. This will one, keep it centered, and two keep the load bearing outer portions since the majority of the load will be downward. And that will basically pinch the stainless if under those loads. Then once that perfect notch has been done I would follow up by sliding my fasteners into the track before placing it back on the truck so you can actually put the inboard fasteners in. And then proceed to bolt it back down like it was originally but with about 1" to 1-1/4" shorter bolts. Done. Easy as pie . Basically a full afternoon fab job. The aluminum is easier to modify and has less of a chance of being a major replacement part. Similar aluminum can be purchased bulk if need be later on.

Ps for the notching of the aluminum I would drill the corners of the notch after scribing my cuts. Then use a body saw with a mid tpi blade along my scribe marks. You can use a die grinder if you like but even a variable speed one makes a mess of aluminum and leaves a lot to clean up. Most of all my aluminum work I use a good ol 6" coping saw with a fine tooth blade. Hardly even break out the power tools unless I'm that tired and needing a break from manual labor. It's too easy to mess up with power tools. But I'm OCD, ADHD, and a perfectionist so this is always an issue for me

Hope this helps in some way. If not then at least my thumbs got a workout typing it up.

Sit, Ubu, sit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,600 Posts
I did this years ago when I had my Tacoma, but didn't add any extra plate. The tent is secured to the rails with two tiny bolts and washers by default. I upsized to 3/8" like you did, but a larger washer was all I used. Then I just welded on tabs to my rack (made by me) to accept the bolts in their location. That rack and tent is still being used, and has seen thousands of miles of offroad travel and dozens of camping nights.

I wish I still had pictures of it, but I built the rack with the sole purpose of mounting the tent like that. There were two crossbars going front to back, and I spaced those apart, according to where the bolts would sit.

I had three of the four bolts back out and come off, with that factory mount. Nearly lost the tent while doing high speed trail running.
 

·
Registered
2017 Colorado ZR2 as it came from the factory
Joined
·
232 Posts
I forgot to mention I'm known as captain overkill to those around me.

Sit, Ubu, sit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 93Duc and MrCamo

·
Registered
2021 Black \/6 4WD Z71 Crew Cab Short Box
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
I love the idea of channeling the aluminum.
I’d nip at it with a band saw until close to the mark and hand file it in. This is fun-
We need more threads like this!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
859 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Can you flip the bars going front to back on the rack?
From what I see they’re super beefy. I would not expect it to cause any problems with the lip that is currently sitting on top of the cross bar being underneath. It doesn’t look like it’s gets back the full inch but I usually come up a little short. ;) this should allow you to maintain the structure provided by aluminum crossbars.
View attachment 413446
That’s a very good idea. But I really want to loose that 1 inch of height. The garage clearance is so low that if I pull in on leas than 1/4 tank of fuel and an empty bed the tent ladder (highest point of the RTT) will rub against the garage entryway. I also want to upsize tires - hence the need to drop.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BlueLaser17

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,600 Posts
Can you put those front to back crossbars in different locations?? There are two other bolts there, can they be moved to get your tent bolts centered or near them? You can weld, so adding a tab is easy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
859 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A lot of great information & ideas here, thanks everyone. I’m going to sleep on it and revisit these suggestions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BlueLaser17

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,600 Posts
Found an old picture! Kinda hard to see, but this is how I bolted mine to the rack I made. Just a couple tabs welded to the crossbars and bolted right down.

0619170755a.jpg

0618171254.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
859 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Can you put those front to back crossbars in different locations?? There are two other bolts there, can they be moved to get your tent bolts centered or near them? You can weld, so adding a tab is easy.
That was not my welding - wish it was, it’s a friends work.

I could move the front to back bars, but the tent bolts are essentially centered over them presently. It’s just a matter of increasing the hole size to accept the 3/8” carriage bolt.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top