Next to its superb FastGun turnbuckles, Torklift International’s Tie-Down system might just be the crown jewel of the company’s extensive product lineup. The Torklift Tie-Down System consists of four independent, frame-mounted tie down receivers that work much like a standard hitch receiver as the tie down inserts are removable. This means that when you’re not hauling around your truck camper, the tie-down receivers are practically undetectable. The steel tie-downs bolt to the undercarriage of the truck’s frame using existing bolts, holes and attachment points. No welding or additional drilling into the frame is necessary. In our opinion, no other system works better in keeping your truck camper secured to your truck than Torklift’s frame-mounted, tie-down system. In this article, we will provide an installation report of our Torklift Tie-Downs in addition to providing a review on the quality of the system.
Torklift Tie-Down Installation
The tie-down installation for our Ram 3500 wasn’t too difficult, though a call into Torklift was required to answer a few questions. All said and done, it took us about three hours to install all four receivers, which wasn’t too bad. For the record, we installed Torklift kit D2123 for the front tie downs and D3109 for the rears. These are the kit numbers specified in Torklift’s installation guide for a 2013 Ram 3500, short-bed model with cab length nerf bars and with the factory hitch. Total cost though Amazon.com was about $450.
Like any job, having the right tools will make the job go much quicker and easier. For the front receivers you’ll need a standard 3/4-inch wrench and a socket wrench with a 3/4-inch head attached to a 10-inch extension. Believe us when we say that the wrench extension makes tightening the bolts to the front tie down receiver and hook brackets much easier. You’ll need the same tools for the rear receivers though the 10-inch extension for the socket wrench won’t be necessary. You’ll also need a 15/16-inch socket head to remove and reinstall the factory bolts for the rear tie downs. Lastly, a torque wrench is needed to tighten all nuts to the required 40-foot pounds.
Taken as a whole, the front receivers were far more difficult to install than the rear ones. Part of the difficulty lies in the tight confines where the front receivers are located. Elbow room is lacking. The receivers are mounted over the front leaf spring perch mount. The tie-down receiver has a large hole which is placed over the large bolt shown in the picture below. Two hook brackets are used to install the top of the receiver while the mid-section is secured using a metal clamp strap. Due to the height and difficult angle, you may have some difficulty lining up the hook brackets with the holes at the top of the receiver. Keep at it if you’re having trouble moving the hook brackets from side to side. They will move, you just have to get them at the right angle.
The clamp strap was much easier to install and was easy to reach. The strap, which has a dog-leg shape, was installed just above and behind the large bolt shown in the picture above. Unfortunately, I found that one side of the strap doesn’t sit perfectly flush due to the radiused edge on one side of the perch mount opening (see the small opening to the right of the large bolt in the photo above). Torklift confirmed that this isn’t a problem as long as the nut is tightened to specs. If you look at the picture below you’ll notice the slight off-angle of one of the installed bolts. Again, not a big problem as long as it’s tightened down to 40-foot pounds. Each receiver took a little over an hour to install.
Torklift’s instructions state that you should hand-tighten the nuts first before tightening everything up to 40-foot pounds. It’s important that you do this to allow a little play in the receiver to get the alignment of the receiver just right. Though the directions don’t specifically say, we recommend tightening the clamp strap nuts first before moving on to the two hook strap nuts at the top of the receiver. Alignment of the clamp strap is crucial as there isn’t much wiggle room to allow sufficient clearance of the bolts. Even after getting the alignment right, however, we still found that the front receiver tubes were tilted forward just a bit. Torklift confirmed that this isn’t a problem and is quite normal for this particular installation. Based on the answer, it appears we weren’t the only ones to ask this question.
Compared to the front, the rear receivers were extremely easy to install. Everything was easy to reach and get to and the instructions were clear and well-written on what needed to be done. You’ll use two existing factory bolts as well as a supplied two-inch long bolt for each rear receiver. No issues were encountered installing these though we needed a breaker bar (the tie-down inserts also work well for this) to get a sufficient amount of leverage to loosen the factory bolts. Each receiver took only about 20 minutes to install.
Overall, this was a fun and a fairly trouble-free installation. One person can easily perform this installation though at times another person is useful to help heft and hold the receivers into place and to help tighten the nuts. Out of curiosity, we called several hitch shops here in the Phoenix/Mesa area to see what they would charge to install these and the quotes we received varied between $150 and $300 dollars. If you have the inclination and know-how, we recommend you do the installation yourself. If you don’t, then you’ll probably pay a hefty price for what we consider to be a fairly easy installation.
So is the Torklift Tie-Down System worth getting? Is it better than the HappiJac’s Tie-Down System? We think so. Torklift’s frame-mounted system is stronger and more secure than the one offered by HappiJac. Yes, the HappiJac system offers a better road clearance, thus is better for off-roading, but if you do little rock crawling and stick primarily to the pavement, the Torklift system is far superior. Kudos to Torklift for designing a well-made product that works as advertised and is relatively easy to install. This concludes our Torklift Tie-Down Installation Report and Review. What would we rate the Torklift Tie-Down system? On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, we enthusiastically give it a rating of 5 stars. It’s a terrific product.