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Rut roh, truck bed cracking at tie downs


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#21 daverave

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Posted 09 November 2023 - 12:38 AM

I've never seen one of these brackets. But, to my eyes, that is a bracket that is bolted to the frame with three bolts (we see in the photo. I suspect a fourth) and the single hole goes up through the bottom of the truck bed. The large eye bolt would be installed here. The photo is from underneath looking at the bottom of the truck bed. These look - I'm no engineer - like solid brackets that eliminate bolting (turnbuckles) only to the truckbed.

Thanks for your input ski... I'm seeing that now also. From Stan's reply I'm wondering why he said these brackets are for the front bolts only. I'd imagine that these brackets will be using the existing eyebolt locations.

We plan on taking the rig up to Woodland as soon as we first take care of other issues with the F-150 including the dreaded "Service AdvanceTrac" warning light that implies immediate attention and which can cause loss of steering and control.

Ever have one of those years where absolutely everything in your life seems to be breaking? 2023 has been that for us to the max!


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#22 ski3pin

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Posted 09 November 2023 - 12:49 AM

Thanks for your input ski... I'm seeing that now also. From Stan's reply I'm wondering why he said these brackets are for the front bolts only. I'd imagine that these brackets will be using the existing eyebolt locations.

We plan on taking the rig up to Woodland as soon as we first take care of other issues with the F-150 including the dreaded "Service AdvanceTrac" warning light that implies immediate attention and which can cause loss of steering and control.

Ever have one of those years where absolutely everything in your life seems to be breaking? 2023 has been that for us to the max!

I would not assume the existing holes will line up. I would hope so but suspect, on a new camper installation, the brackets are installed and then the hole in the bed drilled. I expect these brackets are for the front holes only, as Stan said.

 

Hope things turn around and the coming year is much better! :)


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#23 Ruck_and_Roll

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Posted 09 November 2023 - 04:49 PM

Hi Dave,

 

I had a 2014 F150and had a similar problem.  IN 2021 I got a new F150 I bought the mule brackets.  Mule was very helpful for me-their instructions are pretty weak.  This is what I received from Mule:

 

" I've been out in the shop while they have been installing them, but never installed a set myself. What I've typically seen done is they stick all 4 of the bolts through the holes in the frame so that they look kind of like studs sticking out. Doug will then typically wrap a piece of masking tape around the end of the bolt at the frame to keep it from pushing in when he slides the bracket over the "studs" . Once the bracket is on he uses a regular nut (non locking) and an impact to buzz them on fast enough that they just eventually tighten up."

 

 

 

The truck bed indentations led to not a "perfect fit" but I made it work.  They seem pretty bomb proof.  I can attach a few photos.  No extra drilling was neccessary and they are attached through existing holes in the truck bed.  I still used the plates.  HOnestly, I haven't taken my camper off much but haven't noticed any cracking.

 

 

Does anyone here have a better understanding of the Mule front camper tie-down brackets or better yet have them on their rig? Are they attached to the front end of the truck box on the bottom or the sides?

The Mule website doesn't have much in the way of showing how they get installed or how they interface with the camper body just a poor photo of.... something per the attached photo.


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#24 Ruck_and_Roll

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Posted 09 November 2023 - 04:57 PM

Sorry for the double post but pic attachedIMG_2665.jpeg
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#25 daverave

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Posted 09 November 2023 - 08:37 PM

 

 

I had a 2014 F150 and had a similar problem.  IN 2021 I got a new F150 I bought the mule brackets.  Mule was very helpful for me-their instructions are pretty weak.  This is what I received from Mule:

 

" I've been out in the shop while they have been installing them, but never installed a set myself. What I've typically seen done is they stick all 4 of the bolts through the holes in the frame so that they look kind of like studs sticking out. Doug will then typically wrap a piece of masking tape around the end of the bolt at the frame to keep it from pushing in when he slides the bracket over the "studs" . Once the bracket is on he uses a regular nut (non locking) and an impact to buzz them on fast enough that they just eventually tighten up."

 

The truck bed indentations led to not a "perfect fit" but I made it work.  They seem pretty bomb proof.  I can attach a few photos.  No extra drilling was neccessary and they are attached through existing holes in the truck bed.  I still used the plates.  HOnestly, I haven't taken my camper off much but haven't noticed any cracking.

Thanks for sharing R+R, the photo really helps me understand the orientation. Glad there is no additional drilling.

So which "plates" are you still using?

Also what did you do when you had a similar problem on your 2014 F150?

Cheers

Dave


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#26 daverave

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Posted 12 February 2024 - 10:40 PM

UPDATE:

I'm sure everyone is waiting with bated breath for the rest of the story and unfortunately the jury is still out.

 

Well another couple of months has gone by and we've been stuck at home with our busted truck and bed at a time of year when we would normally do at least two trips to the NorCal coast. The delay is due to the fact that the welding/body shop we are using in Woodland is booked to the gills with work and could not get us in until today 2/12. We had hoped to do a three week DV/Mojave trip starting Thursday but that's on hold too.

 

Anyway we were at the FWC shop in Woodland at 8am this morning to have the camper removed [gratis, thanks FWC] and the truck bed damage was significantly worse than expected with a lot of deformation of the sheet metal bed and sidewalls [see attached photos]. We took it to the welding shop and it was more work than they expected based on the underside photos I had shared with them earlier. They are currently coming up with a new estimate and I expect that it will take a few days to do the work rather than the one day I had anticipated. We've also ordered today a set of the front bolt Mule Expedition tie-down brackets as shown above in the thread and suggested by Stan at FWC upthread. If they work that should go a long way to solving the problem. However in talking to Mule they explained that they were specifically designed to work with the Ford aluminum truck bed frame and they did not know if it would work on our steel bed frame as they are designed to be no-drill, utilizing existing holes in the frame of the aluminum bed truck. So that solution may be out the window since no one, including me, is interested in drilling additional holes in our frame. Apparently no one has ever attempted this application with the Mule bracket product to their knowledge.

 

We are scheduled to have the camper re-installed on the truck next Wednesday at FWC. It will be either the Mule front brackets if the holes align the same and with standard FWC turnbuckle tie-downs in the rear or standard FWC tie-downs in all four corners. We are debating whether we should add additional plates top-side of the bed but it does not seem that would do much to restrict the heaving that created the cracking and deformation in the first place. The consensus is that we had hit a bump or whoop-de-do and the camper had tried to launch from the bed. I must admit that does occur on occasion but I'd always thought that the turnbuckles would fail first in that event.

 

It was also implied that we'd let the turnbuckles get too loose thereby allowing the heaving to occur or that I had over-tightened them. Most likely the latter since like I mentioned in the original post I'm pretty diligent at checking/maintaining the turnbuckles. Now I'm not sure what the proper amount of tightening is...

Again it behooves camper owners, if you've read this far, to occasionally check the status of the tie-downs from the underside of your truck bed,

To be continued...

Attached Thumbnails

  • crack bed 2.jpg
  • crack bed 3.jpg

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#27 SlowernOlder

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Posted 13 February 2024 - 01:02 AM

I myself are not impressed by the FWC mounting system. Having the eyebolts installed like they do and the type of turnbuckles that are used makes me nervous. Would love to see the structural calcs they use.


Edited by SlowernOlder, 13 February 2024 - 01:02 AM.

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#28 Jon R

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Posted 13 February 2024 - 03:00 AM

I myself are not impressed by the FWC mounting system. Having the eyebolts installed like they do and the type of turnbuckles that are used makes me nervous. Would love to see the structural calcs they use.


Structural calcs? They might assess the turnbuckles and forged eye bolts they supply or recommend because that analysis is relatively simple for assumed loads and those parts are rated by their manufacturer, but I highly doubt they have analyzed any truck beds for anything other than simple shear stress around the perimeter of their plates for yield. It would be very difficult to do bending and fatigue analysis of the complex shapes involved without doing a finite element model of each configuration, and I can’t imagine they’ve done that. It’s a pretty specialized computer modeling skill.
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