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Low-Bed Pickup Sports Removable Sideboards
After the bed on his 1980 Chevrolet 3/4-ton pickup rusted out, Bill Kurtz decided to re-move it and build his own "low bed" that's complete with removable wooden side-boards and a side-mounted "pop-out" toolbox hidden out of view.
Kurtz welded 16-gauge semi-galvanized sheet metal to a channel iron frame that he mounted down between the wheels. The floor is only 28 in. off the ground compared to the 38-in. height of the pickup's original bed. The removable sideboards are only 8 in. high, and there's a 5-in. high, 20-in. wide ledge on each side. The middle part of the bed is 50 in. wide. A 6-in. high removable wooden endgate mounts on back, and be-low it is the pickup's original rear bumper.
"The bed's low floor and sides make it much easier to use than the bed on a conventional pickup," says Kurtz. "I can reach halfway across the bed to pick up or place tools. Because I use the pickup mainly to haul fencing materials, tools, etc., I don't need sides more than 13 in. high. By removing the boards I can mount a camper on the bed. It really works great for that because without conventional pickup sides in the way there's about 15 in. of extra storage space under each side of the camper. The bumper has a ball hitch on it. I put the camper on and pull a livestock trailer be-hind the pickup every year when we go to the state fair. I also use the pickup to pull silage wagons from the field. I use a magnet and a length of square steel tubing on the hitch that slides inside another length of tubing on the wagon hitch. By reaching out the window and pulling on a rope I can unhook wagons without ever having to get out of the cab.
"If I want I can make the bed completely flat by placing boards across the ledges and mounting plywood on top of them."
The one-of-a-kind toolbox mounts be-hind the driver's door and is 18 in. high and 2 ft. wide. Turning a 2-ft. long, 9/16-in. dia. bolt at the top of the toolbox releases a spring-loaded latch, allowing Kurtz to pull the toolbox out. "Hiding the toolbox leaves the bed completely open. Another advantage is that there are no hinges to rust out," says Kurtz. "By removing the sideboards I could also mount a conventional toolbox across on top of the ledges and across the front of the bed."
The wooden endgate is secured by a lag screw at the bottom that drops into a hole in the bed, as well as by spring-loaded latches on each side. The sideboards lean inward at an angle just for looks and set inside angle iron guides that bolt onto the ledges in front and back. The bed can be protected by tying a canvas to steel hooks on the inside of the sideboards.
Kurtz made the wheel wells out of plastic in order to eliminate rust.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bill Kurtz, 2187 State Rd. 87, St. Croix Falls, Wis. 54024 (ph 715 483-3866).

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1996 - Volume #20, Issue #6