As a caveat, we’d like to mention we are not experts. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. We have no idea what we are doing.
That being said, we needed tie downs for our truck camper installed on our truck. After calling around, the only place able to do it said the parts would cost about $450 and the labor would be four to eight hours, bringing us to a total cost of around $1000. This seemed completely ridiculous, as we had seen HappiJac 182910 Frame Mount Tie Down with HappiJac 182971 Universal Stabilizing Bar for Frame Mount Systems on Amazon for $250 or so, and couldn’t imagine it takes a skilled rv mechanic a full four to eight hours to drill a few holes in a truck. So, we decided to take a stab at it ourselves. Conclusion – its really easy.
Total Time: About an hour with two people
Tools: Socket wrenches, drill, drill bits, drill bit extension, piece of wood, work gloves/eye protection, Happijac kit
Total Cost (including drill bits/drill bit extension purchased to complete install and one-day shipping): $307
Step 1: Attach the two metal truck mounts to the long metal rod with small bolts provided
Step 2: Attach the L-brackets loosely to the truck mounts with the bolts/washers/nuts provided. The location depends on which type of truck you have. For a 1999 or newer Ford F-250, it goes in the channel slot in the center of each mount. The instructions specify what to do based on what truck you have.
Step 3: Attach mounts to back of truck bed. Happijac put six holes in the mount to give you options, but you only need to attach it with four bolts. First, drill a pilot hole with a 3/32” drill bit. Make sure to have a piece of wood slid in between the truck bed and the cab of the truck where you are drilling, as otherwise you could puncture your cab. Then use a 7/16” drill bit to enlarge the hole (use the wood again). You’ll see that the hole is just a tad bigger than the actual bolt. This is an awesome way to ensure you can get the bolt through, but not so much play that its not secure. Thank you Happijac, your engineers are really smart. Its pretty simple to align the back tie down plate to the truckbed plate. Happijac suggests first threading the bolts through the back tie down plate to clear out the paint and make it easier to thread through on install. We kind of did this and then got lazy and it didn’t really matter.
Step 4: Tighten the bolts
Step 5: Determine where to drill into the truck bed. The L-brackets have a large slot to give options on where to drill. For our Ford F-250, the instructions say to drill in line with the truck bed bolts already in place. We just used a piece of string to estimate where that was.
Step 6: Drill a hole in the truck bed with a pilot bit, and finish with a 3/8” drill bit. We used a drill bit extension to make this a little bit easier. We also looked underneath the truck first, thinking maybe it was supposed to line up with an already existing hole in the truck frame. That was not the case. We drilled a brand new hole through the bed and frame and secured the bolt/reinforcement plate/washer/nut provided.
Step 7: Install rear tie downs. Pick a flat spot away from the corner of the bumper. Think structurally. Theres no exact place you are “supposed” to put it. You just don’t want the tie downs rubbing on anything.
Thats it! We were amazed how simple this really was. I can’t believe someone tried to charge us 4 to 8 hours of labor for this. If you have questions, let us know, happy to help if we can.