How to Install a Truck Toolbox

by Jody L. Campbell

If you own a truck and carry tools, chances are you know all too well what it's like placing them haphazardly in the bed and driving off with them unsecured. If you have an extended cab, perhaps you don't want it littered with tools, even if it's a more viable and protective option for the tools. The answer is a truck toolbox. They're easy to install and purchasing the right one for your needs can give you optimum cab space for passengers and also protect your tools from sliding around the bed or being stolen.

Measure the width of your bed and choose the right toolbox. The tighter fit, the better and the more room you'll have for tools. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Truck toolboxes come in many shapes, material and designs. Plastic toolboxes are inexpensive, but if you're loading heavy tools and the truck is parked in the direct sunlight for long periods at a time, it's not uncommon to see these type toolboxes begin to sag and sometimes eventually collapse in the middle. A diamond plated metal box with locks is recommended for heavier loads, but you also want to look for things like weather stripping along the doors to ensure the box deters leakage. Another thing you want to keep in mind is how the door or doors of the toolbox opens and how that will fit your needs.

Read the instructions of the toolbox you chose and determine what you're going to need to do. Some toolboxes require drilling, but it is not recommended to purchase these lower quality boxes. Most quality tool boxes come with hardware to attach to the bed rails with j-bolt hardware that does not require drilling through the bed rail. These come highly recommended.

Determine where you're locating the box on your truck. Most common place is directly behind cab. If you chose a lift drawer box, just make sure you can lift the box lid without it interfering with the back of the truck bed or rear window.

Measure the width of the box and cut rubber padding or foam to place on the truck rail to protect it from scratching the paint by the toolbox. If you have a bed liner that covers the bed rails, you can bypass this step. If you do not, place the rubber padding or foam on the bed rails.

Insert the rubber j-bolt plugs into the pre-drilled holes of the toolbox if they're not already placed there. Gently place the box on top of the rubber padding, foam, or bed liner.

Open the doors of the tool box to expose the interior. From underneath, insert the hook of the j-bolt under the bed rail and poke the threaded part up through the rubber plug. Apply washer from hardware kit and then nut. Tighten with ratchet, extension, and socket. Do this for all 4 j-bolts. Tighten fairly tight to deter the nuts from loosening, but don't over tighten and cause damage to the bed rails.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.