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I recently installed the DIY Unistrut version of UtiliTrack in my truck along with some d-rings. I want to thank the other people who have posted prior write-ups as a guide for me. I thought I’d share how I went about it to help others as well. I think the beds have been the same for many years. But, mine is a 2017 Crew Cab Desert Runner with 5 foot bed for reference.

First, I went to McMaster-Carr online and ordered the following items. Note you will get billed for taxes and shipping separately a few days later. Don’t worry as the shipping is UPS Ground and they bill you exactly what it costs them.

• Three Slotted Aluminum Strut Channels (Sides and Behind Cab) – 5 ft x 1-5/8” x 1-5/8” x 7/8” (PN 3230T26)
• Two Slotted Aluminum Low-Profile Strut Channels (Floor) – 6ft x 13/16” x 1-5/8” x 7/8” (PN 3230T36)
• Six Strut Channel Plugs for 1-5/8” Height, Zinc-Plated Steel (PN 3312T82)
• Four Strut Channel Plugs for 13/16” Height, Zinc-Plated Steel (PN 3312T81)

Then, I went to Harbor Freight and got the following:

• Five 1/2” Forged Cargo D-Ring Anchors by Haulmaster (PN 60323)

Lastly, I went to Home Depot and got the following:

• For the Strut Channel behind the cab
o Five M8-1.25 x 30mm Hex Bolts
o Five 5/16” Split Lock Washers
o Five 5/16” x 1” Flat Washers

• For the Strut Channel Floor and Sides
o Eight 3/8” x 1” Hex Bolts
o Eight 3/8” Split Lock Washers
o Eight 3/8” x 1” Fender Washers
o Eight 3/8” x 1.5” Fender Washers
o Eight 3/8” Hex Nuts

• For the D-Ring Tie Downs
o Ten 3/8” x 1” Hex Bolts
o Ten 3/8” Split Lock Washers
o Ten 3/8” Superstrut Steel Channel Spring Nuts (Two 5-Packs)

Buying stuff is the easy part…now it’s time to get to work. A week before I decided to do this mod, I removed my drop-in bedliner and got it sprayed with Line-X. All holes needed for this mod already exist in the bed so there is no drilling whatsoever. You just have to pull out the rubber plugs for the holes you need.

First off, you will need to cut the strut channels to be the correct length. I held each of the channels against the bed to see how the bed holes lined up with the slotted holes. Then, I marked each rail per my measurements for cutting. Measure twice, cut once. I used a reciprocating saw which cut smoother than I had expected. It might be tougher if you use steel instead of aluminum. I went ahead and put the plugs on each channel with a mallet.

I started with the channel behind the cab as it is the easiest. There are five bolts in the bed from the factory. Simply remove the bolts and toss them aside. Now, line up the channel so that all five holes line up with the slots. On each M8-1.25” bolt, add the split lock washer followed by the flat washer. Hand tighten them all at first to make sure you can get all five lined up in the slots. Now tighten them all down.

Next, I started on the floor channels. You will need a helper for this. Lay both rails down so they line up with the holes in the bed. Put a 1” fender washer on each of your four bolts and drop them through the holes. Crawl under the truck and add a 1.5” fender washer, split lock washer, and nut, in that order. Hold the nut still with a wrench and have your helper tighten them down from inside the bed.

Now, on to the much tougher side rails. First, you will need to flip the factory tie-downs closest to the cab. Just remove the bolts, flip it, and put the bolts back in. You and your helper will need to be patient. I only used two holes for each rail. I don’t know how you would get to the hole closest to the cab unless you started removing stuff. Two holes is plenty strong as far as I can tell. Use the same order for bolts/washers as on the floor channels. Have your friend hold one of the channels against the side of the bed and have them place a bolt and washer through the hole closest to the tailgate. Now, crawl under the bed with your 1.5” fender washer, split lock washer, and nut. I placed each piece one by one. You will have to contort your body to reach the bolt and you can start to thread it on. Once is gets started, use the open end of a wrench to hold it still so your helper can tighten it down from inside the bed. Now for the middle hole…For reference, I’m about 6’2 and it was quite difficult to reach the bolts. You will have to contort your body several times to find the right position so you can reach the bolt. The exhaust on the passenger side adds a wrinkle too. There is very little room as the bolt will almost be touching the wall of the wheel well. I had my helper back the bolt out just a little and had them point it up so it would be easier to get the nut on. I basically placed the nut on the end and had my helper carefully spin the bolt until it got started. This took several attempts and was very frustrating and tiring because of the awkward positioning. Now, hold the nut with the open end of a wrench and have your helper tighten away. There may be a better or smarter way to do it but that’s how I got it done.

I decided to add some d-ring tie downs as well. I saw where others had used eyebolts, but I liked the idea of the d-ring because it would tuck out of the way when not needed. Just place two of the spring nuts in a channel the width of the holes on the d-ring. For the floor, you will have to snip the spring in half so it will fit in these channels. Add a split lock washer to the bolts and hand tighten them into the spring nuts. Now tighten down with a socket wrench and you’re done.

I also bought a bike rack from Pipeline Racks. This let me get rid of my hitch bike rack and can be quickly removed by loosening two bolts if I need to take it out. I ride my bike every week so this rack has been great for me. Please feel to ask me any questions. Thanks for reading and I hope this guide helps someone else get this mod done.
 

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Very nice


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I wonder if using rivnuts or nutserts in the sides would be enough? They are what are used to bolt the roof rack on both the Frontier and Xterra. I don't have a Frontier at the moment, but I think I will give it a try when I can afford another one if it doesn't come with utilitrack.



An install kit with some serts can be had for under $50.00 and should make this much simpler.
 

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I currently have a DIY you to attract on my truck for the bottom and the back of the bed near the camp but I would really like to do this to the five north I think you did a great job

I just don't see how you got your hand in there for the two closest holes to be cab




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I wonder if using rivnuts or nutserts in the sides would be enough? They are what are used to bolt the roof rack on both the Frontier and Xterra. I don't have a Frontier at the moment, but I think I will give it a try when I can afford another one if it doesn't come with utilitrack.



An install kit with some serts can be had for under $50.00 and should make this much simpler. https://www.amazon.com/Muzata-Rivet...=UTF8&qid=1505069373&sr=8-7&keywords=nutserts
The aftermarket units use riv-nuts. The OEM ones use backer plates on the inside of the cab.
 

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someone could always tack weld a nut in place, I don't have the equipment but I am sure someone here can accomplish that
 

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I'm new to the Frontier and the forum, but I'm curious what the difference is between Home Depot unistrut and McMaster Carr unistrut. They seem to be the same dimensions but Home Depot sells the standard size and low profile in galvanized for about $20 for a 10ft stick. McMaster Carr is $30 for 5ft (galv.). If I want to save money, I assume I can use galvanized instead of alum. and just get it at HD. Am I missing something?
 

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I'm new to the Frontier and the forum, but I'm curious what the difference is between Home Depot unistrut and McMaster Carr unistrut. They seem to be the same dimensions but Home Depot sells the standard size and low profile in galvanized for about $20 for a 10ft stick. McMaster Carr is $30 for 5ft (galv.). If I want to save money, I assume I can use galvanized instead of alum. and just get it at HD. Am I missing something?
Nope strut is strut as long as the dimensions are the same... Alum is light and pretty plus MMC tends to be a little pricy but they stock everything under the sun in one or two locations and ship quickly...
 

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I agree that aluminum is prettier and of course lighter. But the cost difference for me is too big to ignore. And it seems that steel would be stronger especially since my truck doesn't have the factory track with the additional support in the side rail track. Plus, I can get it powder coated to make it pretty.

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I agree that aluminum is prettier and of course lighter. But the cost difference for me is too big to ignore. And it seems that steel would be stronger especially since my truck doesn't have the factory track with the additional support in the side rail track. Plus, I can get it powder coated to make it pretty.

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Then your have your answer...
 

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Did anyone ever come up with a method to get to those side rail holes? I have the 5 footer and I've been mulling over a few ways but nothing that seems very plausible. I've looked into the rivnuts but I can't find one that is a big enough diameter. That front hole nearest the cab is 3/4" (19mm).
 
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