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ishmael
02-16-2010, 05:52 PM
If I decide to keep this Tacoma I want to put a cap on the back. The Lear glass caps seem the Cadillac. I want something fairly easy to get on and off, because I want to haul stuff that a cap doesn't fit with.

Thoughts?

stevedwyer
02-16-2010, 06:15 PM
From my perspective, a truck without a rack is just about useless.
The trouble with most racks designed to mount with caps is they are
not very strong.

After having caps, cross-boxes and covers of other types, I went with
this set-up:

I installed an inboard mounted roll-out cover That stretches tight as a drum with velcro on the sides and a clamp at the tailgate.

Then I installed a trac-rack. The regular rails with the t-rail inside can be turned so it faces out and does not interfere with the cover. Otherwise you have to special order the rails with a smooth (no-t) side.

I find this very versatile. I have a watertight "trunk", can roll it back to haul tall stuff and the rack can carry an amazing load. I also enjoy being able to walk around upright in the bed. ( got really tired of crawling in and having to move stuff out of the way as I went.)
I have at times walked along the rail as well.

One thing about pick-ups and their rigs...there is always a trade-off.

Steve

switters
02-16-2010, 06:46 PM
this is like the I want a boat but I'm not sure which one.
Then Thorne comes along and asks several questions about what you intend to do with it and where you are using it etc. What are you hauling that does not fit in the camper? are you going to put boats on top? How heavy? Do you even have a place to keep the topper when you dont need/want it on the truck?

help us out, I've had a pick-up in one form or another for over 20 years, and several on this forum can probably double that.

for instance,

http://i281.photobucket.com/albums/kk221/switters_bucket/DSC01836.jpg

in the background is my little red nissan pick-up. used as my landscape contractor truck for a few years, and now mostly for errands to the lumber yard and as a spare. It has a steel frame made square tube on the back with hooks welded in all over. The cross member in the back is on a hinge and can be swung over to the side of the rack and secured with a pin. This allows anything taller than the rack to be placed int he bed, and then the back cross member is moved back to keep things from tipping out.This rack has worked very well for hauling canoes, and with a tarp can be made into a crude shelter to spend the night when snow or rain threatens. Obviously it does not offer any security for items in the back and perhaps this is why you want a topper?

stevedwyer
02-16-2010, 06:55 PM
this is like the I want a boat but I'm not sure which one.
Then Thorne comes along and asks several questions about what you intend to do with it and where you are using it etc. What are you hauling that does not fit in the camper? are you going to put boats on top? How heavy? Do you even have a place to keep the topper when you dont need/want it on the truck?
...or like which dinghy I'm going to get, which is my current conundrum..or should I build one?

ishmael
02-16-2010, 06:58 PM
Yeah, you can lock a cap is really the only reason. I agree, they are a PITA.

BrianW
02-16-2010, 07:41 PM
There's a local aluminum boat builder that build lumber racks which fit outside truck caps. They are as strong as any lumber rack without a cap.

As Captain Blight mentioned, getting stuff that rolls to the front of the bed can be a bit of a pain. Which is why I carry a boat hook in there all the time. Ain't you folks nautical? ;)

I'm looking for a cap (topper, shell?) for the wife's Dodge, as she like the one on my Ford.

Mrleft8
02-16-2010, 09:33 PM
I like the aluminum caps with slider windows. Even I, in my decrepit condition can pick one up and slip it onto the truck bed..... Get the cam action clamps, they're a lot easier than C clamps or bolts.

LeeG
02-17-2010, 12:07 AM
Jack, is this a long bed or short bed?

ishmael
02-17-2010, 12:32 AM
Six foot, short bed.

LeeG
02-17-2010, 01:17 AM
I'd go for this type. The matching fiberglass ones look slick but it's worth having some kind of rack on top that could be combined with a Yakima/Thule rack over the cab for long pieces. Instead of sliding side windows have hinged side window.

http://www.truckworksandmore.com/inventory-popup.asp?item=15070&pic=47695

http://www.truckworksandmore.com/inventory-popup.asp?item=15072&pic=47698
I like the cap with the two rounded windows in the hinged side door. If that could be had with an integral roof rack that would be good. Loading/unloading gear through the sides is a lot easier. Sail bags, etc.

Nicholas Scheuer
02-17-2010, 04:13 AM
My prior pickup, a Silverado ext cab w/6' box, had a nice color matched frp cap with a pair of Yakima "landing pads" at the rear, along with another pair of "pads" on the roof of the cab. With the crossbars in-place, it was great for transporting our dinghy over the road for cruises, or for occasionally transporting ladders.

The "landing pads, without the crossbars, hardly matter in terms of wind resistance.

Moby Nick

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
02-17-2010, 04:37 AM
I'd go for this type. The matching fiberglass ones look slick but it's worth having some kind of rack on top that could be combined with a Yakima/Thule rack over the cab for long pieces. Instead of sliding side windows have hinged side window.

http://www.truckworksandmore.com/inventory-popup.asp?item=15070&pic=47695

http://www.truckworksandmore.com/inventory-popup.asp?item=15072&pic=47698
I like the cap with the two rounded windows in the hinged side door. If that could be had with an integral roof rack that would be good. Loading/unloading gear through the sides is a lot easier. Sail bags, etc.

The ones in the first link I don't like as much.

The one in the second link, the Century commercial aluminum truck caps, with the full length bars to transfer the rack load directly to the pickup box, that one gets my nod, as well as the full length flip-up side doors and dual vertical rear doors. Normally, the best setup I have seen is a good cap with a separate ladder rack, they have racks now with bases that are cantilevered away from the cap so you can fit both. I like that those ladder racks extend over the cab, those are pretty darned versatile, though heavier than the Century setup shown there. It doesn't say how much it costs.

BrianW
02-17-2010, 06:18 AM
Those are certainly nice toppers Lee. Be great on my truck, but I don't think the wifey would like them on hers. It's gotta look good. :)

chasbartlett
02-17-2010, 07:18 AM
Get a trailer....Chuck (paladin) had/has a really nice 6 foot by 10 foot bed trailer with the square tube frame for long stuff. The sq. tube racks have rollers on them. You can drop the tailgate and slide the roller racks in the bed and load wood/plywood from the rear by just rolling it in then lifting the tailgate to secure. Then just drop trailer and all at the location without unloading. You can load long stuff on top if necessary, but the entire trailer can be moved with an 18 hp garden tractor without moving the primary vehicle.

Boatsmith
02-17-2010, 07:24 AM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2783/4364476623_7b8be8a72f.jpg
Maybe something like this

mmd
02-17-2010, 09:36 AM
Used pickups with caps for years and hated every one of 'em. There's always something to carry when you are far from home that is taller than the cap. I like roll-up tonneau covers on extruded aluminum frames. Their only downfall is lack of security. However, I've never had a problem with that in the twenty-odd years that I've owned a truck with a tonneau cover.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d19/mmd_ns/DSC00007-1.jpg

rbgarr
02-17-2010, 10:34 AM
If I ever get a pickup I'd like the versatility of one of these 'convertible tops'.... if they hold up to road duty. http://www.softopper.com/

BrianW
02-17-2010, 10:37 AM
The tonneau would be nice, but the dog probably wouldn't like it. ;)

(and yes, the dog rides in the bed, where dogs belong)

LeeG
02-17-2010, 10:55 AM
Bob, I'm thinking that if Jack has a regular high centered Tacoma 4x that there's an inherent limit on how much weight that can be safely carried that high with a heavy duty lumber rack. But I agree the latter commercial ones would be better, I still remember breaking the side window on the aluminum one I had with a broom handle. Putting on an aftermarket rack above the cab would make it possible to safely carry long pieces without the weight and expense of those heavy duty ones.

Boatsmith
02-17-2010, 11:08 AM
Donn, many years ago I had a1945 White bus. I cut the top off and built a wooden gingerbread house on it. Wasn't a motor home but a self propelled mobile home. Sewer hookup gas line w/d. Bought a house in downtown Long Beach Ca, parked the bus in the back yard and rented out the house to pay the mortgage. I had a very dogeared copy of Roll Your Own. Helped build several house trucks. The bus is now permanently parked at K38 in
Rosarita Beach Mexico. The bride said it's kinda cool dating a guy who lives in a bus but we're not living in one. There you go. David

stevedwyer
02-17-2010, 11:31 AM
I'm sure you can find a better price, but here are two that allow a truck rack to be mounted solid to the rail. One locks.
http://www.tonneaucoversworld.com/access-literider.aspx
http://www.rollnlock.com/Products/MSeriesTonneau/tabid/58/Default.aspx

The type that I have has velcro sides and a clamp at the tailgate ( you have to open the tailgate to un-clamp )
so you could install a lock on the tailgate handle to keep honest people honest. I've seen more busted cap locks
where either thieves or the owner forced it open.

I built a plywood (house) top once, scrounged some windows and it worked great. It ended up as a lawn shed at my mother's house.

I also give a nod to the commercial version (aluminum top with rack)
but they do tend to heat up in the sun and typically run some tall $s.
Some kids came by the job site one day while an electrician was crawling inside looking for some stuff. We didn't find that he had been locked inside until afternoon coffee.

mmd
02-17-2010, 11:31 AM
Brian, I once saw a truck w/ tonneau with a round hole cut in it, all nicely seamed and reinforced, for the dog to stick it's head out of. No kidding! Not exactly my idea of critter transport - or tonneau useage - but to each his own, I guess.

stevedwyer
02-17-2010, 11:40 AM
Astro would need a plastic bubble.

Breakaway
02-17-2010, 11:44 AM
I have a Titan with a Tonneau cover. The way I see it, locks just keep honest people honest---they don't deter thieves, especially from something as easy to break into as a truck cap. If its covered and out of site, its safe enough from "thieves of convenience." You could install a tool box with a lock for real pricey stuff though.

LeeG
02-17-2010, 11:47 AM
a friends kayak business had aluminum shell with opening side doors on a small Ranger pickup, it was easy to pile/unload lots of gear through the side doors.

Hal Forsen
02-17-2010, 11:52 AM
Years ago I made a locking, hard tonneau cover for my old PU.
I used " Exterior Ply covered with heavy duty vinyl diamond plate and it hinged in the middle. I put hunk of canvas under the hinge so it didn't leak too bad. It was reinforced so it didn't sag a bit, even with several people standing on it and it made transporting sheet goods a breeze.
It lasted a good long time and then I built something similar to this.
http://www.butlerprojects.com/other/truckcamper/camper2-s.jpg
http://www.butlerprojects.com/other/truckcamper/index.htm

Garret
02-17-2010, 12:07 PM
IMHO - OK maybe my opinions ain't so humble, but I digress.

I hate caps. Every time I put one on, I need to carry something that won't fit, etc. Then there's the lousy visibility.

I like having a rack, but with a 2 door pickup I need more storage. I have one of those cross the bed aluminum toolboxes. Has a 2 lids hinged in the center so you can open it from alongside the truck - way better than the single lid that has to be oped from the bed). It sits on top of the rack rail (mine is angle iron, so I put a 2x3 under the box so it doesn't sit directly on the steel) & still allows 8' items to slide under it.

My chain binders, chains, various hitches, line, etc. live in it full time & I still have room for tons of other stuff. It has locks & makes great additional seating when the tailgate is full too...:D

stevedwyer
02-17-2010, 12:22 PM
I have a large ( largest made for a GMC shortbed ) diamond plate crossbox available. Take it away!

Garret
02-17-2010, 12:57 PM
I have a large ( largest made for a GMC shortbed ) diamond plate crossbox available. Take it away!

While I'd be happy to, seems to me you could get at least $100 on C/L or eBay....

stevedwyer
02-17-2010, 01:06 PM
While I'd be happy to, seems to me you could get at least $100 on C/L or eBay....

Well, you're right but I do need the space.

Nicholas Scheuer
02-17-2010, 01:22 PM
I've never understood the infatuation with tonneau covers.

I've had one truck with an 8'-long aluminum cap, one with a nicely rounded FRP color-matched cap that gave my Silverado the sillouette of a Suburban, and now a higher FRP cap on an 8' box that gives me more headroom back by the tailgate and will cover higher items.

If aerodynamics is not a major concern, I like aluminum caps for their bang for the buck and light weight. They lift off easier, too.

I understand why one of my brothers likes a cross box and rack for his remodeling biz, but I prefer the way caps weatherproof and secure the sort of stuff I carry.

Nick

willmarsh3
02-17-2010, 01:44 PM
When I was at the museum in Shelburne, Nova Scotia someone who builds canoes showed me a picture of a truck cap that was built of strip planked cedar. It looked a lot like the canoes he built. I'd like to build something like that. I figure I could build it with some frames of laminated southern yellow pine.

Presently I have a stiff fiberglass tonneau cover that works well so I probably can't justify doing it at the moment.

mmd
02-17-2010, 02:46 PM
"I've never understood the infatuation with tonneau covers." - Nick Scheuer

Maybe I can enlighten you with a modest anecdote, Nick. One Saturday, after running errands about town and taking the dog for a run on the beach, I found a friend on the side of the road, his 4-wheeler broke down about eight kilometres (five miles) from his house. Would I mind using my truck to carry it and him back home? I said, "Sure" and I unsnapped the tonneau cover, rolled it up to the back of the cab and secured it in place with the attached velcro straps. We loaded the 4-wheeler aboard, lashed it in place using the tonneau frame clamps as anchors, and drove to my friend's home. After unloading the vehicle, I unrolled the tonneau cover and snapped it back in place. Quick, easy, and effective.

If I had a hard cap of some type, to do the same favour for my friend, I would have had to drive to his place (leaving the 4-wheeler unattended on the side of the highway because I would need his help to off-load the truck cap), take the cap off and leave it in the safety of his back yard, drive back to the 'wheeler, load it up, drive back to his place, and re-install the truck cap. Much easier with a tonneau cover...