This came about due to the usual "snowball effect" associated with most "quick" projects undertaken by most of us. I wanted to add a receiver type hitch to the back of our truck so I could easily vary the height and size of the ball for various trailers/tow bars I have. While removing the previous owner(s) installed rear bumber I decided to look under the steel diamond deck plate installed over the original wood in the bed. I soon learned there was very little wood left, and in fact even the steel strips were mostly consumed by rust from years of exposure to the elements. I also found the front bed panel was missing the bottom 2 - 3 inches, also devoured by rust.
I measured what was left of the original wood and determined the width of the nine boards. I went to the Home Depot and bought 4 - 2X8X14 foot and one 2X10X8 foot Douglas Fir planks, which I cut down on a table saw to the correct widths. I used a router to cut down the ends to 3/4" and also the required channel for the front cross piece. I finished it with oak stain and a couple coats of semi-gloss marine varnish. The new steel strips and side angles came from Mar-K via UPS. I painted those with some black epoxy appliance paint, also from my local Home Depot.
I soon realized all my efforts would be for naught unless I could keep the morning dew and subsequent sun off of it. I decided to use pvc sprinkler pipe to make a simple frame with a slight crown to allow dew and rain to run off either side. I made some plugs from 1 3/4" aluminum stock cut down to fit the rolls in the bed sides, and hinged on the passenger side. I had a sheet of .032 8082 aluminum left over from a teardrop project, so I used it to cover the frame and held it on with stainless steel sheet metal screws and washers to avoid rust.
The main outer frame is 1" Sched 40 PVC and the slightly bowed frame work is 3/4" Sched 40 PVC. Actually most anything plyable could be used to cover the PVC framework, such as canvas, plastic, or even thin (1/8") plywood.
I have two AD tailgates, one is junk and the other is good, but needs some repair. In the mean time I came up with this chain/aluminum retention gate.
Probably not going to win any awards, but it's functional, and easily removed by one person, by pulling the two clevis pins, 3rd brake light quick dis-connect, and two allen (pivot) bolts.
|Click on||the photo||to enlarge|