To Tonneau or not to Tonneau that is the question!
OK, I just picked up an 06 F150 XLT Scab 4x4. It is all stock and I want to upgrade it a bit! So I was wondering about Tonneau Covers. Is there any advantage to them? What kind should I get? I have do have Line X in the bed already. What other things should I think about getting? I know I want nerf bars for sure! Any good brands? Oh what about helping fuel milage without sacrificing power? I use to have an 01 Ranger but this is my first F150 and I have had it only 2 weeks! Thanks for any info to a F150 noob!
If you're thinking tarp and not a hard cover, I loved my Extang tonneau and would recommend one to anyone. Albeit on a Ranger and not an F-Series, it was great. Never tore, no issues with snaps, wore excellently and the frame was super easy to put on the truck. Even fairly easy to work with in the dead of winter. Had it on the truck 4+ years and no complaints at all.
I liked the fact that the bed was covered and kept out of the weather then, and I did get about a 1/2 mpg boost because tailgate drag was eliminated.
I am not really a fan of hard covers because I saw so many guys try to haul stuff in them and the cover was tilted up like an open trunk lid when stuff didn't fit under it. The Extang I could roll up, lay the supports to the side of the bed or in the back of the cab, and do what I had to do. But hey, to each their own. The hard covers can be painted to match if you don't want a black tarp (on my truck the black tarp was a nice offset addition though) and, as tylus said, some are stout enough to have some cargo strapped to them.
I've had great luck with my Truxedo Low Pro QT. It has held up well so far, 2.5 years to date. Truxedo has great customer service if you have a problem or need a replacement part.
There's a great debate on the topic of fuel savings with a cover. I have had 3 trucks so far with covers. I also log each tank of fuel and have been for years. I have not seen any change in mileage that could be attributed to anything more then typical tank to tank variations. That said, others have seen improvements.
The only real advantage is you'll be able to protect items, in the bed, from the elements. And if you live in a snowy climate, the cover makes brushing off snow a little simplier. But there are times that you'll may need to remove the cover and it's mounting rails, to haul items. I have to when I haul my Harley or I choose to when I haul a load of firewood.
+1 for the Extang since I have it, but the Bak-Flip seems pretty cool too. I'm with liftnw8z when it comes to the hard cover. Yeah, they look cool, but if you actually plan on hauling stuff, they can be a pain in the a$$. With my Extang, if I have to haul something that is oversized ad hoc, all I have to do is roll it up...unlike a hard top where either the item won't fit, or you have to keep it tilted or you have to take it off all together and store it away.
As for nurf bars, I have the Westins and love them. Gives the SCREW a nice sporty look. I also have the Westin bull bar with PIAA fog lamps attached.
Also...give that thing some growl by installing an exhaust system!! I have Flow Master but I'm sure others will recommend their preference. I THINK it helps my fuel mileage but I really don't care or pay attention since it sounds so bad a$$!!
I've had four F-150s now with a total of about 480,000 miles on them; two eight-foot and two 6-1/2 foot beds; three regular cabs and one SuperCab.
In that time I've had two camper shells and one hard tonneau cover (which is on the current truck); no soft tonneaus.
My observations are that a tonneau cover is great for keeping stuff out of the rain. I also conceals tools and stuff which are otherwise a temptation to some passers-by. I have lost tools and material out of open beds in "safe" neighborhoods, including stuff for which I can't imagine anyone needing to steal it. So, from a security standpoint, they are great IMHO.
By comparison, camper shell windows still left things visible. And they have a bad impact on driver visibility. I know that's off topic, just an observation.
The negatives of removing and storing a hard tonneau cover are definitely real. I would suggest you ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do I have somewhere to safely put a hard tonneau cover when I have to haul something large and bulky?
2. Can I rig up a pulley and cable arrangement to lift it up out of the way in the garage or carport when it is not on the truck?
3. Just how often do I really need to haul something which sticks above the level of the truck bed? And which needs the full length of the bed, rather than only a short section? (I've gotten away with hauling stuff with the hard tonneau open. I wouldn't recommend it for long trips without tieing it down. And be sure that there are no loose papers in the bed which will blow out. DAMHIK.)
4. Finally...how often will I be able to avoid someone volunteering me for a hauling job I'd rather avoid because I have a tonneau cover on the back of the truck and I can't take it off?
When I was building a room on the side of my house, a hard cover would have been a nuisance. In my present circumstances, I can't imagine needing to take it off more than once per year. Your circumstances will certainly vary.
The hard tonneau covers do look much better than any other truck bed cover IMHO.
My 05 Screw has a Lund tri-fold ($340). The cover and frame is one piece and the unit folds into thirds. Drop the gate, unlock a quick clamp on each side, fold the unit twice, clip each side to retain it, and you now have access to 2/3 of your bed. Unlock two more clamps and remove if you want full access. There are no rails to mount.
Can't be stolen without destroying it if the gate is locked. I've had it 4 years and no problems.
I am one for the hard tonneau cover, but then again I have a f350 if I need to haul anything. I am currently waiting for my leer 800 and the last truck had a leer 700. I like the look of the hard covers but if you are going to need use of the box lots maybe one that you can open or close. I like the roll up one like pace edwards but that is just me.
I have an Extang Tri Fold and love it. I wanted a Bak Flip but it was out of my budget. The Tri Fold is a soft cover but folds up in 3 sections. You can clamp them up front to drive with the cover open. To take it off or put it back on takes 1 person about 1 minute. Ive taken it threw the gas station car wash a couple times and no leaks at all.
Before I bought my current truck, I had always been a toolbox guy. I swore I'd never get a tonneau becuase I thought it would make my bed useless.
Well, now that I've actually had one for a few months now, I couldn't imagine not having one. My bed has actually become more useful to me than before because the cover protects everything from the elements and allows me to carry a lot more stuff than I could have ever fit in my Weathergaurd toolbox. I've hauled cinder blocks, lumber, firewood, and various other items, and I haven't had to take it off yet. When I do eventually have to remove it, there are only 4 bolts that hold it in place.
I went with the solid fiberglass cover mostly for looks and security. I was also afraid that the folding covers might leak, but apparently a lot of guys don't have any problems and really like them. Overall, I have no complaints about my ARE cover.
Something else to consider is whether or not you have a trailer that you could use if you need to haul something that won't fit under the cover. IMO, having a trailer makes a tonneau an even more viable option.