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How to Install E-Track in 3 Easy Steps

How to Install E-Track in 3 Easy Steps

So, you saw a trailer with everything secured and organized with e-track and now you want the same cool options. You’ve come to the right place. Whether you’ve done a dozen installs, this is your first try, or your e-track is already installed, we’ll give you the info you need to be sure it’s installed right.If you’re feeling a little anxious about doing an e-track install, you should know that e-track is super versatile and very forgiving. Even if you install it in the wrong place, it’s not too difficult to pull it back up and move it, so come into the project knowing it’s all going to be fine. You can trick your trailer out with e-track in just three steps:So let's get stepping!
IMPORTANT:
This installation guide is just a guide. Your trailer may be different from the ones shown and may require steps that are not discussed here. Always follow manufacturer instructions.Also, although we're mainly talking about installing e-track on trailers here and our tips will be geared toward this application, e-track is incredibly versatile. People use it in box trucks, vans, pickups, and even garages. Don't limit yourself to just your trailer. Go crazy. (And then send us a picture in the comments.)
Gather Tools & Hardware
E-track, screws, and a backing plate
Locate Studs Or Crossmembers
Bolt heads marking crossmembers on flatbed trailer
Screw E-Track in Place
Screw E-Track into Place

Gather Hardware & Tools

First, let's gather your gear. Here's a list of the most common tools needed to install e-track, although depending on your specific install situation, your list might look slightly different.
SUPPLIES LIST
Hardware:
  • E-track of the appropriate length & weight capacity
  • Backing plates (Recommended for additional support, especially if no studs/crossmembers are available)
  • Wood screws (for wood surfaces) or metal screws (for metal surfaces)
Tools:
You May Also Need:
Tips:
  • Make sure to choose e-track of the appropriate length and weight capacity for what you need. Each e-track rail will have a working load limit (WLL) listed. This is the cargo capacity the track can safely handle. However, this weight capacity is per track, so if you mount additional tracks and use them together to secure a piece of cargo, you'll have a greater weight limit. For instance, if you use two tracks, each with a WLL of 2,000 lbs, your combined WLL will be 4,000 lbs.
  • If you're attaching two dissimilar metals (like stainless steel and aluminum), you'll want to have some kind of isolator between them to help prevent what's called "galvanic corrosion." Rubber and plywood are two of the materials I've seen used as a barrier. Plywood has the added benefit of providing a place to use wood screws for additional strength.
  • You can choose horizontal e-track rails, vertical e-track rails, or even hybrid "X Rails" depending on what you want to attach and the direction you want to attach it.
  • Use a metal saw to cut track to the proper length if needed.

Locate Studs or Crossmembers

Just like hanging a shelf on a wall in your house, you want to attach your e-track to the most structurally sound part of your trailer. If you're installing e-track on the walls, this means finding the studs. If you're installing e-track on the floor, this means finding the crossmembers. (Note: studs and crossmembers don't usually line up, so don't rely on one to locate the other.)
OTHER TIPS FOR FINDING THE RIGHT MOUNTING LOCATION
Finding the structural supports is important, but you should also keep other practical considerations in mind:
  • Avoid drilling into sensitive items like wiring, fuel tanks, etc. Using a stud finder or trailer blueprint/build sheet can make it easier to locate the right parts to drill into and the areas to avoid. If you reach out to your trailer manufacturer and ask for one of these sheets, they are usually happy to provide them.
  • Don't forget about proper weight distribution. Normal trailer rules still apply. Always install your e-track to optimize tongue weight when loaded. (If you're not sure how to distribute your load properly, check out this article for tips.)
    Trailer tongue and weight distribution system
  • Plan for easy access. For instance, if you're organizing supplies in a trailer, you probably want the items you use most often to be near the door.
    E-track mounted on walls of enclosed trailer
  • Stay out of your own way. Make sure your e-track doesn't interfere with opening/close doors, gates, etc.
    E-Track installed on trailer floor leaving room for gate to function
  • If you’re trailering vehicles, install your e-track parallel to the tires so you can easily strap them down. This allows you to use chocks and straps specifically designed to secure vehicles while allowing their suspension to continue to function as intended. This is safer than strapping to the vehicle's frame, because the suspension allows the frame to move, even when strapped down tightly, and that movement can create slack in straps and allow hooks to come loose from the frame. Strap down the tires instead.
    Tire strapped to toy hauler
The above tips apply for all types of trailers, but since different kinds of trailers pose different challenges, we'll go over some tips that apply to specific trailers types as well. (Skip to Flatbed Trailers)(Skip to Enclosed Trailers)(Skip to Toy Haulers)
Tips for Mounting E-Track on Flatbed Trailers
  • Most flatbed trailers have plank flooring, so you can locate the crossmembers you'll attach your e-track to by simply looking at where the planks are bolted down.
    Bolt heads marking crossbars on flatbed trailer
  • If the planks on your trailer run the same direction as your e-track, install the e-track so it is attached to more than one plank, straddling the gap between planks. This effectively doubles the number of attachments and is a good safeguard should one plank fail.
    E-track installed over multiple planks on flatbed trailer
Tips for Mounting E-Track on Enclosed Trailers
  • Finding crossmembers and studs can be tricky, as enclosed trailers often have lining/waterproofing materials inside, but a stud finder will usually work. If you don't have a stud finder, but have a rare-earth magnet and a plastic bag, drop the magnet into the bag and slide it along the wall or floor and it will (sometimes) stick where metal structural members are.
    Stud finder
  • If your enclosed trailer doesn’t have interior walls, or if the interior walls are thin (less than ½”), you will probably want to install plywood reinforcements to mount your e-track.
    Drilling into plywood reinforcement on trailer wall
  • There may be raised decorative panels covering interior wall joints. If so, you may need to remove parts of the panels or add spacers to allow your e-track to mount flat against the walls.
    E-track mounted on raised panel
Tips for Mounting E-Track on Toy Haulers
  • Toy hauler garage floors are usually 1-inch plywood, so it may be difficult to locate crossmembers, even with a good stud finder. If you have trouble, your best bet may be contacting the manufacturer about a framing plan/build sheet for your trailer. (They can typically email them, so you should have one pretty quickly without delaying your project too long.)
    Toy Hauler
  • Be careful not to drill into anything that may be stored beneath your floor, including wiring, plumbing, or fuel tanks.
    Toy Hauler

Screw E-Track Into Place

We've gathered tools. We've mapped out our mounting locations. Now it’s time for the actual installation. Hooray!(Skip to Ataching E-Track to Floors)(Skip to Attaching E-Track to Walls)

Attaching E-Track to Floors

Lay the e-track on the floor and mark your holes. Then, drill out the holes at the marked locations.
Drilling through trailer floor crossmembers
Screw the e-track into place, using self-drilling metal screws for metal floors and wood screws for wooden floors. (You can also use a 1/4" bolt and backing plates if you have access to the underside of the trailer floor.) If you use bolts, I still recommend using screws every few holes between the crossmembers to provide additional strength.
Screwing e-track to floor crossmember
Add your backing plates to the underside of the floor for additional strength, or if you're unable to drill through the crossmembers.
Attaching backing plate beneath trailer floor
Unless you have reeeeeeally long arms, you'll need your helper when you're installing the backer plates. They can sit comfortably in the trailer and hold the bolt still while you tighten the nuts beneath.
Helper holding bolt while nut is being tightened
Repeat for all your floor e-track.

Attaching E-Track to Walls:

Hold the e-track against the wall at your planned mounting location. Put a self-drilling screw through hole into the stud.
Beginning installation of e-track on a wall
Move the loose end of the e-track so that it's positioned properly, then attach the rail at the nearest stud. If your trailer is level, you can use a level to position the rail, otherwise, you can use a tape measure.
Screwing e-track to stud on trailer wall
Put self-drilling metal screws through your e-track into the remaining studs. If you have wooden interior walls, add wood screws in holes between studs.
Screwing e-track to trailer wall
Repeat for all your wall e-track.
To add a finishing touch, you can use some e-track plastic endcaps (etrailer part # ET8730) to make your installation shine.And that's all there is to it! Check out our inspiration gallery below for ideas, then send us a picture of your own sweet e-track install once you're finished.
E-Track on Enclosed Trailer Wall
E-Track on Walls and Floor of Enclosed Trailer
E-Track on Enclosed Trailer Walls
E-Track on Floors and Wall of Enclosed Trailer with Tire on Wall
E-Track on Flatbed Trailer
E-Track in Enclosed Trailer with ATV Inside
E-Track on Flatbed Trailer with Dog
E-Track Lined Up on Flatbed Trailer
E-Track on Wall Supporting Shelf with Baskets
E-Track on Wall Supporting Shelf with Supplies
Enclosed Trailer with E-track on Walls -- Holding Motorcycle Helmets
Enclosed Trailer with Shelf Supported by E-Track
Related ArticlesRelated ProductsWritten by: Steven D.Updated on: 9/9/21

Michael E.

3/11/2023

I purchased some e-track the other day and I would like to know if it comes with mounting hardware. Thanks MIKE

Etrailer Expert

Mike L.

3/17/2023

It does not, because the specific hardware needed will depend on what you're attaching the e-track to. I'll link you to a very helpful article that explains all you'll need to know for a successful installation.


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