Quick Install: A Longer Bed Extender

Bed ex 4a II
Story and photos by G.R. Whale

Pickup truck beds are perfect for carrying things that are the same size as the bed, but anything smaller or larger requires some sort of retention. Heres' a quick idea from Amp Research to make your truck bed, better.

If your truck didn’t come with a factory option Amp Research, the people who did the first 14 years ago have a new design BedXTenderHD that will fit and contain longer, larger loads with the tailgate down (they usually have a weight limit) and smaller objects ahead or contained within the extender and raised tailgate. 

The BedXTenderHD starts at $212 but prices vary depending on size, and the install uses a T25 bit and hand tools (though not on tool list, have a tape measure or ruler handy),  and it takes less than an hour even with two friends helping (one is ideal).

Bed ex 1 II
The first direction is to cut the side-pillar template, which bisects another template printed on the back, and mount the brackets. Because of variables in bedliner heights, we’d suggest assembling the BedXTender first. Mark the tube ends at 7 inches, then slide them into the ends and center all the tubes.

Bed ex 2 II
Composite verticals, with varying inside thickness to match the disparate-diameter tube joint inside, are squeezed together with six T25 fasteners. A bit at a time for each walks them on easier.

 

Bed ex 3 II
With the BedXTender roughly assembled you can get a better idea of bracket height. Ideally, the end of the extender is parallel to and within a quarter-inch of the tailgate (closer doesn’t allow for body flex). Then you use the template to punch/drill the three mounting holes. You can put this over your bedliner or cut it for flush steel mounting.

 

Bed ex 4b II
Slide the BedXTender into the brackets and adjust any tube length as needed. Then adjust strap length for a snug fit with the tailgate latches flush (just lift the tailgate handle to release) and your done; that load board in front of the bed is no longer needed.

Comments

It's better than trying to tie items down that don't fit with the bed up.

Not too impressed with this new design. Does not carry as much cargo as the older one, since it is a bit narrower. AMP Research, please bring the Moto X-Tender back.

Speaking of logical X-tensions (and following up somewhat on another article last week about bed covers) it rises to my attention that the majority of modern pickups have shorter beds than they used to. Based on one photo of a RAM showing an aerodynamic streamer the reason for the shorter beds becomes obvious as the air now falls just past the tailgate as it streams over the top of the truck. A bed like mine (8 feet) will obviously catch at least some of that wind.

What does that have to do with this article? Simple. Unlike the majority of modern pickups, I can fit a full sheet of plywood or 8' boards in the bed with the tailgate up--securing the load reasonably safely without having to use an add-on device. Carrying it farther, it becomes obvious that bed extenders are now necessary for fitting typical construction supplies into a modern truck. The exchange is visibly better gas mileage at less cost when unloaded.

The question then arises: do these things increase the bed length to allow un-cut plywood/drywall, or do they become merely another annoyance that has to be accommodated when you're hauling your lumber?

Beds have gotten shorter because the cabs have gotten longer, and they really havn't gotten shorter, just less people opting for eight foot beds in favor of a longer cab without make the hole truck to long and hard to park.

Why the hassle of the extender, just buy a CUV or a VAN and it has lot of volumetric space with the taller roof as well.


Maybe its just me, but I've never found much use for these bed extenders- best function part seems to be to keep things by the tailgate when they're flipped forward. I suppose the guys (or gals) that haul dirt-bikes and such that are just too long to fit in a 6ft bed might appreciate the way it could keep a gas-can from sliding out. Small things will still fly out, and for 8ft long construction materials, it's just not necessary- a few sheets will sit on the tailgate just fine, if you have a big stack, throw a ratchet stap (you do have one of those, right?) over that stuff. Hell, drywall wont even move if you don't drive like a complete jack-wagon.


@Vulpine - this extender won't allow you to carry standard 8 ft plywood, lumber or gyprock in a modern 1/2 ton crewcab = trucks with 5.5 or 6.5 boxes.
As an example the current F150 hass a 22.4 inch box depth. A standard 5 1/2 ft box will still leave you 7.6 inches short.
My 6.5 box SuperCrew would have 4.4 inches to spare. The problem with this device is that it isn't square enough and even on a 6.5 box truck, it would be useless for carrying plywood or gyprock. The "bars" on it would also make it useless for lumber as it could squirt out the slots.
Might as well save yourself $212 dollars and make sure you have an assortment of "rated" industrial ratcheting tie downs, and an assortment of less heavy duty dirt bike style cam lock tie downs, and smaller ratcheting tie downs. Any truck owner should have an assortment of these devices handy. Various bungie cords, and rubber tie straps are pretty much useless and can be dangerous to the eyes. An assortment of tarps, and even heavy duty webbed cargo nets are a good idea.
In some respects, I miss the 8 ft. box because I could still carry my dry box as locked storage, and still have room for 3 dirt bikes (tailgate down) I found that a set of tie downs securing the back of the bikes a good idea. When you travel down a rough road the back end of the bikes bounce around, they can hop sideways and can rub up each other, or even start to work the front tie downs loose. Having wheel chocks or something to anchor the front wheels of a dirt bike are a good idea. A piece of plywood with some 2x2 uprights against the front of the box or my drybox worked well to keep the wheels straight.

You guys and your plywood/drywall arguement. Really? You think everyone needs to haul building supplies around everyday? I seriously doubt anyone would consider to buy a bed extender so they could haul plywood safely. There's a bazillion reasons to extend the length of your pickups bed temporarily without needing an eight foot box for everyday use.

When I bought my new truck I was a little nervous because it was a 6.5 box and my old truck was a 8ft box. But I can load pretty much all the long stuff like PVC pipe 2x4s and plywood in there with the gate up and the materials hanging out the back a cupel feet. I do have to strap down some things that I wouldn't have to with the longer box but its not that big of a deal. But when I'm picking up a lot of stuff I just bring a trailer along anyway.

@Wake Up Call - for the price of this device, it isn't worth it. Large appliances, furniture, ATV's, dirt bikes, maybe kayak's, are going to extend from a 5.5 box. All those items need to be secured with tie downs, so what would you see needing this device for? One poster said it worked good for flipping inside the box to keep items against the tailgate. Any heavy stuff like tools or tool boxes, heavy parts like engines should be at the front of the box for safety reasons (and tied down). I've seen tool boxes etc sitting loose at the back of a p/u box make a real mess of the box and cab when they shoot foreward in an MVC.

@Lou: That's exactly my point. Just how many long-bed trucks do you see any more and why? Ok, I will grant that in the older days the manufacturers chose to keep two "standard" frame lengths which either allowed a long bed with standard cab, short bed with extended cab or short bed with crew cab. In essence, that's still what we see today, though the shorter beds dominate more--I believe--for the nearly 10% gas mileage savings (that's still only about 2mpg) than for any truly functional purpose. Even those others here who dismiss my arguments point out that today's beds are too short even for a decent motorcycle, though the 6.5' bed should be long enough for that purpose.

Yes, I'm fully aware that a 6' bed can carry plywood, wallboard and planks; I've seen trucks carrying those things hanging off the tailgate for as long as I remember seeing trucks. My point of my entire previous comment was that the extender rails are essentially pointless if you bought the truck you needed in the first place. Personally, I'd have been quite happy with a 6' bed on my Ford but I took what was available for the price. Believe me, this thing is a Road Whale in itself with that long tail hanging out. (Doesn't keep me from having fun fixing it up, though. It's a project truck for me more than anything else and it gets me off my duff to work on it.)

You know, it used to be that bed lengths were in full foot increments, not half-foot. A short bed was 5' (not 4.5'), standard was 6' and long, obviously, was 8'. I can only envision the engineering change was to better accommodate aerodynamics though I'm sure it was marketed entirely differently. Now, if someone would like to trade me a like-new Ranger or S-10 for my Road Whale on a 1-for-1 basis, I might be interested. Or did they screw up the bed lengths on those, too?

@Vulpine - IIRC 6 and 8 foot beds used to be all that you could get. Crew Cabs were the exclusive domain of HD pickups. Short box HD's were non-existant. ( I never saw any if they did exist). The first extended cabs were as you pointed out long box trucks with a bigger cab and a short box to basically offset the difference. You may be onto something with the 5.5 box for mpg theory. Trucks have been made less truck and more car like because of the huge market that opens up for them. Trucks would not be #1 in sales if they still had regular cabs, vinyl bench seats, and 8 foot boxes. My wife actually prefers my truck over her Toyota Sienna. She hated my F250 Reg cab 8 foot box truck even though it was lighter and shorter than my F150. Those facts even though they are just personal perceptions drive sales.

Heh. No argument, Lou, though I forgot to mention the standard cab/short box models as well; thanks for reminding me.

I would have been happy with a standard/short or an extended/short but took the standard/long for the price and condition. Pulled the bed liner out and discovered a near-perfect bed underneath. No rust and only minor scrapes where the DuraLiner rubbed on the ridges of the box and four holes where tie-downs were screwed in to hold the liner in place. May re-use the holes but want a different tie-down system near the bottom of the box.

I am amaze i mean..it is good thing installed to have a secure accessories for stuff's..like what i have the roller tool boxes..

Just to clarify. Driving with your tailgate down with or without a bed extender DOES NOT improve gas mileage. There have been numerous studies with this and they all came out with the same result. There is a negligible to 1% LOSS of mpg when the tailgate is down.

Reasons?

Tailgate up: Air flow gets trapped and swirls in the bed and creates 'bad-air.' This is why cups and such stay in the bed and don't fly out. Air flow over the cab attempts to enter the bed but instead flows over the bad air.

Tailgate down: There is no 'bad air.' Air flows over the cab and since their is no swirling air, the air does flow down into the bed, creating a down force on the rear of the truck, therefore in effect making the truck heavier.

I did extensive research on this topic for a project of mine and found it interesting and against what I believed as well.



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