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Husky Base Rail Kit Installation - 2003 Dodge Ram

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How to Install the Husky Base Rail Kit on a 2003 Dodge Ram


Today on our 2003 Dodge Ram Pickup, we'll be installing the Husky Custom Base Rail and install kit for fifth wheel trailer hitches, part number HT31413-686. To begin our finstall, we're first going to go ahead and lower and remove the spare tire. This will give us additional working room underneath the pickup. With our spare tire out of the way, we're also going to go ahead and remove both rear wheels to give us some more working room. With our spare tire and rear wheels removed, we're going to move to the pickup bed and begin the install. We'll take our base rail kit, set it in the bed rail. Now once we get the rail in, we'll measure from the end of the pickup bed to the rear portion of the rail and then from side to side, getting it in place. Next, we'll take our second rail, or rear rail, we'll go ahead and set it into approximate position, because it's 22 inches from center of front rail to center of rear rail.

Next, we'll take our fifth wheel assembly, set it into place and double check our measurements. I'll double check my length measurement from the end of the pickup bed to the rear edge of the front rail. With that done we'll go ahead and measure diagonally front rail to rear rail on both corners. They should be within a quarter inch of each other. Next we'll go ahead and put the pins in. As we put the pins in, they should go in nice and easily.

This will indicate that we have both the front and rear rail running parallel to each other. Once we're confident that we have the rails in place correctly, we're ready to drill out the front rail two attachment points. It will be in the same position whether it's the driver's or passenger side, so we'll repeat the same process on the other side. Using a quarter inch drill bit, we'll go ahead and drill a pilot hole first. Keep in mind, when we're drilling down, we're also going to go straight down through the hat channel. Next we'll go underneath, put our brackets in place, check and make sure our pilot hole is lined up.

Now to identify the front brackets, we can see it's stamped into the brackets, this is the front right, or passenger side, outer. Here we have the front right inner. To secure the two together, clamping the frame in the middle, we'll use the half inch carriage bolt, flat washer and nylon lock nut. We'll have two per bracket. To begin, we'll take the outer bracket, take the pin and line it up with the pre-drilled hole in the frame.

Then we'll move to the inside of the frame and put the inner bracket in place. Then to hold the two together, we slide our flat washer and nut on, keeping in mind that our 5 inch long half inch carriage bolt goes through our inner bracket and then the outer bracket. Here in the top of the inner bracket is a weld nut or a threaded portion of the bracket that our base rail bolt will go down through the pickup bed, through the hat channel and then thread into the top of the inner bracket. Now with our passenger side in place, we'll move over to the driver's side and repeat the same process. Here on the driver's side, the parking brake cable fastener does interfere with the outer bracket. We're going to go ahead and remove this fastener. As you can see, the hook of the bracket is still in the way, so I'm going to go ahead and loosen up the bottom fastener so we can pull the cable bracket down and out of the way. Once we have the brackets in place, and we're satisfied that it lines up with our pre-drilled hole, I'm just going to go ahead and loosen them up, slide them out of the way, either remove the carriage bolt if you have to so that we can drill out to our final size going down through the pickup bed and hat channel. Now that we've verified that the brackets will line up with our pre-drilled holes, we'll go ahead and move the base rails out of the way and drill them out to our final size. To drill them out, we're going to use a step bit process, starting with a smaller bit and working our way up to a final size as per the instructions. Now with our holes drilled out, we're going to go ahead and move the base rail back into position. We're going to take the large spacer block supplied with the install kit, slide it into the base rail and over top of our pre-drilled hole. We'll have one of the spacer blocks for each of the base rail attachment points. Next, we need to install the pipe spacer into the hat channel. In order to get it in place, we'll need to cut the bed seam along the hat channel. Using a rotary cutoff wheel, we're going to cut two lines in it, then we'll bend it out of the way. Now we can take the pipe spacer, feed it into the hat channel and over the pre-drilled hole. We'll use the half inch carriage bolt, split lock washer, flat washer, I'll go ahead and drop the 5/8ths bolt down through the base rail, through the spacer blocks, the pickup bed and ultimately the bracket. With our passenger side in place, we'll move over to the driver's side and repeat the same process. Now that we've got our hardware started hand tight, quick tech tip, go ahead and re-measure from the end of the pickup bed to the end of the rail, to make sure you're sitting square in the pickup bed. Once you verify that you're in place, we'll go ahead and tighten them down. Once we have them tightened down, we'll then torque to specifications as indicated in the instructions. With our front rail in place, tightened down and torqued to specifications, we need to identify our attachment points here for the rear base rail. This will be the second notch in the top of the rail and we'll go right down through the center of it. Again I'm going to drill a pilot hole, put my bracket in place to make sure it lines up, and then drill it out to the final size. With our pilot holes drilled out, we'll go ahead and move the base rail assembly out of the way and open it up to our final size. With our hole drilled out, we're going to go ahead and put our spacers in place. Because we're at the bottom of the bed corrugation here for the rear attachment point, we're going to put a U shaped spacer block in place and our thicker spacer block on top. We can now set the base rail back into position and drop our bolts into place. We'll be using the shorter 5/8ths bolt and flat washer, going down through the base rail, through our spacer blocks, through the pickup bed and into the rear bracket. Quick tech tip, if you leave the bolts out for the time being, it will be easier to get the rear brackets in place, then drop your bolt into position. To hold our rear bracket in place, we're going to use the U bolt provided, be careful to go around the manufacturer's wiring, and secure it with a flat washer and half inch nylon lock nut. To make it easier to get our bracket in place, we're going to go ahead and pop the wiring loose. If it ends up covering up the attachment hole, what we can do is simply zip tie it off when we're done. With the driver's side bracket and hardware in place, I'll go ahead and drop the 5/8ths bolt down through the base rail, through the spacer blocks, the pickup bed and ultimately the bracket. Once we have the bolt in place, we'll go ahead and install a flat washer, split lock washer, and nut. You'll notice that we've installed a larger flat washer here on the bottom. With the kit, it comes with a 5/8ths flat washer, but over time, they tend to dome out and warp, loosening their tension. By increasing to a larger flat washer, we can prevent this from happening over time. With all our hardware in place, we'll go ahead and tighten it down. We'll start with the half inch U bolt hardware first and torque to specifications. We'll go ahead, loosen the bolt back up, slide the cable bracket back up into position and then tighten it back down. With the rear U bolts tightened down and torqued to specifications, we're going to go ahead and tighten down our half inch carriage bolts here for the front bracket and torque to specifications. We're going to go ahead and tighten down our rear base rail and torque to specifications. With our new base rails installed, tightened down and secured, we're ready to reinstall the rear wheels and spare tire. With that reinstalled, we're now ready to hit the road. That will do it for the install of the Husky Custom Base Rail and install kit for fifth wheel trailer hitches, part number HT31413-686 on our 2003 Dodge Ram Pickup. .