2011 Flatbed Build by SMKYTXN

By diyauto
( 3 )

2011 Flatbed Build

Compliments of SMKYTXN @ www.tacomaworld.com


The bed is complete to the point that I was able to permanently mount it on the truck. The list below shows what I have left to complete. 

Remaining to-do list:

1. Final welding on bed square tube

2. Build rail on two sides

3. Drill holes and weld in nuts for co2 tank and fire extinguisher

4. Buy UHMW

4. Drill all holes for UHMW deck and weld nuts to back side of angle

5. Mount UHMW sides (thinking panels between the square tube)

6. Finish tail light plate

7. Plate in the headache rack

8. Add reverse light brackets

9. Clean up wiring on frame, including; wire reverse lights, wire stop/turn/tail, reposition all rock lights. 

10. Find a spot for the bed 110V outlet (new year activity)

11. Mount the trailer 7pin outlet (overlooked that when building the bumper, and will have to wait till the new year)

12. Tabs for uhmw side panels

13. Drill mounting feet out to 5/8"

14. Buy longer bed bolts (M12x1.25x5")

15. Wire wheel entire bed

16. Paint bed

Current progress picture:

The original start to the thread:

I'm going to build a more usable bed for Smokey. The plan is to place a jobox storall between the frame rails and build a flat deck above that. The bed will house the following:

- Jobox storall

- Up to a 35"x12.5" spare tire behind the cab

- Second battery

- Aux fuel tank next to the jobox

- Aux water tank next to the jobox

- Hi-lift

The bed will bolt down to the factory bed bolt locations. Once it's further along I'll decide if more mounting points are necessary.

This is the model of the bed that I built in sketchup. This will be used for rough dimensions as it's not 100% accurate, but it's close. 

The Bruteforce rear bumper will be taken off and replaced with a very simple rectangular tube bumper. I will gain 4" of vertical clearance with the new bumper vs. the Bruteforce. The rear overhang will also be reduced by 4", not considering the new recovery points. 

Wish me luck, we'll see if I can pull this off. 

This is the design I've chosen for the rear bumper. The rectangular tube is 5"x2"x0.25". I had originally designed the recovery points to be 1/2" plate with thicker cheek plates, but I ended up finding a couple of nice 3/4" plate remants at the local steel yard. I'll shear the frame bolts before the frame or the plates let go. 

No time like the present to get started. I had high hopes of getting a lot done over the long weekend, but of course that didn't happen. 

Started the tear down.

And the beds off... 

It's amazing how short the back half of the truck is without the bed on it. 

I have access to a CNC plasma table so cutting out the recovery points was a snap, well, it was almost easy. Here are the 1/8" plates I cut to verify that all of my holes lined up. 

I also cut the tube for the bumper to length and threw it on the plates to see how it sat. The recovery points will be slotted through the tube. 

That's all I was able to accomplish that day so I had to figure out how to make the truck legal to drive since this is my DD. Building this way is kind of tedious, but you do what you have to do. 


The spare tire cross member sits higher than I'd like it too as I'm hoping to sink the jobox into the frame slightly, so it will have to go. That's the reason for building the bumper first. That way the frame won't go all silly on my when I cut out the cross member. 

I said the cutting out the recovery points was going to be a cake walk, well that didn't happen either. Turns out the table was only wired with a 30 amp breaker and 10ga wire. To run the 85amp tip that would pierce 3/4" I needed 60amp service and 6ga wire. I must have caught the owner of the coop at a good time because he let myself and one of his employee's rewire the machine Sunday. 

After a lot of tweaking on the settings we decided that cutting the perimeter of the plates would work, but the small mounting holes would have to be drilled. No big deal, just have to pick up a few high speed bits. 

Here are the freshly cut 3/4" recovery points. 


I had one of the guys in the shop give me a quick lesson on how to run this bridgeport mill. I was able to drill the 1-1/8" and 9/16" holes with ease with this bad boy. 

I cut a couple of sample cheek plates as well. I need to try again with my 85amp tip tomorrow to try and get rid of the chamfer that was created with the 45amp tip. If that doesn't work then I'll dive further into the settings and see what I can figure out. 


^ Cheek plates welded in place. 

Yup, the 6.5 ton shackles fit just fine. I spec out this shackle on a daily basis at work, so it's fun to have a set on the truck. Yes, they're overkill, but who cares. 

The finished recovery points in their new home. 

Here's the 5"x2" tube again. I had laid out my cuts based on the thinner steel and they lined up perfectly. 

Now we're talking. It's starting to look like a bumper. 

Tacked and ready for final welding. I'll cut the hole for the receiver tube before I do the final welding though. 

The next step after the bumper is to get the jobox mounted. I'm betting that the spare tire carrier is going to have to go. That's why I'm building the bumper first. I don't want the frame rails to go all wonky when I cut that thing out.

I agree. As it's planned right now the front hoop will be tied into the side of the frame. You can see where the lower legs 90 into the frame here. 


You can see how much the back end moves around. These are the rivets for the rear shackle hangers. Nice steps in them like the leaf pack bolts. 

Phill stopped by to lend a hand today. We did a ton of work and accomplished what looks like very little. I guess that's how it goes. Here's what we did today. 

- Removed the spare tire cross member

- Cut/burnt/beat out every rivet

- Removed the additional rivets in the side of the frame so the shackle flip kit will be easier to install later

- Test fit the "VERY HEAVY" jobox several times

- Realized the box will have to move towards the back of the truck, meaning I'm going to have to add a little more to my bumper to protect it.

- Added the new forward cross member, where the last support of the jobox will be

- Sweated

- Sweated

- Ate some pizza

All in all a very good day. Thanks again for the help Phill.

Edit: I was able to drive the truck home at the end of the day as well. 


Hey Nathan. I'm planning on carrying all of the crap that's behind my back seat and in the floor boards. Items like; tool bag, recovery gear, trail vise, etc. 

Here's the cross member we put in last night. I'll get more pictures later. 


I need some inspiration from you guys. I need to put some sort of extension on the bumper due to the box sitting on top of it. Basically the drawer of the box is going to be flush with the back of the bumper. I'm thinking of coming back another three inches with some sort of guard. 

I've toyed with the following ideas:

- Flat plate flush with the top of the bumper and a few stiffeners

- Round tube spaced away from the bumper with tubes running down to the bottom as stiffeners. 


This is what I'm thinking about adding to the bumper. I'll probably use 1" round tubing.


Working on a little sway bracing. Getting closer to having the box mounted. 

Time for cleanup. I will drill and tap holes for the box tomorrow along with painting all the new steel on the frame. Then it's finally time to start on the bed.


It's amazing what a coat of rusty red primer does for projects. 

I'm not quite up to designing and building suspension so I'll leave that for another day. 

All of the holes are drilled and tapped. Everything lines up. 

That's not going anywhere. 


The box sticks further past the bumper than I had imagined/designed it, but I can make it work. As long as I clear the receiver with the tubing I'll be good.

No worries. 

Now I can drive home, semi legally. 


I picked up the square tube for the bed this afternoon.


Dangit! The folks at VW must have seen my build thread. Damn thieves! 

This is what I'm thinking...

I think it will hold up to a decent hit. 


If I place the guard parallel to the top of the bumper then I will have interference issues with the trail vice. My standard drop hitch shouldn't be a problem, but I'm going to take that with me this evening to confirm.

I'm thinking that i will angle the guard up about 20º to clear the trail vice. 

Oh, and that tubing is 1"OD x 5/16" wall cold drawn seamless. I think it'll take a hit.

Think I'm gonna leave it like this. Time to start welding. 

The bumper is finished! I finished building the crash bar and welded out the bumper tonight. My welds are getting better, not perfect by any means, but I'm happy with them. 

I'm thinking I'll be able to paint the bumper Friday, and maybe get started on the lower rails of the bed tomorrow.



Finally starting on the bed, and the first step seems to be the most critical. 

The frame rails are tapered, but I want a square bed. The current plan is to drill out the middle hole for the sleeve and then place the two end sleeves. 

The end sleeves will have to be cut into the side of the tube as they are not under the tube. The sleeve material I chose is 3/4" sch 80 pipe. The bed bolts have a nice tight tolerance with that pipe. 

Once the sleeves are in place I will reinforce them, but I have to get them in the right place first. 

So.... Does anyone see any issues with the plan?


I built them into the stiffeners for the receiver tube. 


Made some progress today. After several setbacks due to too much heat from welding I was able to lay out the lower bed rail on the passenger side. I also cleaned up the bumper and painted it.


Lesson for the day. Do not try and build something square and level to the truck on the truck. Build it square and level off the truck and then put it on. Life would have been so much easier if I had figured that out Friday. Not much progress over the weekend due to that. Oh well.



The hoods are all class hoods. I stay away from them as who knows how many sweaty heads have been in them. 

Here's my hood. 

Here's a woodworking trick that I remembered. A string line to keep everything in relation to each other. 

All of the main framing is tacked in place. Time to weld a few key joints and see what it looks like on the truck. 

I'm going to have to find some level ground and put the truck on jack stands to get the feet for the bed set. Too many things out of line to try and set it right now. But I think it's looking pretty good. 

Thanks guys. One step at a time.

Had to throw the tire in there just to see how it'll look. 

And yes, 35's will fit just fine. 


So, I'm at the point that I need to start thinking about tiedowns for the bed. The plan is to run two strips of VersaTie Track down the center rails of the bed. That will give me good tie down points for things like my cooler and storage bins for camp. 

They also make a flush mount system that I may go with. 

My question becomes, what do I do for outside tie downs. I plan on having panels to fill in the gaps between the bed rails. One idea is to leave a gap so I can just run a strap around the top rail. That's the simplest solution. Another idea is to attach another section of the versatie track to the rails. That starts to eat up bed space though. 


It's not going to be a true flatbed as it will have rails. I'm still leaning towards running straps around the top rail, similar to what you suggested. 


Plans are changing. This thing is starting to weigh too much, so I'm going to ditch the additional tube work I had planned. I'm adding a headache rack and gonna call it good. This will be a true flatbed. 

Still haven't decided on the deck or skirt material though. 

The feet are on and I've cut the gussets for them this morning. The bed is actually bolted to the truck in these pics. 

Well, I don't have the tube bender that I was supposed to have at this point so it may be a mute point.

Probably going to add the headache rack and a short tube rail around the perimeter and call it good. Time to finish this thing and move on. 


HDPE is definitely slick. UHMW is less slick, but stuff will still move easily on it. My mid skid is pipe and 1" uhmw. 

Working on the feet and headache rack tonight. 

Link to the build here

Now I will say that I need to rebuild it with some quality DOM tubing. The regular black pipe that I used did it's job, but it deflected more than I would like. 

And now for the show stopper! At least my welds didn't break. 


Well that's not going anywhere. 

I'm liking the headache rack. 

Above or below the deck for the filler neck?

Need to get some heavy rubber for the filler neck surround so I'll leave that for another day. On to the tail lights!


I guess I need to find some of these. 


Doording wins the prize today. Honestly thought it wouldn't work, but looks like it's going to be perfect. 

Trying to figure out where everything is going to live. 

The plan is to have the foot and lift mechanism in the toolbox. The handle and main beam will sit on top of the headache rack. 

Going nowhere fast today, but I think I have the filler neck figured out. 

I added a spacer to the lower mount. Yes, that's a socket. I promise to find a real spacer at some point.

Then I cut out a bracket to hold the new rubber bushing. The bracket is a pressure fit, just enough to keep the nozzle from moving around. I can also pull it out with effort, so taking the bed off won't be impossible. 


Hi-lift mount complete. 


Working on the spare tire hold down points at the moment. 

Thought this was cool. 

Front side

Back side


Called Professional Plastics today, as they're the supplier I was going to get my UHMW from. Turns out the Houston office, which is right down the road, doesn't stock full sheets! WTF?

I would have to pay freight shipping on a full sheet to get it to me. I may have to rethink my decking material.

Anyone have a source for reprocessed UHMW in Houston?



I've taken care of a few things;

- I went to the steel shop after work yesterday and picked up all of the remaining steel needed for the bed

- I've welded in all of the down turned angle for the UHMW tiedown points.

- The uprights for the CO2 tank and Fire extinguisher are on, just need to drill some holes. 

It's coming down to the wire. I leave for vacation on the 20th, so this thing has to be done. Oh, my two part epoxy paint should show up tomorrow.

Remaining to-do list:

1. Final welding on bed square tube

2. Build rail on two sides

3. Drill holes and weld in nuts for co2 tank and fire extinguisher

4. Buy UHMW

4. Drill all holes for UHMW deck and weld nuts to back side of angle

5. Mount UHMW sides (thinking panels between the square tube)

6. Finish tail light plate

7. Plate in the headache rack

8. Add reverse light brackets

9. Clean up wiring on frame, including; wire reverse lights, wire stop/turn/tail, reposition all rock lights. 

10. Find a spot for the bed 110V outlet

11. Mount the trailer 7pin outlet (overlooked that when building the bumper)


Working on the outside rails. Need to figure out what to do about the filler neck area. May just stop the rail short there instead of tieing into the headache rack. 

Here's the plan. The middle bar will be cut out on the drivers side for the fuel inlet and left on the passenger side. Thoughts?


I think I'll try to put it in the piece of plate that's under the tail light. I just need to check clearances and length of wires. I can extend my trailer wiring if need be.

I'll have to rethink my reverse light location though. 

I also need to add my 110volt outlet back in. Maybe on the other side of the toolbox in the same plate.


Being able to stand on the ground and pull stuff out of the box is pretty nice. 

Played in the headache rack. 

No tubing bender as of yet, but it's supposedly on order. Here's a quick tour. 

Not quite operational 88ton press break. 

Brand new vacuum former. Need to play with this one. 

Not I mention all of the other toys like 3d printers in the electronics area.


Started on the deck today. 

Fire extinguisher and co2 tank mounts installed. Test fit the new tire just and everything still fits. 

Laying out the tiedown track and deck bolts. 

The deck is fully bolted down. The hardware is temporary though. 

All bolts nicely countersunk into the deck. 


I'm a fan of overkill. 

Plans changed on the side rails. The filler neck kept getting in the way. The new rails match the rail on the bumper, so it works for me. 

How about a test fit picture?

Yeah, that wasn't safe. 

Added the brake light plate. Hence the reason for the forklift. I can't put the forks under the deck anymore.


Called a local company to get a quote on blasting and painting the bed for me. Yeah, that dog don't hunt. $600 to blast and paint the bed if I bring my own paint. I guess I'll be wire wheeling this thing. 

Ok, the bed is fully welded. It's ready for paint prep tomorrow. I also clearanced the deck to fit around the rails. 


My guy isn't going to be back till 5:30, but I walked back and snapped a few pics. 

Paint looks good. They used the bolts I brought them to protect the threads. And it rained a ton today, so the yard is a mess.

Not quite ready to drive home, but I'm getting closer. 

At least I have running lights and brakes. 

Thanks buddy. It's time to go home now. 


I'm out running errands this morning. Figured another pic wouldn't hurt. Need to find a nicer backdrop though. 


 I can fill the tank. 

Well, the Dakars had some arch in them when I left this morning. Six hundred miles later, not so much. With the load pictured on the last page the Dakars are pretty much flat. Guess I'll need to give Alcan a call when I get back. 

Or..... I'll link the rear. 



Put the truck on the scales. Myself and my dad were in the cab along with probably 100lbs of stuff in the back seat. The toolbox is loaded, but the bed is empty. 






I figured this picture should be in the bed build thread. Now to figure out the new shocks and bumps. 

Also, I have an issue with the UHMW deck expanding on me. It turns out I should have added a row of fasteners down the middle of the deck. If you look at the back end of the bed in the picture above you can see the deck bulged above the steel. We haven't had a hot day yet, but sitting out in the sun on a 65 degree day resulted in the deck buckling up nearly 2" in the middle. 

So my options are to weld in a center support and through bolt the deck, or just cut the deck down the middle so it can expand and contract. I'd rather not cut the UHMW though. 

When I add the upper shock towers I'll have to weld on the bed, so I'll probably just pull it off and add the center support.

I had square tube on the brain when I decided to build the bed, so channel didn't come up. I'll let my new chevy 63's compensate for the rear frame rails not flexing as much as they used too. 

I really hate to do it, but for the time being I'm just going to cut a strip out of the center of the bed. That will allow it to move as much as it wants. Stepping in the middle of that area will result in some deflection, but it won't keep me from carrying gear back there. It's a shame too, as I went to a lot of trouble to find a sheet that I could put down in one piece. 

This will keep me from having to remove the bed as well.