Welcome back! It's starting to get a little warm out in the desert now. So I searched a variety of options for protection and storage for the bed of the titan. After looking at fiberglass tops to aftermarket bed racks. The fiberglass toppers were nice, but way out of my budget and not very practical. I wanted something to provide the shade for those trail lunches and convenient, when a large load has to be transported in the bed.
Once I searched through www.4x4parts.com, I found what I was looking for. The Softopper is the perfect fit for my needs. It is a canvas top that collapses for larger payloads and easilly removable and can be stored in the vehicle or in your garage. After ordering it was quickly shipped to my door and ready to put on.
|fresh out the box and waiting to be assembled|
|first assemble bed rails. the color coated rail is on the left side, and make sure they face proper direction and flush with the front of truck bed |
|then securely torque down the clamps. I eventually replaced these with grade 8 bolts after noticing the bolts provided were warping on torquing |
|make sure you state during ordering if you have the utility track system or not, so the correct clamps can be shipped with top |
|the skeleton frame are color coordinated with dots to be matched to make assembly easy|
|my assistant helps with the frame which starts to look like old wagon |
|hard part over with, pull the canvas canopy over the skeleton and snap on the buttons to the side rails. then apply the velcro attatchment front and rear |
|on the inside, attatch snaps on top of canvas around top of frame. then pull snuggly on tension cords on all four corners |
|CAPTION:THAT'S IT! |
Got tired of the pizza cutters rolling underneath the new lift, and wanted to take advantage of the semi-annual ProComp Tires sale. Made another call to Sportstrailerz, Josh honored me the package price for my tires, because I had just purchased my lift kit only a few weeks prior. I decided to get the tires i've always wanted, 35x12.20/17 Xterrains. Ever since these tires debuted, they've seemed to evade my possession. These tires are awesome! My old mud tires had the tendancy to dig in soft terrain. The Xterrains seemed to float over sand and silt, while provide lateral traction and stabillity. In the dirt, the aggressive tread and side lugs grabbed on took no prisoners.
|looking for coves in all the right places|
|even at street pressure, the Xterrains just gobbled up the terrain |
|the Softopper kept our cargo clean and cool in the hot sun |
|the new lift and tire height improved clearance in situations that could threaten stock bumpers |
Now that when you want to opt with an open truck bed, but still want the canopy shade, the side quickly roll up and secure with the dangling tie cords.
The Softopper instructions warn you of not going through a automated carwash with the top on. At least not the ones with the large spinning brushes. I can see how it might bend the skeleton out of whack. I rolled the dice and went through a neighborhood wash that used only water jet sprayers, no problem there. Now if you want to remove the top altogether, simply unsnap, and collapse like an accordian like one of those paper oriental fans. Then unhook main posts from the center pivot knob on the bed rail. Voilah! just snap the cover on and store it away!
CHECK BACK NEXT MONTH: Bumpers, Armor, and Winches..OH MY!