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The Beast came with an original Ford tonneau cover of the roll up variety. These early vintage covers with difficult and awkward at best.
Snap-less sealing / securing system required a molded plastic lip on the cover, to slip and flip into place on an extruded aluminium ledge attached to the box edge. When new, and first installed these functioned reasonably well. But, as time and temperature take their toll, the cover can be virtually impossible to ‘re’ secure once opened in cooler weather. More likely remaining open until a warm spring or summer days softened the cover allowing it to streach into position again.
Free floating aluminium bridges spanned the box to support the cover in a slight arc so that it shed water etc. Unfortunately, these light weight aluminium U’s had little strength, and most certainly were not designed to support the weight of a good old Saskatchewan snowfall. Thus, in short order providing a concave pool for the local birds to bath in.
That said, the long box, with pintle and 5th wheel hitches installed requires a unique solution to facilitate access to the box, access to the hitches, access to cargo etc. The one piece units clearly very convenient, but no facility to allow use of the hitches. Roll ups,will obviously solve most of the problems, but I consider them to be generally a pain (see original cover info). Folding covers appear to be the solution, but, are very pricy for a 4 fold or 3 fold. Then, the decission got made for me. A local surplus dealer had 3 fold units on sale, but, for the short box. Nearly 2 feet shy of my 8 foot long box.
The solution and the ‘PLAN’
I have been planning on installing additional fuel tanks on the box across the front. TADA. I created a re-enforced 1/8″ aluminium cover to make up the length difference, and support the tonneau in absence of the front box lip. Stainless 1/4″ unc. oval head screws and lock nuts keep the two together. Some simple “U” brackets and more 1/4″ unc. stainless oval head screws secure the panel to the box. counter sunk on the top, keeps the exterior finish neat and tidy. Once I install the tank (s) I will either run the fillers through the cover, or, install a hinge to allow it to lift for access to the filler.