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          Everything on your truck looks right, right? Except ... except those bed side roll ends at the back, on either side of the top of the tail gate. They look so ... so ... so unfinished! Barf!! And those lights some vendors sell ... well they look cool and all that, but coolness comes with a price tag and sometimes Momma ain't hip to that jive (the jive that goes like this -- "Sweetie I need to spend money on stuff I don't need that doesn't help my truck one bit except to make it look cool!" -- Yeah, that jive was yesterday's refried enchilada about the time fuzzy dice and curb feelers went around the second time. Well fear not, fecund finaglers of frippery!! Here's Bill Jesse with a no-miss way to make Momma think you're buying much needed parts while you get much needed coolness by making your own ...

Simple Bed Roll Plugs

(12 May 2008)

By Bill "olblu49" Jesse
Bolter # 3901
1949 Chevy 1/2-Ton

No-money is the Stovebolt Mother of Invention!

      Until such time as I can afford bed roll lights or reflectors, I found I needed some way of plugging up the holes. A very simple method for me was to purchase four expandable rubber plugs from either an auto parts supply house or a plumbing supply company.

      The "finished product" is here on the right. Click the image for a larger view. (Peggy liked the colors, so she thought you'd like the 'big picture' ~ Editor)

      These are rubber plugs about 3/4" thick and come in various diameters. On either side of the plug, which look like a small hockey puck, is a flat anodized steel washer. Through the centre of the plug is a captured bolt with a nut on one end.

      When the plug is in place and you tighten the bolt, it compresses the plug causing it to expand in the hole.

      Measure the diameter of the roll ends you want to plug. You may find that for whatever reason some might be of a different diameter or not perfectly round. Being out of round or slightly bent is not a problem.

      Buy the plugs that would fit the hole and buy one stainless fender washer and one stainless acorn nut for each. [ image ] Insert the plug into the roll end. This might take a bit of forcing and liquid soap makes a good lubricant. [ image ]

      Once it is in flush, you can either remove or retain the original flat steel washer on the outside. I kept mine in place [ image ] and put the stainless fender washer on top of it after removing the original hex nut.

      The next step is to put the acorn nut on the bolt and tighten it up. [ image ] If you go too tight, the plug will roll in the hole. If it's too loose, it may fall out. You will know when it's snug enough.

      I have had mine in for about five years and never lost one. And now that I don't notice the hole, I have sort of forgotten about putting in lights or reflectors.

Bill Jesse


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