2015 - Volume #39, Issue #4, Page #27[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
A Pickup Conversion Done Right
Heilman bought a used Bradford flatbed for just $600 at an auction. It was twisted, bent and rusted from being in a rollover. Still, it was exactly what he was looking for, because he really enjoys fixing things up and making them better and stronger.
“The bed sat in my shop for nearly 6 months and I’d mess with it in my spare time” Heilman says. “I used a come along, a chain and my torch to get it square and straight.” He also made the bed a lot stronger by adding cross bracing underneath and additional bracing to the tool boxes. Other improvements included welding a latch on the bed to lock the side rails down over the tool boxes. The headache rack was twisted and bent, so Heilman removed it, straightened the metal supports and reinstalled it. He welded mule shoes on both sides to use for tying down loads. Brackets on each side of the headache rack hold additional shoes that he can locate around the floor and use for tie downs.
Heilman also modified the hitch on the Bradford, tying it in to the frame of the truck to make it stronger. The bed is secured to the truck on two 1-in. thick steel bars. Those run across the frame and are bolted in place with twelve 3/4-in. bolts that extend through the box frame and chassis.
Heilman capped off the project by painting the flatbed with an industrial grade glossy black paint. The floor paint is mixed with non-slip material similar to that used on spray-in bedliners for pickups. “The way I’ve got this set up now it’s stronger, safer and has a better paint job than anything that comes from a factory. I can use it to pull straight hitch trailers or 5th wheelers, “ Heilman says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Alan Heilman, P.O. Box 446, Ephrata, Wash. 98823 (ph 509 246-9210).
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