Truck Bed Tool Boxes – The Choice

When you finally decide to buy a tool box for your truck bed you’ve likely dealt with clutter in the back of your truck for quite some time. Every turn you make you hear everything slide from one side of your truck to the other. Even worse, you worry if your belongings are going to slide under your brake pedal or maybe they will slide under the seat and you’ll never see them again. Now you might be a truck owner who just likes the look of a truck with a truck bed tool box and the diamond plated storage area on the back of your truck. I’ll admit, thinking about how my truck would look if I took my Kobalt® truck bed tool box off sends chills up my spine. Okay, not really, but it looks so much more important.

Standard

What you keep in your tool box could have some weight on the type of bed box that you select. There are several styles to consider. The most popular truck bed tool box is the full-width crossover box. This tool box mounts to the bed right by the cab. The door usually hinges up, but there are styles with two doors that hinge towards the center when standing at the side of your truck. These are both very useful when you need most of the space that your truck bed provides since they usually allow about a foot below the tool box for full length materials in tow. Next, tool boxes or chest tool boxes that do not hang over the sides at the cab attach to the front of the bed, but below the edge of the bed. These tool boxes are often chosen when you either want the box to be hidden or more commonly when you like to put a truck cap on the bed. You can still access these truck bed tool boxes very easily from the side, but since they mount a little lower in the bed, you may have trouble reaching the bottom if your truck is very high. These are the most common truck bed tool boxes sold to non-farm and non-commercial truck owners.

Commercial

There are a couple of popular truck bed tool boxes available for commercial use, or at least they are used primarily for commercial purposes. You can certainly go buy one, but they tend to be more advanced in installation and a bit more expensive. First, side-mount tool boxes can be sold in pairs or individually. They mount to the side of the bed, inside on the wheel well. They are popular commercially because you don’t lose any length in the bed of your truck and even more importantly are very easy to access your tools and supplies. These side-mount tool boxes can be used in conjunction with front-mount tool boxes if you allow room for all the lids to open and access to the handles. This would then maximize your storage space.

The second type of truck bed tool box isn’t usually available in your standard retail store. These truck bed tool centers, as I like to call them, are tool boxes for the handyman or jack-of-all trades. They typically take up most of the bed of the truck and allow for storage behind and in between all of the storage areas. These tool boxes install much like a truck bed cap and can often be level or higher than the top of the cab of the truck. You may have seen these types of truck bed tool boxes on the local telephone company’s service truck or when the electrician came to your house to do some work. Sometimes these large, commercial tool boxes will take the place of your truck bed and for that reason are usually available for install by the manufacturer or distributor.

Brands

There are several brands of truck tool boxes available online, in stores, and direct from distributors. Dee-Zee, Better Built, Jobox, Craftsman, Kobalt, Husky, and Knaack are all popular brands. Some of them are made by the same company and just branded by places like Lowe’s and Home Depot. They all are generally made of aluminum or steel and provide built in shelving of some sort. The brands listed above range in quality and durability; two factors you’ll be certain to think about before throwing down $100 for a tool box.

Dee-Zee truck bed tool boxes are one of the most popular choices and it’s likely you’ve seen one pass by you on the road. Dee-Zee offer a wide range of products such as tool chests, side-mount tool boxes, bike racks, and truck bed mats. They truly offer products for the home owner, business owner, farmer, and just the recreational truck owner. Each product Dee-Zee sells comes with detailed installation instructions and are backed by a variety of warranties. They also offer a wide selection of replacement parts just in case you damage something…accidentally.

Better Built tool boxes are often relabeled for local retailers. So you may have a Better Built truck bed tool box without even knowing it. One of their newest products, you’ve likely seen them or even busted a knee on one in the parking lot, is the hitch step. If you aren’t using your receiver hitch, you can easily install this hitch step so you have a lower step instead of your bumper. You’ll then be able to easily get into your truck bed and access its contents without lowering your tailgate. In addition to offering the standard crossover boxes, Better Built offers dog boxes, loading ramps, and ladder racks to complete your most important tool, your truck.

Knaack is a heavy duty company for the heavy duty job. While there products are designed for the jobsite, you can definitely store them in the bed of your truck or mount them to your work trailer so you can transport your tools. You can then leave your trailer on the jobsite and feel secure about your tools without wasting fuel hauling them to lunch.

Pricing

Crossover tool boxes can range from around $100 to more than $500 or even more. Features will likely effect the cost as well as if you have it installed professionally.

Truck box chests also range in the $100-$500 range, but their installation is usually more flexible. You can even install them on a trailer or flatbed truck if it suits your needs.

Two lid tool boxes again range between $100-$500. They are often keyed alike on both sides but provide a great solution to a two-person team with individual storage areas.

Side mount boxes top out around $400, but are usually purchased two at a time. That’s $800. But they offer the same convenience of two separate storage areas for teammates.

Commercial boxes are usually ordered direct from the distributor so keep in mind any price quoted may not include freight to your warehouse or home. In addition, if you don’t have a loading dock, be certain to request a lift gate truck so they can unload the box for you. If you are having it installed professionally, just be sure you plan for a ride to your other jobsites or bring some work to do while they install the tool box. In some cases, you will need to plan to leave your truck or trailer overnight. Expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to more than $10,000 for a professionally installed, state of the art tool organizing system for your work truck.

Availability

If you need a basic truck tool box, then you can go to your local home center, auto parts store, or even Wal-Mart to get one. They are easy to install and often just need a few self-tapping screws and a couple rubber washers…at least that’s how I install them. Tool centers will often be able to meet your commercial needs. Farming needs are usually met at your neighborhood farm store like Tractor Supply. Commercial needs, as I mentioned above, are usually available via direct freight or at the service center.

Security

If you decide to install a truck tool box on the bed of your truck or in your trailer you certainly need to give security some thought. Obviously, the truck box itself provides some additional security, but it can also attract some attention. Be sure not to leave valuables inside your truck cab visible. Unfortunately, this may not be enough to avoid drawing attention to your truck, so you may need to invest in an vehicle alarm or heavy duty locks on your truck box. The price you pay for your tool box is highly proportionate to the quality of the materials. So, it’s worth a few extra bucks for an upgrade.

Summary

Buying or even shopping for a truck bed tool box can be very exciting. Heck, it was fun for me. I was trying to improve my truck. I certainly can’t imagine my truck without a tool box now. I have an extended cab truck and the tool box allows me to keep the backseat clear of clutter…well, somewhat. Whether you need a truck tool box for home, work, or the jobsite I think you’ll easily find the right box for your truck. Be sure to check out the other pages on our site for more detailed product information.

How to Find Discount Used Auto Parts and Replacement Online

Auto body parts can be very expensive, and getting used parts online can be a smart choice financially. Today, you can find various auto parts and accessories online at affordable prices thanks to the industry’s open acceptance of the Internet. In this article, I will walk you through the shopping process.
Have your car vin number ready before you search for parts.

Search Locally

The first place to look is your local auto used parts shop. Find their number on the yellow pages and inquire about the part you are looking for. They will usually have contact with other shop’s database as well. The added benefit of searching locally is saving on shipping fees with local pickup as an option.

Internet

If you have no luck at the local auto salvage shops, try the world wide web. If you search at google for used auto parts online, you will get a list of auto parts websites.

For example, if you do a search at a popular site such as www.car-part.com, you will get a list of people who are selling the requested part and their contact information.

Ebay

Another good source of used parts is ebay.com, for popular cars such as Honda Civic, you are sure to find that the part you are looking for is listed on ebay.

Additional resources

Try craigslist and car forums. If you have never been to forums, it is a great place to ask other owners about used parts or even place a message post about the part you are looking for.

Tips

Make sure to have your car vin# ready as it will be needed to confirm the part will fit your car. Do your homework on the seller and make sure that they are a established legitimate business. Always be aware that there are many scams online. Do your homework about the website/seller before making a purchase.

A Guide for Buying Used Auto Parts

Used auto parts can be a great way to save some money if you are trying to maintain a vehicle between 4 and 15 years old. If a car is newer, not enough parts will be available to make it easy to find used parts. Beyond 15 years, not enough of the cars are still rolling to maintain the inventory. For older cars, you may have to look a lot longer to find a used and usable part.

Call local salvage yards.

Salvage yards make money in three ways. They sell all of their left over parts and bodies for scrap iron. This makes them a little money after they have milked the used and often wrecked car dry. Salvage yards specialize in used auto body parts. Fenders, bumpers, doors, etc. are great money makers for these businesses. They also make good choices for repairs when you are trying to save money.

The third way that salvage yards make money is by selling car parts, transmissions, and motors. Some salvage yards will require you to remove your own parts. Most yards will remove the parts that are most in demand. Alternators, starters, motors, and, transmissions are often removed and inventoried so they can be quickly accessed to sell. Many of these are sold through the networks of salvage dealers who advertise parts that are being sought.

If you need a blower fan for your heating or air conditioning, you will probably have to remove this yourself in many salvage yard. The same is true for windshield wiper motors many small parts.

Be careful when buying electronic components on the used market.

With the modern electronics that are installed on all cars today, electronics are getting more popular on the used market. The problem with buying these used is that they often have been sitting in less than ideal conditions for times lasting from a few weeks to possibly a year or more. Being exposed to the moisture and poor conditions can erode this delicate equipment.

A Guide for Buying Used Auto Parts

Not all used dealers will allow a return on these parts. Since the installer can easily send a static electric jolt through sensitive circuits, the chances of damage by an inexperienced mechanic is high. Find out ahead of time about the salvage yard’s policy on this type of equipment.

Do not buy used auto parts that you do not know how to check out.

Used parts like ball joints or universal joints are difficult to diagnose for problems when not in use. Buying parts like these can just be asking to make a given repair twice. Although starters and alternators can be difficult to check out, these are usually some of the more reliable parts that can be removed from a wrecked vehicle. Like with the electronic equipment, make sure that you know if the part can be refunded or exchanged if does not work.

Online auctions are a decent option for used parts.

While these are going to be purchased from someone that is not necessarily near you, many of the online auctions like eBay can give reliable use parts because of the accountability that the rating system gives. Be careful buying online. This is just because some online dealers do not make it easy to send back a bad part or a wrong part. Also, an auction format can mean that you will pay more than you should if you are not able to control your bidding.

If you need a lot of used parts for one car, consider buying a junker that has most of the parts.

One advantage to buying a junker or wreck that has the used parts that you need is the economy. You can often buy this type of car for under $300 if you are not restoring a classic car. This type of vehicle can have 2 to 4 times that much value in used parts if you need them. At the end of the process, you can sell the parts that you did not use or sell the car for scrap. Either way, you will recoup some of your money back in cash. With luck, your used parts may almost be free.

Where to Find Cheap Replacement OEM Car Parts

Some parts for your car are generic. You can go into a Pep Boys or an Auto zone and find the oil filter, brake pads, and what not to do general maintenance on your car.
Some parts, on the other hand, are not so generic. When you need, say, a tail light housing for your car, you need to go find an original manufacturer part. No two ways about it.

This isn’t necessarily hard. You can probably order the parts through a dealer. The problem? It’s usually really expensive. Browse through a catalog of OEM parts, and you’ll quickly find out that things are needlessly expensive.

The Expensive Option

Let’s take into consideration a few examples. Recently, I’ve had to look for a few replacement parts for a used 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier that I bought.

The first thing I needed was a driver’s side sun visor with a mirror. I had some trouble finding it, because some dealer catalogs only listed the convertible version (which is ungodly expensive). I finally found a suitable replacement at GM Parts Dealer for $30.16.

Next, I needed a driver’s side tail light housing. This time, I found a suitable replacement at GM Parts Direct for $56.54. This was also substantially discounted from the MSRP.

Cheap Replacement OEM Car Parts

Finally, the most obscure piece I needed was the “Cavalier” emblem that is mounted on the bottom side of the trunk. I also found that at GM Parts Direct, for a discounted price of $11.84.

In all three cases, I had to do some lengthy browsing around the parts dealers’ catalogs. The catalogs aren’t very user friendly, and in most cases (these and other examples) the search option didn’t help me find what I wanted. I had to manually browse through the categories until I happened upon the one part that I was looking for.

The Cheaper Option

I wasn’t sure where to go at first. The prices for new replacements from the parts dealers seemed expensive, and in the beginning I was having trouble finding what I wanted.

I eventually went to a place that I often go to when I need something obscure that I thought should be readily available on the internet but wasn’t: eBay. A few months back, I was looking for a replacement lens cap for my Nikon Coolpix P80 and I couldn’t find one anywhere except on eBay. So I thought I’d give it a go again…

In all three cases, I was able to quickly and easily find like new replacement parts that were cheaper than if I had ordered them through the parts dealer. I found replacement visors for about $15 to $20. I found a bunch of nice replacements for the tail light housing, and eventually settled on one that cost $30. The Cavalier Emblem was easy to find as well, and I picked one up for about $5. If I had been more patient, I could have gotten a whole set of emblems (“Chevrolet,” “Cavalier,” and the two Chevrolet logos) for just a little bit more money.

There are a lot of smaller parts dealers that want to sell random, used parts collected from salvage yards. It’s probably not cost effective for them to develop a fully functional website to list their inventory, since it changes so readily. Instead, eBay provides a national market for them to quickly and easily offer their inventory for sale. At the same time, consumers (like you and me) can search eBay listings and quickly find the random replacement part that we need… without paying OEM pricing.

So next time you’re looking for a random OEM replacement part, don’t go to the dealer or to a large parts dealer. Check eBay, quickly browse through the small parts retailers that have what you need, and find a cheaper replacement.

My Journey to Find Custom Vintage Car Parts

I’m an old car nut and I enjoy refurbishing them. A few I will keep, but must I will sell after a season of driving them and going to car shows.
A common problem that I have is that finding the old parts for replacement that are no longer made can be very difficult. I found Protomatic and they were able to machine the parts that I was looking for with no problem at all.

This last project I had was just the worst. I had so many problems locating the refurbished parts. I finally almost got it done until things get even worse than before. I was looking for these engine brackets and I just couldn’t find ones that fit anywhere. I looked for probably three months online and I called a bunch of people that I’d done business with in the past, but I didn’t have luck at all. I even spent hours in my local scrap yards trying to find a replacement part.
My Journey to Find Custom Vintage Car Parts

Finally, I tried calling around to machine shops, and I called lots of them. I found Protomatic sort of by chance I guess. I talked to them and sure enough, they were about to machine the brackets that I needed without much trouble at all. Since then I’ve referred a lot of my buddies to the same company, and they’ll all been happy with the way it worked out.

Programmatic is able to reverse engineer the parts that I need to fit my exact specifications. They are a lifesaver when it comes to manufacturing custom vintage auto parts and they are very easy to work with.

Car Collecting: Vintage Car Parts

Vintage car collections are very popular among car enthusiasts. Arguably some of the best cars ever produced came in the first few decades that automobiles began being manufactured.

For some, there is nothing like the sense of pride that accompanies owning that vintage car that looks to be right off the showroom floor. While the end product is worth one’s admiration, the work of restoring those vintage cars to their former glory is often overlooked by newcomers and outsiders of the vintage car world.

Because the original date of manufacture of most vintage cars was around the turn of the twentieth century, quite a bit of work is involved when talking about restoring one of these cars.

Most of the cars available tend to be in a condition that renders them nearly unrecognizable, while those that are already restored are hard to pry from their owners. In order to have a vintage car, one needs to be ready to either fork over a substantial amount of money, or a combination of time and a bit of money.

Replacement parts for vintage cars are often very difficult to find because of these cars were produced nearly a hundred years ago, making most of the parts obsolete in most applications. In most cases, a good amount of research is often involved in trying to locate that front axle or rear tail light lens for that 1927 Model A.

Even before beginning to research, one way to alleviate any possible headaches from arising is to be sure that the car’s exact make and model are known and used during the search. The difference of even one model year can mean receiving a part that is of no use for the vintage car it was intended for in some cases.

Be positive the information being used to find replacement parts is one-hundred percent accurate, especially since most times no refunds or exchanges are offered on vintage car parts.

Once sure that the car’s information is accurate, hunting for those replacement parts can often be done online. EBay Motors is a good resource at times, for one might just find a dealer with the parts needed to complete that restoration. There are also online stores that deal with vintage car parts. Spending sometime surfing the net may just land one that elusive part.

Perhaps the most popular way is contacting a few local salvage yards in search of that part. Oftentimes one can find a salvage yard that only deals in older domestic vehicles, and a narrower scope such at that is helpful at times when looking for those hard-to-find parts for vintage cars.

In most cases, replacement parts for vintage cars are going to come in used condition, with no warranty. This fact may frustrate or deter some from purchasing that part, or even from pursuing a restoration. Unfortunately, this is an often unavoidable part of vintage car restoration.

Those who are considering or are already collecting vintage cars should understand the difficult nature of restoring those old rust heaps into the ageless beauties they truly are. Replacement parts can sometimes be hard to find, as well as expensive, but this is just part of the territory included in the recreation of a vintage car. But for those who are truly passionate about it, restoring those cars can be as enjoyable as admiring the finished product.

Repair Fiberglass Car Parts

Just like sheet metal on a car, fiberglass is prone to damage but unless you have a brand new car, getting a replacement part may not be that easy. Sometimes it may be cheaper to just repair the damaged part.

Fenders, bumpers, hoods, and other fiberglass body parts will eventually chip, crack, or break when exposed to elements like heat, water, debris, and grime over time. If you have a damaged fiberglass body part it may be very inexpensive to replace it if it is small, but large pieces like fenders will be expensive to replace.

It takes a certain amount of skill to repair fiberglass so if you do not have a particular eye for detail, or if you’re inexperienced you should hire a professional or someone to help you. Learn how to save time and cost on repairing fiberglass with these tips.

If you are a do it yourself-er, here’s a list of what you should purchase at your local automotive retailer:

  • Marine Quality Fiberglass Mat
  • Fiberglass Resin
  • Sheet Metal
  • Sandpaper (rough and smooth grit, wet sanding)
  • Two 3” Natural Hair Paint Brushes
  • Fiberglass Glaze
  • Low Stick Masking Tape
  • Fiberglass Primer
  • Primer Sealer or Glaze

You should use the highest quality products you can afford to ensure the fresh fiberglass will last. Even if you decide to let a professional take over the job, you may be able to save some money by offering to supply materials at your expense and by offering to help with some of the labor.

If you are inexperienced this is a great way to learn how to repair fiberglass and next time you can do it on your own. The fiberglass mat you purchase should be marine quality because it is built to weather the elements and will last much longer than any other glass mat. The strands of the mat should be white in color and the material should be clean.

Before you can patch up broken pieces and fix cracks you will have to do some sanding. Wherever there is an area of damage sand through the paint and top layers of fiberglass until a clean white appears. This ensures the new fiberglass attaches to strands that are not damaged or dirty.

If you have a large hole or severe crack in your fiberglass body panels take them off the car and repair from the inside out. This is where the sheet metal comes in handy. Large areas that are missing will need to be reshaped and this is accomplished by placing sheet metal over the surface of holes.

After cutting enough sheet metal to cover your holes screw it into the fiberglass covering the holes. Grind down the heads of the screws and edges of the sheet metal.

Before starting any fiberglass work, wear a filtered breathing mask, and then mix your resin glaze according the the instructions on the label. Too much hardener will make the glaze crystallize and will be extremely difficult to work with.

Make sure you have a good mix before starting. Tear or cut your glass mat to size and soak in resin before applying to the car. It may take 3-5 layers of mat to build up the thickness desired.

Let each layer dry completely before applying the next. After sticking the mat to the car or body part smooth it out with your brush and resin. Do this inside and out on large areas of damage to ensure a tight bond between the new fiberglass and old.

Let the fiberglass dry overnight for best results and begin sanding the next day. Begin with a rough grit paper, 200 or so and sand down the surface of the repairs until smooth and even. Follow with a fine grit and feather the edges of the new fiberglass in towards the middle of the repair.

If your repairs are not as thick as you desire repeat the fiberglass, resin, and sanding process until your goal is reached.

Once the desired look is achieved seal the fresh glass with fiberglass glaze. Once again allow all parts and panels to fully harden before moving on to the next step. When the parts are dry tape off the repair areas that need to be repainted and apply Fiberglass primer.

You may want to use 2-3 coats because you will be sanding it for maximum smoothness. When the fiberglass primer is dry sand with a fine grit wet sand paper to smooth out the edges and any unnoticed raised areas. Wash off any residue with clean water and allow to dry.

Finish by spraying a primer sealer or glaze which is the final step before you can apply paint.

In the long run, on most large fiberglass body panels like fenders and hoods you are likely to save money on repairs by doing it yourself. Repairing fiberglass doesn’t have to be hard just follow the instructions on the label of your products to ensure the project goes smoothly.

If you don’t have a brother or friend that works in a body shop and can help you along, you should consider hiring a professional if you don’t know what you are doing. As always, when using chemicals that pose possible dangerous side effects use proper protection like eye wear, gloves, and a filtered breathing mask.

Do not breathe in the dust from fiberglass or allow the fiberglass or primer chemicals to get on your skin. Now that the repairs are fixed you will want to get the car painted as soon as possible.

Not only do gray spots all over the car make it look like a beater, but primer is not meant to last forever because you’re supposed to cover it with paint. Small areas you may be able to paint right at home in your garage but for large areas you may want to send the car to a professional.