Homebuilt rack for light pickup

I’ve a GMC Sonoma (same as Chevy S10) and no cover. Have a set of Yakima racks made for cars/trucks with gutters, but the jimmy has none. Also, no cover, just open bed. I don’t have much money and need ideas on building a rack out of either treated lumber or pipe. The truck doesn’t have the holes for stakes like full size trucks.

Home built
I had a home built rack for 2 years in my 94 S10. I don’t have any pics to share with you but can describe it.

Imagine the four corners in the bed of your Jimmy. 2x4’s for uprights or posts at all 4 corners. 2x4’s for a front and a rear cross support. 1x4’s for left and right side supports up top running from rear left corner to front left corner. One on right… I put a 1x2 support down 8 inches from the upper 1x4 side support on both sides. Next I made “gussets” of some spare 1x8 I had laying around and glued and screwed those (4) up in the corners of the 2x4’s where the cross bars met the posts. By the way, all the 2x4’s, where they joined were mortised for glue and screw joints. On my S10 the front left post had to be a shade shorter due to a slope built into the bed for my gas fill pipe. Your Jimmy will probably have that too.

Once the frame was assembled I bought some 6 inch (I believe) 3/8 course thread eaylet bolts. I clamped up the eyelets in my bench vice and opened them back up so they would hook into the cargo tiedown points inside the bed. I drilled over-size holes in the 4 posts at an angle to accomodate these bolts and used wingnuts and large flat washers. These 4 threaded hooks thereby bolted the lightweight wood rack to the truck yet could be loosened and the rack taken out in a few minutes.

The posts were cut for an overall height of 6 inches above the cab. Cannot remember the exact length.

All wood was clear fir and pine from Home Depot.

I stained it black walnut and coated it with two coats of spar varnish from my boat finish supplies.

For one boat hauling I would use the foam blocks and my straps. For up to 3 boats on their sides I built another wood rack system that bolted into the 2x4 cross pieces also made of 2x4’s that would allow me to slide up a center boat and lift over the outer posts two sides boats. One on the left and one on the right.

I will try to find some pics that I can scan. I am a shade-tree boat builder so this whole enterprise only took me half a day. Your mileage may vary.

Good luck!

very nice
i have a toyota an may try that

Neat solution
to holding the rack in the truck.

Thanks for the idea. Pictures sure would be appreciated.

Similiar rack
I built a rack similiar to the one above. Mine was a free standing rack with a plywood base with 2x4 screwed edge ways into the plywood. This keeps the rack square and gives some thing to build up from. After the base screw four 2x4 upright into the corners, put two 2x4 front and back for cross bars and put four 2x4 diagonally on the sides cut at a 45 and screw into the corner posts and screw midway into the 2x4 base plywood frame. This rack is rugged and you can use 2 or 4 (60) pound chimney blocks in the corners which will hold the rack in place. When you are not using the rack take out the blocks put them on the ground lift the rack out which you can do and set the rack on the blocks and store your boats on the rack. Don’t know if this made any sense but it works. Good Luck

What I did
OK, cheap homemade racks, if you have a reciever hitch. I no longer have the pics since I don’t use it anymore.

For the cab, go to Wal-Mart. They have a support rack for under $30 that works without gutters etc. I added a wider wood cross member to it for extra width and height.

For the back, take the hitch plug for the hitch. In front of the ball mount area weld a 2" pipe coupler. Buy a galvanized pipe about 4’ tall and screw into the coupler. Screw a pipe flange base upside down on the top of that pipe.

Buy two pieces of 18" pipe one size smaller. It should fit inside the 2" pipe. Also by one pipe coupler to fit these. Mate the pipes and stick down inside the riser pipe.

On top of the smaller pipes you will need to weld a piece of box tube, steel pipe, angle iron(your choice) the width of the rack you want creating a T-bar

OK, your done. To use simply slip the plug piece into the hitch, drop the T bar into it. You can drill a locking pin hole if you want.

It sounds more complicated than it is. In all if you have the hitch it costs very little to make and you can adjust the height of the T-bar by changing the riser pipes.