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MrRob
03-07-2009, 10:23 PM
We have a steel rugby flatbed on our old 3/4 gmc & we're looking for a flatbed for our new 3/4 gmc & checking out our options. I'm assuming the weight savings is on the aluminum one, but it is more expensive. The steel flatbed after a few years looks horrible. Ice melt & salt are torture to it. Would an aluminum flatbed hold up any better? The look of aluminum is so much better than black/rusty steel. What are their downfalls besides price? It seems that %95 of flatbed are steel. Why arent more guys running aluminum?

Gravel Rat
03-07-2009, 10:55 PM
Your better off with aluminum for the weight savings and you don't loose payload on the truck. Aluminum does cost more but a 8 foot deck isn't that expensive.

threeleafllc
03-08-2009, 12:55 AM
MrRob
I just had this same problem...we had a 05 f350 with a rugby 9 foot dump body it was getting all rusted and dented from daily use it started to look like crap...well the first snow of the year i got hit,the body was trashed and the new Sander was totaled.. well i have enough dumps so i said i would put a non dumping flat bed on,i found a all steel bed and i liked it but it was heavy.
i bought a 9 foot truck craft all aluminum body.. some adv of a aluminum flat bed.. its only like 600lbs,with the way truck craft makes there body they use a extruded rail system so the deck has built in cross members,this enables you to mount the body much lower to the frame of your truck.this is nice in my situation because I'm short and need lots of tool boxes..a couple cons about aluminum is you cant replace an deck very easy so if your doping heavy stuff you have to be careful. next was a big one for me is its very difficult to mount a truck mounted crane on the bed there just isn't enough beef to it,we had to make all sorts of braces to do so .. at the end of the day aluminum looks the best, i think that's why i went with it.. Good luck
Sorry about the long post
Allen

GLS
03-08-2009, 02:19 PM
We run aluminum flatbeds on two of our 3/4 tons. I think the weight savings of aluminum is a major advantage, especially on vehicles with low GVWRs. That was the main reason for our decision to go with aluminum.

The other reason was the rust issue. However, don't expect the aluminum to stay shiny...after just one winter ours has gotten that dull look to it. We plan to acid wash and polish it, and then protect it with a product called sharkhide, we'll see how it works.

bluesprucelawncare
03-08-2009, 02:53 PM
i have a hillsboro aluminum and a omha aluminum. they really arnt the best i dont think... these two are not as strong there both not duallys so maybe the dually beds are built better but they dont have very many cross members. i do like there looks and how lite they are... the hillsboro was put on in july i think and i have already replaced every light on the rear 5 clearence and 6 brake turn tail. in michigan dec. and jan we dint stop pushing and salting so i dint try to warranty them i just fixed them but it still pissed me off i know salts a ***** but come on. the beds that are advertised to the left sometimes look pretty nice... i thought hillsboro was good but i dont know any more good luck

GLS
03-08-2009, 03:09 PM
We had ours custom built by Alum-Line. I really havn't looked closely at other brands to compare, but they seem very well built.

Our beds have I-beams on 12" centers, and tongue/groove extruded flooring. Makes for a very solid bed. Our Dodge sits on 6" sills, and our GMC sits on 4".

Here is a pic of the underside...

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd20/rmg106/IMG_1007.jpg

bluesprucelawncare
03-08-2009, 03:18 PM
can we ask what it cost for that dodges set up?

GLS
03-08-2009, 04:08 PM
The one on the Dodge came out to $8,600 including taxes and installation.

That also includes many custom options including the fold-down sides, tie-downs, stake pockets, LEDs, underbody boxes, etc. Everything is custom built.

I think the same bed without hoist, add-ons, and installation would run somewhere in the $4k range.

Pricey but well-built. Alum-line can give you a quote for anything you want.

LindblomRJ
03-08-2009, 07:22 PM
I have been pricing steel for a flatbed. Without decking I am up to about $500 for steel. That is not calculating consumables for welding.

So for giggles I started pricing aluminum as an estimate I am up to about $700 for materials again no deck.

For decking ether way of using green treated 2 x 8 wood.

I would build it myself. But aluminum look appealing and the for the money it might be a worthwhile investment.

stuvecorp
03-08-2009, 07:39 PM
We run aluminum flatbeds on two of our 3/4 tons. I think the weight savings of aluminum is a major advantage, especially on vehicles with low GVWRs. That was the main reason for our decision to go with aluminum.

The other reason was the rust issue. However, don't expect the aluminum to stay shiny...after just one winter ours has gotten that dull look to it. We plan to acid wash and polish it, and then protect it with a product called sharkhide, we'll see how it works.

Thats interesting, do you have some more pictures of either of your trucks? I want to get a pickup again but am spoiled on having the flatbed and have wondered on taking the regular bed off and going with a flatbed, never thought about an aluminum flatbed.

Gravel Rat
03-08-2009, 07:58 PM
Aluminum isn't going to be cheap if you build your own deck the price of aluminum has gone back up again.

For a fladeck dump on a 3/4 ton you should go with aluminum because by the time you put a 8 foot long 7 foot wide steel deck on the truck your looking at a good chunk of weight.

When I built my 11'6" x 8 foot deck I built it out of steel its a heavy SOB because I overkilled it with the items that need to be stronger. I toss the idea around about wood decking and when I crunched all the numbers the wood was not much lighter than the 3/16s sheet steel I used for the decking.

I used the weight spec's of the wood on Douglas fir truck decking and I used the weight of treated 2x6 fir/hem lumber. I was really surprised how heavy the wood was going to be. If I used 1/8th sheet steel it was lighter than the wood but I really didn't want to use 1/8th you drop a rock you will end up with a dent. With wood decking you need to make the deck more rigid if its going to be a dump deck.

Aluminum is the way to go if you can afford it if not go with steel but be prepared to loose some carrying capacity of the truck.

LindblomRJ
03-09-2009, 01:13 AM
Good points about the wood. If I was putting a dump on my pickup then yes I would go with steel.

My project is just a plain old flatbed.

When haul rock or busted concrete we would usally put an inch or two of dirt in the box first then then dump the rock in. If you didn't like the driver for whatever reason well skip the dirt. :D

GLS
03-10-2009, 06:29 PM
Thats interesting, do you have some more pictures of either of your trucks? I want to get a pickup again but am spoiled on having the flatbed and have wondered on taking the regular bed off and going with a flatbed, never thought about an aluminum flatbed.

Here are a few pictures. The GMC we originally ordered as just a flatbed, but then decided to add the hoist.

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd20/rmg106/2002%20GMC/IMG_1549.jpg

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd20/rmg106/2002%20GMC/IMG_1548.jpg

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd20/rmg106/IMG_0995.jpg

hondarancher4435
03-10-2009, 11:21 PM
wow nice trucks

MrRob
03-15-2009, 11:47 AM
looks good GLS. I'd love to be able t find a bed for $4K, most dealers around here(southern IL) want $5K w/o boxes or bells & whistles.

dirtybiz
03-15-2009, 08:07 PM
I have been looking at flatbeds recently as well and am faced w/the exact question. Originally i was thinking aluminum, but now i am not sure. I have really only found one choice here locally as far as aluminum goes, and that is a Hillsboro. They make two different ones, and i would not buy the lighter of the two. The heavier of the two has an extruded bed, as opposed to a regular diamond plate covering.

Here they want $4,200 for the lighter of the two w/2 underbed toolboxes, and $4,700 for the heavier of the two!! They also carry steel hillsboro's, and the lighter of them is $2,900 or $3,600 for HD. If i had a dually i would go the the heavier of the steel (the call it their GII), and it is very nice. I just think they look ******ed on SRW trucks. Rust is not really an issue for me, as the truck is not used during winter and kept inside.

We also have a local fab shop that makes some very nice steel ones, but they aren't cheap. THey want about $3,400 for their standard bed. But they can paint the bed to match and apply bedliner to the bed itself. However by the time i do this it would only cost me another $8-900 to get the HD hillsboro aluminum!

I am leaning towards the locally made steel right now, as they are quite a bit heavier duty than the hillsboro, but still not sure?? Anyone else have experience w/hillsboro??

dirtybiz
03-15-2009, 08:08 PM
Here are a few pictures. The GMC we originally ordered as just a flatbed, but then decided to add the hoist.

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd20/rmg106/2002%20GMC/IMG_1549.jpg

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd20/rmg106/2002%20GMC/IMG_1548.jpg

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd20/rmg106/IMG_0995.jpg

NICE! That's one thing i hate about dodge's w/flatbed's is they end up sitting to high! That is what i am going through right now w/mine. I like those bed's though.

GLS
03-15-2009, 09:04 PM
The dodge does sit rather high...the 6" sills don't help any, along with the 1.5" mounting plates. The GMC only has 4" sills, and 1" mounting plates, so it sits 2.5" shorter right there. If you don't put a hoist on it could sit lower.

dirtybiz
04-04-2009, 05:41 PM
I ended up going w/a aluminum Hillsboro w/extruded floor (similar to the one on GLS's gmc) on my 07 dodge. Got it finished up on friday, will post pic's as soon as i get it clean again. It doesn't sit nearly as high as gls's dodge, becasue it doesn't have a hoist. I really like they way it turned out. Now i just have to find a fuel tank that won't take up the whole thing, and get some alum. sides made up for it, to keep stuff on the bed. Pic's soon!

dirtybiz
04-14-2009, 08:53 PM
Here's how my Hillsboro aluminum flatbed turned out. I am really happy w/the way it turned out. I have some sides being built for it so i can keep stuff on it, and a diamond plate fuel tank on it's way.

JosephLawnCare
04-14-2009, 10:02 PM
dirtybiz, what did that bed cost? Did you install it?