I’m not claiming that I have all the answers to every automotive problem. In this situation, the real issue is that my Project X Dodge Dakota 4X4 has some rather serious box rust, which I missed on my initial pre-purchase inspection. In an ideal automotive world, I would be able to find a used silver box and simply bolt it on to my truck. Reality is somewhat different. Many of the boxes available for a vehicle of this vintage suffer from a similar affliction. I’m sure at some point in time a nice rust free truck box will appear, but now is not the time.
The larger goal is to get the box in a more usable condition for the up and coming camping season. Maybe if I lived somewhere really dry, I would not be so concerned about the camping gear I’m going to be carrying.
I arrived at the store, and the loose pieces were all tied together in a nice compact package that slid easily into the back of my truck. The side pieces, and the boxes that cover the wheel wells were already preassembled.
Installation was super easy. The piece that goes at the front of the box goes in first, and then the under-rail side pieces, followed by the two piece floor system. The floor piece has a tongue and groove joint right down the middle. Insert the two pieces. There will be a big bump in the middle as you get the tongue and groove lined up. Carefully press down in the center, while ensirring the tongue goes into the right position.
I used a couple of 1-1/2 ” yellow exterior screws to fasten the first piece of wood to the front of the box. I then used eight screws – four on either side of the joint down the middle of the floor pieces. A few more right at the back of the box on the floor, and it is all secure with a minimal number of extra holes in the box. Speaking of screw holes, save yourself some grief and pre-drill the holes for the screws.
Make sure you are not drilling into anything vital, like a wiring harness, a fuel line, or the fuel tank itself. You may laugh, but believe me I’ve seen some major screw-ups when people install stuff into their vehicles. Go easy on the length of the screws, my friends!
Voila, the box liner is in and looking good.