Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

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Caenus
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Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Caenus » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:24 pm

So I've been cheating on ZS and hanging out over at the Avalanche Fan Club site and found a thread that features bed slides. There are high dollar (close to $1K) low pro aluminum/stainless steel and home made bed slides. I recently drove back to Texas and although the locking tailgate and hard tonneau cover is excellent for such trips as it affords plenty of cargo space, it is also a pain the ass to get to the stuff in the back without pulling everything out or taking the tonneau panels off. I decided I would build my own bed slide. I finished the rough bed slide today before the weather turned, I have not determined what the final configuration will be. I spent a total of $96 at Lowe's because I bought a high quality piece of plywood.

First, the work space (go LONGHORNS!...yeah, they suck this year)
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Next, I cut the plywood to fit the length of the bed (5'3"). The width is 50" so I had 1" on either side of the base.
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Next step I added one of the "brakes". Essentially it is a 2x2 that sits on the edge of the bed to keep the slide from flipping out and to keep it stable when extended.
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Next up is to add the wheels. I used 2" fixed casters (~$1.78 each). I put one in each corner as you can see, and lined them up so they run down the ATV tread channels in the bedliner. I also put two more in the center of the slide to both prevent sag when loaded, and also as the second pic shows, as a second "brake". Essentially they drop into the cup holder cutouts on the tailgate.
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I did a final fitting after adding the side rails on. The side rails helped fill the space between the sides of the slide and the sides of the bed. There is less than 1/4" on the sides of the slide. I also added the remaining portion of the 2x2" on the backside to prevent gear from sliding off the back when I pull in out.
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Next step was to cut out the "slide lock". For this I utilized the cargo anchors built in. The anchors are designed to hold an atv, so they are nice and sturdy. I cut back the side rails so when flipped down they are firm and hold the slide to the far back of the bed.
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After the slide lock, I cut out some holes to use as handles and smoothed off all the edges with a sanding block.
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Last, I added a few anchors (don't know what they are called, but they are essentially mini tie off points like they use on boats. They are low profile, and work excellent with a cargo net). Then I loaded up my car kit and gave it a try.
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It rolls very smoothly, and is exactly as I hoped. Next will be to seal it or paint it and I am thinking about adding some anchor points in the flat area as well, perhaps just drill some holes and slots for the hooks of bungee cords to catch on. What's great is this takes half the time to load up the BOV and can be removed if I plan on carrying something dirty or need the bed for something larger.

Whatcha'll think?

After I get some 33"s on the AV, the next project will be attaching a rooftop basket on the tonneau covers to carry fuel and a second full size spare tire. After that, I plan on a rooftop basket with side and rear floodlights.
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by SeerSavant » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:28 pm

Looks good, and better still, it looks like it can be scaled down to fit most vehicles with cargo space.
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Caenus » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:37 pm

Thanks. It took me about 4 hours, plus another hour to get to Lowe's and back with supplies and to set up and clean up afterwards.
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by AZMedic » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:39 pm

Wood?
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Phoenix David » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:46 pm

I like it..
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Gristle McThornBody » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:54 pm

I could be missing something, but it doesn't look like there's any method of preventing the sliding platform from tipping out if you had, say, a heavy gun case on the rear-most point and nothing on the front-most. Do you always plan to load it that carefully, or does your car kit carry that much weight?
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Caenus » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:15 pm

Gristle McThornBody wrote:I could be missing something, but it doesn't look like there's any method of preventing the sliding platform from tipping out if you had, say, a heavy gun case on the rear-most point and nothing on the front-most. Do you always plan to load it that carefully, or does your car kit carry that much weight?
you are correct. The $600-1k sliders have a mechanism to prevent tipping. I'll simply load the heavier stuff in the back (towards the front of the vehicle) which makes it easier to slide in/out as well. If you have to put something heavy towards the tailgate, the first row of wheels will catch in the gap between the tailgate and bed for unloading. That will bring 10" of the slide out over the tailgate.

FWIW, some of the guys at the AV fan club load theirs down with tools. My load plan (which I'm working on now) will have 8 cases of water (AZ) loaded towards the front of the vehicle which will act as a counterweight, followed by several cases of MRE's, two usgi camo nets (8x16 and 16x16), with ammo in the middle and the camping gear towards the tailgate. The car kit is mostly carried in the sponson boxes. The car kit is my daily kit, but will be replaced by a full tool box secured to the soon to come tonneau top basket and is a mini bugout kit to begin with so it would be left behind.
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Caenus » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:42 pm

Besides the tipping potential if not loaded smartly, I also lost ~6 square feet of cargo space due to the height of the slider.
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by AZMedic » Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:46 pm

Why, not do steel and make locking rollers and stuff??? Like they do with Chiefs SUVs in the Fire Dept.
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Rush2112 wrote:
the_alias wrote:
AZMedic wrote:'86 damn almost missed this cutoff. I remember baywatch ya then I became a lifeguard and was like wtf this isn't the same......
I honestly thought you were around 45 + :lol:
He's crotchety enough.

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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Caenus » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:02 pm

AZMedic wrote:Why, not do steel and make locking rollers and stuff??? Like they do with Chiefs SUVs in the Fire Dept.
...because I don't have a habit of wasteful spending like .gov does and I am the primary user so I don't have a bunch of EMT's and firefighters monkeying around with it.

(no disrespect to the FF's and first responders...but you guys are rough on your gear)
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Phoenix David » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:36 pm

Caenus wrote: Next step was to cut out the "slide lock". For this I utilized the cargo anchors built in. The anchors are designed to hold an atv, so they are nice and sturdy. I cut back the side rails so when flipped down they are firm and hold the slide to the far back of the bed.
Image
Is this an after-market tie down? Doesn't look anything like mine. Do you have a brighter picture of it?
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Caenus » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:49 pm

Phoenix David wrote:
Caenus wrote: Next step was to cut out the "slide lock". For this I utilized the cargo anchors built in. The anchors are designed to hold an atv, so they are nice and sturdy. I cut back the side rails so when flipped down they are firm and hold the slide to the far back of the bed.
Image
Is this an after-market tie down? Doesn't look anything like mine. Do you have a brighter picture of it?
sorry, don't have a brighter pic, but it is basically shaped like a "9". It is the standard tie down all the 02-06 AV's have that I have seen. They might have changed it for 07 & newer. What does yours look like?
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by AZMedic » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:04 pm

Caenus wrote:
AZMedic wrote: (no disrespect to the FF's and first responders...but you guys are rough on your gear)
We use our gear a lot. Best way to test something. Put it in the firehouse or throw it off the burn tower. If it lasts a month and the fall we want xxxxx of them.
Take Action.
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Rush2112 wrote:
the_alias wrote:
AZMedic wrote:'86 damn almost missed this cutoff. I remember baywatch ya then I became a lifeguard and was like wtf this isn't the same......
I honestly thought you were around 45 + :lol:
He's crotchety enough.

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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Phoenix David » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:09 pm

Looks like this.

Image
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Caenus » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:20 pm

Phoenix David wrote:Looks like this.

Image
Huh...seems problematic with the design I used. It is recessed behind the bed liner? I wonder if it can be switched out. It looks like the same bolt that holds my anchors in.
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Phoenix David » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:25 pm

It's not a very flexible tie down point, IMO
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Caenus » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:27 pm

This is the only other pic I have. I took it before I cut the side rails.
Image
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Phoenix David » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:33 pm

Previous owner might have figured out that the stock tie down sucks and found a after-market one. that gives a bit more options
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by SeerSavant » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:05 am

For a DIY slider, you did a great job. Remember, when people start to complain, why didn't you make this, or that...
Just tell em "This is the Prototype"

Wood is a good building block, yes it's not as rugged, but when your building something for the first time, wood works. Over time, you can refine the design and when weather and time start to take it's toll, rebuild better and with better materials.


I think it looks good. With a few coats of some Walnut or Golden Oak stain and a few coats of poly, and I'd say it's a win.
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by congochris » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:34 am

Personally I'd hit it with some brush in bedliner. We had a platform we built out of ply to level our garage floor for our chest freezer we did that to. Worked pretty well, and only took one of those Quart canisters for a 4x8 sheet.

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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by ProstheticWeasel » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:52 am

Depending on the type/grade of wood epoxy thinned with acetone does a lot to strengthen/waterproof wood. I had some rotten wood on my boat that I put thinned epoxy then regular epoxy over and it stiffened it right up. The wood needs to be dry but it soaked the stuff up. The wood was the surface of the quarterberth so it was nothing structural but would have been a nightmare to replace since it is glassed into the hull.

It will make it kind of slick though. You could probably sprinkle some sand or something on it to give it some grip. If you can't get it on the other side then it can cause funky warping.

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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by MikeCharlieUniform » Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:55 am

I've never seen one of these before. Then again, I'm a city boy, and grew up in a place where even small trucks were ridiculously silly monstrosities. Seems like it could be a useful accessory for the farm truck, when it's not pulling the gooseneck or fetching hay bales. (Ie, removable = awesome.)

What thickness of ply did you use? How far does it stick out past the tailgate when fully extended? How much flex does it have, and how much weight do you think you could stick on it safely?

My "overengineer to the point of absurdity" brain is telling me to make a thin torsion box instead of using "just" a single piece of ply, but I am without any useful data on the strength and stiffness of your "prototype". :)

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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by Caenus » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:31 pm

It sticks out about 10" which brings the stuff farthest to the back (or front of the truck) within reach of the average person.

The casters stated 125lbs max weight each. I have 6 of them and I put the two in the middle so there is no flex with what I load and likely not much that will fit in the truck. The slider can likely hold much more weight than I can pull easily. I decided that was the limiting factor so I used 3/4" plywood.

If unloaded, two people can pull it completely out and free up the bed immediately. One person can do it with a little awkwardness.
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Re: Chevy Avalanche Bed Slide Construction - DIY

Post by eugene » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:07 pm

I haven't seen the AV tiedowns, it looks from that picture like it hinges inside a P clamp, is there a bolt holding the clamp to the body? I'm thinking you could take the bolt out and put a L bracket behind it then put the bolt back in to catch and support it when its slit out.
Now make a rolling workbench/cart for the garage thats at the same height. You slide the bed slide out, roll the cart over to it and slide the stuff off of one to the other, fast and smooth loading. First google hit http://lumberjocks.com/projects/12038" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I had something like that in my old garage, setup at truck height, this speeds loading, no picking up and carrying heavy items or multiple trips back and forth.
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