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Old 10-04-2009, 02:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How To: Build a flush mount tonneau for under $35!

Unfortunately, although I've done this before, I don't have any pics. They're on my Server, which is Deep Six at the moment, and isn't scheduled to be fixed for a good, long time.


Things you'll need:
Measurements for your bed, inside width and length.
Sheet of 3/8" ply wood or similar material.
Aluminum flat stock, 3mm, 1.5" width, enough to make both long sides, and over the tail gate.
Fasteners, either screws, rivets, grommets, bolt/nut, etc.
Paint, or something to waterproof the plywood/material you use.
Strips of rubber or plastic "bed caps", if you already have something similar.

Optional:
Pair of gas hatch shocks and mounts.
Hinges.

Simple Instructions:
Measure the inside width and length of your truck's bed area... typical measurements would be something along the lines of 48"W by 96"L (Large pickup, 8' bed area.)

Cut your sheet of plywood so that it fits, but doesn't rub, inside your bed area's largest perimeter measurement.

Attach the aluminum flat stock so that no less than 1/2" of it is attached to the plywood, but no less than 1/2" is laying over the edge, either. (Usually, you'd just use 3/4 of an inch, or exactly halfway, so you have a 3/4" over hang from the sheet of plywood.) Leave the flat stock approx 2" short of the cab end of the plywood sheet, so the aluminum stock acts as a hinge point to lift by.

Glue the rubber strips down to your bed sides and tailgate top, to protect the paint and prevent corrsion. These can be sourced from old inner tubes, whatever. They're optional.

Lay the sheet into the bed, so that the aluminum strips are supporting it on the bedsides and tail gate. The lid will stay in place, even on some of the worse roads. If you often fly over pot holes and go off-roading, you'll want a fastener of some sort, though. On strictly smooth roads, and highways, no need to fasten it, the weight alone (and air flow) will keep it in there.

Hinges, fasteners/locks, and lift shocks are all optional, and will obviously increase the price.

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Old 10-05-2009, 09:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've considered making my own flush-mount tonneau since my snapless roll-up is getting worn and sticks about 1.5" above the rails. My concerns that have prevented me from doing so were rigidity of the panel (I like the aluminum rails on the sides and the cross-rails every 16" or so to support the vinyl).

The key thing I've found is: a single 4x8 sheet of plywood will NOT cover a full-size truck bed.

Inside bed width is more like 60+ inches. The 48 inch bed width is the width of the bedfloor between the wheelwells. The open bed is quite a bit wider than that. This would require using two separate sheets turned sideways so it's not insurmountable, but adds to my concerns about panel rigidity.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MechEngVT View Post
I've considered making my own flush-mount tonneau since my snapless roll-up is getting worn and sticks about 1.5" above the rails. My concerns that have prevented me from doing so were rigidity of the panel (I like the aluminum rails on the sides and the cross-rails every 16" or so to support the vinyl).

The key thing I've found is: a single 4x8 sheet of plywood will NOT cover a full-size truck bed.

Inside bed width is more like 60+ inches. The 48 inch bed width is the width of the bedfloor between the wheelwells. The open bed is quite a bit wider than that. This would require using two separate sheets turned sideways so it's not insurmountable, but adds to my concerns about panel rigidity.
You're right, it will not quite fit across a full-size pickup. I think I posted that it would, as well. My bad!

It works perfectly for mid-size and mini trucks, though. For a larger pickup, you could do what you suggested, but you'd want to bond the seam on both sides, or just hinge it at your union point. That would help out, because you wouldn't have to lift it all the way up (weight and leverage) to load a couple small items aft of the axle.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christ View Post
You're right, it will not quite fit across a full-size pickup. I think I posted that it would, as well. My bad!

It works perfectly for mid-size and mini trucks, though. For a larger pickup, you could do what you suggested, but you'd want to bond the seam on both sides, or just hinge it at your union point. That would help out, because you wouldn't have to lift it all the way up (weight and leverage) to load a couple small items aft of the axle.
This would make a cheap diy bed cover, one thing though

I always thought the purpose of a DIY bed cover was to only cover the rear half of the bed to increase FE and improve aero?

So maybe it is big enough for a fully size pickup as you only want to cover half, which half I can't remember.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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IN our case, sure it is.

Some people might just want to cover the bed, though. Also, if you want to spend just a little more, you can make it lockable with two key latches, they lock on under the bed rails.
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Old 12-31-2009, 03:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The sign shop I was at today told me $30/sheet for coroplast. That would lower your weight considerably, and it is already waterproof.
My truck bed is too wide though..lol.
Dave
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christ View Post
Unfortunately, although I've done this before, I don't have any pics. They're on my Server, which is Deep Six at the moment, and isn't scheduled to be fixed for a good, long time.


Things you'll need:
Measurements for your bed, inside width and length.
Sheet of 3/8" ply wood or similar material.
Aluminum flat stock, 3mm, 1.5" width, enough to make both long sides, and over the tail gate.
Fasteners, either screws, rivets, grommets, bolt/nut, etc.
Paint, or something to waterproof the plywood/material you use.
Strips of rubber or plastic "bed caps", if you already have something similar.

Optional:
Pair of gas hatch shocks and mounts.
Hinges.

Simple Instructions:
Measure the inside width and length of your truck's bed area... typical measurements would be something along the lines of 48"W by 96"L (Large pickup, 8' bed area.)

Cut your sheet of plywood so that it fits, but doesn't rub, inside your bed area's largest perimeter measurement.

Attach the aluminum flat stock so that no less than 1/2" of it is attached to the plywood, but no less than 1/2" is laying over the edge, either. (Usually, you'd just use 3/4 of an inch, or exactly halfway, so you have a 3/4" over hang from the sheet of plywood.) Leave the flat stock approx 2" short of the cab end of the plywood sheet, so the aluminum stock acts as a hinge point to lift by.

Glue the rubber strips down to your bed sides and tailgate top, to protect the paint and prevent corrsion. These can be sourced from old inner tubes, whatever. They're optional.

Lay the sheet into the bed, so that the aluminum strips are supporting it on the bedsides and tail gate. The lid will stay in place, even on some of the worse roads. If you often fly over pot holes and go off-roading, you'll want a fastener of some sort, though. On strictly smooth roads, and highways, no need to fasten it, the weight alone (and air flow) will keep it in there.

Hinges, fasteners/locks, and lift shocks are all optional, and will obviously increase the price.
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Old 01-01-2010, 03:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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anyone with a picture? Somehow the idea is eluding me of how the Al stock holds the plywood.
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Old 01-01-2010, 03:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
Moderate your Moderation.
 
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Woops.. I think I forgot that part. About every 4-6 inches, you drill and put a carriage bolt through the aluminum strips, then put a nut and washer on the bottom. You can also throw a bit of caulk between them to help bond it.

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