Well, I got a good deal on a 1998 F150 XLT extended cab, 6.5' flareside (stepside) bed pickup. I bought the truck to use as a truck meaning I need to haul stuff in it.
I had not had a stepside since the 70's and was very disappointed when I finally got to looking at my new/old truck in more detail. Fiberglass fenders over a metal box. No stake pockets, long plastic rail caps that snap into the fiberglass.
The 4 low mounted anchor points inside the bed are OK but are somewhat limiting, especially if you are hauling tall items. I need some rail-top or just inside the top of the rail anchor point options.
I have been searching all over the web for a perfect solution. Maybe I just haven't been searching long enough. I just can't believe that nobody offers a good aftermarket solution made specifically for this truck. There had to been more than just a few made and you would think one or two of them were actually used for hauling a variety of items.
Before I start cutting plastic and drilling holes all over the place, I would appreciate all suggestions on high mount anchor point tie-downs. How did you solve this problem? Pictures would be great too.
I took two of a 3/8 inch stainless eye bolt and drilled a hole down from the top, thru the plastic top rail, thru the steel rail and put a big washer and nut under the rail. They are mounted about 12 inches from the cab wall........... this will allow me to have high up tie points when hauling a stove, refrig, etc.
I have had good experiences using the "E-Track" type components. I like the availability, (Harbor Freight, Northern Tool, etc...), and there are a lot of choices for the tracking, (horizontal, vertical, single slot, multi-slot by length...) and anchor types, (rings, ratchet strap, hooks, etc...).
I have found that most E-Track stuff is reasonably priced, highly versatile, and up to heavy-duty loads.
Sorry if this sounds like a sales pitch...not my intention, I just thought it might be a good solution to consider.
For reference, here are some links to product pictures and explanations...
I cut out spaces for them on the inside edge of the plastic rail caps with an oscillating tool. Cut a piece of 1 x 1/8" aluminum for backing behind the bed steel instead of the supplied round washers. I figured that would provide better support. Installed with supplied 1/4" screws and locking nuts.
Decided to leave the center indentions empty for now, but I do have the 5" Core Trax to put there if I want to later.
Looks pretty nice and unobtrusive. Satisfied so far.