I have had fielded a couple of questions regarding the custom bed rack that I designed so I have decided to put together a post on it. First of all, let me state that it is not complete. I have it mounted and it serves it's purpose but it still needs to be dressed up.
To start out, here are a couple of shots of the rack in action.
As for the design, after lifting the truck and adding 33's the rear tire no longer fit under the bed. Leaving the tire laying in the bottom of the bed was not an option since I routinely use my truck for camping and other trips that require the use of my bed for gear. I contemplated hitch gate and rear bumper vertical mount designs before finally settling on a top mount option.
I abandoned the hitch gate (TireGate) option after realizing that the step side did not offer enough width to allow the gate to swing when mounted prerunner style. I abandoned the hitch mount option after reading an article on www.ExpeditionsWest.com
where the author had to reinforce the frame of his Taco to support the cantilevered weight of the bumper mounted tire. After choosing a top mount design, I quickly realized that a top mounted tire would render my rear view mirror and rear window useless. To address this issue I decided to recess the tire basket 6" into the truck bed. This left the top of the tire roughly 1/2 way up the rear window. At this height I still have visibility out of the mirror and rear window.
These two pictures show the relationship of the mounted tire to the rear window.
This picture shows the bed clearance under the tire basket.
Mounting the rack was an issue since there are no structural elements under the bed cap. To overcome this, I designed brackets that bolted to the inside of the bed.
Examples of the mounting brackets.
The rack was mounted to the brackets using 3"X1"OD poly bushings. I decided to use these to allow a bit of flex, to limit the possible noise, and to allow the rack to lift and or be removed easily.
Examples of bushing mounts.
I designed the rear portion of the rack to lift to either side or be removed completely. I used the same style of busings for this mount as I did for the overall rack.
The bottom of this tire basket and the rear portion of the rack will eventually be skinned with a removable mesh so that additional storage can be provided on top of these areas.
I added side rails so that I could mount a HiLift jack and shovel/ax combo on either side. The mounts will also house a pair of 2"X6" KC backup lights.
So far, I am happy with the design and it has performed as intended. As previously mentioned, I intend to skin the flat areas below the tire and the removable rear panel; add utility/light mount points to the side rails; and add lift struts so that the rack can be raised in a similar fashion to a tonneau cover.
Lastly, I am including an image of my original design drawing. The dimensions are in decimal feet. Please feel free to use it as a starting point for your own design. Please let me know what you think.