More often than not, truck owners buy trucks with the intention of using their truck beds for work—either with things permanently mounted in the bed or with heavy loads carried in the bed. The problem with “permanent” bed modifications is that they can often get in the way of carrying loads and prohibit other bed modifications. Roll bars won’t allow shells to fit, bed boxes take up room, hard tonneau covers make a truck bed little more than a big car trunk—there are sacrifices to be made. But there are a few great mods that will work with almost all bed configurations, and we figured it was time to make the bed of our Heavy Duty Ram project more functional for the way we use our truck.
The first change we made was in bedliners. We had been sick of the factory plastic drop-in bedliner since day one. It rattled, scratched paint, and took up extra room in the bed. A quick trip to Line-X alleviated that, and prohibited loads from sliding around much better than the plastic liner ever did. The next addition was some better tie-downs. The four anchors mounted midway up the bed walls were okay, but they were only four points and didn’t help much for low-profile things in the bed. Mac’s Tie Downs had a bed rail system and some floor anchors that took up almost no room at all, and gave us tons more options for tie down points.
Finally, we added a soft tonneau cover. Most of the time we like keeping the bed open and free to drop in bikes or engine blocks, but occasionally it’s very nice to be able to keep certain loads protected from wind, rain, and snow. A Bestop soft tonneau cover was an easy solution that would roll up and store behind the seats when we didn’t need it.
01. The first step was to get the factory drop-in plastic bedliner out and clean the bed with soap and water. It was amazing the kind of damage a drop in liner can do over many years of vibrating around.
02. At our local Line-X shop of Simi Valley, California, Ulises Quiroz pulled the truck into the spray booth and started talking about options. In addition to an over-the-rail spray-in liner, we were finally going to get the lower silver portion of the two-tone paint covered with Line-X as well. The lower body panels will be subject to better protection, plus that two-tone look won’t be so apparent anymore (it’s not our thing).
Quiroz began prepping for the Line-X application by masking off the portions of the truck that we do not want liner on. Luckily for us Quiroz is the kind of guy who takes time with his tape lines before spraying. Our results came out great.
03. After sanding and wiping down (with alcohol) the areas to be lined, Quiroz began to apply the Line-X. While watching the process we learned that the Line-X comes out of the gun very hot and after being applied is cured in less than a minute. The Line-X even comes with a warranty that lasts as long as we own the truck.
07. The load rings can be placed anywhere along these machined solid aluminum rails and have half-inch adjustment intervals. The same VersaTie load rings fit in both the bed rails or the floor-mounted anchor plates. The load rings can be removed without the need of sliding the ring to the end of the rail. Just push on the center post, move the ring mechanism to one side slightly, and then pull it out.
08. With the Mac’s bed rails installed, we wanted to try to install the Bestop ZipRail soft tonneau frame to make sure everything would work together. Soft foam is attached to the under side of the frame to help form a weather-tight seal between the top of the bed and the ZipRail Tonneau. Six Aluminum C-clamps hold the tonneau frame to the top of the bed rails. And luckily for us the clamps fit right over the Mac’s Tie Down rails.
09. Lining up the ZipRail Tonneau frame is very simple once it has been assembled, and can be easily removed from the bed or reassembled by one person in just a few minutes, though it does not inhibit the loading ability of the truck if you leave the frame on.
10. Three cross bars are supplied to help support the cover. The cross bars are all slightly different so they have labels to help you easily identify which one goes where. They easily pop out so you can store them and the soft cover to utilize the bed for hauling tall loads.