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Old 01-05-2011, 12:03 AM   #29
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I also installed a bed-slide so we can get to all the stuff we lug around when we travel.
Off Topic, but which bed slide, how much, and who installed it?
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:18 AM   #30
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I bought an ATC Astro camper-top in 1996 when I bought my new F250 PowerStroke. I ordered it using the paint code of the F250, and the match is perfect. It's still serving me well, some 15 years later. The paint and fiberglass have not cracked or faded a bit.

That top has been through a lot, including backing into the gutter on my home, which destroyed the gutter but just put a scratch on the campertop. The fiberglass seems very strudy.

I still get 21 mpg at 70 mph solo with the top on, so I can't see that it has cut my mileage any, even though it is raised at the back. I like the raised feature, since it allows easier access.

My camper-top sure has worked well for me on coast-to-coast trips all these years. It provides a great amount of protected storage on those long journeys.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:40 AM   #31
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During 2011, I will be making an aeroback cover - a cap that curves down to improve fuel economy. I'll post full details, plans and photos here as it comes together. I'm even thinking of sheathing it in aluminum to match the Airstream that will eventually follow.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:51 AM   #32
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For our first truck, about six years ago, I decided to save a few $$ compared to buying a Leer and bought one called a Hawk (or some such name). It wasn't a good idea. I had trouble from day one with the crummy latch arrangement on the tailgate window, it leaked badly, and had ripples in the fibreglass.

For our present truck, bought in 2008, I had learned my lesson and opted for the Leer product instead - I think it was only about $200 more.

Totally satisfied with the Leer in every respect. Well made & looks great.


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Old 01-05-2011, 08:20 AM   #33
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Highly recommend buying one with lift up side windows for access to "stuff". Before doing that I carried a 6 ft pole with a hook on the end as a retrieval tool.

Also have found boat racks useful.. For carrying smaller items you can put a couple boards across them. Twice have had to haul a couple dead tires for warranty claims that way.

Aluminum caps are usually not as pretty as fiberglass, but are much lighter. A factor if you need to get the thing on and off the truck regularly. I remove mine with a front loader but not every one has that option.

Our current JASON cap has served well for several hundred k miles and 11 years
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:43 AM   #34
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I purchased a Snugtop to go with my 2010 Tundra. Looked at others, but liked the fact that the edge of the cap extended below the top of the bed. Also upgraded to the "Sportsman" package, which included more insulation in the roof and higher roof-carrying capacity. I have a Thule roof rack system.

Also installed the bed-step on the Tundra to help getting on the tailgate to access the roof rack.

Time will tell how it hold up. I looked at ARE, but my friend had one on his Tundra and did not like it at all. Said the rear hatch rubbed the paint off of his tailgate.

As mentioned by others, the rear hatch is not all that secure on any of them, unless you go with a commercial style. But the Snugtop keeps the dogs and other stuff dry.

I am concerned about how to cool the space down in the summer for the dogs. I installed a remote temp sensor so I could monitor from the passenger compartment. I am looking at 12v portable coolers from Swampy and ArticAir. Please let me know if anyone has any experience with these units.
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:20 PM   #35
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Looks like the little extra money spent on the "known brands" is worth every penny...
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:36 PM   #36
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I have the Leer, and now it's on the second truck, about 90K miles, two trips to Alaska, and going on four years old. It was the top of their line when I bought it. Also have the bed rug. It's like a cushioned floor which is good for my old worn out knees. I'm happy with both, but the paint quality could be better on the cap.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:01 PM   #37
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During 2011, I will be making an aeroback cover - a cap that curves down to improve fuel economy. I'll post full details, plans and photos here as it comes together. I'm even thinking of sheathing it in aluminum to match the Airstream that will eventually follow.
Have you been over on ECOMODDER? Lot's of good work going on for the subject of pickup truck aerodynamics. The percentage increases are little short of astonishing. You might note that one of the gurus (if he'll not be embarrassed my saying that) lives in North Texas. Looking forward to what you do . . the more detail in pics, the better!!

I bought my truck already equipped with both factory plastic bedliner and a excellent close fit, cab high, LEER bed topper (8' bed). MPG is fairly well unaffected (my highway averages compare with other owners of the same spec truck who have also been truck drivers and drive for economy: 24-27 highway, solo). I would guess that the topper helps 1-mpg in some instances, and hurts about the same in other (prevailing winds).

My topper is at the lower end of the line. Were I starting from scratch I would investigate building it as desired (clothing hanger racks, more and better insulation and lighting, etc). I would also try to devise a way to lift the topper as it's pretty much a three-man job (detachable rings -- from a flush mount -- would be nice).

Security of the bed contents should also be better considered. Even with an electronic lock on the tailgate, the average topper is not hard to break into (ask me). I would investigate this aspect thoroughly. Mine does not have side windows AND I would not have them (delete if offered).

The combination of "aero" and "secure" and "utility" is out there somewhere. Since the cap can be removed at will it is a great addition for RV'ng and general purpose use.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:06 PM   #38
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I am concerned about how to cool the space down in the summer for the dogs. I installed a remote temp sensor so I could monitor from the passenger compartment. I am looking at 12v portable coolers from Swampy and ArticAir. Please let me know if anyone has any experience with these units.
Pretty much worthless, by report. I'd get a collar to fit between the truck and cab windows as a seal, and install a 12V RV/truck windshield fan to blow A/C into cab. Maybe a small adjustable vent on topper to help pull old air out. This might be okay up to 90F with low humidity.

Someone, somewhere, has solved this problem.

The pro dog haulers use a rooftop RV air conditioner.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:05 PM   #39
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Quote:
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Off Topic, but which bed slide, how much, and who installed it?
When I had my '08 Dodge Ram 2500, I had a Bed Slide brand bed slide installed. It was the contractor grade and rated for 1800 lbs. I had it full of tools and tool boxes and was very near the rated weight. Never had a problem sliding it in/out.

They are a great asset that allows you to easily access your gear inside the topper without crawling around. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Bedslide Bedslides Bed Slides Bed Slide for your truck
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:30 PM   #40
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I just had a Snugtop installed. One handle lock opens & locks the rear window. The side windows both operate on 2 handles that also lock. I really like this one. Well color matched to my truck and easier access to items stored along the sides of the truck, somewhat less so for items sitting in the middle. A bed slide may be next for me?
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:08 PM   #41
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shells

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Looks like the little extra money spent on the "known brands" is worth every penny...
known brands, or 'durable' brands matter but one still needs to do their homework.

there are 5-6 nationally known shell manufacturers that have been in biz more than 10 years...

and perhaps 3 that are at the 20 year mark.

the long time brands share many basic parts and design elements.

with minor cosmetic or trim differences, anchor styles and accessories.

most are in the rv/mota belt (indiana) while snug does it's thing in cali...

the a.r.e. snug and leer brands dominate, but there are some small regional makers that do good shelz 2.

the a.r.e. has served me well (lotz of pix of it here)

it was repainted at 1 year for some tiny imperfections and the paint has a lifetime warranty.

all of the hardware bits still work fine, but i did have the gaskets/seals replaced when it was moved to the 2nd truck.

it still looks brand new approaching 6 years living outside 24/365...
________

really wanted a 'slide' 5 years ago and really really like the 2 major brands...

i think a slide is GREAT for a contractor or service truck when really heavy stuff can be placed deep in the truck and pulled out for use.

but there were TOOOOO MANY negatives for rv'n needs...

-with a shell about 4-6 inches of HEIGHT is lost using a slide, that lost would KILL storing bikes up right.

-the slide is NARROWER than the full bed so all that space fore/aft the wheel wells is not included.

-one can pack stuff fore/aft the wheel wells but getting TO IT is hard with the slide in place.

-the slide really LIKES totally flat parking, so if your truck is UP/down/tilted there are issues.

-to fully use the slide one must DISCONNECT from the trailer AND pull forward 6-8 feet.

-holez will need to be drilled into the truck BED for the slide hardware...

-so IF you plan to keep the slide at trade time, the truck bed will be depreciated.

-while a slide IMPROVES functional access to stuff at the front,

-it REALLY REALLY reduces storage space, width and height inside a shell.

there are other minor things, so find someone WITH a bedslide and consider it carefully...
___________

stu's truck looks a lot like mine when open

and the slide just wouldn't allow the side boxes or anchored stability of some useful storage bits...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...tml#post833517
___________

as always it really pays to search and read the older threads with lots of good stuff on sheLz n storage...

here is just 1 of dozens...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...-no-35553.html


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Old 01-06-2011, 06:28 PM   #42
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We have a Lear ,Maybe as I have never found a tag inside it. Just a serial number which seems to mean nothing as I have not been able to confirm the mfgr. It looks like a Lear. We like it because it has no Windows and the rear window is tinted so one cant see in.
We like it. Although it does make one rely on outside mirrors and spots which my truck has. Being a retired truck driver of 45 yrs I have always been a ease with this cap.
However If I could buy another it would be the raised roof/high angle/tapered cab high to high in the rear,so it would be easier to stand up in for me. It all depends on what you are going to use it for. The windowless models are more expensive but in my opinion are worth the money.
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