Commercial dump bed inserts for a pickup truck can cost thousands of dollars. If you're looking for a homemade alternative, a simple solution is this roll-out plywood bed insert. If you have a few basic carpentry skills, then with some scrap lumber and a few bits of hardware you can create an easy-to-use dumpable roll-on/roll-off pickup bed insert.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 2 sheets of plywood, ¾ by 4 feet by 8 feet
- Circular saw
- 4 boards, 2 by 4 studs
- 2-inch screws, large box
- 6 Carriage bolts, 3/8 inch by 2-1/2 inches with washers and nuts
- 32 carriage bolts, ¼ inch by 3 inches with washers and nuts
- Tape measure
- Chalk line
- Drill and bits
- 8 caster wheels with bolts
- Chalk line
- Drill and bits
- Tie-down straps
Measure the inside of the pickup bed and cut a sheet of plywood to fit. Cut the bottom piece so it is narrow enough to slide easily out of the back of the pickup and short enough so you can close the tailgate when it is fully inside.
Measure and cut two sides for the box out of plywood. Each should be the length of the long side of the plywood bottom and taller than the sides of the bed.
Screw the sides on top of the long sides of the bottom. Pre-drill through the bottom board into the edges of the sides and add screws every 12 inches.
Measure and cut an end piece to fit between two sides. Screw the bottom edge of the end piece into place. Screw through the bottom and into the bottom edge of the end piece. Screw the sides to the ends of the end piece to make a box with three closed sides and one open end.
Cut two by four boards the length of the bottom of the plywood box. Drill 3/8-inch holes in both ends three inches from the ends and in the centre on the flat side. Set the boards lengthwise on the bottom of the box, drill the holes the rest of the way through the bottom. Bolt the boards in place with 3/8-inch carriage bolts, rounded side on the inside of the plywood box. Cut off excess bolt with the hacksaw.
Measure and mark places for the caster wheels on the two by fours on the bottom of the box insert. Place one wheel 5 inches from the closed end of the box; one 5 inches from the open end. A third caster wheel is mounted in the centre of the boards and a fourth wheel between the centre wheel and the wheel at open end. Drill 5/16-inch holes for the caster mounts and bolt the casters in place. Use ¼-inch carriage bolts and washers instead of screws because of the weight that will be on the box.
Lift the insert into the bed of the truck and close the tailgate. Fill with logs or dirt or whatever load you have and secure the load while in transit with tie-down straps.
Tips and warnings
- To unload, drop the tailgate and roll the box over the end of the bed. When the centre wheels drop over the tailgate, the box will tip up and dump the load. You can pull forward to pull the box free. Simply tie a strap to the box insert and tie it to the truck to prevent the box from pulling completely out of the bed of the truck.
- You can use the truck's momentum to start the trailer insert rolling out by backing up with tailgate down and tapping the brakes quickly when you get where you want to dump it. The truck's momentum will roll the box out the back of the truck.
- Wear eye protection while using cutting and boring tools.
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