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phoenix2013

ET install

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I get routine inquiries about the "process" of installing ETs in the rear of the trucks. Hopefully this little tutorial and tips will be beneficial, particularly to newbies.

Incidentally, any frame shop and there are plenty of these throughout the country can perform this work. It takes approximately 8 hours to do it. Or you can take a pleasant trip to southern Florida.

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First item of business is to remove the rear brace with the bobtail lights.. The five pin connector driving the bobtail lights should have enough wire to go anywhere, usually it will be tie wrapped into the harness bundle and if you cut the ties you will find that they provided plenty of wire. You can try to salvage the opposite end from the brace (ugly job), these are known as Delphi Packard connectors and the shells, pins and grommets are easily available from Waytek Corporation to create new lights harness. The brace is held on by huck bolts, the most efficient method to remove them is with a torch (15 minutes), however this method requires care, such as having a $15 dollar fiberglass blanket to drape over suspension airbags and other things (airlines, etc.). Fifteen bucks is the price for this item at Harbor Freight

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Next the frame ends need to be prepped for welding on the frame extensions, most trucks with the exception of those singled mid will not have enough frame to mount a hitch behind the rear axle. How much depends on the truck and the "surprises" manufacturers install there, which sometimes can be moved and sometimes not. This truck had a "surprise" there requiring 14 inches of extensions. On "clean trucks" it can be as little as 6 inches. The extensions are fabricated from mild steel, easy to drill, more on that later.

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Next weld on the extensions. Before that check with a large square if the frame rails are true and square, on most trucks they will, but I have seen couple of trucks that were hit and repaired, on one the frame rails were 1/4 inch out of square and on another 3/4 inch. Also the extensions need to be perfectly aligned, up and down and left to right, before you put that weld on them.

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Now the horizontal (6) mounting holes. The hitch or just its mounting angles can be slid into the frame rails to mark the actual locations for the 3/4 inch grade 8 bolts. as I said drilling into the mild extension is easy, mag drill or big enough bits on a big drill. Hardened frame rails is another story, even with a mag drill it's a challenge. A bridge reamer is the quickest way to do these.

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A 3/4 inch bridge reamer, like the one you see, is $70 bucks from McMaster-Carr, but is worth every penny you pay for it. You do have to manually drill pilot hole in the frame (about 3/8) which you can do easy with sharp drills,  but once you get bridge guy going it's a "nothing burger", just look at those chips on top of the air bag frame. It's about 4 hours up to this point. The rest of the day is just a lot of detail of actual mounting, electrical work (the customers had that lightbox on the original install), air lines for the hitch, etc., to get to this point.

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Edited by phoenix2013

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Sorry guys, the picture editor, is screwing up on me and the last three pictures are not coming in, I'll fix it later or I will get "help".

Edit: Fixed the original post, it now contains all the pictures in right order. I think the server had a bowel movement for few hours.

Edited by phoenix2013

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Add bridge reamer to my shopping list. I didn't know that existed. Learn something new every day. Thank you. That will be handy in places I cant get the mag drill in.

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21 hours ago, phoenix2013 said:

We'll be there, but only for couple of days

I hope I have the opportunity to meet and thank you for the great product.

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1 hour ago, Av8r3400 said:

I hope I have the opportunity to meet and thank you for the great product.

Will be in Crosville Sunday night in a hotel, arrive in the campground Monday morning and occupy one of the cabins when it "empties".

ET Seminar Monday

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