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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to start this out by saying I am not a professional welder, mechanic or fisherman. However, I want to build a 72x30" rack for the front of my 01 F250 and I certainly did not want to use a single 2" receiver. I have spent many days scouring the internet for ideas on where to mount the receivers. One requires removing the tow hooks and the other required bolting to the tow hooks. Bolting to the tow hooks was not an option for me because the hooks are at funny angles and I did not want to spend 2 days fabricating. I also wanted to leave my tow hooks on the truck and functional. Here are the only two setups I found:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So I set my sights on this bar which is bolted to the spring hangers. I took some measurements and decided that welding receivers to the bottom of this bar would be too low, requiring hitch 'risers' which would add another $60 to the harbor freight bill.
 

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I decided that if I mounted receivers on top of the crossmember the rack would put my coolers in the sweet spot between being too low and blocking the headlights. It took a bit of time to line up the receivers, tack weld, check the alignment then tack weld more. I had to use these receivers which are 1 1/4" to 2" adapters because on the driver side a 2" receiver would not clear the transmission cooler lines.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So here is what it looks like. I still have to build the rack which is the easy part, but have no doubt the receivers are mounted plenty strong. Ill update the thread tomorrow after building the rack.
 

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Looks good, watch it doesn't twist on you when you start welding, could make lining up tough when putting it on and bind when taking it off, heading to North Topsail anytime soon?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't have any near plans for Topsail but my brothers, dad and I are heading Cape Lookout in 2 weeks which is why I am building this rack.
 

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I know it’s a lot of work. A friend of mine done the bolt on hook method. It turned out good.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
After standing on the ends of the rails this morning I am getting more flex in the mounts than I feel comfortable with. I am going to have to reinforce the spring hangers. I plan to weld in gussets in front of and behind the bolt plates. Also, I made the mistake of doing my measurements with the rails on jack stands and did not account for the sag due to space between receivers and rails. The end of my rails are now at 14.75" which is pretty damn low. I may end up welding a piece of 1/8" plate under the rails where they sit on the end of the receivers. That lifts the ends over an inch.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This is turning into a lot more work than I anticipated. I have long passed the point of being able to remove thie cross member without cutting.
 

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Good job there and a lot of work. That thing must weight a ton if it is all steel. Your second picture is actually my first F250 (2003) with the brackets bolted thru the angled tow hooks. I too wanted to keep the tow hooks functional. I have since moved those brackets to a newer F250 and had to change the bracket angle because my current F250 tow hooks are completely horizontal. I got a local trailer shop to redo that fabrication for $80. The good thing about keeping the tow hooks functional is I only have to remove one bolt from each bracket if I need the tow hook. My rack is aluminum and the 2 supporting steel bars weigh more than the rack itself.

I offer one word of caution as you finish the rack. Make sure the tube for your rods are tall enough, to keep the rods high enough, so the rod butt stays in the tube or doesn’t extend too far below the tube. You want to ensure there is adequate ground clearance between the bottom of the rod butt to ensure your rod butt is not dragging in the sand. A friend of mine learned that lesson the hard way.
Again, good job!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the tip. I made the rack 31" so that I can put the rod holders inside the rack on top of the expanded metal and still get my medium coolers in there pointed front to back. The rack is heavy but not unreasonably heavy. I can remove it and install it easily by myself. I saved a little weight by going with 1/8" 2x2" tube instead of 3/16" or 1/4" and I went with 1" angle iron instead of 1 1/2". I bet right now the rack is around 50lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I painted the rack and put the top mounts in for the rod holders. I will have the expanded metal Sunday and finish the rack. Also, the front of the rack is not strong enough. I need to add more bracing.
 

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Looks real good, may need a brace on each side too, surely sometime during happy hour someone will decide to stand or jump on the angle iron??
 
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