1. Starling Lawn

    Starling Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    I was wondering how hard it would be to fabricate a flatbed for an old ford ranger I have.I would like to use wooden stakesides for it.I won`t be carrying mulch,dirt or anything heavy.This is an old truck that didn`t cost a dime that I am re-doing.Its now running after sitting for mouths.Just thought I would do something different.
  2. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    The answer to the question of "how hard" depends on a couple of factors: A big one being how familiar you are with metal fabrication. Since I work full-time in this field, I tend to view a truck deck as a straightforward, fairly simple project. For someone not as experienced/equipped for this sort of work, the idea of building a flatbed can seem pretty daunting. Knowing how familiar you are with metal fabrication and the associated terminology will make it easier to answer your question.

    Another thing to consider is how elaborate a deck you wish to build.

    Regardless, just like building a house, first step is planning. Get an idea of what you would like to build before cutting material. Do some measuring, make some sketches.

    Obviously, road salt is not the concern for you that it is up here, but I would still advise staying away from tube for the deck structure. Tube will hold moisture, and over time will end up rusting from the inside out - my work truck has this problem right now, so I'm putting the "bug" in the boss' ear to let me build a new deck for it! I don't mind using tube to build a "headache rack" but I leave it open on the bottom so it can drain.

    Two main rails running atop your frame will be your "foundation" - I would be inclined to use channel ([ - 3" will be plenty) here. Since the frame rails are not straight (they curve up over the rear axle) you will need to place blocks between the truck frame & these rails. Steel or hardwood are both suitable.

    Resist the urge to weld everything right to your frame - use U-bolts to secure the deck and design it so you can remove it later if you want/need to!

    Well, that's a start anyway - let us know a bit more about your project & I'm sure lots of people will be happy to share info with you. Although I've never built a deck for a Ranger, I have made and repaired them on other trucks and maybe someone out there has done just what you are thinking about.

  3. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 849

    A stock bed, uses the channels across the frame rails. For instance, on the 73 - 87 Chevy/GMC frame, the rise in the frame, is a 2" rise, right over the wheels. GM used a 1" channel there. The other channels, are 3". What Rob is describing, is how most dump bodies are mounted. They use blocks of wood as shims.

    The stock channels, are basically, box, because the open tops of the channel, are against the underside of the bed floor, and spot welded to it. The ends are open to allow moisture to get out, and to get in...

    Using a heavier box steel, like .120 wall thickness, will last much longer than stock, and be lighter than channel steel.

    Here's a crude drawing to help explain.
    (I attached a bitmap to my post, but it didn't upload for some reason)

    <IMG SRC="http://www.snowplowing-contractors.com/chassis.jpg">

  4. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    With regard to the "crude" drawing - often simple is better!

    On the subject of tube/box steel (same thing, different names in different areas!) I think I may have overstressed the rust factor - it certainly isn't going to rust away in the first winter. And it will keep your weight down too. Plus, you aren't located in a "road- salt-belt" area - so tube will work fine for your application.

    The main reason I dislike tube or any sort of fabrication that results in a sealed-in area to collect moisture is the fact that I tend to work on these things AFTER the rusties get at 'em :mad: - repair welding. This is why I tend to say "avoid using tube".

    Example: customer wanted some cracks repaired on a couple of dump trailer (18-wheeler model) frames. A few of the cracks were straightforward to repair, but most were in areas where a formed channel was welded to the frame, forming a closed-in area. Strike arc, crack disappears along with a bunch of the channel. Ended up using a lot of flat bar pieces to replace the rusted sections - NOT my idea of a relaxing day's work! :angry:

    Using tube crossers as Chuck shows in the sketch along with a 1/8" checkerplate floor will give you a good solid deck, much stronger than the original pickup box.
  5. Starling Lawn

    Starling Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    Thanks guys,that`s what i was looking for.

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