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Tonneau Covers Pace Edwards-vs-Truck Covers USA, my take
wrote this as an FYI to anybody considering getting a roll top tonneau cover.
I originally installed a Truck Covers USA when I bought my truck in '08 on a Super Duty SB. This truck cover is bullet proof. Extremely durable with a small canister and simple to install. Shimming the rails for final install was also easy. Has an unlocking handle that opens the tonneau without a key, provided the tailgate is open. This means with a locking tailgate, only the tailgate key is necessary for bed security. Essentially water proof, and drains well. Only during a hard rain did I spot some water around the edges. About 2 years ago I installed Thule track mounts on the rails. These rails can now be pre-installed from the factory.
PROS: Durable, unlocking handle, smaller canister, easier to install
CONS: More expensive, track rails only good for sporting racks
I just installed a Pace Edwards Full Metal Jacket with the Explorer rails. It's little more difficult to install, but it's engineered well. The canister is a bit larger and the cover itself seems more flimsy. Have not had enough rain to validate water integrity. The reason I switch from TC USA to PE was the Explorer Rails. There's a light duty utility rack that can be installed with the Explorer rails. Although I expect the powder coating to be nicked away as I use the utility rack.
PROS: Less expensive, Explorer Rails fit both sport and contractor racks
CONS: Installation more in depth, Key required to unlock, Canister size.
I was back East doing post Sandy recovery work. I learned that Pace Edwards cover is not nearly as water resistant as TCUSA. The little bit of water that leaked with TCUSA was forward of the canister and drained immediately. The leak with PE was along track that the cover slides in. The problem with leaks along the track, is water intrusion on cargo. Another plus for TCUSA, since the leak did not get my cargo wet. Do not have your water sensitive cargo below the tracks with a Pace Edwards.
I just ordered the Retrax One for my truck. A buddy told me that Schlumberger has them on all of their company trucks and everybody really likes them. The covering is made of some high tech sounding stuff which is another word for Lexan. I've been in the marine industry for 15 years and have seen lexan stand up to some pretty harsh conditions, so I'm OK with it, especially for a $500 difference.
I loked at the others, but what impressed me about the Retrax is that it operates with one hand from the street side, can lock in any position on the rail, and doesn't require the use of a strap. We'll see how it works out.
Lexan is a type of plastic. It's has pretty good UV protection and the cover will last about 5 to 7 years or so if you have it in the sun a lot. After that, typically the Lexan cracks at the edge near the handle.
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