«Previous    Next»
A Pickup Conversion Done Right
When it comes to metalworking projects, Washington handyman Alan “Hoss” Heilman has a never ending list. One of his latest jobs was converting his Dodge 3500 1-ton dually pickup into a flatbed. “I never really liked the rig as a pickup, so I was glad to turn it into something I can use more,” Heilman says. His decision to make the conversion was made easier by the fact one of the rear tires on his truck blew on a road trip and damaged the wheel well and one side of the pickup box. Heilman says, “Getting that wheel well and sidewall fixed was gonna cost way more than buying an old flatbed, so that made my decision a no-brainer.”
    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).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2015 - Volume #39, Issue #4