Dodge Pilothouse Pickup Bed Dimensions And Adding A Tonneau Cover
Following is information received from our members about the correct sizes to cut wood if doing your own truck bed.
Depth =¾ inches. All the wood is the same thickness
Length = 78 inches, some people cut to length of 77 7/8 inches, so that the boards don’t actually touch the front or back of the bed, thus preventing some of the rust and rot that previous beds experienced. If you have a different length bed, then adjust the board length accordingly.
Rabbit = ½ inch wide X 3/16 inch deep, if you want the metal skid strips just a little above the wood. That way anything in the bed rests on the runners and not on your beautifully finished wood. Otherwise, ½ inch wide X ¼ inch deep for Mar-K skid strips to lay flush with the bed wood. If your skids aren’t from Mar-K then set the depth accordingly. All interior boards (B) will be rabbitted on both left and right sides. The two exterior boards (A) only have rabbit on side facing the interior.
(A) Width, Outer Boards = 7 ¾ inch. Two outer boards can be as wide as 8 inch for a tighter fit, or shave ¼ for more flexibility in getting everything to look straight.. Your skid strip spacing allows for some adjustment. Remember, you can cut to 8 inch wide and then trim later if you need more room.
(B) Width, Inner Boards = 7 11/16 – 7 3/8 inch. The four inner boards are same width. A wider size of 7 11/16, gives the skid strips more to hold only to and make for a tighter fit, but do not allow for as much variance. The smaller size keeps things a bit looser for adjustment purposes. The main criterion seems to be that all boards look straight and parallel when finished.
( C) Spacing= ½ inch. Space between boards (to allow for skid strips and bolts) is the same between all boards. Some people will trim the outside boards by 1/8 inch so the wood doesn’t actually touch the bedsides and create rot.
Skid Strip bolts = 8 1/8 inch. Distance between bolt holes for skid strips is 8 1/8 inch center to center for inside boards. Outside skid strip bolts have the center hole 8 ¼ or 8 3/8 inch from the bed side. If your holes are different then wood spacing will need to be adjusted.
Other things to watch for. Put anti squeak between the frame and bed crossmembers. Some people use a small nylon washer between the wood and support frames to slightly raise the wood and keep it dry when in direct contact with the metal frame. Otherwise, water doesn't dry out where the wood is in continual contact with metal.
Dimensions for the hold down bolts on the outer boards. I don’t have this information. Can someone supply this. There are 3 holds for bolts, 2 to bolt to the frame and 1 to bolt to a cross member. There are no holes in the 4 inner boards as they are held in place by the skid strips.
Here’s an illustration to help:
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Information on drilling bed-to-frame holes when using offset washers is available from mar-k.com http://www.mar-k.com/mtgholes_3-8_ofst.pdf
Also check out Bruce Horkey for another source of bed wood, bolts, strip metal and so on:
Read David Erbs' excellent 2 part article on Pickup Bed Reflooring before beginning. He has done an excellent job in detailing the process. Links to read the articles online are here ( part1, part 2 )or download it as one document in acrobat .pdf format here.
ADDING A TONNEAU COVER:
Our webmaster, Gtk, from the Pilot-House.com site has a tonneau cover on his truck. He has given us some insights as to what it took to mount a tonneau cover to his truck. His comments are below:
"Biggest installation headache is mounting the hinge on the front of the bed. Two problems, the bed front section sits lower than the the sides when the tonneau is down and it is round. In installed a section of "C" channel aluminum over the rounded top edge of bed and secured it. Then I added 1/4" or 3/8"inch flat stock to bring the height up for the the hinge to match where the top sat on the side rails. When I finally got it installed it worked quite well. The top totally sits inside the angled side rails so you don't have a lid showing on top. The gasket material around the edge of the top is simple but works surprisingly well for keeping the bed weather-tight. I ended up adding some alignment blocks to the lid to keep it from shifting around in the gate area. Just a couple pieces of bar stock. The lift struts work fine. Installation is definitely a two person job. The instructions were so-so, but I did end up calling Checker on two issues and their inhouse installation support was very good."
Checker's website is here: http://www.checkerpro.com
As always, let me know if there is information that can be added or that needs correcting. You can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.