I would try to find a used bed I could refurbish. What you are looking for
would require a LOT of fabrication. And, of course, the problem with a
home-built truck bed is that you tend to over-build and the bed is unduly
heavy. And every pound of weight in the bed is a pound of useful load you
My trailer is made with angle iron which is light. However it isn't very
strong when I am using a chain binder. I am thinking 5 inch channel outside
and 3 inch channel across on two foot centers. Strong and heavy. Not sure
what to use for stake pockets. I was planning on winches however I also
like Ernie's tie bar suggestion.
I converted my Toyota 1-ton pickup to a flatbed 2 years ago.
What I did was look at every other flatbed I could find to get ideas.
One important bit I did on mine was to use 3/8" x 2" flat bar for the
tie down rail.
Every truck I saw with 1/4" steel there was all bent up.
I also have a removable arch at the back, and a permanent rack over the
I have a removable ladder frame that connects the 2.
I made a small jib crane that plugs into one of the arch sockets.
I once made a flat bed to replace the worn out motor home on a Ford van
chassis. I made a frame using square tube about 2 inch square. The frame
was a little less than 8 feet wide and over 10 feet long. I made the
frame, then attached it to the "van". The frame was fairly complicated and
maybe too heavy, but I made cross tubes and length tubes so it had a
"checkerboard" look when finished, on the ground. That made the "stake
bed" very strong and can be covered with anything. He used aluminum.
You might want to talk to flat bed truck drivers (semi trucks). They load
and unload these all day long and they probably have a lot of opinions.
Some things I would consider.
A headache rack. This is a front of the bed that would prevent some heavy
thing from hitting the cab in the event something came loose during a panic
Under bed tool boxes. These can hold all of your rope, straps, and chains,
plus other stuff.
Beefing up your suspension.
A bigger set of mirrors.
Consider bed height. If you are going to be using loading docks, you want
the bed to be at dock height, but if you don't need that lower is better.
You might even consider going to low profile tires and dropping the deck as
low as you can to the frame. A whole lot easier to load and unload.
If you opt for the low bed design you might want to make some provisions for
a fake bed that is at fender height in the event you want to carry large
Look at the semi flat beds. Some of them have fixed strap winches, and some
of them allow you to slide the winches on a rail to strap the load where
ever you want. These allow you to use the cheap straps and really bind down
on the load, otherwise you need the ratchet straps and those finger pinchers
can be a pain to get tight enough.
About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
I know of an already-made flatbed sitting in Texas. Looks new, ought
to fit an Isuzu COE. All metal deck. Let me know if you're interested
and I'll see if it's for sale and what the asking price is.
But you'd have to come get it yourself.
B.B. --I am not a goat! thegoat4 at airmail dot net
Stop off here in California and Ill load stuff on your new flatbed.
A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical liberal minority and
rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media,
which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible
to pick up a turd by the clean end.
Here is a company that manufacture beds.
All I can add is don't make it too tall. A headache is a necessity. I
like storage built into the bed with plenty of toolboxes. I don't know
what thickness of metal is adequate I have heard that 1/4 is too
thick, makes the bed to heavy. You will need a good rancher type grill
guard for the front, just push anything out of the way. Mine is a
little heavy but I need it.
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