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Old 01-29-2008, 11:17 AM   #1
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DIY truck bed cover project w/ pics

I've been wanting some kind of a way to cover the bed of my truck, to keep my equipment out of the weather, for aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, and for appearances and out of sight / out of mind purposes.

The problem was multi-fold:
- There is no such thing as an inexpensive tonneau cover. The cheapest start at 100 and it goes up real quick because 200 dollars is more like it, and for appearances a tarp and duct tape just won't do.
- Most of the less expensive ones (1-200) use snap rivets, which, I know from experience if you pop that cover off and on a lot you will also be replacing a lot of buttons. Since I've got equipment that has to come in and out of the bed every single yard, so like 8 times a day some portion of this cover has to come off.
- The really nice zippered ones cost 3-400 and by now we might as well get the real deal because for 5-6-700 I can get a hard cover, but that's a LOT of money!
- I have a full size tool truck box right behind the cabin, not only does this take up a portion of the bed but none of the covers I saw are ever made with this in mind.
- Obviously a cap would be nice, but those run 500+ used as well, and once again I can forget my tool box.

After much searching I found the Tarpeez, $55 shipping and all.
Connects to the bed with hooks and runs one long continuous bungee all around that holds the tarp in place.
Good, tough and solid water repellent material.

Steps:
First off if you have an uninterrupted bed (i.e. no truck box) then this thing installs in minutes, if it takes you 10 minutes to tear open the cardboard box and put it on I would be surprised.

But for me:
- Ordered the short bed version to compensate for the tool box.
- Ran to hardware store and bought some extra hooks ($4) so I could install the hardware I needed to get around the tool box.
> Two hooks through the top of the tool box, and two more on either side through the top rail of the bed.
- Also procured myself a $1 tube of pvc sealant to seal off the holes I made for the hooks going through the top of the tool box.
- Installation time: 30-45 minutes.
> Still have to figure out what to do about the center section on either side, used two spring clips for the time being but this portion is normally unsecured... Strange, one would think this will make the cover flap in the wind...
Oh well, I'll get around to this yet.

Here is the link to the mfg:
http://www.tarpeez.com/
Other notes: The girl did not come with it.

I'll post mpg improvements once I get the figures.

Pictures (sorry is a bit blurry):
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:55 PM   #2
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Not bad for the price.

Your application looks to be more practical than the website.

It would be aerodynamically better if it have a wooden bow about halfway down the bed to soften the transition. It would also shed water a whole lot better.

Let us know how well it works out.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:59 PM   #3
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I agree, perfect it isn't...


I'd say it's probably 80-85 percent efficient say vs a perfect one.

It did take some tinkering, part of the problem is the original goes on flat as it isn't set up for a tool box and so the curvature results in minor stressed and slack areas, but this is the closest thing I found that I figured would work... I took a small chance in that sense, got lucky but I had this in mind when I ordered it.

I couldn't see spending 100's for something that shouldn't take forever to pay for itself. Way things stand it will still likely take close to a year to earn this money back, unless it drastically improves mpg, I'm expecting maybe a 10% improvement.
Sure 20% would be nice, but if I get a good 5-8 or 10% I'm happy.

I'll play with it some more later, might replace those big nasty black hooks with a couple of skinnier S-hooks as well.
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:33 AM   #4
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eh, you get what you pay for.

other notes:
-snap tonneaus are also evil because I've seen them come off from wind at highway speeds. the force of the cover pulling is a lateral one across the snap and can pull them off. also permanent and prone to rusting.
-clamp-on rail tonneau is the way to go for a soft cover. the force is in line with the fastener and it clamps the frame to the bed instead of drilling holes. http://s29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...t=DSC02370.jpg only $175 and worth every penny over the competition. it took maybe 15 minutes to put on the first time.
-I've also seen sectional folding tonneaus sized for a toolbox. it's a clamp-on frame like mine but there are 3-4 sections of cover that slide into it from the back. very durable, long lasting, probly 3-400
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Old 02-01-2008, 07:19 PM   #5
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That's great but they still don't account for a toolbox...

But you are right, glad you mentioned that stuff about those snap covers coming off at highway speeds, they really are crap. Also I did notice the water pools when it rains thou that is minor all I have to do is undo one hook... Inconvenient yes, but minor.

What isn't so minor thou, as I drive I was amazed to find out there is considerable air pressure pushing down in the rear, so much so it almost lays that stupid tarp flat onto the bed... Really ruins the concept, not to mention image.

I do, however, have a larger piece of plexiglass that, with a couple of $6 cargo holding bars will stay in place underneath the tarp but what a pita and lucky me I have the plexiglass laying around.

If that doesn't work I did find one on ebay that conforms, looks to be pretty decent, $400.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/TONNE...2em118Q2el1247
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8307c4 View Post
That's great but they still don't account for a toolbox...
they do, I have a friend that had a roll up semi-hard cover with a toolbox. also, see what you found on ebay: you disproved yourself

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8307c4 View Post
What isn't so minor thou, as I drive I was amazed to find out there is considerable air pressure pushing down in the rear, so much so it almost lays that stupid tarp flat onto the bed... Really ruins the concept, not to mention image.
bungeeEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Bungee cords are the spawn of the devil. This is the first time I've seen a cover that wasn't either solid enough to support itself or had ribbing to hold it up (like mine) which also keep water from pooling.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:52 PM   #7
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yes uhm but the truck's mpg trailered has gone from 10.5-10.8 to over 12...
Consistently, for the past several tanks.

Thought I'd share as much, tonneaus do help.
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:50 AM   #8
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yea i gotta make mine this summer,

do you know if they sell piano hinges in 5 foot lengths?
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
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yea i gotta make mine this summer,

do you know if they sell piano hinges in 5 foot lengths?
i've seen piano hinges 8' long. www.mcmastercarr.com might have it, I'm not sure though. i'm sure a decent hardware store can order it though.
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Old 04-17-2008, 08:57 PM   #10
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yea ive found 3 foot ones, but id like 5 foot so its extra secure and somewhat more waterproof...

EDIT: cool they do have LOTS of piano hinges...up to 8 feet lol

foudn what i want for liek $5 .050 thick leafs, 2" wide flat 6foot long(can always cut) no holes in it, so i can drill my own for my own ideas
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