To save gas! I mean the way I figure it I always hear about drag on my truck bed and I know that it takes more fuel to carry more weight so I figure why not take the damn thing off completely. I am no longer using the truck for work and don't really have the money to invest in anything else right now so I am trying to make it as fuel effecient as possible.
If you don't mind looking weird, perhaps you should construct something aerodynamic to replace the bed. You're going to need the weight, it will probably drive terribly unsafely with the bed removed...pickups barely stick to the ground with an empty bed, let alone without one.
I've always wished I were better at woodworking...ever since I had a '76 Chevy LUV pickup I wanted to convert it to a woody station wagon. Someone with some talent could do that, and probably do it in such a way as to improve the aerodynamics in the process. Could improve mileage, look really awesome, and put enough weight over the rear wheels to keep them from locking up too quickly in a panic stop.
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Thanks for the info so far. What if I took and mounted some 45lbs weight plates (like you lift weights with) on the corners using the bolts that usually hold the bed down? That would be 90lbs plus the spare tire on the back and would supply some weight along while getting rid of the drag cause. What do you think?
You could use trailer fenders for the wheels, you have to redirect air behind the cab, as a kid before laws I would sit behind the cab and have no air blowing on me at all, even in winter.
If you havent removed the bed yet a tanau cover or fiberglass lid could go on top, that would smooth the bed aerodynamics down. On my old pick up, I just took off the gate and I got better mpg contrary to popular belief, I did have a short bed though.
Also with truck and SUV experience I found that buying the cheapest stock tires, ie. Firestone or General, I got vast improvemnts in MPG, a Walmart special might help.
Before disabling a pick up's utitility, try the covers, right now for home projects I have to rent a truck to haul away gabage or pick up 2X4's for construction.
I think slits in between the ribs on the bed bottom would reduce your fuel economy. I also think that 90 pounds won't be enough for safe or pleasant driving.
I think you'll need something like the bed bottom to avoid increasing your aerodynamic drag. A flatbed would be better than no bed. The sides and tailgate could be improved for less drag above. For under the vehicle, the sides (again) and the bumper could be done differently.
Optimally, the frame and various stuff would be boxed in, and a bed side would extend from the cab back to the wheel and taper in from the wheel to the end. On the underside, instead of having the side just end in an edge at the bottom it would hem back to the frame box.
Maybe I should sketch it up. I'm really terrible at sketching/drawing/etc.
Even more optimally, a teardrop shape would extend from the cab roof to the bumper, like you might see on an exotic sports car or a Prius/Insight/etc.