Toyota Tundra Crewmax 6, 8 Foot Bed Aftermarket Options – Long Bed My Truck
A hot topic for Toyota Tundra Crewmax owners is the lack of bed size options from factory. While the factory option is not coming anytime soon, what about aftermarket options? The crew at LongBedMyTruck.com has such an option. I recently had a chance to interview the owner about his product. Here are his thoughts.
The LongBedMyTruck.com site is really a service offering of Precision Bodyline. They have developed a system to install longer beds without seriously compromising the structural integrity of the truck. While the majority of their focus is on the Ram Megacab, they do quite a few of the Tundra Crewmax pickups.
Here is my Q&A with James Hobbs of Precision Bodyline.
Can you give me some background on extended bed frames such as challenges faced, structural integrity and customer feedback?
As far as what we do to the Toyota Tundra, we have a CNC computer controller wet jet that will cut out tarts that we have basically engineered to fit the c-channel design of the Toyota frame. And we have replicated the exact same size and material and have done the background engineering to recreate that c-channel. Then, using those parts it has allowed us to extend the frame and also move the wheel base. We have to move the wheel base and the spring hangers to accommodate the longer frame. The wheels then are proportionate to the bed.
On a 6′ 6″ foot Toyota Tundra bed that isn’t too complicated with regards to 12 inches. Extending it 12 inches is very doable and very robust. We maintain the structural integrity by overlapping the frame with our pieces by a specific amount.
Feedback from customers? For example, we had a gentleman send us a 2013 truck in January. It was brand new, it had maybe 20 miles. He shipped it to me from New York. We purchased from Toyota dealership, the brand new 6′ 6″ foot bed that would match that truck (most likely from a double cab). Then, we installed it and painted it to match. Some things we had to do, we had to buy a new rail kit. We also did a spray-in bed liner and some Bushwacker pocket style fender flares. As far as feedback from him, he loves it. He is absolutely thrilled. Many of my customers feel like their truck is more usable. I get a lot of feedback from people that they are so delighted that they can put all their things in.
Many people on our site have speculated that Toyota would have to develop an entirely new frame to make the Crewmax come with a 6’5” bed. Can you provide any insight into this?
The frame is an interesting animal on the Toyota. It is something I think they are stamping to a height specification and it tapers to the back. In the front, is really tall and large. Where the bumper bolts on the frame it reduces 3 and a half to 4 inches. The Toyota frame is a little weak back behind the bumper.
We focus on modifying the frame behind the cab. We use a piece of frame that is stronger than the original. As far being able to provide people with a 6′ 6″ bed? I believe that is something that we can that would be very reliable and doable on a regular basis without any major concern of any problems.
Others have speculated that Toyota must move away from a “C” frame design to accommodate a longer bed, do you have any insight into this?
I tend to agree with them. I’ll give some of my experience with an 8′ bed. Adding a 6’6″ bed isn’t a large issue. That truck is very robust and can certainly handle the extra 12 inches. That to me is really not a big deal. When you extend the frame to 8 foot, you are adding 3 feet to that frame. In that situation cross-members and additional strengthening comes into plays. However, even with the additional strengthening, that the end of the frame does get more flex than traditionally I would like to see. Not a lot you can do about that because that is the Toyota truck frame, it is simply weaker back there. We have done four 8′ bed frame extensions since we began. All four have been very successful and that frame is very robust and is designed to flex some.
We have found that by adding ladder bars, This is something that is attached to the rear of the truck and to come forward to attach to forward portions of the frame. It is designed to stop any roll or hop that could potentially happen on a 8′ bed lengthening. On a 6’6″ bed lengthening, I have no concerns on those. In fact, I think we could do hundreds of those with no problems.
To answer your question, if Toyota was to move to a fully-boxed frame throughout from the cab to the back, then yes that would give them additional strength to extend the box. I believe a fully boxed frame would improve the performance of a Toyota truck.
We had done Dodge trucks with extensions and they have a fully boxed frame. They don’t have the same anomaly that Toyota trucks that you experience with the 8′ bed length. There is a difference between the two with the Dodge (Megacab with 6′ bed stock) being only extended two feet versus the three feet of the Toyota.
Probably why they haven’t changed their frame is because Toyota tests the heck out of stuff. They probably don’t have 10 years of knowledge testing a different frame and it is why they haven’t changed. And that is how they work, they won’t release it to the market until they have absolutely beaten the heck out of it. Others are a lot more willing to release it and shove it out the door.
After extending a bed, are there modifications made to keep the same towing/payload numbers?
Towing and payload is really tied to suspension and the way the suspension works. In regards to those numbers, we aren’t improving our decreasing them. The standards is the same before and after the extension. Just because you have a longer bed, it doesn’t mean you can tow more without doing modifications.
Talking about performance and towing, let’s say it. That Toyota 5.7L V-8 motor is one awesome piece of equipment. It gets decent gas mileage when it is unloaded and for a V-8 of its size, when you really want to get on it, nothing goes like a Tundra does. The reality of it, that motor is pretty awesome.
What can you tell me about the ride comfort with the longer bed? Does the longer, at times empty bed, create more “bed bounce?”
Yes, it does. But, ride is consistent from the stock bed to the 6’6″ bed extension. The 8′ foot bed does have some bed bounce that can be cured a bit by ladder bars, but the 8′ foot bed with a fully boxed frame wouldn’t have it. We have looked at boxing that frame and have decided not to. Simply because it is so small in the rear that boxing it in wouldn’t do much. What is really needs is a larger c-channel frame all around would do the same as boxing in the frame. As soon as you get to the back of the axle, that frame reduces size to just at 4 inches.
As far as bed bounce, I have driven it, it isn’t much. I would say it is comparable to the Dodge trucks I have driven and ride in. And again, the Toyota trucks have a really good suspension technology that is pretty good at curbing the bed bounce.
Comparing them to all other makers, I do think the Toyota frame is far more flexy and I think the bed does bounce around a bit more. However, again, I think when Toyota builds their trucks I don’t think they see that as an issue because the ride on the Tundra empty is a nice ride. I, personally, think it has a nicer and more refined ride than the competition. You have to ask yourself what compromise do we make? Are we going to compromise ride by making the frame or suspension stiffer? I think if you talk to their engineers, they would all of have a reason for doing what they do one way or another.
Having said that, I do think in the 8′ bed extension the bed bounce is more than I would like to see. And in the Dodge trucks because their frame is boxed in, we don’t see any bed bounce.
Now even in the factory trucks, the Toyota trucks does bounce, but I wouldn’t say it is any more or less. It does have more flex in their frame than others. I wouldn’t say it is enough to really complain about in my opinion.
You are looking at all different frames through your work, how do you think Toyota frame compares to the rest of the full-size truck market? Are they foolish by not going with a fully boxed frame?
That is really a tough question. I am going to give kudos to the Japanese engineers that came up with the Toyota trucks in the 80′s that were imported to the U.S. These things were indestructible. They were just unbelievably well built.
One of the things that made them successful was a design that made them smaller yet stronger. I think that they have maintained that kind of design focus. I’ve read some of the blogs and some of the hearsay and that the news out there that Toyota is going to offer a diesel or a dually. I do not see that happening without them addressing seriously the frame on how to make it longer and stronger on the trucks. As the frame sits right now, I don’t see them having a strong enough platform to grow their trucks into that market. A boxed frame would help, I don’t think the frame they have is bad. But, I do think the boxed frame would be an improvement in that type of market.
In small trucks, I don’t think so. If you are going to build a middle of the road type of truck, something that gets good gas mileage, can haul which is what the Toyota engineers aim for. For what they intend to do, their building a good truck and they have a good frame for that truck. At the same time, there are always those people that want to do more and that’s why were here.
Is your biggest criticism of the frame that it gets smaller in the rear?
Yes, but if you look at that from an engineering perspective that probably say to themselves, why does it need to be bigger than this? That’s what they are looking at, what are we rating this truck for, why does it need to be bigger?
In essence, there are some over engineering by say a Dodge or Ford frame with their fully boxed frame. The Toyota frame is not, but it is really engineered right where they need it to.
What about warranty concerns? Have you had any experience with this issue?
I haven’t had anybody call me with a warranty concerns on the work we have done. What warranty concerns do they have at the dealerships? I’m not saying the dealer with warranty the frame after the work we have done. Clearly, the Toyota frame is void warranty after you cut it and do what we have done. We are voiding the warranty.
Now a lot of guys will do a lift kit and aftermarket modifications that voids warranties. We aren’t any different. I am going to stand behind the frame work we have done. I am going to give you a life-time warranty on the framework of the vehicle. Yes, we are extending items like the brake line, but that is a factory brake line. We are simply extending it. We are maintaining the integrity of the factory wiring and lines.
Finally, what kind of cost can a customer be looking at?
I’ve had some Toyota customers bring me a bed from a wrecking yard and we have fixed it up. The reality of it is, there aren’t very many wrecked/used Toyota truck beds out there. Even if I can find a used bed, there may be some potential issues. Because there is just such a limited supply of Toyota beds in the used marketplace, even if you want one, you can’t find one. The reason I bring this up, is that the cost of parts to do this job is a significant number. When you call up the dealership and ask for a 6’6″ bed assembly, it is $5k plus for the bed. That is just a box that shows up in my yard. It has to be painted, there is the framework and all the other pieces and work that has to be done.
Altogether, I really like to recommend that people that do this as long-term addition to a newer truck. I like to have people buy a new truck, order a longer bed and have it as a turnkey solution. Now, it does run around $10-11k in addition to the truck. It can be a little bit more depending on options with bed liners and hitches.
All right, your turn. Sound off and let me know your thoughts!
Filed Under: Tundra News