Automobile

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks – Boon Or Bane? @ Top Speed

The Composite Truck Bed Is A Breath Of Fresh Air



The Tundra’s truck bed is said to offer better protection against dents, dings, and rust, courtesy of the new Sheet-Molded Compound (SMC) construction.

It comes with further improvements, such as an aluminum-reinforced composite bed and fully redesigned multi-link rear suspension. The Tundra will be offered with three bed sizes – 5.5-foot, 6.5-foot, and 8.1-foot.

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks - Boon or Bane? High Resolution Exterior
- image 1018680

While it is rugged and can be used roughly, the maximum payload capacity is “just” 1,940 pounds, which is far from the best (2021 F-150 can haul up to 3,325 pounds with the Heavy-Duty Payload Package). Now, not everyone uses the payload capacity to its limit, but on paper, this is a disadvantage for the truck.

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks - Boon or Bane? Interior Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 753277

As for the beds on its rivals, the F-150’s is composed of high-strength, military-grade aluminum-alloy, whereas the Chevy Silverado and the Ram 1500’s beds are made up of high-strength steel.

A video was uploaded on YouTube wherein a 500-pound engine was dropped onto the bed from a crane, but it has been taken down. If only we could’ve known the condition of the bed after the load was dropped.

The GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Comes With A Composite Bed

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks - Boon or Bane?
- image 834727

Advantages:

The biggest advantage is its excellent resistance to corrosion. They are also scratch and dent resistant. Not to mention, it is also lighter and will help improve fuel efficiency.

The Honda Ridgeline and the Toyota Tundra also come with composite beds, but let’s talk about the Tundra’s rival, the GMC Sierra 1500. The Silverado’s ‘twin-cousin’ (some incest sorcery this is), the Sierra 1500 was introduced with a carbon-fiber bed for the Denali and the AT4 trims. That seems to be even tougher than the Tundra’s bed because the company had claimed that it conducted tests to check the actual strength of the bed.

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks - Boon or Bane?
- image 834725

GMC dropped cinder blocks, 450-pound steel drums, and 1800-pound gravel and water-filled steel barrels from various heights. To take things up a notch, the team even had a 250-pound man drive on a snowmobile into the bed full throttle. But, it survived everything thrown at it.

This bed doesn’t even need a spray-in bed liner or rear wheelhouse liners. It has led to further weight reduction, and even NVH levels are better.

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks - Boon or Bane?
- image 880950

While we don’t have the manufacturing process of the Tundra’s bed, we do have it for Sierra CarbonPro. A flat sheet of thermoplastic carbon fiber is heated in a large oven and softened up before getting stamped by a 3,600-ton press. The smaller bits are shaped by a 1,000-ton press. After this, water jets are used to cut holes, create slots for hooks and lights, and trim off any rough edges. Once all this is set, the parts are joined with a heat-cured adhesive. There is no wastage here as the little carbon fiber bits are gathered, heated, and shaped into smaller pieces of the truck bed.

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks - Boon or Bane?
- image 834726

As for the payload capacity, the CarbonPro can haul 59 pounds more than the non-CarbonPro Sierras. The maximum payload capacity on the Sierra is 2,240 pounds on the two-wheel-drive model in the Regular Cab form.

Are Composite Beds A Boon Or Bane?

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks - Boon or Bane?
- image 834745

It boils down to how you would use your truck bed, but they have more advantages than disadvantages. The biggest advantage is its excellent resistance to corrosion. Rusting is one of the biggest issues of truck beds, so composite beds do sort this issue out to a huge extent. They are also scratch and dent resistant. Not to mention, it is also lighter and will help improve fuel efficiency.

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks - Boon or Bane? Interior Exterior
- image 758140

So, this begs the question; why don’t the Big Three move to composite beds? Well, the biggest reason is the cost.

Composite beds are comparatively expensive to build. Take the Sierra’s carbon-fiber bed, for instance. The carbon fiber composite bed on the Sierra AT4 and Denali costs approximately $12,500 and $11,000 more than the non-carbon fiber trims, respectively. Ford, GM, and Ram (Dodge, previously) have been building trucks for a very long time and have spent billions of dollars on the research and development of steel and aluminum beds. This includes stamping, grinding, welding, assembling, etc. To let that go to waste and spend more on building the manufacturing process for composite beds doesn’t seem very ideal from the cost point-of-view.

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks - Boon or Bane?
- image 785433

There’s also no reason for them to move unless composite beds become mainstream or people don’t mind ponying up extra moolah for these beds. The American automakers would rather be happy giving spray-in bedliner complimentary if push comes to shove than add composite beds. Also, these three brands are the guiding force of the pickup truck segment in the U.S. market. If one of them streamlines composite beds into their trucks, expect others to follow suit. But, until then, expect steel and aluminum beds to rule.

Composite Beds On Pickup Trucks - Boon or Bane? Exterior
- image 760710

If you were in the market for a pickup truck, would you pay an extra amount for a composite bed, or would you be happy getting the steel or aluminum bed and equipping it with covers and spray-on bedliners? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.


Most Related Links :
Business News Governmental News Finance News

Source link

Back to top button