View Full Version : O/T Truck Bed Conversion

10-11-2003, 09:47 AM
Greetings all. Sorry for the O/T post, but have a question. I'm considering converting my pickup bed to a flat bed. I don't do routine machine hauling, but on occassion this is the case. The flat bed I'm considering is topped with diamond plate steel. The question is what concern, if any, should there be for load shift on steel. My thoughts were to always place rubber (read conveyor belting) under the base of anything I hauled and then strap it down tight.
I do welcome other thoughts on this issue.


John B

10-11-2003, 12:14 PM
I'd also make sure I'd had a number of stake pockets and even some extra tie down points if possible


10-11-2003, 04:21 PM
Hey John,

I have always been a fan of a woden platform. I feel that some woods are as strong as metal. You can bolt things down to it. Nail other 2x4's etc to hold things in place. I don't find it as slipery as metal. Put a couple more cross braces the lenght of the bed and you are good to go.

The bad part about wood is that it rots away. Absorbs stuff. Did i mention the splinters??? (ouch). It shrinks so small things fall down in the cracks.

I would do like walt says. Make alot of good anchor points and build the platform out of wood. It will also be lighter. Just my opinion


Al Messer
10-11-2003, 04:43 PM
And build a very solid "head-ache rack" behind the cab. You have no idea what a load of steel can do to a driver's body if it should shift forward during a sudden stop.

10-11-2003, 06:58 PM
Thanks for the replys! I realize woodwould be a better overall option for the deck, unfortunately the metal is the only way the bed I'm looking at comes. There will be many tie down points and yes, Al I will have a headache rack on steroids. Again thanks all!

John B

10-11-2003, 08:45 PM
How about you get yourself a few pieces of 3/4" treated plywood and bolt it dowm on top of the steel deck,then you get the best of both worlds.

10-11-2003, 09:20 PM
I think you would be making a mistake using diamond plate for the flatbed deck. I like the smooth flat steel decks, and it seems to be the common wisdom for flat bed truck decks. I also think a headache rack, provision for side stakes and strong tie-downs around the periphery are very important. There is one thing that I don't see very often, but that I think is very important when tying down heavy loads. I really think a chain around the load and secured to the rear of the truck is very important in case of fast stops or a collision. None of the common tie-down jobs I see include this and I've seen a lot of them.

The deck should be smooth so that you can slide the load into the best-balanced position or right up against the headache rack. It is of no use to depend on rubber or anything else to provide traction on the deck. You really need to know how to secure the load with chains or strapping.


10-11-2003, 10:59 PM
This is truck country. BIG truck country. Diamond plate steel decks are not popular. I can't remember the last time I saw one. That is an accident waiting to happen. Go for flat steel or better yet, wood. If the conversion you are looking at is only avialable in diamond plate steel then it is a bad deal.

BTW, most guys with flat steel decks have a welder at the front. They can tack down the load on skids.

10-12-2003, 08:23 AM
For weight to strength, Oak planks from a sawmill bolted down to a steel frame, with steel edging will be the best strongest bed you can put on there. I have some 1 inch thick oak planks I load 600 pound motorcycles with.

The truck companies used to make these all the time. You can find one with the wood rotted out pretty cheap.

I want a shortened 1 ton truck with fifth wheel to move cars-steel-whatever. Boom for lifting, place to strap in cutting rig, and welder. Believe it or not, that is a business in itself. Lincoln has this new welder out, has a 50 amp electrical generator coil added to the welding generator.. whoo hoo.. price quoted to me.. $2295.00, money in pocket, <$500...... Shucks..

I have a 1/2 ton chevy with cherry picker mounted on front bumper.. It is useful.. Loading the 800 amp Hobart electric motor driven welder I thought was going to stand it on it's end. (2 ton cherry picker welded to front bumper, no bracing)

10-12-2003, 08:42 AM

Yep, I have a little gin pole type thingy that sticks out over the end of my Land Rover snowplow blade. It will lift about 400-500 lbs. Gave a wood stove to some friends recently and we lifted it up to the bed of the pickup. Blew a leak in the hydraulic hose. Damn, now I just reminded myself that I have one more thing to fix.

10-12-2003, 11:38 AM
Thanks for all the input guys. I never thought about a plain steel deck vs diamond plate. That would make moving a machine around a touch easier. The company I'm dealing with said they would make it any way I wanted it. Of course, for a price. I had already planned for mucho tie down points both on the sides as well the front and rear and stake pockets. I haven't gotten into the nuts and bolts of the headache rack with them yet, but it will be heavy duty. I've just a bit of experience with loading and securing heavy, cumbersome loads and I get real anal when I load and secure something. Many years ago, hauled Nitro. Now there's a load you don't want to shift unexpectedly! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif The Boss said don't worry, I'd never know what happend.

I would prefer wood in some respects, but like the longevity of metal. Bottom line, I'm just planning and dreaming. Wife said I can't do anything until I sell something. Damn, there goes my "special purpose" sub minute of angle rifle! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//frown.gif

John B

[This message has been edited by jr45acp (edited 10-12-2003).]

10-12-2003, 01:13 PM

At one point I hauled nuclear weapons. Down really steep hills. Nitro? Milk sugar.

10-12-2003, 05:34 PM
Evan, I am hanging my head! Nitro is milk sugar in light of your loads.!

John B

10-12-2003, 07:08 PM
I was stationed at Fort Baker, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. It was a Nike Hercules missle battery, four battereys up in the hills. The warheads had to be changed out about every six months for inspection. We would make a run up to one of the batterys every week. Park the truck with the Hiab and the lead pig on the flatbed deck, go have a smoke. They would pull the truck inside. Wait. They would pull the truck outside. Drive down the hills to the dock by the bay and pull up to one of the big blast doors. Someone would pull the truck inside. Wait. Someone would pull the truck outside. Drive back to the shop.

I never knew when I had a nuke on the back and neither did anyone who was watching.

10-12-2003, 11:20 PM
I love the stories, but hauling nuclear weapons doesn't much compare with hauling nitro. I'm trying to remember a movie that had some guys hauling nitro in some old trucks across some rope bridges in a rainstorm. Intense to say the least. I thought Roy Scheider was in it but I couldn't find it in his filmography.


10-13-2003, 03:21 AM

A hardwood deck is far safer. My dad had a flat deck with winch and gin poles for oilfield work - only steel on the deck was the toolboxes and the end roller. Steel is too slipery in bad weather - wood is far safer. Stuff does not move much on it either.

Cecil Walker
10-13-2003, 03:27 PM
Definately go with the wood deck. In 1982 I had a steel deck trailer, early one frosty morn an employee slipped and hit his head on the way down into the loading dock. Died 3 days later. I still remember the sound to this day. Terrible experience for all involved.

10-13-2003, 03:40 PM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-08-2004).]