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L-track lashing for passenger van

4519 Views 25 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  thefinnisher
I wanted to share some building experiences adding L-track lashing points to my passenger van. I knew I needed a solid and flexible attachment foundation for my future builds, so this is where I started.

Beginning with lower B-pillar modification of the oem cargo attachment. Note: this probably wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't seen shared photos like the one in this post by @gerstle

Based on his first photo I thought the probability that my passenger van would have a couple of extra factory attachments would be pretty likely. I found them under the b-pillar covers and by moving the rounded stickers (which I imagine have something to do with noise reduction).

Ideas for these lower B-pillar L-track points. Flexible enough to attach a lagun table mount. Maybe attach a privacy curtain (I have a ceiling L-track on the works). Etc.

This will be a photographic excursion so brace yourself. Once you have seen this in pictures you'll know exactly what to do.

There is roughly 12mm of space between the outer plastic and the inner metal. For it's strong and insulating properties I chose a 1/2 inch thick by 1 inch wide 2 ft garolite bar.

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I then took some think plywood and outlined the shape and length:
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I wasn't willing to cut into the larger lower b-pilar panel, but was ok experimenting on the smaller (and I cut a small part from the larger, not visible part - marked with 14mm and angle cut)
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Used a Dremel with plastic cut disc (a diamond disk would work well I think too). Slow rpms and little at the time as the plastic will cut/melt.
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Making sure my measurements for the holes are accurate. The top one is a M10 and the bottom a M8 screw. (the lower one in the photo is not the final screw I used as it was a button top - I needed recessed):
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Content with the fit I transferred by template to an aluminum bar which would be more stable and that I could use to transfer to the garolite:
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Transferring the shape and somewhat round holes done by hand drill to the garolite. NOTE! you must pay extra care when drilling/cutting garolite as the dust is very bad for your lungs. I cut under water in a tub with a hacksaw, and also drilled under water in the same tub.
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Fitting to make sure my holes were drilled correctly. I did have to file a little (again under water) to adjust my measurements. (it's tricky taking the measurements - and it's ok, this just functions as support for the l-track):
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This is what the bar attached under the cover looks like. The lacking depth will be used up by the l-track.
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Preparing the l-track and deciding where to drill the holes. Knowing the top M10 screw is going to be impossible to counter-sink in order for the l-track fittings to slide, I make sure to choose an optimal attachment for the bottom screw. Btw. I got a flange l-track with no pre-drilled holes from Cargo Equipment Corp.
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In most cases the table mount probably gets screwed into some type of wooden surface, with perhaps just two into some light framing and since the table will receive some offset forces in various directions, it needs a bit a bit of surface area for stability and four wood screws.

On solid metal, you’re right, one can probably trim the mounting plate down and add new holes to match the metal surface area in the van; or fab their own to be slimline … if that is seen as a necessity.
Updating this thread on how I adapted a lagun-like table mount (a bit ashamed I didn't buy the official mount - but figured this would be enough for me)

I wanted to utilize the b pillar l-track I had built. Since the l-track on both sides of the b-pillar was slightly angled I knew with my envisioned plan I wouldn't be able to switch sides. That's ok I thought because I didn't want to use the table on the driver's side.

So here is the picture series, which hopefully will tell more than a thousand words per picture.

Because I couldn't find any decent priced flush l-track fittings I decided I was going to try to make my own out of a threaded stud (those you can find everywhere on the web here in the U.S.). My plan was to cut out the stud and drill and tap a M6 hole in the center. I needed to find a washer that would be about the same diameter as the l-track center hole.

So I found this aluminum rod with almost the exact measurements. Actually a little bit smaller which was perfect. I used a miter saw to cut thin slices.

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Here are my very valuable aluminum scallops still without a center hole (cut more than I needed just in case)
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I predrilled the start of the hole from the backside of the stud, while having the stud tightened in the vice. You can almost see the exact center of the stud because of the way they are manufactured. With my battery driven hand drill I almost got it centered. A drill press would be good for this, but not part of my arsenal yet. Note that this is VERY hard metal. A cobalt type drill bit works.
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I drilled while keeping track of the depth as I wanted to only drill as deep as the main body, since I was going to cut off the threaded stud.
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I have cut off the threaded stud which I later sanded down only to notice it must have been windy that day because I had failed to drill straight.

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Disclaimer, I broke two taps which got stuck forever in the fitting. I got the thread on the third time, when I decided to drill out the bottom just a bit. I figured the friction in about 6mm thickness was too much for a hand tap, and I didn't need that kind of strength. In the end, my threaded hole was about 4mm in height. I also bought some actual tap fluid which might have helped. Tapping was the hardest challenge.
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Drilled a hole in the aluminum spacer, almost in the center.
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My initial spacer design attempted to "embrace" the fitting so I hacksawed some tracks I planned to grind down at a later time. Note: I ended up discarding this "embraced" design because it made it too difficult to control when attaching to the l-track in my table mount design. I ended up cutting new thinner spacers with just a hole in the center.
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Initial but discarded design taken at an angle.
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This shows my final flush fitting parts (however the M6 bolt is still too long)
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Fitting with the aluminum embraced spacer. The top extending part is the same height as the l-track top thickness.

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Custom fitting shown in a short l-track.
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Now I needed to decide how to use these fittings into my custom b-pillar l-track. Here's what I did.

I had a little ABS plastic sheet left from before and thought I'd try to use it to mount the table mount bracket to that. Thickness 1/4 of on inch so I thought it would be plenty stable. At first I thought I was going to mount it so the M6 l-track attachment bolts would be hidden behind it, but then I realized it would be complicated if I wanted to quickly remove it, so I could use my b-pillar track for something else like cargo.

My ABS sheet leftover was just enough to make it so that the table mount could be offset a little to the side, so I could tighten and loosen the M6 bolts as needed. In hindsight I would probably have made it half an inch wider but that was all the material I had at hand.

Drilling the table mount six holes. The bolts that came along were of M8 size and fairly long. I was going to cut these to length after my tap of these holes.

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Hand tapping the M8 threads into the plastic sheet.
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Ready with bolts cut to length. Notice the two additional holes countersunk drilled into the ABS. These I measured so they would fit centered and positioned correctly to the l-track on the passenger b-pillar.

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The following shows the backside of my mount. You can also see the more simple aluminum spacers with just a hole drilled through. I think these are about 1.5 mm in height.
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My first test fitting. Slipped right in. Insert about an inch from the bottom, and then slide down and press in. Tighten the two black headed screws (now cut to a correct length - just were the threads start so that when tightened they wouldn't interfere with the bottom of the l-track) What I like here is that the whole ABS board is somewhat leaning an the base of the footstep plastic.
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Refinement. Since I used a flanged l-track, the flanges are actually raised about 1.5mm or so. The mount was already stable enough, but adding a bit additional backing, I could make it even sturdier. In this photo I have measured where the l-track is positioned on the backside, and also noting with red marker which bolts need to be grinded down a bit.
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Using bakers parchment paper to transfer my outline. Here you can see why I wish I had made the ABS plate a little wider.
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Moved the outline to a aluminum sheet from some left overs I had.
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Cut out aluminum shape.
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Here you can see the idea on why adding the extra aluminum backing. I just wish I had extended it a little wider originally. Oh well!
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Sandpapered the plate and used JB weld to glue the two together.

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While attaching this plate originally to my l-track I realized I would loose other same time functionality from the passenger lashing. So I put in a couple of M4 insert nuts into the plate, that I may be able to to use for something light weight additional attachment

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The aluminum sheet I had at home was only partially thick. I knew this and had a B-plan. Used this excellent hand rail tape which is non-slip and slightly rubbery, but not too soft. The combination of the aluminum and tape is the perfect thickness to lean against the b-pillar interior body panel.

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Here is my completed mount seen from the back side.
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Below a photo of the final mounting plate. It is very sturdy and I like that I can attach and detach very quickly if needed. I also like that it is offset to the right a bit, because it means the table leg will be closer to the exit and further away from the passenger chair. It will also be easier to utilize the table if I want to use it from outside of the van, when swinged outwards.
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With the table leg mounted.
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Finally, my first plywood table top prototype to try size and functionality. I have since refined this top a little but the size/shape was to my liking. Excuse the mess as my van is just as much a storage for my tools and things, while I work on this thing.
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You gots mad skills Finnisher! lol
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I think it’s called extreme stubbornness but thanks @Rob504 !
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