Have you ever seen an off-road truck driving through your neighborhood and thought to yourself, Man, why did that guy cut all those holes in the bed, wasting a perfectly good hauler? Maybe you saw a truck that had its entire bed replaced with fiberglass fenders and half a rollcage, prompting you to think the owner must have lost his marbles. Although it's not a common practice nowadays for owners to re-engineer the back half of their trucks with custom framework, we're starting to see quite a few non-race trucks outfitted with custom-built off-road suspensions that require the removal of the factory bed. The crossover from full-blown race trucks to street trucks is happening, and the technology is steadily trickling down to the street level as more and more companies develop suspension kits for our street-driven trucks. Fab shops are popping up all across the map that are capable and willing to convert your box-stock truck into a full-blown off-road warrior if you are willing to cut up your rig.
A bedcage is the first step to crafting a long-travel, whoop-killing rear suspension system. In the most basic of terms, a bedcage is nothing more than a series of welded tubes that stiffen the back half of a chassis and provide mounting locations for longer shocks, as well as a fuel cell, tools, and anything else needed to survive off-road excursions. Construction of the 'cage requires moderate to expert welding and fabrication abilities. We took one of our project vehicles, a two-wheel-drive '03 Toyota Tundra, down to IMZZ Industries in Brea, California, to have the rear of the truck outfitted with fiberglass fenders from Trailer Products, a new set of Sway-A-Way bypass dampers, a set of Deaver race pack leaf springs, and a bedcage to tie it all together. Here's a look at what went into the creation of the 'cage and how all the different components fell into place.