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Hauling With A Flat Bed

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Bob IN
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Posted February 10, 2014 - 08:57 PM

Im going to replace the bed of my truck soon. I am most likely going to get a flat bed.  I have never really hauled a whole lot with a flat bed truck. Anyone have any thoughts? More dangerous than hauling with a regular pickup bed? I almost think it would be nicer because, the fact I could fit a few more gts on the truck. Thought about putting railing around the out side and attaching it using the stake pockets. Any thoughts? Not sure this would be the right area to start this conversation?

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#2 Hammer OFFLINE  


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Posted February 10, 2014 - 09:06 PM

The flat bed will be fine, just invest in some QUALITY straps. Not the junk you find a wally world. 

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#3 glgrumpy OFFLINE  


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Posted February 10, 2014 - 09:33 PM

I've had several,big and small. Make a headache rack or at least a taller front panel. I don't like to cover window tho and stay below or build around it to still use the rear view  mirror, even on the big trucks. Sometimes a mesh panel is protection there.  I like to make my sides taller towards front and taper down smaller at back. Say a 2 x 10 or 8 full length, then 2/3rds way back have another one or smaller width,like a 2  x  6 and I cut it tapered off on end, then a third one same or smaller for the short top board about 1/2 way back. You can throw lots of things in/over the sides and set w/out tying or minimal tying. You Could add a crosspiece on back too that lifts out of way like a gate if wanted. If this is 1-ton or smaller, you just have to use smaller lumbers. Paint sides good, plenty of prime and thinned first coats. The Decks and sides of wood never last very long, no matter what stuff you put on them. I use treated wood, but even that rots in short time. You will find the stake pockets aren't big enough for 2 x 4 width, whill have to cut down to slip in there. A bolt or two in pockets down a side will keep the sides in when hitting that one BIG bump you didn't see coming. I HAVE lost sides before I bolted them. At least one in front and one near back on each side. Hinges or other hardware to go around corners at front up higher to keep things tight there. I like a wide heavy strap metal down the sides on outside of the pockets to hook straps to. Don't go too light on that either.

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#4 Cat385B ONLINE  



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Posted February 10, 2014 - 10:17 PM

I had a '95 Dodge 3500 reg cab diesel with a flatbed. It was 8' x 11'4". It had 4' undermount toolboxes behind the cab on both sides and 2' boxes behind the tires on both sides. Louvered headache rack with a switched spotlight on the passenger side. It was steel, with a steel floor. I would of preferred wood in the winter.

I have no pics of it, this one is close, except my rack was cut shaped to the cab:



I had two sets of side/rear rails. The first were white pvc 2x8 (panels? boards?) that were salvaged from a hog confinement barn.



Those were used most of the time, they were on there to keep any loose items from rolling off. The second set I had were 2x12's that doubled as ramps. I know 2x12's aren't quite strong enough when they're 11' long, but they had a 'prop' 2x6 hinged to them that I would fold down to the ground when using them. Worked fine for 4 wheelers and wb snowblowers. They would also work from the side, I could load two four wheelers that way.


It also had a hideaway fifth wheel ball recessed, with a hinged cover plate. I never used it, but a friend did. Worked fine.



More room.

Easier to load from the sides, lots more accessible.

Availability of tool boxes. Much more useable space with under/over side boxes than the standard across the bed tool box.

Lighting. You will have to add sidelights, and can throw lights wherever you want. Spots, LEDs, backup lights, marker lights, sky's the limit.



Security. Everything's out for everyone to see.

Wiring. Exposed to the elements. If you're starting from scratch, use loom, conduit, heat shrink, whatever it takes.

Your insurance could go up.

Harder to load from the rear. It will be higher than a standard box.

Getting the fuel neck mocked up and in.

Your dirty, worthless in-laws will always want to borrow it, and will always bring it back with less fuel than when it left. Unless your wife and mine are closely related, then it will come back full and washed.


I bought the truck with 210,000 miles on it. If it would of been 4 wheel drive, I never would of sold it. But I did make quite a bit on it, and the only thing I did was paint the flatbed and fix the wiring.


Personally, I think some of the all wood flatbeds I have seen are better looking than steel or aluminum. Not that they would hold up, but they're pretty.


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Posted February 10, 2014 - 11:40 PM

I LOVE flatbed's. It makes it way easier to haul tractor's. I have hauled two at a time,quite often. Driven on from the side, two will fit on an 8 foot bed perfectly. I have stake pocket's with removable sides on mine. Can remove the sides and tailgate in less than a minute. Sides double as ramps.It is a wood flatbed. I didn't build it myself, and don't like some things about it. It is pine, which is too weak. Rebuilding it this spring/summer with 2" oak. Best advice is: carry plenty of ratchet straps. With a properly strapped load, your as safe or safer than hauling in a standard pickup box.

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#6 Bill 76 ONLINE  

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 03:54 AM

Make sure you secure your load on all four corners,The state patrol around here is kinda picky about that,for good reason.

Oh yeah put on lots of led marker lights,check your states dmv on line for light placement and don't forget the rear bumper,around here we can't use wood for bumper.

The better you make it look the less chance the bear will pull you over (never any fun comes from that) 

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 10:56 AM

There are tradeoffs in everything. I personally like the flatbed concept, but have never had one.

Inside a standard pickup has 4X8 ft usable that's 32 sq ft. A 6X8 flatbed would give you 48 sq ft and you gain 16 sq ft of usable deck.

And you don't have those fender pockets that hang up everything your trying to unload.

Besides that unless your well over 6 ft tall lifting items over the sides of a pickup is a pain, making the flatbed much handier.


Now with a flatbed everything has to be secured to prevent it blowing out.

Another consideration is insurance and some insurance companies consider anything with a flatbed requires Commercial Rates.

State regulations are worth investigating too. I understand in California any flatbed is considered commercial and must pass through scales.

Since I drive past scales twice a day on my commute, that could become a real pain!! Maybe even a deal breaker.

Edited by JD DANNELS, February 11, 2014 - 11:00 AM.

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 04:27 PM

Like CaT 385B I like the looks of a wood bed. Being a hobby wood worker there is just something about wood that touches me.

To make it hold up would require diligent maintainece to make it last.

It seemed when I was a kid every farmer in the area had an old Chevy, Ford, Dodge or International with an Omaha Standard wooden Stock & Grain combo body bed on their 1/2-2 ton farm truck. They were used hard for a good many years without a problem.

They held up very well so I have to believe wood is ok if it is taken care of properly.

Here is a picture of one of the stock & Grain Combo's The Top section folded down when hauling grain.

Dad Had one on a 52 Studebaker 3/4 ton.


Edited by JD DANNELS, February 11, 2014 - 04:35 PM.

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#9 BairleaFarm OFFLINE  



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Posted May 15, 2014 - 10:27 AM

All my duallys have had them.  Just remember to NOT wash it like I did.....

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#10 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted May 15, 2014 - 10:31 AM

All my duallys have had them.  Just remember to NOT wash it like I did.....


OK, How did that happen?

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#11 BairleaFarm OFFLINE  



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Posted May 15, 2014 - 10:55 AM

Kicked out of gear and rolled a little faster than I could run.   It was the first of April and that water was cold.

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#12 shorty ONLINE  



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Posted May 16, 2014 - 04:59 AM

Man, that would be a pain to get going again.

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#13 BairleaFarm OFFLINE  



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Posted May 16, 2014 - 05:44 PM

Nope. Took the air filter out and drove it home. Still totaled. I couldn't imagine the future issues it would have.

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#14 jdcrawler ONLINE  



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Posted May 21, 2014 - 09:09 AM

I prefer a flat bed over a regular truck bed mainly because it is wider.

The bed on my truck has stake sides and a tail gate to keep things in place and they also make it much easier to fasten tiedown straps.


the only disadvantage that I see of a flatbed over a regular pickup bed is that the flatbed sets higher.

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#15 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted July 11, 2014 - 07:00 AM

Kind of bring this one back from the dead, but I've been away.  I drive a flatbed every day for work.  Beautiful things.  


My recommendations:


Build the deck 102 inches wide.  96 inches leaves skids and lifts of lumber right on the edge, assuming you can a forklift operator who cares enough not to leave things hanging over.


Make sure you have stake holes all around so you can put wooden sides on it.  Flatbeds quit being beautiful when you have to haul soil or gravel or firewood.


Spring for ratcheting rollers and a strap bar.  Way better and easier than those ratcheting heads.


Get a good-sized jockey box.  Fill it with chains and straps.  Toss some red flags in there too, because you're going to have something hanging out the back at some point.


Learn about load securement.  Strap everything.  Tractors and other vehicles require every corner tied down.  Get the 4 inch straps and replace them when they get cut or worn.


I have to go to work and drive my flatbed now.

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