Date By joe Category Truck Comments 4

Since I will have a significant part of my battery pack under the bed, I need a way to easily access those batteries for maintenance.  We thought about cutting the bed itself to make a hinged access door.  But the obvious solution is to make the bed tilt-able.

Read on to see how we modified the truck so that I can tilt the bed up ...

We were inspired by the bed tilt mechanism of Stealth Dump Trucks.  However I was not willing to spend whatever it is they are charging for those, so we figured we can make our own.  We were looking in particular at this photo which clearly shows the scissoring bed tilt mechanism (I do not repost the photo here in case they do not want me reposting their photo - even though it promotes their product).

The reason to use the scissoring mechanism is that it lifts the bed at the same time that it tilts.  This is needed (we thought) for the truck because the back of the bed drops below the bumper.  So the idea was, if the bed lifts as it tilts, it can clear the bumper in the back.  I do not need the hydraulic lift though because I am not using this as a dump truck.  I just need to be able to lift the empty bed by hand.

We even made a model of the scissoring mechanism.  But when we started looking at how many parts we had to fabricate we realized this was just too much trouble.  So that forced us to take another look at things.  We realized that the bumper could actually swing down if we remove one set of bolts.  And a cross member on the bottom of the bed matched exactly the end of the frame rails.  So we decided we could build a hinge and just tilt the bed directly with the pivot point being the end of the frame rails.  The following photos will make this clearer.

This photo shows how the bumper can swing down with the removal of two bolts.

Bumper swings down
Bumper swings down

We used a straight stock rod to align the part of the hinge that attached to the truck frame.

Aligning the hinge pieces for the frame
Aligning the hinge pieces for the frame

Here is the hinge welded to the frame.

Hinge welded to truck frame
Hinge welded to truck frame

Here is another view of the hinge, showing the pins that we use for the pivot, and the other half of the hinge piece that will be welded to the underside of the bed.

Hinge mechanism attached to frame
Hinge mechanism attached to frame

Bruce is welding the hinge pieces to the bottom of the truck bed.

Bruce, welding the hinges
Bruce, welding the hinges

This view shows the hinge piece after being welded to the bottom of the truck bed.

Hinge piece welded to underside of truck bed
Hinge piece welded to underside of truck bed

Once that was done, it was a simple matter of putting the bed back on the truck and inserting the hinge pins.  Here is a photo looking up from underneath the truck showing the hinge put together.

Completed hinge, underneath the truck
Completed hinge, underneath the truck

The next photo shows Bill using a critical ingredient to the success of the project.

Critical ingredient for working on the truck
Critical ingredient for working on the truck

Here is the finished bed tilt.  Ed made some nice struts to hold the thing up.  This is actually a lot strong than it looks.  We really pulled on it and it is not going anywhere.  The only risk is that wind could catch the bed and actually pull it back further and let the struts fall out.  I will use a tie down strap to prevent that.

Finished bed tilt, with struts to prop it open.
Finished bed tilt, with struts to prop it open.

We were able to do this without affecting any of the original secure points for the truck bed.  This means that when the bed is down and I need to drive it, we put all the original bolts back in and it will be the same as factory original.  And when I need access to the batteries, I undo those bolts and then lift the bed.  Yes, it will be a bit of a pain removing and installing bolts, but I expect the necessity of this to decrease over time as I get used to the batteries and don't need to work on them as often.



Comments

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Eric

Posted on Sat 09 April 2011

Thanks for the links to our website and photos of our product.

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joe

Posted on Sat 23 April 2011

@Eric Sure Eric. It looks like a neat product but I don’t need a hydraulic lift and it looks like it might be out of my budget range. But after attempting to fabricate my own I have no doubt it would be worth buying from you if that is what I needed.

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Steven powers

Posted on Tue 06 August 2013

I just stumbled across this while trying reference ideas, I was wondering if the lower front portion of the bed makes contact with the cab?

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joe

Posted on Wed 16 October 2013

Steven, no it does not make contact with the cab. When the bed is lowered it is about 1/2 inch gap between the front of the bed and the cab. When the bed is down, it is in a completely stock configuration. We did not need to move it or make any adjustments to the position.

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