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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I've been working on a customized solution for my bikes, and I thought I would share with you how you might use the t-track that is built-in to the bed rails on the Santa Cruz. There is a channel that runs the length of each side of the bed, and that channel is actually "t-track" or a "t-channel"

When you open the bed, on the left and the right, each track is covered by a plastic piece. The two T10 torx screws on that cap can be removed. With a little force (I used a screwdriver for encouragement), the end cap can be removed, making the track accessible. Note: the outer edge of the end cap has a small rubber piece that is attached to the side -- be careful not to tear this piece.

With the track exposed, the possibilities are great. I used a simple 1/4" bolt, washer, and wing nut to stage my fittings. The bolts I used have a square piece under the head so the bolts do not rotate when the wing nut it tightened.

The measurements are approximately:
Width of top of t-channel: 7.1mm
Width of bottom of t-channel: 16mm
Height of t-channel at greatest width: 8.5mm

I'm building a bike system that will allow me to carry two bikes on top of my bed but also allow full function of the tonneau cover. So being able to build cross members inexpensively that can be positioned anywhere along the bed rails will be a big help in my own application.

Hope this helps some of you!

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Great pics for the details on how to access the T-rails. Thanks!

To make it easier in the hardware store for others who want to set this up, those bolts with the square beneath the head are called carriage bolts, and you'll want the 1/4-20 size, quarter inch diameter, 20 threads per inch, which is a super common size for lots of things to attach to them.

Edit: You can also use t-slot nuts, though I don't think you can get those as easily as carriage bolts. They will give you a threaded hole inside the rail to screw a 1/4-20 bolt into, and the best ones for this application will be threaded all the way through to give you some leeway with your bolt length (as long as you don't bottom out in the rail). Stainless would be recommended for either carriage bolts or t-slot nuts. (Example link removed, it was the wrong size and will not fit. Looking for a suitable replacement)
 

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Where your washer sits on the top of the slot, it is likely the black paint (or maybe anodizing) will get scratched. You should put a thin nylon washer there to prevent that from happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Where your washer sits on the top of the slot, it is likely the black paint (or maybe anodizing) will get scratched. You should put a thin nylon washer there to prevent that from happening.
Thanks, yep, this is just a fit prototype for right now, and a nylon washer is a great suggestion!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great pics for the details on how to access the T-rails. Thanks!

To make it easier in the hardware store for others who want to set this up, those bolts with the square beneath the head are called carriage bolts, and you'll want the 1/4-20 size, quarter inch diameter, 20 threads per inch, which is a super common size for lots of things to attach to them.

Edit: You can also use t-slot nuts, though I don't think you can get those as easily as carriage bolts. They will give you a threaded hole inside the rail to screw a 1/4-20 bolt into, and the best ones for this application will be threaded all the way through to give you some leeway with your bolt length (as long as you don't bottom out in the rail). Stainless would be recommended for either carriage bolts or t-slot nuts. Example: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TYLVYPX/

Thanks, I saw those when poking around and there was something else that I determined wasn't going to work the way I was hoping -- if I think of it, I'll let you know! I only need four (I think), so the carriage bolts are definitely an inexpensive way to experiment with V1! :)
 

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That links to 3/8" threaded part. The width of the slot is about 7mm (0.292"), much smaller than 3/8 (0.375).
I don't think that part will work.
You are absolutely correct. I saw Toyota bed rails and didn't even look at the size.

An immediate search shows 1/4-20 equivalents made of stainless seem to be rare as hen's teeth. There are some black oxide ones but they will rust on you. I removed the link and will update with what suitable replacement I can find.

Edit: A 1/4-20 t-slot nut seems to use a 5/16" slot. This seems closer to 9/32, I am not really finding anything that fits that. The smallest metric I see commonly is an 8mm slot for an M6x1.0 bolt. This may not actually be a thing that's out there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Two updates!

1) I discovered that you DO NOT need to remove the end caps off of the rails -- you can very simply just slide the bolts (in my case) into the channel from the front of the bed (by the window) as the rail is not closed off on that side. Lesson learned! :)

2) I put together a prototype of my bike carrier using the bolts as above, and it-is-great! I installed an aluminum spacer in-between the nylon washer (thank you @AndyJones !) and the 2x4, and that gives adequate space for the handle on the tonneau cover to still clear underneath the "cross bars."

I'll, no doubt, be making improvements along the way when I can get some more time and maybe some square aluminum stock or something, but this is perfect for what I need for 2-3 bikes and only cost about $40 (including the fork mounts for the bikes!). Perfect to allow me to take my bikes all over and still use the bed for camping gear, etc. and also gives a good alternative to my hitch rack.

Hope this is helpful! Good luck!
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That's a super setup!

Here's something I found tonight that might be helpful. It's not as cheap as carriage bolts and wing nuts but if you need a tool free quick movable setup, these clamps should go on carriage bolts of whatever length you need, and they may work with the included bolts too, they are made for t-track. They are bicycle style quick release clamps with 1/4-20 thread.

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07QYRNMD7
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That's a super setup!

Here's something I found tonight that might be helpful. It's not as cheap as carriage bolts and wing nuts but if you need a tool free quick movable setup, these clamps should go on carriage bolts of whatever length you need, and they may work with the included bolts too, they are made for t-track. They are bicycle style quick release clamps with 1/4-20 thread.

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07QYRNMD7
Thanks!

And thanks for sharing the link -- great minds....I had put something similar in my Amazon wishlist just the other day -- I think these probably would work great for what I'm doing! Plenty of improvements that I'm looking forward to adapting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great ideas guys, does anyone know how much weight those rails can support?
Maybe not helpful, but since I don’t know the spec., I’ll just say “quite a bit.” :ROFLMAO: Really, though, they seem inline with other trucks we’ve had and are really sturdy.
 

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This whole thread is fantastic. Almost think that bar nearest the cab could be an standard accessory picatinny rail type rail for full time all kinds of stuff; 360 camera, lights CB radio antennas, or VHF/UHF or even HF loop. The SC is so adaptable. Love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
This whole thread is fantastic. Almost think that bar nearest the cab could be an standard accessory picatinny rail type rail for full time all kinds of stuff; 360 camera, lights CB radio antennas, or VHF/UHF or even HF loop. The SC is so adaptable. Love it.
Really versatile. I have some other setups in mind for other things, but definitely I'm happy how this has worked out so far. I DID paint the cross bars, though. LOL

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