Storage, Tools & Air for Work and Play


The Double-Duty Ram gets out to run desert trails when it’s not dedicated to work duty getting the owner around town or pulling one of several trailers. With the Carli lifted suspension, 37-inch Toyos, and a front ARB air locker, it’s got greatly improved ground clearance and traction. Plus, the addition of 4.10 gearing means it can easily pull heavy loads up steep grades on the highway.

Next on the plan were additions to further accessorize the truck for both work and play. Part of what it takes to set up a 4WD or off-road vehicle is deciding on which tools or spare items to bring, and how to package them efficiently on the rig. You may have a situation where you can leave everything on the vehicle at all times, or you may need to move items back and forth between vehicles or your home.

In the case of this truck, the owner wanted some interior bed protection for hauling items, needed to carry a 37-inch spare tire, and also needed to haul a variety of tools for day-to-day tasks and weekend fun. With a goal of keeping most of the bed area clear, he made good use of the space at hand with some thoughtful planning.

The interior of the bed was prepped for spray-in bedliner. Here’s a good DIY tip for this. An abrasive nylon cup brush on a 4-inch grinder works great for knocking the shine off paint and roughing up the surface so the liner grips better when applied.

Bedliner Veterans shot the sheetmetal with a black, heavy-textured bedliner material. The truck came with a plastic drop-in bedliner, but we’ve found they tend to trap water underneath and also warp over time.

A Smittybilt 2781 5.65-cfm air compressor was chosen for an onboard air source. The owner mounted it to a piece of 1/8-inch-thick aluminum plate. A heavy-duty relay controls power to the compressor, and a 150-psi cutoff switch was added to kill power once the outlet hose is fully pressurized.

The complete compressor assembly on the aluminum plate bolts onto the side of the frame using some existing threaded holes. The compressor assembly is further protected from theft or damage when the retractable running boards are in the closed position.

A solid-state switch panel from Switch-Pros is used to turn on the main power feed to the air compressor. The compact panel was mounted to the dash surface in the cab. The panel also controls the solenoid signal for the front ARB Air Locker and will be used for added lighting in the future.

The Switch-Pros waterproof power module can switch up to 125 amps distributed across its eight outputs to control a wide range of electrical components. The module is compact and easily fits near the firewall under the hood.

A steel Jobox toolbox was purchased for storage in the bed. The plan was to mount it at the passenger-side, forward corner of the bed. To mount it as tightly as possible in the corner of the bed, the box was modified by cutting and replating one corner of the box.

A Harbor Freight Tools retractable hose reel was mounted inside the box and can supply 50 feet of hose to easily reach anything on a trailer or another nearby vehicle. The input of the reel is plumbed to the Smittybilt air compressor outlet using flexible rubber hose.

A hole was cut in the rear-facing panel of the Jobox and the hose feed roller assembly bolted in place there. It’s simple to unreel hose as needed with a tug from inside the bed.

A 37-inch spare tire won’t fit under the bed, and the owner didn’t want to eat up too much bed space with a tire. He fabricated a basic mount that allows the spare to stand up behind the cab, sandwiched between the driver-side wall and the Jobox. A single locking lug nut secures the tire to the mount.

The spare tire and Jobox fit together well to make the best use of available bed space. The remainder of the space in the lockable toolbox is used to hold a bottle jack, handtool rolls, recovery gear, and so on.

DIY brackets were made to mount a Hi-Lift jack to the wall of the bed. A foot plate uses two studs that mate with holes in the bottom of the jack baseplate.

The jack simply slips onto the foot plate and then is held in place with a single nut on a stud plate mounted forward in the bed. Simple and quick.

A shovel and axe are mounted to one of the bed walls using rubber Quick-Fist clamps. We’ve found these to be easy to use, secure, and reliable for keeping tools in place. Tie-down tracks from Mac’s Custom Tie Downs were mounted along the bedrails to provide multiple attachment locations for straps when needed.



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