You expect your truck to take you to work and haul all your tools and equipment to the jobsite. But what has it done for you lately? Has it done anything unexpected? The truth is, your truck should be working harder. It would be more useful if it could, say, double as a covered work area or simply be more efficient at carrying extra cargo. That's when it helps to have the right accessories. They can make your truck all it can be and more.
When it comes to truck accessories, builders have options. From bed liners to accessibility accessories, manufacturers have stepped up the design and ingenuity of their products, and the construction industry is their primary target.
One company that has improved the hauling flexibility of the truck is J&J Enterprises in Ontario, Calif. The manufacturer has unveiled the Master Box Bed conversion for the 1999 to current Ford F-350, F-450, and F-550 Superduty Cab and Chassis. Master Box measures 9 feet from bulkhead to tailgate and is free of interior wheel wells, which creates an unobstructed bed for easy loading and maximum cargo-carrying capacity, the manufacturer says. The product has a 5/8-inch-thick mounting surface and is constructed to accommodate any fifth wheel assembly and gooseneck hitch.
Downey Products in Franklin, Tenn., had so many customers requesting a tonneau cover that could be used with an in-bed toolbox, that the company decided to make one. The SST tonneau cover features a heavy-duty black anodized aluminum frame that can be installed in as little as 15 minutes, the manufacturer says. The inverted cover snaps attach anywhere along the frame's channel. Because it can be attached in this manner, the vinyl cover will be easier to put on when it is slightly stiffer in cold weather. Available in 11 colors, the cover is available for most 1973 and newer import and domestic pickup trucks.
"Most of the people who need a tool box tonneau are in the construction trades," so this new product will appeal to builders and contractors, says Tom Erickson, national sales manager for Downey. "The main benefit of the product is protection from the elements and concealment of goods," Erickson adds. An extra bonus, he notes, is that the cover reduces wind resistance on the truck, decreasing drag and increasing fuel efficiency.
Rise and shine
Cap covers are great and a convenient way to store and protect tools from theft and the elements. The drawback, however, is that they prevent users from gaining easy access to stored items, and the caps limit storage capacity. Ontario, Canada-based Rise Truck Industries says its Rise Lift offers a solution that will appeal to contractors, builders, and tradesmen.
Introduced this past summer, the product mechanically raises a pickup truck cap to a height of 6 feet off the bed of a truck. Powered by twin DC electric motors, the cap can be raised to full height in 30 seconds, the manufacturer says.
"The construction worker has been the primary buyer and target market of the product," says Shaun Belding, vice president of sales and marketing. Belding notes that the product is a must-have for people who do not want to crawl on their knees to access their payload and says that the lift offers an added benefit. "Because the cap can be raised to 6 feet, a contractor can put a workbench or table underneath and make it a work area when it's raining," he explains.
The cap operates on a scissor lift rather than a hydraulic mechanism so it creates a watertight seal, Belding says. In addition, the cap can be operated from a toggle switch installed on the truck or from 25 feet away with a key-chain remote. The dealer installs the cap, but in areas where there are no dealers, builders can order it directly from the manufacturer, who also will install it.
Need a lift: Rise Lift mechanically raises a pickup truck cap to a height of 6 feet off the bed of the truck. It is powered by twin, synchronized DC electric motors and takes less than 30 seconds to raise a cap to its full height. It can be activated either by a secure key mechanism built into the casing or by a remote wireless device that has range of up to 25 feet, the manufacturer says. Eight heavy-duty aluminum arms support the cap. Rise Truck Industries. 866-699-RISE. www.risetruck.com.
Run for cover: The SST tonneau cover is specifically designed to solve the needs of truck owners who have an in-bed toolbox. Available for most 1973 and newer import and domestic pickup trucks, the cover comes in 11 colors and features a heavy-duty black anodized aluminum frame that can be installed in as little as 15 minutes, according to the manufacturer. Inverted snaps attach anywhere along the frame's channel. Downey Products. 800-736-1610. www.downeyproducts.com.
Line up: The molded BedRug liner for the 2003 Chevrolet/ GMC short- and long-bed pickup trucks is constructed from polypropylene fiber bonded to water-resistant polypropylene foam that will not scratch the pickup bed, the manufacturer says. Each product is die-cut and molded to form a custom fit. Installed quickly with hook and loop fasteners, the liners can withstand oil, grease, chemicals, acids, and other materials, the company says. Wise Industries. 800-462-8435. www.bedrug.com.
Box out: Master Box Bed is a conversion product for the 1999 to current Ford F-350, F-450, and F-550 Superduty Cab and Chassis. Featuring a 9-foot box from bulkhead to tailgate, the unit has no interior wheels. The bed conversion comes with stainless steel bed rail caps, mud flaps, and a stainless steel drop-step bumper. It also features a modular design consisting of left, right, and center components for easy repair. It comes in gel-coated white. J&J Enterprises. 800-367-4961. www.j-jent.com.
Caps off: In anticipation of the 2004 Ford F-150, the manufacturer already has a new line of fiberglass truck caps and bed covers. The LSII Series fiberglass tonneau cover is available for the new F-150 short bed, long bed, step side, and super crew models. The Z-Series cap will follow soon. Each cap or lid will be custom built and painted to meet the customer's specifications. A.R.E. 800-649-4273. www.4are.com.