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Bed is looking nice!


It seems to me you are overbuilding it a bit for Smart car. 

I built mine from 4" channel, 3/16" wall, and the deck is .120 thickness steel tread plate.

My Bronco weighs about 4300#, with 2300# of that on the front axle.

I plug welded the plate to the channel and I see no deflection, of course a 40" tire with 5 psi has a much larger footprint than a smart car tire lol




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Based on you folks suggestions, I did a third tread plate layout and 3 sheets will cover the bed. This is with the idea that the outside plates will rarely be removed for access and the center ones will/might. The center section is two plates. The new layout looks like this...


And new quote on 3/16" aluminum tread plate.. still an ouch but all metal is kinda high right now.  Three 4'x10'x 3/16" for $1700 (inc. tax and cutting).

And per suggestion, the screws to hold it in place will be stainless. The last truck I had, had a alum diamond plate deck over steel supports. When I decided to remove the plates to do some work under the deck, found that the they had used just steel screws. Ya, that was a lot of work with an easy-out, drilling them out, etc. Not wanting to re-visit that effort again.

I think I have finally found a fabricator that can do the ramp boxes.... or at least do them before I die. Good fabricators are booked out for months here. So-so fabricators are also book out. Gee, I can be a mediocre fabricator and make bank if I want. Yaaa...no!

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Bed frame is ready to accept the slide-in ramp boxes. The passengers side will hold the ramps in two boxes. The box is 6'3" for the 6' ramps. The remaining area across the bed will have 2 storage boxes aprox. 26" long. The boxes can be unbolted and removed (slid out) if needs be.


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Hadn't quite figured out the clearance yet for the fairing and the bed rail. Took the truck for a run and it figured it out for me.  Doh.


Met with the fabricator for the boxes. He'll start in a week or so. I'm finishing up the brackets and bed rail. The square hole is for the winch mount.


So far, things are close to plans. Always have a few wrenches in the mix.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Things are going nicely. Well, mostly. One bit of steel I welded on kinda moved a bit and now I have to cut it out and re-do. But all-in-all, not bad to need to fix only one bit out of all the bits.

The rear corners of the bed are now in place. Fun learning how to make that corner joint.





Also starting the skirting template-making processing. The Fabricator said it will save lots of his billable hours, and saving $$$'s right about now is a good thing. I will have some new numbers at the end of the post.


And here's the old guy looking like he knows what the hell he's doing under that hood.



On the budget.... I will post the running total later but here's some solid new numbers on what's next:

- The under-bed ramp boxes (4 of them) + the two large behind-the-axle boxes (one for a generator and the other for storage). Both have roll-out trays. Fabricated, Power coated and installed...$3900

- 3/16" alum. tread plate for the deck, cut... $1499. Ya. Prices are high on all this stuff right now.

- Roll-on, dark gray bed liner for the deck... $320 (2 gal.)

- Etching primer for the deck plate... $50.

Should get the tread plate this week. Then the fun of drilling and tapping a whole mess of holes to hold it in place.

Weather has become spring like here in Utah. 60's, so work is much more comfortable to do.

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Did a test hookup today.




Looks like it will clear. I'll just have to be mindful of those times when I'm backing into a spot that is off camber with the road. Or pulling into a driveway that has a deep gutter and requires a turn before the trailer gets on the same level as the truck. Maybe I am over cautious. I'll move the hitch camera over to a spot where I can see the interaction between the pinbox and the bed deck on one of these maneuvers. 

The pinbox is extended down as far as it will go. I can raise the hitch more, but it will be lot of work. Like take the hitch base apart kinda work. Poor design on the mfg part.

It's always a good day when something seems to work out.

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Looking good Bob,


On your hitch, do something to keep that cable from getting pinched.     The clearance looks good on the bed IF the deck is not closed around the hitch.      It is supposed to be 80 here in Hutch on Wed, this week looks like early spring/next week they are thinkin snow?



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Started wiring the bed clearance lights yesterday. Using 3/4" LEDs that are rubber grommet mounted and each bulb has it's own weather-proof plug. If ones goes out, I can pull it through the hole in the bed rail and replace it.



The white (main run) is marine rated. Everything is soldered and shrink wrapped.

These little lights are bright!

On the budget front... here's the current tail-of-the-tape:

Budget= $7800

Current spend including new welder, tools, steel/metal, paint, wiring, etc = $3537.

Not listed because it's in progress, the 6 boxes build. Quote is hovering around $4500. And the generator needs to be added. Looking like $800-1000 for that. And the winch which are sub $200.

Then there's the bed skirting which I am templating right now. No quote on that yet. But when all is said and done... I think I'll overshoot my initial budget (guess) by 3 grand. Steel/metal is way up and still climbing. Almost double what my initial research showed. And that increase affected the box fab prices. I did save a lot by finding remnant steel @ .59/lb. But there's a lot of pounds on there.


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Robert did anyone mention isolating the aluminum from the steel to reduce corrosion? 

Also one wonders if there aren't some good Onan "RV" type low hour generators in the RV wrecking yard world ... a diesel genset connected to your truck tanks would make fuel supply simple...

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31 minutes ago, noteven said:

Robert did anyone mention isolating the aluminum from the steel to reduce corrosion? 

Also one wonders if there aren't some good Onan "RV" type low hour generators in the RV wrecking yard world ... a diesel genset connected to your truck tanks would make fuel supply simple...

Planning on thin rubber strips between the steel & aluminum. 

Need to look into the Onan idea. Thanks.


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