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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Need help hanging e-track in trailer

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vsssurplus

PA

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Posted: 08/28/21 07:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

I'm new here. I have a 10 foot cargo trailer. It's one with a thin aluminum exterior and very thin panel walls. Every couple of feet, it's got these aluminum (steel?) beams.

I want to install etrack on the walls: two 8' tracks on each side - so I can place cargo nets to hold merchandise securely. To distribute the load, I was thinking of screwing in wood 2x4 beams. The problem is that the wood on the walls is very thin. I don't even know what's between the wood and the outer skin. It could be air for all I know. That leaves, I think, screwing into the beams. Am I right? If I do that, how exactly do I do it? I can't get on the other side of those beams. They are right up against the trailer walls. I don't want to just screw in blindly.

Anyone have ideas on how to do this? What kind of screws or fasteners would I use since I can't get to the other side to install a nut.

CA Traveler

The Western States

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Posted: 08/28/21 09:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Use a tap and machine bolt or sheet metal screw. Bolt Depot has some guides that might help.


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Posted: 08/29/21 06:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well I've got the same trailer, the 3/8 or 1/4 ply inside on the walls doesn't make for a good base. There's nothing between the inner and outer walls. If you look close you will see where they used self tapping screws to hold the plywood to the steel beams. If you can't see them, you may have to remove the narrow strips where the joints are and staple them back after. A stud finder will work too. You're right about adding a 2x4 screwed to the beams to add strength.

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Posted: 08/29/21 07:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Consider extra bracing from the floor up.


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mkirsch

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Posted: 08/30/21 09:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You definitely want to attach to the framework of the trailer for anything that will be weight-bearing.

I've used self-tappers, but they need to be kept as short as possible so as to not poke through to the outside of the trailer.

A stud finder should be able to locate the framework, if you can't tell from the screws holding the paneling.


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Grit dog

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Posted: 08/30/21 10:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

vsssurplus wrote:

That leaves, I think, screwing into the beams. Am I right? If I do that, how exactly do I do it? I can't get on the other side of those beams.


You could actually through bolt them, through the (I'd call them studs, the vertical wall supports). Paneling isn't good for hanging any more than a picture. But I wouldn't through bolt them.

First figure out if the studs are AL or steel. If AL, they will not hold alot of pressure with tapped or self tappers. (Think about what you're securing and if it is more "shear" on the screws or pull out)

Don't screw a 2x4 to anything just to mount the Etrack over the paneling, into the studs, unless you were to run boards vertically on the wall studs of the trailer, to take advantage of attaching to the whole stud and strengthening your e track connections and stiffening the wall studs.

Methods to attach to wall studs on trailer, in general order of strength, in my opinion.
Self tappers
Threaded machine screws
Steel pop rivets
Nut sert type rivet.
Through bolt.

Actually, if you can give up the width, and need to hold significant weight or pullout, the idea of screwing boards (2x4) or strips of good 3/4 plywood (won't split or crack) to the wall studs, top to bottom, then attaching the E track to a thicker material (more screw threads) may be the best bet.

* This post was edited 08/30/21 02:45pm by Grit dog *


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BarneyS

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Posted: 08/30/21 06:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Moved to Tech Issues forum from Towing.

hornet28

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Posted: 08/30/21 07:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a cargo trailer with 3/8 plywood walls. I screwed brackets directly to the plywood to hold bars going from one side to the other and have carried well over 100# on what I call the second story.





vsssurplus

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Posted: 08/30/21 09:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:

actually, if you can give up the width, and need to hold significant weight or pullout, the idea of screwing boards (2x4) or strips of good 3/4 plywood (won't split or crack) to the wall studs, top to bottom, then attaching the E track to a thicker material (more screw threads) may be the best bet.


I got 1x4 boards to mount the etrack to. I made the mistake of getting too long self-tapping bolts, which ended up going through the skin of the trailer. Had to Dremel off the ends. The problem is that the "self-tapping" end of the screw was too long - almost 3/4". I tried using 2" self tapping initially, but since the tapping part was so long, it wasn't getting much hold on the beam. I believe that the beams are steel, because they were a ***** to drill though with the bolts, but I'm gonna bring a strong magnet and check. I've only put up one board so far. Once I put two holes in the trailer, I didn't want to risk putting in more. I'm on the fence whether to put some silicone caulk over the cutoff screw ends or actually removing them and attempting some kind of repair. This is a 8 year old cargo trailer, so I'm not trying to win any cosmetics awards.

I was thinking of Rivnuts, but I'm not sure what the structure is of what I'm screwing into. Rivnuts require some hollow space. I simply don't know if I have it.

Grit dog

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Posted: 08/30/21 11:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

^If it’s a steel frame (the frame is like 1” or 1-1/4” tubing, right?) then self tappers will hold well all on their own. And no need to pad it out with a 1x4 that you could put more screws into.
If the tappers are too long, with the drill bit end, either predrill with drill bit or drill holes with self tappers until they just start to thread and then cut the ends off and reinstall.
Or if you have to do a lot of them and can’t get the right length tappers then use a drill and the right length hardened coarse thread screws.

For the oopsies on the outside, remove the screws if you want and add a couple of the same screws maybe stainless steel just screw them in from the outside to plug the holes.
Dab of caulking or rtv behind the screw beads if you’re worried about moisture at all.

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