Retrax Retractable Tonneau Cover Installation

By -

Author: Ken Payne

The bed of a pickup truck is a handy thing. From dirt to tools, from groceries to
lumber, it do es it all. This versatility comes at a price: its openness makes anything you carry a
tempting target for thieves. It also leaves room for improvement in the looks department. Tonneau covers offer a solution to both problems.

Retrax produces a retractable tonneau cover that combines the best of both hard and soft covers.
Their fully retractable cover is strong with reinforced aluminum support beams, locks in the closed position for security
and looks great. If you can give up a little bit of space at the top/front of your bed this cover is a great solution if
you want the convenience of a soft cover with the security of a hard cover. Also, because it is retractable the height of
your loads isn’t an issue like it is with hard tonneaus and some soft tonneaus.

Note that the cover we received is custom fit for our Roush F-150 which differs in the tailgate due
to the rear spoiler. Other than this it is a standard Retrax cover. Also, Retrax offers a remote locking feature which
I did not opt for (it will not be often that I need retract it so this added convenience isn’t required). The
cover arrived in two very large boxes and my first thought was that I was going to be doing a lot of work to get it
installed but to my surprise it wasn’t any harder to install than the soft cover I installed on my Ranger many years ago.

Let’s dive right into the installation…

Here is the Retrax cover fresh out of the box.

Remove the restraining screw. This is used only during shipping.

Remove the plastic tube which protects the cover during shipping.

It’s hard to see with this picture but the next step is sliding the cover in a
counter-clockwise direction (yellow arrows) while directing the small wheels into the slot on the passenger side rail (blue arrows). The rail will
connect into place on the cover’s spiral box as you move the rail forward.

Install and tighten the bolt which locks the passenger side rail into place.

Remove the restraining wire from the other side of the bed cover.

Pull out the cover a few inches.

Slide cover’s wheels into the driver’s side rail.

Install and tighten the bolt which locks the passenger side rail into place.

Here is what it looks like so far. The colored mats are rubberized mats we keep around the shop to protect parts when we have them on the floor, perfect for this job.

Install the front panel.

Secure the front panel with a bolt on each side.

Place the tonneau cover on the truck. You’ll need one
person on each side of the truck to lift it up and over the bed rails. Note the white plastic adjustable spacers. These are preset for the application but
may require slight adjustment. Pull the cover out and make sure it smoothly extends completely without binding. Adjust the spacers as needed.

Use the included measuring tool gauge to place the cover’s back
the correct distance from the tailgate.

Install and tighten both front clamps.

Install and tighten the rear passenger side clamp.

Extend the cover, making sure it doesn’t bind
and pulls out smoothly. Install and tighten the rear driver’s side clamp, making sure the locking mechanism clears it without interference.

The lock is quite ingenious. When you push down on the lock button
(red arrow) the lock arm (yellow arrow) moves behind the plastic covered steel rod (blue arrow) and prevents the cover from being pulled forward.

Install the plastic drain tube on the front box.

Remove the protective plastic coatings and you’re now
ready to enjoy your new Retrax retractable tonneau cover.

Here are the final results. All of us at the shop really like the way
it looks. It smoothes out the back of the truck, adds security and I don’t have to get into the bed to clean it up when I wash it.

The cover is obviously attractive to others as well. Shortly after installing it I was out, uhm, err, “testing” the
supercharger and had a “discussion” with a local police officer. After giving me a warning, he then proceeded to tell me about his F-150 and asked
where I got the great looking cover. He wants one for his birthday!

Roush F-150 Project Truck Source:


(Copyright 2007 Ken Payne, All Rights Reserved. This article is used by Internet Brands, Inc. with permission – no license is given beyond this permission and may be revoked by Ken Payne.)

If your company is interested in sponsoring a product or service for this project truck please contact Ken Payne:

Comments ()