Simplicity is always best for Baja because you never know what might go wrong. As such, we asked Brian to maintain a clean look, kind of a less-is-more approach. As you can see, the Bomber's new chase bed significantly adds to the Baja-ready image we sought for the project. It's simpler because it's a flatbed. It's lighter because it's made from aluminum. It's better than the stock bed because it allows us greater body clearance while providing more area for additional cargo.Simplicity is always best for Baja because you never know what might go wrong. As such, we (Editor's note: This is the second part of a two-part story about building a Baja-style chase bed. In this episode, we'll look at all the custom fabrication and bolt-on parts that went into the Baja Bomber's custom aluminum flatbed.) We've said it before-finding the perfect balance between utility and aesthetics can be very difficult. Chrome won't get you home, the old saying goes. So it's important to build first for functionality, then form. Just as we explained in Part 1 of this article (July '06), our expectations for the Bomber's chase bed were pretty high. We wanted something that could hold 1,000 pounds of gear securely, and look good while being able to survive the harshness of Baja. Our design evolved from several trips down the peninsula, where we observed tons of big-budget race teams and their pit crews relying solely on chase trucks to support race efforts. Most of the time we witnessed these trucks carrying all kinds of crucial race equipment. Or, sometimes we'd see a chase vehicle playing a rescue role, towing a disabled racecar back to the pits for repair. Their jobs were varied, to say the least. So when it came time for us to have a custom chase bed built, we knew we needed to enlist help from professionals. We found it in Sierra Nevada Aluminum Flatbeds (S.N.A.F.). These guys build some of the cleanest-looking, all-aluminum flatbeds we've ever seen. So when we were told by the company's owner, Brian Christie, "Yeah, we can do a chase bed," our imaginations began to run wild. S.N.A.F. installed two large lockable Taylor Wings-brand aluminum storage boxes near the back of the cab. All Taylor Wings come with diamond-plate lids, which we opted to swap out for lids with a smooth brushed finish instead. The custom rack on the left of the larger box is designed to hold two5-gallon jerrycans of water.S.N.A.F. installed two large lockable Taylor Wings-brand aluminum storage boxes near the b This is the Bomber's new battery box. Notice how a small filtered vent was incorporated into the lid, a key element to keeping the Baja's silt dust out.This is the Bomber's new battery box. Notice how a small filtered vent was incorporated in Here is the interior of our new battery box. What you can't see are the steel reinforcements that were added under the box to support the 175-pound battery duo. If you're wondering where all the wiring is, don't worry-we'll get to that in another build segment. We plan to install a large AC inverter, a battery isolator, and interior lighting in this box later on.Here is the interior of our new battery box. What you can't see are the steel reinforcemen S.N.A.F.'s chief welder puts the finishing bead on the bed's rearmost crossmember. Because this bed was intended to be as lightweight as possible, the guys at S.N.A.F. had to rethink the way they tied the lateral supports into the deck skins. We were surprised to learn they used a special industrial-grade aluminum epoxy to secure the deck skins rather than using bolts or tack welds. This epoxy is lighter in weight and a better isolator for vibration. Aluminum rivets also dot the deck's perimeter for aesthetics.S.N.A.F.'s chief welder puts the finishing bead on the bed's rearmost crossmember. Because On the outside of the water rack we had S.N.A.F. install two heavy-duty Straight Jacket Powertank brackets. These will serve as a secure mounting location for CO2 and nitrogen cylinders. We like these brackets because they were designed to survive the tortures of Baja. Constructed from 13-gauge steel, these brackets lock down any standard 20-pound-or-smaller bottle with two wraparound stainless steel straps. We think these are the perfect balance between high strength and light weight (3.8 pounds each).On the outside of the water rack we had S.N.A.F. install two heavy-duty Straight Jacket Po Tie CandyIn addition to custom flatbeds, S.N.A.F. also manufactures these clean-looking billet-aluminum tie-downs. They call them Tie-Candy. These tie-downs are load rated to 5,000 pounds and look super-trick on just about any trailer or flatbed. S.N.A.F. installed 10 of these tie-downs on the Bomber's chase bed, so we shouldn't have any problems securing our gear to our new bed.Tie Candy In addition to custom flatbeds, S.N.A.F. also manufactures these clean-looking Here you can see the 1-inch polyurethane pucks S.N.A.F. used to isolate the flatbed from the truck's framerails. These isolators will prevent cracking as the chassis twists and flexes while in motion.Here you can see the 1-inch polyurethane pucks S.N.A.F. used to isolate the flatbed from t Floor Jack MountIn every racing scenario, time is of the essence. So when it came time for us to figure out how to secure our new Craftsman floor jack to the Bomber's bed, we wondered: How do the professional racers do it? Some brief Internet research led us to Stewart's Raceworks of Santee, California. Stewart's Raceworks is owned by Craig Stewart, son of legendary racer Ivan Stewart. Craig's shop builds some of the fastest race trucks in the world, so we didn't feel compelled to question whether or not their floor jack mount setup would work for us...Floor Jack Mount In every racing scenario, time is of the essence. So when it came time f ...The mounting system comes complete as a kit and is designed specifically to fit the aluminum Craftsman floor jack (Sears PN 50239). We like it because it gives us peace of mind that our jack wouldn't become part of the Baja scenery. The mount features a spring-loaded quick disconnect latch mechanism that allows the jack to be removed in seconds. It also has a security bracket for use with a padlock, an awesome feature for those shady areas of hotel parking lots....The mounting system comes complete as a kit and is designed specifically to fit the alu We're calling this feature the "spare-tire pocket." Essentially it's a place to anchor two 37-inch spares vertically. With this mounting system, the spares are easily accessible and out of the rearview sightlines. Another benefit of this mounting location is its lower center of gravity than other mounting locations. We like the look of this arrangement because the tires are positioned toward the back of the bed, behind the rear axle, similar to a few well-known Trophy Trucks. This design puts the weight of the tires (300+ pounds) in a place that is most advantageous to the rear suspension's dynamics.We're calling this feature the "spare-tire pocket." Essentially it's a place to anchor two The spare-tire pocket, unloaded. You'll note how the upper exterior fascia continues throughout the pocket (see green lines). This, along with the horizontal lower lip, is where the structural rigidity of the pocket lies. The rest of the pocket is simply aluminum sheet. We didn't have S.N.A.F. include a strap to secure the tires into the pocket on purpose. We have much bigger plans in mind for that, which we'll cover in an upcoming issue.The spare-tire pocket, unloaded. You'll note how the upper exterior fascia continues throu This shot details the underside of the spare-tire pocket. We had to cut the factory rear crossmember to allow for clearance (green arrows). Initially we were hesitant to butcher this crossmember for fear that it might significantly weaken the rear portion of the frame, not to mention that this crossmember provides all the stiffness to the driver-side rear upper shock mount. We're still unsure if we'll need to brace what remains of this crossmember, but at least we have an unrestricted area to run bracing if it is requiredThis shot details the underside of the spare-tire pocket. We had to cut the factory rear c SOURCES Powertank N/A Stewart's Raceworks www.stewartsraceworks.com Sears/Craftsman Taylor Wings www.taylorwings.com Sierra Nevada Aluminum Flatbeds 866/850-0505 www.aluminumflatbeds.net Enjoyed this Post? 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