Building a flatbed

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by AKRide907, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. AKRide907

    AKRide907 Rockstar

    Hey all,

    So earlier today i was being distracted talking to a friend (no excuse for what i did), totally misjudged where i thought a light pole was and i ended up taking out my whole rear driver side quarter panel. My right side was a little dinged up from a few years earlier from having my pops back my truck into a couple trailers. (we just suck in parking lots apparently lol).

    Anyway, it got me thinking, it would be super expensive to get some new quarter panels for my truck, its a 2003 1500HD, its almost 800 a side or so. SO i started brainstorming for alternatives, and i think the coolest thing and a good experience for me would be to build a flatbed for my truck. Just lift off the whole bed, and make a new one. Does anybody have any experience with such things? Or suggestions? Im not going to make it look super professional, but its not going to be tacky either.

    Thanks from the North.
  2. LURCH

    LURCH Rockstar

    We done a bed on a 3/4 ton 1975 chevy several years back also made it a hyd. dump. It will take me a few days but I'll get some pics if you are interested. Let me know if you want them.
  3. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Good luck with your project. Maybe you could post some before, after and build pictures.
  4. AKRide907

    AKRide907 Rockstar

    Shoot, ya pictures would be great. Ive been looking at a flatbeds parked out in lots when i see them just so i can see how some people go about connecting it to the frame. Ive seen some welds. Some bolts. Just trying to get some ideas.
  5. LURCH

    LURCH Rockstar

    I'll be over there Thur. evening and get some pics, This is a dump bed just so you know. I would never weld a bed on, only use good bolts that way if something happens you can remove it to be fixed.
  6. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    X2 what Lurch said about bolting-on. We had a customer build one on his '03 2500HD extended cab out of aluminum for the framing and diamond plate for the surface. It was bolted on so he could take it off when he sold the truck.
  7. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    I've helped build a few flat beds for friends trucks.
    From experience I'd say bolt on is better, especially if you bolt it at the beds original mounting points.
    Use rubber donuts to insulate it from the frame, this cuts down on vibration and leaves the frame and bed room to flex.
    Welded to the frame works great for an off-road truck if you want to stiffen up the frame on.
    Wood works great for a bed surface if your not planning on carrying lots of sharp items, for general cargo it's great, it's cheaper than metal, can be repaired easier in case of damage, and weighs less most times.
  8. pmf608

    pmf608 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I also suggest bolting it to the frame. My F350 has a flatdeck and it is bolted and welded to the frame (the deck itself is bolted, but the trailer hitch platform is welded to the deck and has support brackets welded to the frame. I don't have as much clearance as I would like above the tires, so it would be nice if it was just bolted so I could throw a couple of blocks between the bed and the frame to lift it up a bit.

    The one thing I would stay away from is U-bolts though. I personally just don't like U-bolts for holding down a deck. I personally think that to secure a deck it should either be welded or have bolts through the frame of the deck and the truck.

    As far as building it goes, you can save some money by using wood for the surface. Some people build entire decks out of wood but if you have another run-in with a post or something that probably wouldn't hold up too well. For floorboards I would recommend using a hardwood such as oak instead of normal pine or spruce because it will hold up a lot better in that application.

    Other than those factors, building a flatdeck comes down to what features you want from it. Most decks have trailer hitches welded to a platform off the back of them instead of using the factory hitch (this is because most decks extend past the end of the frame far enough to be past the factory hitch). Other things you might want to think about when you plan the build are headache racks, tail lights, license plate mounting, where the fuel filler will go, whether you want to put a hoist under it (the one thing I wish the deck on my F350 had).
  9. AKRide907

    AKRide907 Rockstar

    Understood. So bolted it is. I was actually just thinking about how the strain/stress plus the twisting of the frame would work with a flatbed. I know its there, but is it minimal enough to the point where you dont have to worry about it when youre doing a homejob like this? And what about a rear bumper eh? I was thinking about maybe using the stock one thats on my truck right now, but maybe it might be in my best interest to make a new one and bolt it on as well.
  10. LURCH

    LURCH Rockstar

    I went and took about 15 pic's or so I thought! Got home to let the wife download them unto the computer and found out she had left it on video mode, so each time I took a shot I was cutting the vid. on and then off. What a dumb-butt, didn't even look when I turned it on.
    I will be back over there Sat. and will get some then, Sorry about that.

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