F350 - Bedrails, Headache Rack, et al.

For several years now I wanted to build a headache rack, add bed rails, and recently I had the idea that mounting an on-truck fuel tank (dot legal of course) and a small generator to ensure I have power and lights while at a job site, I finally got this project under way.

The first step is to remove the bed box, and I probably should have emptied it out first because it landed on my foot and that didn't feel particularly good.

The next step is to miter the angle iron to form the bed rails - both sides and across the front. I used 1.5" 0.125" wall angle iron for this. It worked out that I had just enough to build this.

The next part is welding together the supports for the fuel tank and the small generator, and I used 1.5" 0.125" wall square tubing for that. Also, happened to have enough of this material to build this part of the project.

Since the generator was full of gas, I really didn't want to flip it over to measure the three mounting locations so I put the original generator frame over my project and drilled through, hoping to get it "close enough" where it fits. Turns out, I did.

Here is the fuel tanke in position. Off the brass valve on the left will be the fuel hose and the "pump gun" to fill gas containers "on the road". Being that it's mounted higher than my truck's tanks, I can drain this into either one of my tanks if I'm low on gas. Doing so will ensure the on-bed tank always has fresh gas. Far less hassle than mixing sta-bil and all of that hoopla.

The tank and the generator are now in position and I snapped this photo to better illustrate what I am doing here. Neither are mounted and won't be until the paint dries.

Since I've already framed out the bed, I decided to add a headache rack/hoop mostly for decoration purposes but also to give me something to mount amber strobes to later on when they arrive. This started off as a piece of exercise equipment I found at the curb almost a year ago.

This is the basic idea of the frame of the headache rack, though obviously I have to extend the area between the two curves to approximately fit the width of the truck bed.

A little more sectioning, some fiddling, remeasuring, and the sides are complete.

Ugly welds :) Not exactly how I wanted it shape-wise, but for me, it's good enough.

Here's the whole assembly pulled back away from the cab so I can weld the seams facing the rear glass.

Now that it's welded, I put it on the lawn to paint.

Coat of paint one.

The picture's a bit dark, but the tank and generator are installed, this is all bolted down to the bed of the truck, and it's ready for use.

LED Strobes

The plan here is to install a plethora of LED lights that strobe left to right for increased visiblity. I ordered a cheap kit from ebay that included six "tri-module" LED bars - three amber, three white, totalling 18 lights, half of each color.

HS-LED circuit board as ripped out of the incredibly cheesy plastic enclosure. The key traces on the circuit board - dark red trace is the power in, the dark pink trace is switched power, and the light pink trace is the LED power out. You can also see the two clumps of wire towards the bottom right - the top clump is "1 out" and the bottom clump is "2 out", which translates to left and right on the truck.

Here are the LED light bars I got with the kit and will be modifying. Three of these light bars are amber, three are white. The plan is to disassemble them and re-arrange them in such a way that the outer two lights are amber, and the inside light is white, then rewire them in a way so that the pair of amber lights on one side flash with the center white light on the other. Probably an unnecessary intricacy but it's what I want. Also, the brackets that came with them are terrible as they're not a right angle - obviously intending to mount on the trim around the windshield or rear window where the glass is "raked".

Here's the back showing all three lights are wired in parallel, flashing as a unit. The wiring change I mentioned above will require three wires - shared positive for all the lights (both sides), and a "1 buss" and a "2 buss".