I was doing a little reading and came across some posts about bed braces for Raptors and F150s. It seems that the aluminum box likes to wander outward under heavy off-roading or weight sitting on the bed rails. I started looking at what was on the market and found several that liked however, prices varied greatly which lead me to believe that the pricing is set to some arbitrary amount and not based on materials, time, and testing. This was an assumption with ZERO facts.
So I looked at lots of different styles online and found features I liked. I called up my local metal materials supply and checked to see if they had what I would need to build my own. As it turned out, all of it was in stock and I picked it up the same day.
- (10ft) – 1.25″ NPS Sch. 10 piping
- (4ft) – 2″x3″x0.125″ plate
- 1 can of Raptor Liner
The steel cost about $42 and the can of Raptor Liner cost me about $40. I already had some sandpaper and primer laying around.
* this is more than needed but allowed me extra material for getting my welder setup
Next I removed the tail lights so I could get access to the holes already provided by Ford. No idea why these are already here unless maybe they have something to do with the factory bed extender.
Now that the truck was prepped I took measurements for the end plates. I tried to match the shape of the bed pillars to give my brace a more finished look but this would not be necessary. I cut my plate to the length I needed and started marking where the mounting holes where going to need to be. This was a simple process of cutting, drilling, and grinding.
I forgot to take photos as I was welding up the pipe portion. But after I mounted the bolted the end plates in, I got a measurement for the long bottom piece and cut to size. Next I used some magnets to hold it in place on the truck between the end plates and tacked it into place.
Then I took my 4′ piece of pipe and cut it down to two 2′ pieces for the angled portions. I lined up where I wanted them to sit and marked them on the end plate and the bottom pipe. Measured it and then checked both sides to see if they were even. Only off by a 1/4″ which was an easy adjustment to account for. I then eyeballed the angle to cut the angle pieces and made my cuts. I used a grinder to do the final shaping needed to get the joint at he pipe-to-pipe joint. Again, I tacked these into place.
Once everything was tacked up, I removed it from the truck and began welding it all together. I am no welder and that is very apparent, however for my first welding project I was quite happy with my results.
After welding, I test fitted it on the truck again to make sure nothing and warped. All looked good. Next came prepping for paint. I used some sand paper and Scotch-Brite pads to do most of this work and my grinder in a few places that my weld machine and I had a disagreement (double check your settings before starting, instead of turning my voltage up, I cranked my wire speed up and that didn’t work so well).
I used three cans of primer and one can of Raptor Liner. I am super impressed with the Raptor Liner. I am so glad I did the painting outdoors on a couple of nice weekends because the Raptor Liner goes everywhere. I was behind the can and I even was wearing it. But the coverage is really good and I love the texture. I also added a small mount and a little brace underneath it to hold my dune flag.