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Old 11-28-2017, 03:06 PM   #1
Rich69shortfleet
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Fitting Putco bed rails to our classic trucks

It would appear no one makes bed side rails specifically for the 67-72 trucks but most offer sets for '73s. I can't imagine the dimensions between the stake pockets on a '73 are a whole lot different than on a 67-72. Some brands come with some amount of adjustment which one would think might allow enough adjustment to allow a set made for a '73 to fit in an earlier truck. More specifically, I'm thinking of the Dee Zee DZ99601 set (short box fleetside).

Has anyone had any luck getting bed side rails onto our trucks? Are there any brands out there ready-made to fit our trucks?

Here's a link: http://www.autoanything.com/bed-caps...A2504A0A0.aspx

I actually like the Putco Locker and Locker Boss side rails better, but they are crazy expensive compared to the Dee Zee versions.

Last edited by LockDoc; 01-21-2018 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:32 AM   #2
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

If you are looking at rails that mount using the stake pocket holes I'm not sure how similar they are. But I've seen more rails made for '73-ups on 67-72s than rails made for 67-72s. The bed dimensions are about the same on top. Things like bed rails, ladder racks, campers/caps all interchange with a good fit
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Old 11-29-2017, 03:41 PM   #3
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

The top of the bed rail for the '73 and up trucks is wider then for the 67 to 72 trucks. The '73 and up bed rails will over hang inboard if you try to use them, I believe it is as much as an inch.
I would look for a square body truck in a parking lot and park next to it to do a side by side comparison.
I remember years ago when I worked at a 4x4 shop and sold bedrails that the 73 and up rails would not fit right on our trucks...
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Old 11-29-2017, 04:05 PM   #4
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

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Originally Posted by outfield View Post
The top of the bed rail for the '73 and up trucks is wider then for the 67 to 72 trucks. The '73 and up bed rails will over hang inboard if you try to use them, I believe it is as much as an inch.
I would look for a square body truck in a parking lot and park next to it to do a side by side comparison.
I remember years ago when I worked at a 4x4 shop and sold bedrails that the 73 and up rails would not fit right on our trucks...
I don't think that will be an issue in my particular situation. I'm only concerned with the distance between the stakepocket holes dimension.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:37 AM   #5
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

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The top of the bed rail for the '73 and up trucks is wider then for the 67 to 72 trucks. The '73 and up bed rails will over hang inboard if you try to use them, I believe it is as much as an inch.
I would look for a square body truck in a parking lot and park next to it to do a side by side comparison.
I remember years ago when I worked at a 4x4 shop and sold bedrails that the 73 and up rails would not fit right on our trucks...
Many people refer to the top edge of a bedside as the rail. You are talking about bedside caps or bed rail caps that lay on the body to cover the top of the bed. First there were tailgate caps, then they figured people would buy a cap made for the bedside if they pumped them out. The aftermarket jumps so eagerly into producing accessories they often don't learn the proper terminology of their own product before putting it out causing confusion in terminology. The OP is referring to the trim rails or grab rails most refer to as bed rails that go on the bedside.

Pretty much anything made for a 73-87 bed will fit on a 67-72. Things like caps, campers, ladder racks, tool boxes, and bed rails. I have a set of ladder racks on my '72 that I originally made for an '84. The base is angle on the sides and front that lay on top of the bed with the flange inside the bed.
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'72 K2500 Wideside Sierra Custom Camper: 350/TH350/4.10 Power-Lok...'The 72'
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:45 AM   #6
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by outfield View Post
The top of the bed rail for the '73 and up trucks is wider then for the 67 to 72 trucks. The '73 and up bed rails will over hang inboard if you try to use them, I believe it is as much as an inch.
I would look for a square body truck in a parking lot and park next to it to do a side by side comparison.
I remember years ago when I worked at a 4x4 shop and sold bedrails that the 73 and up rails would not fit right on our trucks...
Quote:
Originally Posted by special-K View Post
Many people refer to the top edge of a bedside as the rail. You are talking about bedside caps or bed rail caps that lay on the body to cover the top of the bed. First there were tailgate caps, then they figured people would buy a cap made for the bedside if they pumped them out. The aftermarket jumps so eagerly into producing accessories they often don't learn the proper terminology of their own product before putting it out causing confusion in terminology. The OP is referring to the trim rails or grab rails most refer to as bed rails that go on the bedside.

Pretty much anything made for a 73-87 bed will fit on a 67-72. Things like caps, campers, ladder racks, tool boxes, and bed rails. I have a set of ladder racks on my '72 that I originally made for an '84. The base is angle on the sides and front that lay on top of the bed with the flange inside the bed.
I think I get what outfield is saying, I think he is saying that the top of the 67-72 box edges (bed rails) is narrow, narrower than the 73 and up trucks. In fact, I recall that the inside edge of the stake pocket openings are about 1/4" or less from the inside edge of the bed rail. His point being that the bases of most aftermarket bed rails overhang the stakepocket hole by a bit so as to completely cover the stakepockets holes completely and thus would overhang the interior edge of the bed rail on our trucks.

However, in my case, I have a Pacesetter retractable cover and it has flat rails that mount partially on top of and extend over the bed rail to the interior of the bed about 2 inches. Bascially I'd be mounting the bed rail tubes on top of the Pacesetter cover rails so nothing would be over hanging anything. So, my only concern is the distance between the front and rear stakepockets.
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Old 11-30-2017, 05:07 PM   #7
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

It would appear to me that the Dee Zee version is likely what I'll try out if I do. I have a local store that is a dealer for Dee Zee. They don't carry that part, but I can order it online and have it shipped to the store. If they don't fit I can return them right there, no muss no fuss and no restocking fee. If I go that route and they fit I'll do an install thread with pictures.
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Old 12-27-2017, 05:55 PM   #8
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

With some Christmas cash in hand, I have ordered the Dee Zee rails. I'll report back when they arrive and I can determine if they will fit.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:09 PM   #9
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

Wow, shipping was quick, got the bed rails today. What little bits I've seen through the wrapping they sure look pretty. Hardware is nice and beefy. I hope to test fit them tomorrow. Whenever I get around to doing the full install I'll get some photos and post them up here but weather is turning to lows under -15 with highs barely reaching zero for the weekend so it may be a while before I can get to this project as I do not have a heated garage.
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Old 12-30-2017, 01:04 PM   #10
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

Test fit showed that they would not work. They are about 2 to 2-1/4 inches too short for an ideal fit. The next size bigger they make is almost 4 inches longer so those wouldn't work either.

I shopped some I could modify to fit but they are likely cheap ebay junk and I'm loosing interest in making this happen.

With as many of these trucks as there are STILL on the road, I don't get why no one offers a set that will fit our trucks.
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:13 PM   #11
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

Trying again from another angle. I will post more if my gamble pays off.
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Old 01-10-2018, 01:35 PM   #12
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

Well, it does not look like anyone but me gives a crap since the last 6 posts have all been from myself, but I'll forge ahead.

I did recently buy a set of bed rails with the hope I can make them work. I test fit some parts yesterday and I will be able to make it work! This particular brand and style of bed rails consists of end posts that mount in the stake pockets with the rail itself being a simple tube. The tube fits on the end posts and the whole contraption is attached at the stake pockets.

Since no one makes a bed rail set for our trucks and I was unable to identify another more modern truck that has the exact same stake pocket dimensions, what I've done is buy a set with rails longer than I need with the plan to be to mount the end posts, measure and then cut the rail tubes to the specific length I will need. The tubes are stainless steel so I'll have to find a good way to cleanly cut such hard metal.

Below are a few photos of my test fit of the end posts and one with an end post attached to a rail to show what it will look like installed. If you want to look these up this set is a Putco Crossrail set. The tubes are oval instead of round and are 1.75" tall and 2.5" wide. They are nice and beefy. The ends are die cast metal that has been chromed and the rail tubes are chromed stainless steel. This particular set typically sells for $670 retail but I got a super bargain in that I only paid $200 shipped. They were brand new in a sealed box too. I like these Crossrail ends as they provide numerous tie down points each. The tubes are fairly thick and heavy and will not dent or bend easily.

I do have a Pace Edwards retractable tonneau cover in which the cover rails slightly cover the stake pockets so I will be mounting the end posts partially on top of the cover rails and will need to make some heavy rubber pads to support the end post bases so they will sit even and flush and to protect the top of the truck bed. For purposes of the test fit and photos I have a small piece of metal in place of where the rubber pads will sit.

I'll post more info and photos as I progress on the install. A nasty Winter storm is coming tonight so it may be a while before I can get to this and I need to make those rubber pads yet as well.
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Old 01-10-2018, 01:47 PM   #13
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

Those look real nice, and your solution to buy longer ones and cut them down make a lot of sense.

Being stainless, you may want to make a test cut on one end with a couple different tools to see which works best. Maybe a hacksaw, or cutoff wheel? And then try a little filing to finish off the end...
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Old 01-10-2018, 01:55 PM   #14
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

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Those look real nice, and your solution to buy longer ones and cut them down make a lot of sense.

Being stainless, you may want to make a test cut on one end with a couple different tools to see which works best. Maybe a hacksaw, or cutoff wheel? And then try a little filing to finish off the end...
Pretty much my plan. I have a friend who is a mechanical engineer and specializes in making conveyor belt control mechanisms, he said he'd be able to help me find a way to cut these cleanly.

Another thing I want to investigate is how the ends are mounted to the stake pockets. The original system uses rubber blocks which are crushed and thus expand in the hole to wedge the whole thing into the stake pocket holes. I think it would be better to mount them with metal locking blocks as other brands (like Dee Zee) do. The metal plates Putco provides which pull up and squeeze the rubber blocks are almost the right size and I might just be able to repurpose them for the task. The trick will be to find a way to locate them properly and keep them from spinning out of place while the bolts are snugged down.
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Old 01-10-2018, 02:21 PM   #15
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

I was just thinking, you could try a pipe cutter... The stainless would not gall up the teeth because there aren't any!
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:11 PM   #16
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

Except the rail tubes are oval shaped. That would only work on round tubes.
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:12 PM   #17
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

Looks like some nice rails at a decent price. I bet people have been watching your post without comment. I will say with some basic tools you can do nice work, it does take time to build custom anything for the 1st time. I use a regular hack saw to cut stainless, it does take some time extra blades and cutting oil...sometimes a jig saw depending on the project, lots of blue masking tape to protect the area you want to keep nice...Is a filler strip needed to level these out?....Thanks for posting...Ed
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:24 PM   #18
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

Yep, as I said, I'll need to make a rubber pad to make up for the difference between the side that sits on the tonneau cover rail and the side that sits on the truck bed rail. If you look at my first two pictures you can see a silver slab of metal in place just so I can get the ends sitting level. I'll need to make a rubber pad that will replace that slab of metal.

The rubber pads will be slightly complex in size and shape because I want it to fit and look good and clean, not half-done. I could also cut a notch in the tonneau cover rails to allow the end posts to sit fully flush on the truck box but I really don't want to cut into those rails that deeply but will remain an option if the rubber pad option doesn't work out.
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Old 01-10-2018, 08:11 PM   #19
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

If rubber pad is not close, I find Black vinyl mud flap is very useful, about 1/4" thick. Table saw, then router, or hand plane to chamfer the edge makes a clean look.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:41 AM   #20
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

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If rubber pad is not close, I find Black vinyl mud flap is very useful, about 1/4" thick. Table saw, then router, or hand plane to chamfer the edge makes a clean look.
Yeah, I shopped around in the hardware store to find a source for raw materials. I ended up with some neoprene washers that almost do the trick. They aren't quite large enough or thick enough but I found I can buy a 12"x12" sheet of neoprene on ebay that is the right thickness so if I can't find a local source I'll buy that. Mud flaps sound like a possibility but I don't have any around here. I have some old rubber floor mats but they aren't thick enough.

Anyway, at this point I've found rails that will fit and will look good, making the needed rubber pads is just a task to complete, not a show stopper.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:21 PM   #21
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

I have the 73 and up bed rails installed on my truck. Sorry donít know how to turn them,maybe someone can help.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:17 AM   #22
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

The mud flap I found, some big truck dealers have plain mud flaps, . It is also closer to .180 3/16 ".....I have also found sheets of silicone on Ebay, made fresh air flapper door gaskets instead of the foam stuff. It also comes in different thicknesses.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:30 AM   #23
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

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The mud flap I found, some big truck dealers have plain mud flaps, . It is also closer to .180 3/16 ".....I have also found sheets of silicone on Ebay, made fresh air flapper door gaskets instead of the foam stuff. It also comes in different thicknesses.
I'll probably go with this. A 12"x12" sheet should be more than enough.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Neoprene-Ru...19.m1438.l2649
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:48 AM   #24
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

Looks good, Same people I bought the silicone sheet from.
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:22 PM   #25
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Re: Bed side rails: why wouldn't a set for '73 fit?

A little progress. The 3/16" sheet of neoprene I bought showed up. I cut a disc using the Putco pads as a pattern and did a test fit. The neoprene appears to be the perfect thickness. It is just a touch taller than the tonneau cover rails which is perfect as the rubber will compress slightly when the end posts are bolted down. Assuming I can trim the discs of neoprene to the sizes and shapes I need to make things fit right this should really work well. Doing a rough cut with utility scissors wasn't too tough. I can clean up the edges and make other contouring shaping on my bench grinder without much effort.

I also did further test fitting of the end posts. As they come from Putco the mounting system is made of rubber blocks that go into the stake pockets and then are crushed by plates under them pulled up tight by bolts in the end posts. When they crush they expand and wedge the whole contraption in the stake pocket holes. However, given how the interior of the stake pockets are built and how they differ between the front and rear pockets I plan to install the posts in a unique way. At the front I will install them with the expanding rubber blocks as Putco designed them. At the rear, however, the interior of the pockets are larger and I doubt the rubber blocks would actually expand enough to lock the post in place so I will instead just use only the steel nutplates that are used to crush the block. I found if I turn them 90 degrees they are wide enough to clamp directly to the edges of the underside of the stake pocket hole. This should make them a very solid mount to the truck.

This will all make more sense when I post up photos of the actual end post mounting. My next task will be to finish making the rubber pads and then mounting the end posts so I can exactly measure the length I need on the rail tubes so I can cut them to the proper length. It is supposed to be a little warmer here this weekend so I hope to make some progress on the pads at least this weekend.
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