How to Install E-track in a Wood Panel Enclosed Trailer

E-track is an excellent tool for tie-down applications because of its versatility. Not only is it available in various lengths (2′, 5′, 8′ and 10′) and styles (galvanized and painted), but it can be installed to best suit your hauling needs.

Installing E-track inside an enclosed trailer is easy and fast with the right tools. For this example we used a 5′ E-track with a 1/8″ depth and ¼” diameter mounting holes.

  1. Search for wall studs. You can find them by locating the screws that are securing the paneling, but generally speaking, studs are about 2 feet apart.
  2. Mark holes where it will be secured, making sure they are evenly spaced over the studs.
  3. Add small screws to temporarily hold it up while working.
  4. Drill pilot holes in the areas that you’ve marked through the holes on the E-track.
  5. Remember that the outside wall is just a few inches away so be sure to mark your drill bit to keep it from going too far.
  6. Attach using self-tapping screws.

Height placement of the track depends on what your intended use will be. For motorcycles, ATVs, and other small vehicles, attach E-track at handlebar height. For appliances or other tall items, place the track higher up on the wall; shorter cargo will secure best with track placed lower. If you plan to use the trailer to haul various items of different sizes, you can always install additional rails horizontally along the walls to create more tie-down points.


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Cargo Bars: A Smart Investment

Ratchet straps, cargo nets, and other tie down straps are great options for securing cargo in a truck or enclosed trailer, but even with careful packing, cargo that includes multiple boxes or pallets can shift during transit. For an extra measure of security, using cargo bars is a smart choice.

Cargo bars are narrow, lightweight bars in either aluminum or steel, that extend to fit from wall to wall across the width of the storage area. Also sometimes called load bars, load locks, or cargo load locks, they can stand alone, with a ratcheting device that creates tension to hold it in place, or be used with a logistic or e-track system which has ends that lock into the track.

Ratcheting cargo bars generally extend up to 104.5″ and have rubber pads on the ends to keep it secure. They are ideal for use in smaller trailers or pickup trucks, or rental vehicles where e-track cannot be installed.

E track load bars are also extendable, and because they lock into e-track which is secured to the wall, they can also be used to create decking to increase usable space. Simply place two or more of the bars at equal height and place plywood sheets or other lightweight decking material to create a floor to hold additional cargo. However, when used this way, be sure the weight of the cargo doesn’t exceed the working load limit of the equipment.

It’s important to secure load bars in the trailer or truck when they are not being used, as they can become projectiles in the event of an accident. A shoring beam holder works well if you have e-track installed, as the ends clip into the track and provide a place to store beams vertically. Cargo bar holders that can also be attached directly to the wall are also an option that’s available.

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E-track 101

Nothing compares to an E-track system for adding efficiency, safety and flexibility to your trailer or truck. The anchoring design of the system offers excellent cargo control in two ways:  the evenly-spaced slots provide multiple tie down spots so you can safely tie down a variety of items quickly and easily; shoring beams and decking beams can be added to maximize space and more evenly distribute a load.

Whether you’re looking to install E Track on a flatbed trailer, inside a trailer or on a truck bed, there are some basic terms you should know.

Etrack. Also sometimes called modular tie-down rails, this narrow steel track has rectangular holes spaced throughout. The track can be welded, riveted, or screwed to the sides or floor of a trailer or truck bed. Manufactured from high strength steel, it’s available with a powder-coat painted finish or galvanized. Galvanized is the best choice if the track will be exposed to outside elements, such as on a flatbed trailer. E-track generally is available in 2-, 5-, 8-, and 10-foot lengths, and can be mixed and matched to customize to fit your space. An E-track single design is also available if space doesn’t allow for a full track.

Etrack tie downs. These polyester straps offer strength and flexibility and most commonly have a ratchet or cam buckle for tightening. The polyester has very little stretch so the item stays secure and the fabric design also eliminates the possibility of scratches and scuffs. A variety of end fittings also add to the versatility of e track tie downs: d rings, o rings, roller idlers, spring e fittings, even heavy duty tie downs without a ring.

Shoring Beams and decking beams. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, but most refer to a long, narrow, lightweight beam that locks into E track. Shoring beams help keep cargo secure by preventing it from sliding during transport. Two or more decking beams are used with plywood sheeting or a similar material to create a level surface and optimize space.

Etrack wood end socket. When attached to the trailer these beam sockets make it easy to assemble a shoring or decking beam. This will help to keep your cargo in place when you place a 2×2 piece of lumber, cut to your specified length, in each socket.

E track end caps. Plastic caps are used with horizontal etrack to cap off the end and cover the sharp edge of the track.

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Lifting Slings: Polyester or Nylon?

If you’re in the market for a lifting sling, it’s important to look at the properties of the sling to determine the best for your needs. The four general types of lifting slings are: nylon, polyester, chain, and wire. While chain slings and wire slings are generally for heavy duty, industrial jobs, it can be difficult to make a clear distinction between polyester and nylon since they are both synthetic fabric. They may look the similar and they do have some properties in common: neither tolerate high heat and should not be used in temperatures higher than 194°F / 90° C, and they do handle environments with grease, alcohol, oil, and soaps and detergents.  However, there are differences to consider.

Nylon lifting slings.

-Will stretch approximately 8-10% at rated capacity.
-Resilient to some chemicals including ethers, aldehydes and strong alkalies.
-Should not be used with bleaching agents or other acids.

Polyester web slings.

-Will stretch approximately 3-5% at rated capacity.
-Resilient to common acids and hot bleaching agents.
-Should not be used with alkaline or sulfuric acids.

No matter which sling fabrication you choose, it’s important to practice lifting sling care and maintenance guidelines to not only extend the life of your sling but to also ensure safety while in use.

Improper loading: Shock loading, unbalanced loading and overloading a sling can affect its strength.

Abrasions and cuts: Damage and punctures to the fabric can reduce the sling’s strength. Because fabric can hold and trap dangerous materials like weld spatter and metal shavings, it’s important to clean and inspect the sling before and after each use. Cuts to the fabric are also possible from load edge movement.

Temperature and light conditions: Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays or light from an arc welder can bleach and stiffen fabric straps so it’s important to keep your straps protected from these situations.


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Tie Down Strap Options for Trailers

With summer here, trailers are out in full force- hauling motorcycles, ATVs, boats, bikes, camping supplies, and more.

Whether you’re hauling a motorcycle across town or moving furniture across the country, it’s important to invest in good tie trailer down straps.

Tie down equipment comes in dozens of sizes and options and can even be customized for specialty uses. A basic ratchet strap typically has a ratchet assembly on polyester webbing and tie down hooks on the ends. Ratchets are easily tightened using a ratcheting action and are great to secure heavier items.

Cam straps are another option and differ from ratchet straps in that they tighten with less tension. They are a good choice for  more fragile or lighter weight items since there’s less chance of overtightening. They are similar to ratchet straps in that they are usually available with the same common end fittings such as snap hooks, flat hooks, wire hooks and S-hooks.

An E-track system is another option to consider. Designed for use in enclosed trailers, they can also be used on open trailers as well. The biggest advantage of E-track is its versatility. The track is designed with multiple openings so it gives you several options for a tie-down anchor point. It also allows for securement both vertically and horizontally to reduce cargo shifting and bouncing.

Specialty use tie down systems are ideal if you plan to haul something in particular, such as a boat or motorcycle. A tie down system for a boat includes hardware like winches and buckles which create tension without damage or scratches to the boat. Motorcycle tie downs are generally a slimmer 1” webbing and include S hooks or snap hooks for securing to a trailer or truck. They’re designed to mount to the frame of the bike or ATV which cuts down on movement during transit.

Although tie down straps may look similar, be sure to check the webbing fabrication, along with the rated capacity and work load limit before purchase and installation.


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Ratchet Strap Safety: Part 2

image of ratchet strap with chain extension

3" Ratchet Strap with Chain Extension

We’ve mentioned the importance of following ratchet strap safety and workload limits, but it’s also imperative to regularly inspect your ratchet straps. Like any heavy equipment securing device, they will suffer from wear and tear over time.

Ratchet straps are available in two different designs: with hooks and endless. Both kinds require the user to insert one end of the strap through the ratchet mechanism. Once the strap is fed through, it’s important to test it to make sure it is fitting properly since a mis-feed can cause the strap to jam or split apart.
It can jam so severely that it may have to be cut and therefore destroyed.

When using a ratchet strap with hooks, check to make sure the strap is hooked to a spot that’s permanently fixes on the vehicle. Because such points can also break down with wear, inspect these areas on a regular basis.

After inspecting both the ratchet assembly and the anchor point, check the webbing carefully. Weak spots will begin to tear and split, increasing the risk of failure.

image of 4" Replacement Ratchet Strap with Flat Hook

4" Replacement Ratchet Strap with Flat Hook

If you do find your ratchet strap is showing signs of wear and needs replacing, replacement tie down straps are an excellent option since you buy only the end that needs to be replaced. More and more options are available today, and now you’ll find them with flat hooks, wire hooks and even chain extensions. They’re also a great choice if you have a winch strap that you’d like to make into a ratchet strap. Replacement straps are generally available in widths from 2″ to 4″ in a tough, polyester webbing.

Ratchet straps can be an excellent and economical work horse for hauling a variety of cargo, just be sure to always keep safety in mind.

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Moving Pads Can Make Your Move Easier

If you can’t afford to hire a professional moving company, you must resign yourself to doing the job yourself. In order to make it easier, consider purchasing some helpful supplies such as a furniture dolly and a stack of moving pads.

The thing about moving is that it’s a process that you can’t do half way. Oh no – it’s all or nothing. Sure, you could take some shortcuts by not completely wrapping your glassware or simply tossing things into a box, but what would that accomplish? Let me tell you – it will allow you to get all new things!

It’s true, there’s no good way to move in a hurry. Just think about it: when you relocate, you have to touch each and every item that you own. So, you have two solutions. One would be to hire professional movers who will come in and pack up every little thing that you own and transport it safely (you hope!) to your new abode. Of course, for most people, this isn’t an option. It’s simply too expensive. So, that leaves us with the second option: doing the work yourself.

The truth is that completing a move on your own isn’t as daunting as it seems if you have the right supplies. You might be wondering what possibly could be classified as supplies aside from boxes and Sharpies. While those are necessary, you should also consider some other must-have items including moving pads and perhaps a furniture dolly.

While a furniture dolly is relatively self-explanatory, you might be wondering what is so great about moving pads. The truth is, they really are great tools and they are sadly overlooked by most people when they contemplate packing. The beauty of moving pads is that they can be used for a variety of purposes and they can even be used long after you’re settled in your new abode.

Traditionally, these blue, quilted blankets are used to protect furniture and surfaces from becoming marred during the transport process. However, you can also use them to pad larger pieces from becoming dinged or scratched. You will undoubtedly find a stack of moving pads to be a tool you can’t live without!


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Avoid Moving Day Mishap With Moving Blankets

Think back to the last time you moved.  Do you remember how hot it was, or how frustrating it was to wait for the extra keys to arrive, or how sad it was to find your box of crystal was broken?  Moving day is a misnomer; moving pretty much takes up parts of weeks of your life, both before and after the “big day.”

The only things I’ve found which can alleviate some of the frustration and stress of moving are careful organization and money.

Organization is a mandatory; your lists must have lists.  There’s a sequence you should follow for packing and loading your items, arranging for transportation and acceptance of keys, turning on and turning off utilities as well as changing addresses.  One of the last things you need to worry about is something preventable – like breakage.  That’s where money becomes really useful.

Even with a modest budget, you can protect your hard-earned or inherited belongings from scratches, dents, punctures and breakage.  You’ll find your best tools are moving blankets and moving boxes.

Moving blankets are thick, durable, and heavy.  Unlike any cover you may have ever had on your bed, moving blankets are manufactured to withstand the abuses of moving while protecting the items they cover.  Constructed from heavy cotton or cotton/polyester blends, they’re filled with recycled cotton threads compressed into thick bats.  The exterior surface prevents most scratches from reaching your furniture or artwork; the interior batting provides a cushion that resists dents and other mars.

Buy your moving blankets online or from a local truck rental facility.  Be sure to cover everything you don’t have the heart or funds to replace; it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

And as for the other frustrating things that happen during a move?  Well, plan ahead and have the best pizza place in town deliver on your first night in your new place.  Don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep!


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Moving Straps Make A Difference

We’re preparing to move to a larger home in another neighborhood. Having only moved once, from my parents home where I grew up, I was concerned about getting all the details properly organized so that moving day ran smoothly. Like most people, we wanted to save as much money as possible so we opted to move ourselves. But we wanted to be smart about it and were willing to invest in the right tools for the mob like moving boxes and blankets.

I have a few friends who have moved themselves the past couple of years and turned to them for advice. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they suggested that I use a calendar to keep track of each task or necessity including turn on/off dates for utilities, issuing change of address cards through the Postal Service, alerting contacts in our contact list with our new moving strapsinformation, calling all of our creditors, etc. A lot of stuff had to happen and timing really did matter.

When we started talking about some of the more hands-on suggestions, she surprised me when she mentioned moving straps. “Just what are those?” I asked. Evidently moving straps are a simple yet ingenious way to move heavy objects, whether when rearranging furniture or completely relocating. Made from nylon, the kit includes a long strap with partitions near each end. The partitions allow you to slide another strap with looped ends through; you end up with something that looks a lot like the letter “I”.

The long piece of the moving straps slides under the object to be move, for example, a refrigerator. That probably takes some maneuvering to do, but it’s manageable. Then the two people moving the refrigerator slide the smaller straps through a partition and around their shoulders. Voila! Instant moving strap. This simple device allows you to use large muscle groups to lift the heavy object and saves your arms to balance and guide the load.
We borrowed Peggy’s moving straps and quickly saw the difference.

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Safety is first concern when using ratchet straps

Ratchet straps and safety go hand in hand. Without one, the other doesn’t exist. So if you have to tie down heavy cargo, be sure you do it properly.

Both ratchet straps as well as cam buckles are varieties of e track straps. Each one of these e track straps has a work load limit along with a rated capacity so that you, the consumer, can decide which one will work best for you particular situation.

The workload limit what an e track strap assembly can be subjected to, in regards to weight, on a daily basis. This is the maximum, and it should NEVER be tested by someone other than those in the proper places. If this maximum capacity is ignored disastrous things may happen, and I doubt you want that on your conscience.

The other safety limit, or rated capacity, is the maximum load that the e track assembly can withstand. This number is determined in a professional testing facility using a pull test. And again, this is the maximum capacity. NEVER go beyond what it says, even by a little. When tests are ignored and put to the side, horrible things happen. (Yes, I said that already in regards to the working load limit, but it can happen in either case and it’s worth repeating several times.)

Another point of safety when dealing with ratchet straps are the different kinds of end fittings and other hardware associated with tying down cargo. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, this is all about safety. Use the proper fitting for the assembly you have, don’t just make do and hold it together with a bit of string – use the right fittings.

Just remember, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. So be sure you know your cargo well, understand what the capacity is for the ratchet straps you want to use and know what kind of assembly you have on your truck or trailer, and go from there. Once you know what you are dealing with, putting safety first will be easy.

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