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Any simple ideas for mounting my traction boards?

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Bought a pair of Tred Pro recovery boards. There is one perfect spot they fit - cross ways on the roof, between unistrut side rails in the E-W direction, and between 2 solar panels in the N-S direction.

The existing cross members they would sit between are one unistrut and one aluminum angle, which both span across the top of the rails. I'd like the traction boards to sit down about an inch from the bottom of the cross members to be as low as possible and not shade any solar panels or be too visible.

So I'm thinking maybe something spans the gap between the crossmembers like the image below. That would form a "tray", but I would need some way to secure the top. I could just bungee it, but there may be a more secure simple way to do this?

Rectangle Font Parallel Slope Diagram
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If I understand correctly it looks like you have approx 15-18" between the unistrut and angle. Rather than the aluminum angle I would use aluminum flat bar...maybe 1/4" (or 3/8") x 2". Space them to mate with the mounting holes in the board. You could mount the manufacture's mounting accessory or possibly add studs to the bar similar to the mfr's mount. ♦♦ Instead of triple nuts, use stainless locking nuts with nylon inserts. ps...I've never seen a real traction board. Mine always looked like broken branches. KenA
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If I understand correctly it looks like you have approx 15-18" between the unistrut and angle. Rather than the aluminum angle I would use aluminum flat bar...maybe 1/4" (or 3/8") x 2". Space them to mate with the mounting holes in the board. You could mount the manufacture's mounting accessory or possibly add studs to the bar similar to the mfr's mount. ♦♦ Instead of triple nuts, use stainless locking nuts with nylon inserts. ps...I've never seen a real traction board. Mine always looked like broken branches. KenA
Yeah I could do flat bars at mounting holes. I would need to make sure nuts to secure mounting bolts will fit. And use spacers to lower them.

Was steering towards something over the top for easy removal when needed... Mounting bolts would require access to both sides but maybe something over the top could be slid in/out from one side.

The triple lock nut note was to hold the 2 parts of the angle as shown - the top bent part and the bottom leg. Either way I'd use locknuts.
 

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I've had experience with bungees and rubber tarp straps in the airflow vibrating and causing a lot more noise than you'd ever think they might. They both also loose a lot of their stretchiness/holding power in the cold. A ratchet strap or two would hold the boards down more securely. Put a twist in the strap wherever it's in the airflow and you will reduce the likelihood of vibration and noise, too.
 

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A spring (or bungee) loaded "cup" at the far end. Make cup to fit the tapered end of board snuggly. Place board into cup and push... drop into similar (stationary) cup on the loading side. Spring loaded end will push board back into stationary cup and pinch in place. No straps needed... unless for peace of mind.
 

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Most traction boards have holes in them, you could add flat crossbars between your trays and align them with holes in the boards and have a bolt sticking up from the crossbar. Then some knobs to go on the bolts and hold the board in place. If you can't find knobs that work with the holes in the boards, you can use two bolts at each bar and then two knobs and an aluminum bar between, but it means you have to undo 4 knobs to remove the board instead of just two.

You could get fancy and have a channel on one end that you put the end of the board into, then the bolt/knob on the other end to hold it in place, but you would probably need foam/rubber in the channel to keep it from rattling & wearing through the board.

In case my verbal description is no good, this is what we did, although they're mounted under the bed. We used carriage bolts through the bed plywood.
Building World Wood Wall House
 

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How do you deal with muddy or dirty traction board if you store inside the van? do you guys bring extra tarp so you can clean it later?
A couple of big lawn bags are always in my utility bin. They didn't become a stock item until after the first time I needed them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I spent way too long and 3 trips to the hardware store but finally got them mounted. Probably should have used flat bars underneath to improve clearance (bolts to roof), but ended up getting the 3/4" square tube to work.

Cut lengths of the square tube and drilled them to act as spacers to lower the mount. Had to go back and get shorter bolts and still had a bit of trouble getting them in but managed.

I put it in and take it out from the far side (driver side). The near side has a flat bar across the top to hold it down, with bolts sticking down through aluminum tube to act as studs to hold the boards in place front to back:
Plant Automotive tire Asphalt Road surface Motor vehicle


Before I put the flat bar across the top. Knobs with lock nuts inside to hold it down. The knobs don't fit all the way down so I bought a couple one inch spacers to slip over the makeshift studs:
Motor vehicle Hood Plant Automotive tire Automotive design


Cross bars to support the boards. In the bar on the close side, I put a pair of bolts with aluminum tube to act as studs. This was difficult because I discovered the standard nuts don't fit in the holes in the boards. Turns out coupling nuts are narrower so I used those:
Automotive tire Composite material Engineering Roof Wood


Not much space to get this bolt in. Drilled a 5/16" hole and used 1/4" bolt so it was able to angle up through the hole:
Wood Grey Automotive tire Asphalt Material property
 
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