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Old 01-30-2010, 01:00 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I'd like to take Bondo's hatch top a step further.

Instead of a hatch use a tambor-type tonnea as the cargo cover. I like the ReTrax topper but there are others. Get one that is four feet wide (for a step-side truck and install it on an appropriate slope. Put a filler plate on the tail gate. This type rolls up into a canister in the front and allows access in a matter of seconds.

No free lunch. The canister takes up about eightenn inches of bed space.

Mated to Bondo's well-made fiberglass, it should look spectacular and work well enough for most people.

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Old 01-30-2010, 04:42 PM   #22 (permalink)
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How 'bout a frame mounted in the front of the bed coming up to the height of the cab, and hinge the topper at the front, at the top of that frame? You'd need to latch it down to the tailgate in the back but that doesn't sound like much trouble--a couple/few pins in the tailgate so when the tailgate closed, the pins would go into holes in the topper.

To load the bed, open the tailgate, lift the topper (gas spring assist?) slide the tall stuff to the front of the bed, lower the topper, close the tailgate. For really big loads, leave the topper up as high as needed and tie it down to cover the load. If you have a load that's higher than the top of the cab (it happened about once a year when I had a pickup) then take off the topper at the hinge pins. Seems to me it would be pretty practical.
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:05 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I'd extend Jack's idea even further, with what you might call the TransformerTopper(TM). Takes a bunch of hinges & latches. There's a frame around the cab, and a central beam going back to the tailgate. The two sides are sort of clamshells that hinge to the beam and latch to the sides & tailgate. Either side can lift to put in small stuff, and can easily be unhooked from the beam, and they're light enough for one person to handle. Remove the two sides, and the beam can then be removed (and maybe the frame at the cab, too) so you have a standard open pickup.

Now the transformer part is that the clamshells & beam also hinge crossways, so the topper can be opened as a lid from the tailgate, hingeing about halfway back along the bed.

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