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Cross-bed divider

KingsPoint75

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Ranger cross-bed divider

I decided I wanted a bed divider to keep groceries and other small things in the vicinity of the tailgate. Here is how to build one. Check the pictures before you cut. You can see the marks I made for the screws on the divider.

Bill of materials:

One 8’ x 2” x 10” treated board (you can use non-treated but it may rot over time).

Screws, #10 x ¾” I bought a 25 pack of stainless steel screws and had one left over. You don’t have to use stainless, but brass isn’t as durable and galvanized will eventually rust.

5’ x ¾” plastic clear flexible tubing (it doesn’t have to be clear, but it’s easier to see where you’re drilling. The tubing has two purposes, it reduces the rubbing on the bed liner, and it will allow moisture to drain under the divider, even as it conforms to the bed over time. You don’t need the tubing but the board is going to move more and wear on the bed.

Two 3/16” flat washers (if you use #10 screws). Not essential but the ends get more wear.

One or two large screen door handles and screws to fasten them. (I threw away the screws that came with them and used Stainless screws). You don’t need these but they make it easier to install and remove.

Tools:

Hand saw (if you’re handy) or a power saw of some sort that is capable of cutting the 2” wood. (I pulled out a small chop saw and the blade guard wouldn’t let it get a full cut. Hand saws work well.

Power drill and two bits. The small bit should be slightly smaller than the BODY THICKNESS of the screws (smaller than the screw threads!). You want the threads to hold so if your threads are – and your screw body is | | the screw will look like -| |- and your small drill bit will be | |. The larger drill bit should be slightly smaller than the head of the screws you use.

Square (a small triangle square is all you need).

Hand held screwdriver (you can use a power driver but you risk over-driving the short screws and stripping them out).

Procedure:

1) Measure between the two pockets (slots) in the bed. My crew cab Ranger bed was 62” wide at the top of the pockets. I measured it three ways to verify what I was doing before I cut. Your bed is likely the same measurement but if you want to repeat the process, use a wide tape so that it self-supports and measure about 2” above the bed floor. And again at the top of the pockets. If you want an accurate measurement, put supports in the bed in three places so the tape doesn’t sag (I used 2x cutoff pieces). I also cut the board long and test fitted it. Then I cut it again to fit snuggly. 62” wide worked, just as my measurement said it would.

2) Cut your board straight across the grain at a 90 degree angle to the long side. You may want to cut a short piece off of the 8’ board to give you a fresh edge, particularly if your board has any small cracks in the ends. I made one cut on each end leaving me with a 62” long board with no cracks in the ends that would later split.

3) Test fit it in the bed. Put one end, wide end flat, on the wheel well, go to the other side of the bed and put the other end close to the slot. Now you can rotate the board into the two slots for a length test. The board won’t go to the bottom yet because of the radius in the corner of the bed.

4) If the board fits the slot, make the miter cuts that will allow it to fit deeper into the slot and sit on the bottom of the bed. Measure up 3 ½” from the bottom of the cut board and make a 15 degree cut down toward the center of the board on both ends.

5) |\ /|

| | | | | \ / |

|__________| becomes \__________/ |15\ /15 degree cuts.

6) Test fit it again, it should fit tightly. Mark the spots for the screws while it’s in the bed between the slots. I used a square and a sharpie to make the marks (v) on the board side so the screws would be centered in the bed grooves,

--\_v_/ -- NOT landing on the tops / ^ \ (NO steel to steel!)

7) Take it out of the bed and install the rubber tubing. A) I used the square to make a mark on the board bottom corresponding to the marks I made for the screw locations. B) Clamp one of the tubing ends about ½” from the mitered end on the bottom. Tightly stretch the tubing across the bottom lengthwise and clamp the other end. I put my clamps inboard of the end I was going to screw down so I’d have room to work. C) Using the large bit, press down on the tubing and briefly tap the drill trigger. It should grab the plastic and pull through the upper side of the tube leaving a hole slightly smaller than the screw head. D) change to the small bit and drill a ¾” hole through the bottom of the tube into the wood through the larger hole you just drilled in the tube. E) Slide a 3/16” washer into the tube, position it over the small hole and place your first screw through the upper hole, through the washer, and into the small hole in the plastic. F) Tighten your screw until it is snug but not completely tight. The head of the screw will pop through the first layer of the tube but not through the other hole when tightened. G) go to the next marked spot and drill the large hole, drill the small hole, install the next screw (no washer needed). Repeat until you get to the last screw (Use a washer on the last screw). You can blow the wood chips and plastic bits out of the tube as you go. You start at one end and work to the other so you don’t get high spots in the tube. The holes will allow any water to drain out of the tube. The ½” gaps on each ends will help. Go back and snug up the screws. Don't overtighten them.

8) Put it back in the bed slots and mark your spots for the screen door handles. Take it out, install the screen door handles. I set the handles well inboard of the bed sides so I didn't have to reach over the rails and back in to the side of the bed.

9) Paint or not? I used pressure-treated lumber. They immerse treated lumber in liquid that eventually will dry out. If you paint it immediately, it’s likely to flake off. I’ll paint mine in a few months after it completes drying.

10) Rubber on the ends? Not for me. The slots are shallow and the lumber may shrink slightly. I’ve used bungie cords to hold it from flopping rather than risk it coming loose in the bed. That’s why the screen door handles are there in addition to allowing easy removal.

11) Why the washers on the ends? The tube ends get the most abuse on installation and removal. That’s going to reduce the chances of tear out. () tube, { screw head, = screw body =, [ wood, | washer. ({|=)=[

12) Why no glue? I’ll probably use silicon or construction glue down both sides when I paint it for added stability. Until the wood is dry, the glue is less likely to hold.

13) Eventually the ¾" tube will settle. At that point, the tube over the valleys will still let water pass under but since the screws are in the valleys they won't touch and you won't have metal to metal contact.

End Screw top view.jpg


End Screw with washer installed.jpg


Finished Divider.jpg


Install Step 1.jpg


Install Step 2.jpg


Install Step 3.jpg


Marked & screw in valley.jpg


Marked and screws installed.jpg


Middle screws no washers.jpg
 

HenryMac

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That's a great addition for hauling stuff. Thanks for posting this.

I had (2) 2x6 cross boards for my '02 Tacoma, it had a factory drop in bed liner with deep molded pockets for 2x6's.

Funny thing is... the drop in bed liners that Ford has as an accessory item, also has molded in pockets for 2x6's, see photo below.

Not sure why Ford made the slots so shallow in the steel beds? I'm planning to make a set of cross boards for my SuperCab. Something that allows 4' wide x 8' long sheets of "stuff" to set on the boards, above the wheel wells.

2019 Ranger Bedliner Photo.jpeg
 
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