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Old 06-07-2011, 08:54 PM
Murdok Murdok is offline
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Default Homemade Tonneau Cover



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So I have a 91 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab and I carry some important gear around daily; BOB, climbing gear, hiking gear, emergency box, spare gasoline, etc.

I didn't want anyone coming by and stealing my stuff, but I couldn't afford a tonneau of any sort. Here's how they broke down:
Hard Tonneau - $1500 (Specialty Fit Needed)
Folding Tonneau - $1000
Soft Tonneau - $450 (Once Again, Special Fit Needed)
Tarp - $10

I didn't want a hard cover because i wouldn't be able to access everything quickly and easily. A folding tonneau was nice, but not for $1000. Lastly, soft tonneaus and tarp are just too weak. I know they have some ideas and models out there that are hybrids and what not, but I wanted something custom.

Moreover, I wanted a half-tonneau. If placed at the rear half of the bed, your fuel mileage increases up to 18%. Thus, I decided to craft my own.

Sorry, I don't have pictures yet, but I am going to explain my build process so you can get an idea of what I did and how it works for me.

I started by laying a piece of OSB over the front half of my truck bed, hopping in, and tracing the lines on the inside. The board measures 4'x4.5'x.5". From here, I measured the height I wanted the board to be (since it is a flush mount, it would be level with the rails). Then, I attached the 2x4s to the OSB and aligned them so that the "legs" would sit in the grooves of my truck bed. Then, I placed a 2x4 between the legs to create "runners" of sorts that sit in the groove also. Mending plates give the entire leg piece a good smooth glide on the truck bed.

From here, I tested the fit and ensured that it would all fit snugly and slide easily. Then, I draped an 8'x10' tarp over the OSB and put rope through the grommets to lace the tarp onto the OSB. I left around 1' hangover on one end, and 3' hangover on the other. This way, if the platform is near the bulkhead, there are 3' of fabric to cover the rest of the bed if needed. Also, if at the tailgate, there is a nice hang over that hides the platform legs.

The cool part is, there are a TON of uses for this:
Platform provides flat workspace/prep space.
Platform can be removed and used as table at campground.
You can sleep under the tarp and use the 3' overhang to give you extra headroom.
Under the platform, there are pockets created by the laced tarp, so you can store things on the platform itself securely.
In an emergency, you have a tarp and length of rope, plus wood to start a fire.
When slid back, the platform increases gas mileage 5%-18%.
Covers your gear, but lets you get to it by sliding a platform (feels like a drawer).
Gives extra, open space to store tall items such as mowers, boxes, etc.
Use extra hangover tarp to cover license plate when on a trail head or parking for extended time.
Lockable using locking cable and/or padlocks.
Ropes hanging from bottom of platform can be used to suspend items off of truck bed (glass, etc.).
Top rail mounts are left open and are still usable.
Platform can be used to increase storage and carry things on top.
Platform can be removed, tipped, and used as an emergency shelter.
Hangover tarp can be used to securely fasten platform to truck.

I hope these benefits have given you some ideas of how awesome it is to create something for yourself that suits your needs specifically.

The only downsides are:
Not Watertight
Could be destroyed with a hard enough hammer blow/knife.

Some things I'd like to change/update:
Paint Platform/Legs Black (Maybe? I'm not sure yet...)
Add Locking Cable

Let me know what you guys think!
Old 06-08-2011, 02:28 AM
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fratermus fratermus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murdok View Post
So I have a 91 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab and I carry some important gear around daily; BOB, climbing gear, hiking gear, emergency box, spare gasoline, etc.
I have a Ranger and wanted similar things, though in my case the primary concerns were ability to camp/sleep and do it is on the extreme cheap. I ended up going with a $25 topper off craigslist and cargo platform using the notches built into bed of many trucks for that purpose.*

Proof of concept looked like this first night I started playing with it. End shot so you can get a feel for the above/below platform spaces. The board was wrapped in an old tarp so I could get in/out without splinters. The plywood is wrapped up and the wood you see is the rearmost 2"x6" board:



and has some unexpected uses, like going to the drive-in:



A couple of $5 blue foam camping mats up there for comfort.

The benefits:
  • super cheap. Cost = topper + 2 boards + 1 sheet of plywood
  • effectively weatherproof
  • sleeping area seperate from storage area
  • storage area not visible to onlookers
  • relative security (lockable top, and tailgate will not open with top closed)
  • if the platform is cut lengthwise the boards and platform stack flat on the bed easily, allowing carrying larger cargo.

I put a dinky webpage up about my approach, including links to some other ideas about truck camping or other uses for the bed area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murdok View Post
I didn't want a hard cover because i wouldn't be able to access everything quickly and easily.
The accessibility challenge for my setup is how to get things that are stowed in the bottom up near the cab. I stole the answer from this guy ; my dragpole is made of thin pvc pipe I had lying around.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murdok View Post
Moreover, I wanted a half-tonneau. If placed at the rear half of the bed, your fuel mileage increases up to 18%. Thus, I decided to craft my own.
My highway is up maybe 1 MPG. Around town is the same.

Pls post pics when you can.



* most small trucks (other than the T100, IIRC) lack the 4' distance between the wheelwells needed to carry sheets of plywood or drywall. A cheap, simple, and effective idea is to put notches in the bed so boards can be laid transversely above (or flush with) the tops of the wells so whole 4x8 sheets can be carried with the tailgate down.
The Following User Says Thank You to fratermus For This Useful Post:
Old 06-08-2011, 04:27 PM
Murdok Murdok is offline
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https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink
https://picasaweb.google.com/Andrew....61434086235858
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink


I can never get pictures to work on here... anyways, those are some pics of the cover and how it works. I want to redo things (the cover got ruffled in the wind which is why it's not flat any more), but I'm not sure where to begin. I can't put any money into the project, but I have 4 sheets of OSB, plenty of 2x4s, and screws, so tell me what I should do to make it better please.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 03:25 AM
EdgeLivver EdgeLivver is offline
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The images no longer work. Any chance you could post them here?
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