How To Install E-Track on a Flat Trailer

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E-track tie down systems for flat trailers are ideal for transporting motorcycles, ATVs, utility vehicles, snowmobiles and automobiles. E-track provides numerous tie down points to secure your cargo using d-ring fittings and/or E-track straps.

You will need the following tools and fasteners to install e-track on a flatbed trailer:

  • Cordless drill driver
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill bits
  • Phillips head driver bits
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pencil or marker
  • 1/4″ X 1.5″ hex bolts
  • 1/4″ lock nuts
  • 1/4″ flat washers with an outside diameter of 3/4″

1.) Lay out the E-track sections on the trailer in the approximate place where they’ll be attached. This will help you visualize what the finished project will look like.

2.)  Measure and mark where each E-track section will be fastened. Adjust the e-track rails so that they are straight and aligned properly with the trailer as well as with each accompanying section.

3.) On the trailer surface, mark where the trailer’s underlying frame members are. In this installation method, the E-track is only fastened to the wood decking and not through the framing members. Marking the decking of the trailer will easily identify where you will not be placing a bolt.

4.) Once the E-track has been placed on the trailer and all the measurements are finalized, you are ready to begin drilling through the trailer’s wood deck for placement of the 1/4″ bolts. Beginning with the end of the 8′ e-track section, drill a hole on both sides of the e track at every fourth hole. It is not necessary or desirable to drill every hole.

5.) After all the drilling is completed, insert a 1/4″ x 1-1/2″ zinc plated hex bolt down through the e-track and trailer deck. From the bottom, add a washer and nut and tighten.

6.) Install #10 x 3/4″ wood screws in the galvanized e-track. Beginning at the end of one of the track sections, fasten the wood screws evenly between each of the hex bolts. This configuration provides for one open hole between the screw and the next hex bolt and securely fastens the tie down rails firmly to the trailer. Repeat this process for remaining E track sections.

How & when to use ratchet straps and cam buckle straps

This video details the difference types of ratchet strap fittings, how to use a ratchet strap, and how ratchet straps and cam buckle straps are different.

Ratchet straps & cam straps

Ratchet straps and cam buckles are used to secure various types of cargo and come in various sizes from 1″ on up to 4″ widths.

The ratchet strap comes with many fittings: chain extensions, d-rings, e-track fitting, e-track double stud fitting, f-track hook and spring e-fitting, flat hook, flat snap hook, j-hook with d-ring, s-hook, and vinyl coated wire hooks.

Polyester webbing is used for cargo securement because of its low stretch rate. It’s also very abrasion-resistant.

How to thread a ratchet strap

To thread a ratchet strap, first open your ratchet a little bit so you have access to the take up spool. Now you slide the strap through the spool and bring it right back around on itself. At this point, pull on the strap to remove the excess slack. Once all the slack is removed you can start to ratchet to the tension you want, keeping the strap straight. Once you have reached your desired tension, lock the ratchet down in its closed position. To release the strap, open the ratchet all the way so it lays completely flat. Once it is flat, is in the release position. Go ahead and pull your strap out.

In some cases you may not need the strength of a ratchet strap. In those cases you would use a cam buckle.

Cam straps come with various fittings: butterfly fittings, e-track fittings, f-track hook and spring e-fittings, handlebar straps with s-hooks, flat snap hooks and s-hooks.

Cam buckles typically come in 1″ and 2″ sizes.

How to thread a cam buckle

To thread a cam buckle, turn the cam buckle over and feed the strap back through while pressing the thumb release. While pressing the thumb release, pull the strap to your desired tension, then release. To remove the strap, press the thumb button and simply pull the strap. You don’t have to pull the strap all the way out, just enough to get to your cargo.

In choosing between a ratchet strap and a cam buckle, it usually comes down to the working load limit, or how fragile the product is. If it is something light and fragile, choose a cam buckle since you’re not able to over-tension and possibly crush the product. If it’s anything heavier, less fragile, a ratchet strap is generally a better choice.