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Customizing YOUR Truck

Tool and Material Checklist:

  • Drill 
  • Screwdrivers
  • Epoxy or zinc-based primer 
  • Marking pencil
  • Assorted open-end or box wrenches
  • Tape measure 
  • Double-sided tape 
  • Truck-bed liner
  • Tonneau cover 
  • Air dam
  • Rear valance 
  • Side skirts
  • Oversized tires 
  • Lift kit

Countless accessories are on the market that can help you personalize your truck. Often these accessories are more than cosmetic: Some are designed to protect and preserve the car; others offer increased performance and improved fuel efficiency. Your choice of custom parts depends on what you want out of your truck, but keep in mind that some car manufacturers void their warranties if the vehicle is altered. This booklet is designed to get you started by offering ideas.

TRUCK BED LINER

A liner protects the truck bed against dents, scratches, and rust. Because it helps keep the truck bed looking new, It improves the resale value. Installation methods vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but following are some typical installation instructions. Keep in mind that failure to install the liner according to the manufacturer's instructions can result in damage to person or property and can also void the warranty.

1. Position the liner in the truck bed.

2. Align the drill with the center of each of the truck stake holes, then drill a 1/2"-diameter hole through the liner at each of these locations.

3. Place a washer over each roundhead screw and insert the screws through the liner rails.

4. Start the toggle wing nuts on the screws, push the screws down into the stake pocket holes, and tighten lightly.

5. Center the tailgate cover over the tailgate.

6. Drill two 9/64"-diameter holes at the top of the tailgate cover, one on the right and one on the left Drill completely through the tailgate cover and the tailgate.

7. Drill four 9/64"-diameter holes along the bottom of the tailgate, again making sure to drill through both the cover and tailgate.

NOTE: Be sure to prime the edges of all drilled holes with an epoxy or zinc-based primer.

8. Drill six 3/8"-diameter holes through the tailgate cover only, using the previously drilled 9/64"diameter holes as pilot holes.

9. Slip one washer and two spacers over two screws and fasten the top of the tailgate with these screws. Install the washers with the flange up.

10. Slip one washer and one spacer over four screws and fasten the bottom of the tailgate cover with these screws. Again, Install the washers with the flange up.

11. Snap a plastic cover over each screw.

WARNING: Be careful in rainy weather most truck bed liners become slippery when wet.

TONNEAU COVER

Besides enhancing the appearance of the truck, tonneau covers also offer practical advantages. They protect cargo from the wind and weather and make the truck more aerodynamically sound, which saves fuel. General installation instructions follow, but be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

NOTE: Warm the cover to room temperature before beginning the installation process.

1. Locate and mark the center of the truck bed behind the rear window.

2. Using a 1/8" bit, drill a hole 3/4" from the front edge of the bed rail in the center of the truck bed.

3. Install a stud in the hole.

4. Attach the center snap in the cover to the stud in the truck bed.

5. Standing on the driver's side, pull the corner of the cover as tight as possible down the front edge of the bed.

6. Mark the position of the corner snap and drill a hole 3/4" from the front of the bed for the corner stud. Install the stud.

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 on the passengers side.

8. Locate and mark the center of the tailgate.

9. Pulling the cover from front to back as tight as possible and keeping the center snap of the cover in the center of the tailgate, mark the position of the center snap.

10. Drill the hole, install the stud, and snap the cover to the stud.

11. Pulling the rear corner over the side and toward the rear of the truck, mark the position of the corner snap.

12. Drill the hole, install the stud, and snap the cover to the stud.

13. Repeat the process for the other rear corner.

14. Making sure they align with the studs previously installed, install the remaining studs and snap the cover to them.

GROUND EFFECTS

Like the tonneau cover, ground effects have both aesthetic and practical value. In fact, many people are surprised when they realize the extent of the aerodynamic benefits that result from installing an air dam, rear valance, and side skirts. Once again, the installation instructions that follow are general in nature; read and follow those provided with the ground effects you purchase. Also, to prevent chips and nicks, do all fitting up of parts before any paint is applied.

Air Dam installation

1. If applicable, remove the factory air dam from under the front bumper. Then remove the bumper fasteners, including any support brackets, and the turn signal lights.

2. Place the right air dam up and under the bottom of the bumper lip with its side flat against the truck side.

3. When satisfied with the placement of the air dam, mark the location of the mounting holes.

4. Remove the air dam and drill out the marked holes 1/4" in diameter.

5. Attach the air dam to the truck using the screws and lock washers provided.

6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 to install the left air dam.

7. Insert the two center air dam pieces between the left and right air dams. Adjust them so that the joints of all the air dams line up.

8. Mark the location of the mounting holes, remove the center air dam pieces, and drill out the marked holes 1/4" deep.

9. Attach the center air dam pieces along the top only using the screws and lock washers provided. Only finger tighten at this time.

10. Make sure the bottom piece lines up perfectly with the front of the bumper, then insert the remaining screws and lock washers.

11. Tighten all of the mounting screws, then reinstall the bumper fasteners and turn signal lights.

Rear Valance Installation

1. Remove the license plate light and bracket from the rear of the truck.

2. Mark and drill holes in the center of the valance that correspond to the holes in the light bracket.

3. Use nuts and bolts to secure the light to the valance.

4. Drill a 5/16-diameter hole in the rear rocker panel, approximately 27" from the side of the panel inset and 3/4" from the bottom

5. Secure the mounting bracket to the panel using the cap screw, lock washer, and nut provided.

NOTE: If the truck has a cross member directly behind the rocker panel, drill through both the panel and cross member. The bottom lip of the cross member will have to be cut and straightened to provide bracket clearance.

6. Place the rear valance on the bracket. Open the tailgate and adjust for clearance between the bottom of the tailgate and the top of the valance.

7. Mark and drill the bracket holes on the backside of the valance.

8. Secure the valance to the bracket using the bolts, nuts, and washers provided.

9. Line up the radius of the valance face with the radius on the rear of the truck bed. It might be necessary to bend the bracket slightly to make a good fit.

10. Working at one end of the valance, mark a mounting hole in the inside of the valance, 1" from ~the top. Then mark another hole approximately 2" below the first.

11. After checking for tailgate clearance, mark two similar holes on the opposite end of the valance.

12. Pull out the ends of the valance and drill 5/16"-dlameterholes in the marked areas.

13. Replace the ends of the valance. Line up the radius of the valance face with the radius on the rear of the truck and mark the mounting hole locations.

14. Drill the holes in the truck body; you might have to remove the valance from the bracket to do the drilling.

15. If the valance was removed in the previous step, reinstall it on the bracket and realign with the vehicle.

16. Secure the valance using the bolts, nuts, and washers provided, but only finger tighten. Use spacers as required. Check for tailgate clearance and proper alignment, then tighten all bolts securely.

Side Skirt installation

1. Install the two cab front brackets just below the doors on both sides of the truck.

2. Install the two cab rear brackets by securing them to the seat belt bolts on both sides of the truck. Use 1/2" nuts to secure the brackets.

3. Remove the factory bolt from the truck bed front side brace. Use the bolt to secure one of the bed front brackets.

4. working on the same side of the truck, remove the factory bolt from the truck bed rear side brace. Use the bolt to secure one of the bed rear brackets.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to complete the installation of the remaining brackets on the opposite side of the truck.

6. Place one of the cab side skirts against the side of the truck at the door line and adjust for proper fit.

7. Mark the top front edge of the skirt at the location of the factory bolt. Remove the skirt, drill a 5/16"-diameter hole! and secure the skirt with the factory bolt.

8. Adjust the brackets on the same side of the vehicle so that the skirt top is at the door line and the entire skirt is level.

9. Mark the hole in the bottom of the skirt through the slotted holes in the bracket.

10. Remove the factory bolt and side skirt, drill the marked hole 5/16" in diameter, and attach the bed and cab side skirts to the brackets. Use the bolts, nuts, and washers provided (one each under the skirt and one each above the brackets), then replace the factory bolt.

11. working on the same side, place the bed front skirt against the side of the truck and adjust it to the bottom edge of the cab side skirt.

12. Holding the skirt in place, drill a 1/8"diameter hole through the skirt and the fender well lip, approximately 1" from the top of the skirt.

13. Insert a Phillips screw and lock washer in the drilled hole.

14. Adjust the bed rear bracket so that the bed side skirt is aligned with the cab side skirt, then mark the bottom of the bed front skirt through the slotted hole in the bracket.

15. Remove the screw and bracket, then drill the marked hole 5/16" in diameter.

16. Attach the bed front skirt to the brackets using the bolts, nuts, and washers provided.

17. Repeat steps 11 through 16 to install the bed rear skirt.

18. Use a clean cloth and liquid grease remover to clean the truck at the point of contact with the top of the side skirts as well as the inside lip of the skirts. It is important that these surfaces are very clean so that tape adheres to them.

19. Cut the double-sided tape in 1' lengths. Starting at the bottom of the larger radius of the skirts and working toward the rear of the vehicle, apply the tape to the side skirts just under and up to the top lip.

20. Leave a 2" gap between pieces of tape and continue taping the remainder of the side skirts.

21. After checking that the cab side skirt is in alignment with the bottom of the door, remove the tape cover and hold it to the side of the truck cab. Press the tape firmly in place along the entire length of the cab side skirt.

22. Check the alignment of the bed front skirt with the top and bottom of the cab skirt. Then remove the tape cover and press the tape firmly in place along the entire length of the skirt.

23. Check the alignment of the bed rear skirt with the truck side, then place a 3" strip of tape at the back of the skirt to hold at the rear radius of the truck just below the tailgate.

24. Remove the tape cover and press the tape firmly in place along the entire length of the skirt.

25. Check all brackets, bolts, screws, and nuts for tightness.

26. Repeat steps 6 through 25 on the opposite side of the truck to complete the installation.

OFF-ROAD UPGRADE

Four-wheel-drive trucks can be upgraded for the sport" of off-road driving. This includes the installation of oversized tires and lift kits. When it comes to choosing an off-road tire, the one factor that limits the size that can be used is clearance. It is possible to put only so much tire under the fenders before something starts to rub. Fender openings can be enlarged to clear the extra rubber, and easy-to-install cutout kits are available to hide the surgery. Vet most people prefer a lift kit because it provides extra clearance while raising ground clearance at the same time. Another factor to keep in mind is that when the size of your wheels and tires is increased substantially, the unsprung weight of the vehicle increases; this can lead to unusual tire wear, handling changes, and reduced life of the drivetrain components.

Note that all lift kits are not alike. Some are better engineered than others and are more complete. For example, some kits consist of a set of springs or blocks and nothing more; others include longer U-bolts, steering arm, shocks, and shock mounting hardware. The more complete the kit, the better the final result. The various lift kits on the market come with complete installation instructions that should be followed explicitly. It's wise to stay away from the more radical kits, as they can be dangerous.

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