The 2021 conversation to get back to off-roading (in my own truck) was continuing. The next item on the “Off-Roady” list was a decent set of recovery boards. I was aware that the most popular brands for the hardcore off-road/overlanders was Maxtrax or ARB, but at $300+ a pair, it was a hard price to accept. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll spend when I feel like it’s needed, but I wasn’t about to hit the Sahara desert on some 2 week self-supported expedition to find some lost treasure. Luckily, there was an alternative: a friend of mine recommended I get the same X-Bull Recovery Boards as he had, they’ve been tested and worked pretty good for occasional use. I ordered a pair of red for $92 from Amazon Prime, got them 2 days later, opened the box… and they were not red. The color was more like, bright reddish orange; the next day I returned them and bought the black version instead.
The X-Bull recovery boards include a nice carrying bag, but i wanted to mount them directly to the truck. That meant it was time for some DIY. First, the included mounting hardware that came with the recovery boards was metric; normally I would be happy since I prefer metric hardware whenever possible. However my idea was to use the same 3/8″ Spring Nuts that I used for mounting my shovel – so that meant sourcing some new 3/8-16″ threaded rods, washers, and some nifty tool-free hand knobs:
I completely forgot all of the numbers, but when it was all said and done, the two threaded rods were to be mounted on the rear wall Utilitrack rail at exactly 347.5mm from each side. Two problems arose from this: first, at 347.5mm, it was almost exactly centered over two of the mounting bolts that held the Utilitrack rail in place. Second, the rear wall Utilitrack rail was not as deep as the bedside Utilitrack rails.
My solutions were simple: since the recovery boards were going to be the only things attached to the back wall Utilitrack rail anyways, I simply removed two of the mounting bolts for enough clearance for the threaded rods to be positioned at that exact 347.5mm point. I also removed the springs that were attached to the spring nuts and with that I could mount the threaded rods in place.
The two threaded rods would fit perfectly into the two upper mounting holes running through the recovery boards. As for the lower mounting holes, I made some DIY “secondary retainer bolt” assemblies that would easily “clamp” the two boards together to secure them in the stack:
Installation was completed. The Utilitrack mounting position placed the boards perfectly across the back wall of the truck bed, with ample clearance under my low profile tonneau cover. This will do for now, but I’m already thinking of some mounting revisions later down the line.