Last month, we told you about our Project F-150, a mild buildup on our new '05 F-150 4x4 to be used both on- and off-road. This month, we dive into the project by covering the installation of our new pickup cap and bedliner.For a shell, or "cap" as manufacturers call them today, we chose to go with A.R.E. As the first manufacturer to get the coveted ISO 9000:2001 certification for caps manufactured in all its plants, we were confident the A.R.E. fiberglass cap could handle the hard use we might be dishing out. The Z Series cap looked like the model we wanted, with its clean lines and over-the-rail styling. The door, windows, and third brake light are recessed, adding to the clean look of the cap. The slam-action latch on the door is locked with a double-sided key and the lock cylinder is OEM-quality.
Another reason we like the Z Series is the side vent windows that come equipped with screens. We opted to get a tilt-down front window that allows us to clean the front window of the cap and the rear window of the Ford easily. The only other option we chose was the battery-operated interior dome light.
A bedliner was always part of our project plans. Whether a plastic drop-in, a spray-in, or something else, we needed a bedliner to protect the truck and make the bed more useful. Over the years, we've used a number of spray-in bedliners and found them to work great protecting the bed. The downside of a spray-in is that UV causes most brands (not all) to look dingy over the years and, if you throw heavy stuff into the bed it can be dented. Plastic, drop-in bedliners keep the bed from being dented but rub some paint off over time and are hard, allowing things in the bed to slide around. These problems are pretty small, and if you like these bedliner styles they'll certainly still work for you.
We decided to go with a Bedrug from Wise Industries and found that Ford Accessories offers a Sportliner Bedrug with the Ford logo. This is exactly the same Bedrug you can get directly from Wise Industries dealers, except the Bedrug logo is replaced by a Ford blue oval embossed on the front panel. While the Bedrug looks like carpet, in reality it's another plastic bedliner! The plastic polymer fiber can't be permanently marked by gasoline, diesel, oil, or grease. Water is not absorbed by the closed-cell foam backing, and any spill or stain remains on the plastic fiber surface for easy cleaning. The Bedrug will clean up with soap and water. Like any other bedliner, a great way to clean it is at the high-pressure car wash.
Once it's washed, there are no lingering odors, because they can't stick. The backing is molded to conform exactly to the bed ribs, making a flat, antiskid load floor that's also very knee-friendly. We've camped using the Bedrug as a bed and can report that it's very comfortable. All bed features, such as two-tier loading and tie-downs are retained. While a plastic drop-in bedliner is tough and hard, the Bedrug is tough and soft. We chose to use it with a cap, but the Bedrug can be used, like any other bedliner, with no cover at all as it fares fine out in the elements.
The Bedrug bedliner and A.R.E. Z Series cap are the first additions to our Project F-150. They make the truck more useful for what we have planned for it, as well as making the truck look even better. We chose Andy at St. George Topper in St. George, Utah, to perform the installation. Andy is an A.R.E. and Bedrug dealer and really knows the products! The installation went quickly and well, leaving us with a greatly improved project truck. Next time, we upgrade the suspension and add wheels and tires.