Tips and Compatibility Info for Buying a Used Camper Shell

Updated on March 31, 2018
Tom Zizzo profile image

Tom Zizzo, a journalist, has also spent many years selling truck and SUV accessories.

Photo from an actual Craigslist ad. This shell was obviously NOT for this truck, but it seems to fit. You will see used tops sold like this a lot; always measure them before you buy.
Photo from an actual Craigslist ad. This shell was obviously NOT for this truck, but it seems to fit. You will see used tops sold like this a lot; always measure them before you buy.

Given the overwhelming number of questions I have received about used camper shells, I thought it might be useful to write a little guide to buying used tops. First I'll tell you a few things to watch out for, and then I'll break down the major changes in truck bed dimensions for different makes in the last few decades.

A used top, selling for far below what it cost new, sounds like a great deal. But just be aware of a few things to consider before you buy.

  • A used shell that is damaged may not be cost-effective to repair.
  • A used shell may have come from a different truck than the one it’s sitting on, so you want to measure your own truck.
  • Truck beds, especially more recent ones, aren't necessarily rectangular; they may be narrower in the rear than in the front.
  • Sometimes the shape of the rails and the shape of the cab and tailgate may complicate the fit.
  • The third brake light has to be visible in trucks made 1994 and later, and may complicate the fit for mid-'90s trucks. New shells since 1995 have brake lights built in.
  • Tonneaus need to fit more exactly than shells do.
  • If a used Leer or SnugTop shell has a serial number, you can call the company and try to find out what truck the cover was made for.

A Damaged Shell May Not Be Much of a Deal

The window on this used top is separating from the frame. There is no way to fix this, despite what the seller says. Silicone will not do it, and you cannot replace a pane of glass on these windows; the window itself has to be replaced.
The window on this used top is separating from the frame. There is no way to fix this, despite what the seller says. Silicone will not do it, and you cannot replace a pane of glass on these windows; the window itself has to be replaced.

Keep in mind that if major parts of the top you are looking at are broken, you need to look into the price of replacing those parts before you take advantage of that "deal of the century." Far too many times, I have seen used tops for sale where the seller thinks the repair is simple. In the photo above, the glass is coming away from the frame leaving a big gap. This part of the window should be sealed. The repair in that photo is at least $250, and that's just for the parts.

The Seller May Not Even Know What Truck the Shell Was Made for

I saw the top above for sale on Craigslist. The ad says it came off a 2000 Ranger, and it now sits on a 2001 S-10. I can tell this is an old SnugTop—by the ridge in the roofline—and it probably came off a pre-'93 Ranger. The dimensions though are close enough.

It’s important to remember that sometimes people will have tops on their trucks that they themselves have bought used, and often that top was not designed for that truck. A dead giveaway is if the top is not the same color as the truck. If you think the fit looks good, and your truck is the same as theirs, no problem; but if you’re trying to make a top made for an unknown truck fit your own truck, you’re on your own, to a certain extent.

Truck Beds By Make and Year

Here is some information, broken out by make, about which years had which body styles. It will help you know what to expect when you shop for a used top to match your truck bed.

Ford Trucks

Ford 150/250

1980-1996. From 1980 to 1996, Ford F150/250 trucks had essentially identical beds.

1997-2003(4). In 1997, the Ford F150 was radically changed, most notably by making the bed tapered, meaning it’s wider in the front than it is in the rear. This was initially only done to the F150 line; the F250 and F350 heavy duty trucks remained the same until 1999, when Ford introduced the Superduty.

2004-2008. The F150 changed its body style and bed again in 2004 (except that in the 2004 F150 Heritage Edition, the bed and body are the same as the '97 to 2003 truck). The F150 would remain the same until 2009, when the bed changed; but it changed only slightly, check the top of the rear corners of a new F150 bed and compare it to a 2004-08, you’ll see what I mean. Superdutys really haven’t changed much, as far as the bed is concerned, except that in about 2008 some Superdutys, not all of them, began including a fold-out step built into the tailgate. If your truck has it, the shell door will need to compensate for it. Leer and SnugTop shells have special molded pieces on the bottom of the door to account for it.

2009 -2014. The F150 has gone through some changes, mainly the rear, and the bow to the tailgate area that most of the new trucks have now.
2015- present: If you look at the back end of the new F150's, you'll notice that the bow to the rear tailgate area is wider, and angled, in a way. Overall the bed looks the same from the previous generation, but this wider rear bow will most certainly affect top compatibility.

1999 - 2008 The heavier duty trucks, i.e., the F250 and 350s, came in the form of the new 'Superduty' in 1999. It pretty much remained the same, with the exception of adding a pull-out tailgate step in 2008, which is technically an option. This is important because tops on 2008 or newer Superdutys will have rear doors that can accommodate this step, that is if the truck has the option. If you try to put a top from a 2004, for example, on a 2009 that has the step in the tailgate, it's not going to fit over that bulge. Yes, most top manufacturers can change out that rear door, but beware, those rear doors are NOT cheap.

2008 - 2016 -the F250 and F350s in these years are mostly the same. The only footnote has to do with the step in the tailgate (see above). It wasn't until 2017 that Ford made in major changes to the Superduty-most notably, the rear tailgate that has that octagon shape to it.

2017 to current -The brand new Superduty trucks are slightly different than the previous years, most notably the octagon-shaped tailgate, there are other changes as well.

A 2008 Superduty.  Notice the molded piece on the back door of the shell that covers up the step that comes out of the tailgate on this truck.
A 2008 Superduty. Notice the molded piece on the back door of the shell that covers up the step that comes out of the tailgate on this truck.
Notice on this new F150 how the taillight is different than on the '04 to 2008 trucks, and that little corner flares out. This is really the only difference with the new F150s.
Notice on this new F150 how the taillight is different than on the '04 to 2008 trucks, and that little corner flares out. This is really the only difference with the new F150s. | Source

A 1997 F250 top on a 1999 F250

Technically this shouldn't fit, but the rails on the Superduty are wide enough that it fits on the inside rail. On the outside you can see the difference in fit.
Technically this shouldn't fit, but the rails on the Superduty are wide enough that it fits on the inside rail. On the outside you can see the difference in fit.
Notice how the bed on the Superduty tapers, and the shell does not.
Notice how the bed on the Superduty tapers, and the shell does not.

Chevy (1996 Silverado) top on Ford F150 (2004 to 2008)

Source
Source
Source

Ford Ranger

1983-1992. Ford Rangers have been around since 1983, and stayed the same all the way up to 1992.

1993-present (2012). Rangers haven't changed much since 1993, except that the flareside bed, also referred to as the Ranger Splash bed, is different. It should be noted that there isn't a huge difference between the 83 to 92 Ranger beds and the 93 to 2012 beds, in other words, an old Ranger top fits the newer Ranger beds, the cab is just a little boxier in shape.

Mazda Trucks

Any Mazda truck built from 1994 to now is identical to a Ford Ranger, for our purposes. In the 1998 to 2006 Mazda B-Series trucks, there is a slight difference: basically, the bed on those trucks has slightly narrower rails. Most shell manufacturers did not change their molds to deal with this variation. I think SnugTop is the only company that has a specific Mazda mold, if that is even still available. But honestly, it’s not that much different than the Ranger mold.

Older Mazda trucks, from 1985 to 1993 have three different beds, the long bed, short bed regular cab, and the cabplus bed. The standard cab trucks have nearly identical bed dimensions to the old Toyota beds, and even the first gen Tacoma beds. Most of the old import mini trucks are around 60" wide and 75-76" long, and the old Mazdas are no different. Just remember that the old extended cab Toyota trucks have a lean or angle to the front of the top.

Chevy / GM Trucks

Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra

1973-1987. It’s important to remember that from 1973 to 1987, full-size GM trucks had perfectly rectangular beds. That changed in 1988 when they became tapered, much like Ford's did in 1997. If you have a crew cab 1988 Chevy/GMC, however, it still has the 1987 body and bed.

1988-1998. The full-size Chevy Silverado pickups and GMC Sierras are the same from 1988 to 1998.

1999-2006: The Silverado/Sierra changed in 1999; however, some '99 models, specifically the heavy duty 3500 model crew cabs, are the older body style. The full-size GM trucks changed again, like I said, in 1999. The 1999 to 2006 models are called the "classic" Chevys.

2007-2013. The full-sized GM trucks changed again in 2007, but you have to be careful with 2007, because GM introduced the new truck mid-year. Thus a few 2007s still have the ‘06 body, which GM refers to as the "classic" body. The heavy-duty trucks retained the classic body until 2008.
Up until 2007, the beds were the same between a GMC and Chevy, but for the 07 to 13 generation, the bed on the Silverado is actually NOT identical to the bed of the Sierra. The insides of the beds are the same; it’s the outside rails that are slightly different. The differences are very subtle, but they do affect the fit of most hard tonneau covers and bedliners. Try putting an over-the-rail GMC liner in a Chevy bed of those years and you’ll see what I mean; one is just slightly wider than the other toward the rear of the bed. Could you fit a new Sierra shell on a Silverado bed? Yeah, probably the fit would be fine, but for a perfect fit, you’ll want to match make to make.

2014 - present. The brand new trucks have this different shape to the rear (tailgate) area there, which for a brand new top means the back door is unique to this model year. Other than that, most of the dimensions are roughly the same. I know the lumber rack part numbers have not changed. Thankfully, the Chevy/GMC trucks are back to being the same in every way for fit and compatibility, unlike the 7 to 13 trucks.

Chevy S-10/Colorado, GMC S-15/Sonoma/Canyon

1982-1993: The "S-10 years." GMC called this truck the S-15 or Sonoma.

1994-2004: The S-10 totally changed in 1994 and stayed that way until 2004.

2004-2014: After 2004, the old S-10 became known as the Chevy Colorado or the GMC Canyon. The shell for a '94 to 2004 S-10 will most likely not fit the new Colorado/Canyons.

2015-present: The all-new Canyon/Colorado is a very different truck compared to its predecessors. Tops from previous years will most likely not fit these trucks.

Older top on 2016 fullsize Chevy

The shell on this new GM truck was originally for a 2007
The shell on this new GM truck was originally for a 2007
Notice how it sits on the back tailgate-where the rear door now, on new tops, molds over the top of that tailgate.
Notice how it sits on the back tailgate-where the rear door now, on new tops, molds over the top of that tailgate.

F150 top on a Chevy/GMC

This is a 1997 to 2003 F150 top on a classic body Chevy/GMC (1999 to 2006)
This is a 1997 to 2003 F150 top on a classic body Chevy/GMC (1999 to 2006)

Toyota Trucks

"Toyota Truck" (SR5), Tacoma

The basic Toyota Truck is sometimes called the SR5.

1984-88. Some pre-1989 Toyota Trucks have have what is called a "Japanese" bed, meaning the bed rails roll to the outside. On just about any truck today, you access the underside of a bed rail from the inside of the bed, but a "Japanese" bed rail is only accessed from the outside. I don’t know much about what will fit Japanese beds, since by the time I started selling camper shells these trucks were fairly old and I rarely saw one come into the shop looking for a shell.

This is a 1985 Toyota with the imported or "Japanese"-style bed. Notice how the rails roll to the outside. Earlier years of this truck only used Japanese beds, but for this year, both Japanese and non-Japanese styles exist.
This is a 1985 Toyota with the imported or "Japanese"-style bed. Notice how the rails roll to the outside. Earlier years of this truck only used Japanese beds, but for this year, both Japanese and non-Japanese styles exist.

1989-94: From 1989 to 1994, the basic Toyota truck didn’t change much, except for the addition of a third brake light in '94, something I already talked about. The bed is essentially the same as on the 1984-88 truck.

1995-2004: Midway through 1995, Toyota introduced the Tacoma, a name still used today, and the Tacoma stayed the same up until 2004. Will a shell from an older SR5-type Toyota fit a 1996 to 2004 Tacoma? Kind of. It will sit lower than the height of the cab, but the inside of the bed is actually the same as the older SR5 trucks. There are also differences between extended-cab shells and standard-cab shells on the 1989 to 2004 models.If you take a shell built for an extended cab and try to fit it to a standard cab, it will most likely rub the top of the cab, since it has an angle to it to compensate for the angle of the extended cab.

2005-2015. In 2005, the Tacoma changed a lot. The new Tacomas have a composite bed: basically it’s all plastic, except for the outer skin and rear pillars. You cannot fit anything on these trucks that is not designed specifically for the post-2004 Tacoma. Whether you have an "access" cab, crew cab, or standard cab, there is no angle built into the shell, so you can swap one over to the other—just make sure you have the right bed length for the crew cab.

2016 - The all-new 2016 Tacoma IS different than the previous body style, the bed went through the same type of change we saw on the F150's and other types of beds.

Current Tacoma vs. 05 to 15 (2nd Gen)

Notice on a 2016 Tacoma, the rear of the bed, and the top of the tailgate, now flare out the way many new trucks do. You can the flared out piece on the door of the shell where it meets the top of the gate.
Notice on a 2016 Tacoma, the rear of the bed, and the top of the tailgate, now flare out the way many new trucks do. You can the flared out piece on the door of the shell where it meets the top of the gate.
Here is a 2015 Tacoma, notice that it's different than the 2016 and newer models-near the rear of the bed.
Here is a 2015 Tacoma, notice that it's different than the 2016 and newer models-near the rear of the bed.

Toyota Truck Shell on Tacoma

This shell was technically built for a 1990 Toyota, but it's now on a 2003 Tacoma. As you can see, it's not a bad fit. Because it's a high-rise style, you can't really see where it doesn't match the cab roof.
This shell was technically built for a 1990 Toyota, but it's now on a 2003 Tacoma. As you can see, it's not a bad fit. Because it's a high-rise style, you can't really see where it doesn't match the cab roof.
Here is an 89 to 94 Toyota shell on a Tacoma-you can see it fits the bed, but sits lower since the cab heights were different between those body styles.
Here is an 89 to 94 Toyota shell on a Tacoma-you can see it fits the bed, but sits lower since the cab heights were different between those body styles.

Chevy S-10 top on a Tacoma

This top -a SnugTop highliner, was originally made for a Chevy S-10, or GMC Sonoma (1994-2003).
This top -a SnugTop highliner, was originally made for a Chevy S-10, or GMC Sonoma (1994-2003).

Tacoma Shell on Toyota Truck

Here is the opposite of the above picture-a 1995 to 2004 Tacoma shell on a circa 1990 Toyota. Notice the slight angle to the front of the shell, and how much taller is than the cab.
Here is the opposite of the above picture-a 1995 to 2004 Tacoma shell on a circa 1990 Toyota. Notice the slight angle to the front of the shell, and how much taller is than the cab.

Toyota T-100, Tundra

1993-1998: In 1993, Toyota introduced the mid-sized truck called the T-100 (which later became the Tundra). It came as a short-bed extended cab or long-bed standard cab.

1999-2006. In 1999, the T-100 became the Tundra. Now here’s the confusing thing to remember about the 1999-2006 Tundra models. They made both extended-cab or "access cab" trucks, and crew cab trucks. The crew cabs had slightly larger rear doors, and the beds are technically different, although they look very similar. The only standard-cab 1999-2006 Tundra was a long bed.

2007-2013. In 2007, the Tundra completely changed. It’s not only larger in overall size than the previous years, but comes with a long-bed access cab, standard cab, short-bed access cab, or even a short-bed standard cab. The CrewMax (Toyota’s name for the Tundra’s crew cab model) only comes with the extra-short bed.

2014 - present The Tundra, like many others, has seen some subtle changes to the bed in 2014 on to the brand new trucks.

Dodge Trucks

Ram Truck

Pre-1994. It’s not very common to see a 1993 or older Dodge Ram truck. There just aren’t as many on the road as the older GM and Ford trucks, unless of course you’re cruising a badass old Power Wagon.

1994-2001: The 1994 Dodge Ram is so different from the older Rams, including a tapered bed, that I can guarantee those beds are not compatible with the older Ram beds. The new Ram style lasted through 2001.

2002-2008: The 2002 Dodge Ram went through some design changes and some bed changes. The front of an '02 to '08 Ram bed bows quite a bit.

2009-present: The 2009 Dodge Ram made a lot of changes, including factory plastic bed rails and a strongly curved rear tailgate.

Dakota

1987-1996. The Dodge Dakota, born from the Dodge Ram 50, has the distinct honor of being the only "mid-size" truck around. Model years 1986 through 1996 all have the same bed dimensions. One cool thing about the 1994 to 1996 Dakota is that the brake light, now required by law, was placed in the tailgate—meaning the shell itself doesn't need a brake light.

1997-2004: In 1997 the Dakota body style was totally redone to resemble the more popular full-size Ram truck.

2005-present: The Dakota changed again in 2005, to the current body and bed style.

Dodge Ram has curves

This is the front (sits behind the cab window) of a top for a new Ram bed. Notice how curved it is.
This is the front (sits behind the cab window) of a top for a new Ram bed. Notice how curved it is.

Nissan Trucks

“Hardbody”/Frontier

1986 (and a half)-1997: The most popular Nissan trucks were the infamous ‘hardbody” models, which later became the Frontier. Those body styles were around from 1986 (1/2)—the change was made in mid-year 1986—all the way to 1997. The 1994 Nissan presents a special problem, because, like I said before, that was the year it became law that all pickups have an additional brake light. On the 1994 Nissan, the brake light is highly obtrusive. In fact, you cannot remove it to install a shell; there’s a bracket inside that just can’t be taken off. That means your shell has to have a huge notch in the top of the roof to compensate for it. This is only an issue for the '94. Nissan did make long-bed standard-cab trucks for these years, but they are not very common.

1998-2001: The Nissan changed for 1998 and became the Frontier, and for the most part, stayed the same all the way to 2004, except that:

2001-2004: In 2001, Nissan put this bulging plastic cladding and logo toward the top of the tailgate, which affects shells and tonneau covers. So if you have a 2001 to 2004 year Frontier, and want to fit a used top from a 1999 Frontier, you will have issues with the back door. It will not sit flat on the tailgate. Hard tonneau covers will not work at all in this scenario.

2005-2017: The Frontier changed most recently in 2016, so anything 2016 and newer likely has a new mold-important tip though is in 2013 the bulging cladding gave way to a wing-style tailgate piece, which in most cases has to be removed.

Back of '98 to 2000 Frontier

Here is the back tailgate of a 98 to 2000 Nissan Frontier. You can see it does not bulge out like the 01 model does.
Here is the back tailgate of a 98 to 2000 Nissan Frontier. You can see it does not bulge out like the 01 model does.

'01 Frontier With an Older Shell

This is the back of an '01 Frontier; notice how it has changed from the earlier truck in the last photo.  This owner has managed to fit an older top on it, and you can see the door kind of works, good enough I guess.
This is the back of an '01 Frontier; notice how it has changed from the earlier truck in the last photo. This owner has managed to fit an older top on it, and you can see the door kind of works, good enough I guess.

'01 Frontier with Correct Tonneau Cover

Notice how the hard tonneau cover compensates for the bulging tailgate. Trying to fit a tonneau not meant for this truck will not work.
Notice how the hard tonneau cover compensates for the bulging tailgate. Trying to fit a tonneau not meant for this truck will not work.

Compatibility Tips for Older Trucks

  • If you have an older S-10 type Chevy, 1982 to 1992, a shell from a mid-1986 to 1997 Nissan should fit it pretty good,. Of course the opposite is true as well.
  • Shells from 1984 to 1994 Toyotas will generally fit the old Mazda B-Series trucks, before the latter essentially became Ford Rangers. If you do have a pre-1993 Mazda, before it became a rebadged Ranger, remember that the length of the bed on the cab-plus truck is different than the length on the standard-cab short-bed truck.
  • For the older fullsize GM trucks (1973-1987), finding something very specific can be tough, but remember the beds on those trucks are almost the same dimension as a 1980 to 1996 F150. This helps too when you’re looking for a lumber rack for an old Chevy/GMC.

The information I provided here should cover at least 95% (OK, I’m totally guessing, but honestly it’s a good guess) of the trucks that are currently on the road. The LTAA has proprietary information on truck bed sizes, and other information is out there.

Always remember to measure your bed, front width and rear, and the top you’re looking to buy. Feel free to ask me a question if you have any, I have always responded.

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    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 18 hours ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @brittany -it's a tough one, but I'll be honest, I've seen people mount tops on there despite that bulging plastic cladding, it's not the best seal, but that at least gives you from 98 to 04 to find something. It's a longer bed than most minis though, so a top off an old toyota for example will probably be too short.

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 18 hours ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @mike gulla -I know the beds are different, they have different part numbers for bedliners and the like, but they look like they would be the same. It's possible one shell might kind of fit the other -it's that front wall, cab contour that's very different, so the shell for the crew cab, or double cab, has a more pronounced curve than the access cab.

    • profile image

      brittany 30 hours ago

      Thank you so much for the info, so helpful! I have a 2001 Nissan Frontier. Do you know what older shell models will fit that short bed with the bulging plastic at the top? Thanks!

    • profile image

      mike gulla 3 days ago

      Read what you have on the 05 tundra, as well as other info on the web.

      can you tell me if the access cab caps or tonneau will fit the double cab?

      thanks

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 3 days ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @K -try a top from a 1999 to 2006 truck, that should fit, even one from 2007 to 2013 may fit, the GM beds have not changed that much-the height and contour of the cab has, but I know that a lumber rack for a 1997 Chevy shortbed extended cab fits on a 2018 Chevy shortbed double cab-same part number.

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 3 days ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Tiffenie Conlon -this is a common problem, and unless you know specifically what will fit as a replacement part, you'll end up spending a lot of time and effort and not likely get it repaired. Your best bet is to replace the broken glass with a sheet of cut plexi-glass. There are videos on YouTube that can help.

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 3 days ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Ditzycamper -I don't think you're going to find a used top for a brand new Colorado, maybe one that was made for that generation of truck that isn't brand new, but I know that Leer, SnugTop and ARE all make tops for that truck. I personally like the style and quality of the SnugTop rebel, but Leer makes some nice tops, not too crazy about the fit and quality of the ARE brand.

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 3 days ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Gordy -uh, problem with the old S-10/Sonoma beds is they're tapered, so that old Toyota top kind of fits, but you'll notice how the bed tapers when you try to fit it on there.

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 3 days ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Dustin -yes, they do have different angles, but it's not like on the old Toyota pickups, so a shell for an extended cab will fit the standard cab and most likely will not rub the cab.

    • profile image

      4 days ago

      I have been on multiple websites trying to a fiberglass camper shell for my 1997 Chevrolet K1500. It is a short bed, 6'6". The only thing I can find are aluminum shells that look more fitting for work trucks or tonneau covers. I do not want either of them. Any help would be appreciated!

    • profile image

      Tiffenie Conlon 5 days ago

      I need some help. i have a 2006 ford f150 supercrew shortbeb 5/12 ft long. i have a campershell that the manufacture is out of buisness. my back window frame is bent and no glass. im having trouble on locating some type of replacement. the brand was fast tops

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      Ditzycamper 6 days ago

      Help! I just bought a 2018 Chevy Colorado crew cab short bed truck. I can not find a camper shell that fits. What would you suggest in a new or used shell.

      Thank you

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      Gordy 7 days ago

      Thank you for this site. I have a GMC Sonoma 2002 extended cab and want to know if a 88 Toyota she'll will fit on it?

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      Marbarmando 7 days ago

      Thank you, Tom. I was skeptical when the seller posted 5 ft length but after more research, it obviously isn’t. We will likely go with a custom one, as finding for the Frontier has proven to be difficult. Thank you for your help!

    • profile image

      Dustin 7 days ago

      On Chevy trucks from 88 to 98 are the cab angles different from a single cab to extended cab for the truck toppers to match can they be swapped from truck to truck

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 7 days ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Marbarmando -uh, I don't think that would work. An F150 short bed-what we would call the 'extra' short bed, is typically around 5.5 feet, maybe an inch more. It's also wider than the the Frontier bed. I know it's easy to look at a top and think it will work, but most don't. I personally have a 1987 Mazda, sort of a vintage classic, and I tried putting an old Nissan top on it, but it sat more than an inch lower than the cab, and my truck is too nice for that. Trying to find the right top for it though has been difficult.

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      Marbarmando 8 days ago

      Hi Tom, thanks for all this info, it’s really helpful. We have a 2011 Nissan Frontier, 5 ft bed and are looking at a 2009 F-150 short box shell, seller says 5 ft long. It seems like a good fit but after reading through your post I’m not so sure. Does Nissan tend to fit Ford shells well? Thank you.

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 8 days ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Gary Liebsack -I've seen people do that all the time, couple things to keep in mind, they are not the best looking tops, and they do affect gas mileage and add weight. However, if it's a custom, camping top you're looking for(not a fully equipped slide-in cabover), check out the Tradesman made by a company called Access Manufacturing, they were the company that made the Six Pac and Bac Pac campers. They can make you a shell that looks like a cabover camper -but just the shell, no shelving, stove or paneling, etc. They will do almost anything.

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      Gary Liebsack 10 days ago

      Hello Tom. What are you thoughts on aluminum shells (like Leer dcc or ARE dcu) vs fiberglass. I want a raised unit with a door on the back for camping & there aren't many fiberglass versions.

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 10 days ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @tracysibole -that should work, and if I'm correct, both trucks should be the full crew cabs-NOT the quad. I think they only do the 5.7 bed for the crew cabs. Make certain it is a 2009, current body style with that bowed tailgate-that's key. If it is a 2009, it should be the new body style. $700 isn't bad if it's in good condition. What you found should be what I would call an exact fit, meaning if you were to buy that top new, the mold would be the same. It's difficult to find that, so yeah, it's worth it.

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      tracysibole 11 days ago

      I have found an ARE camper shell off of a 2009 Ram 1500 5.7 bed. I have a 2015 Ram 1500 with the same bed length. Will this shell fit my truck? I'll have to drive about 3 hours to pick it up, so I don't want to waste a trip. Do you think $700 is a good price, if it's in good condition? I'll have to paint it since it is red and my truck is gray. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 11 days ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Vwadt -yes, it will fit, not perfectly, but the dimensions on the GM trucks haven't changed much, you will have to remove that extruded plastic piece on your tailgate, and replace it with an aftermarket flat one.

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      Vwadt 12 days ago

      Will a short bed cap for a 98 Chevy work on an 07 Chevy truck?

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 12 days ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Glenn Wisser -yes, it will fit just fine.

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      Glenn Wisser 13 days ago

      I have an ARE Z Series cab height shell on my 2008 long-box Ford Super Duty F350 with step in the tailgate.

      I am going to buy a used 2016 long-box Ford Super Duty F350 without the step.

      Will this 2008 shell fit the 2016 OK?

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      Patrick 2 weeks ago

      Thanks Tom! I appreciate you taking time to respond!

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      Tom Zizzo 2 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Patrick -worry free? No, will one fit? Depends on the year of that Silverado shell. It's a little narrower and it will sit higher than the cab.

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      Patrick 2 weeks ago

      Wow, great stuff. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I have an ‘04 F150 short bed (5.5). Will a Silverado canopy from the same year give me a worry free fit? Thanks!

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      Tom Zizzo 2 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Shani -I'm not sure, it might, the dimensions aren't that far off, but Rangers have wide rails, and don't forget that tailgate piece on the Nissan-it has to be removed for any top.

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      Shani 3 weeks ago

      Do you know if a 2003 Ford Ranger short bed will fit on a 2017 Nissan Frontier short bed

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      Tom Zizzo 3 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Solohopper -it depends on the brand. Snugtop does have a different mold between those two trucks, but whatever it is, it should totally fit, may sit about 3/4 of an inch taller than the cab.

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      Tom Zizzo 3 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Robert Calvosa -hmmm, have no idea, I've never sold a cabover camper.

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      Solohopper 3 weeks ago

      I have a 2003 Chevy crewcab 2500 with 6 3/4 bed. Was offered a shell from a 2005 1500 extended cab. Are the cab lines the same?

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      Robert Calvosa 3 weeks ago

      Question: Will a 1978 Bethany pop-up fit my 2010 Tundra dbl cab 6.5' bed?

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      Tom Zizzo 4 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Travis parker -it won't fit the tailgate, it also won't fit the front wall of the Ram bed-it's very curved. The length is probably very close, but other than that, it's hard to fit anything on a Ram these days that wasn't made for it.

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      Travis parker 4 weeks ago

      Can an are topper for a 2015 Ford super duty 8' bed fit on a 2014 ram 2500 8' bed?

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      Winonadriver 4 weeks ago

      I was afraid of that. Thanks for heading me off at the pass.....

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      Tom Zizzo 4 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Winonadriver -it's kind of too new, that body style has only been out for a few years, and honestly, I don't see it enough to even know the dimensions that well. I do know that the cab contour is not that flat, so personally, I would stick with something that's made for that bed.

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      Tom Zizzo 4 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Tim O’Brien -so, I recently saw a top from a 96 Chevy on the bed of a 04-08 F150. I would imagine the reverse might work, it might be like an inch longer in the back since the 09 plus F150s flared out in the rear there.

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      Tom Zizzo 4 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Shelley W -thank you. The Ranger is unique in that the rail is wide, but yes, it is narrower than most. I do my best, and I'm currently working on more simple camper top repair blogs for useful information.

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      Tom Zizzo 4 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      Leighann -fairly rare truck, don't have a very good answer for you, maybe a top from a Ranger flareside, but those are pretty rare too. The rails are narrower than the regular bed, but I rarely see those and I don't know how you would modify anything.

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      Winonadriver 4 weeks ago

      Just got a 2018 Chevy Colorado extended cab. I want a used topper/ shell and wonder which toppers from other trucks fit mine too. Thanks.

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      Tim O’Brien 4 weeks ago

      I have a 2006 Sierra 1500, will a topper off of a 09-14 F150 fit on it?

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      Shelley W 4 weeks ago

      Wanted to thank for this amazing information. I am selling our Lumber Rack or trading for a Camper Shell, o our recently purchashed 1994 For Ranger Short Bed. I had the owner of a Sonoma Short Bed try to tell me all Short Beds are equal. So I explained the differences of my Ranger in width giving him measurements for my inside bed width. His was almost 13" wider. So he's search for another Rack.

      We have always owned full sized Long Bed trucks. Your amazing detailed info has insured I will not sell or trade my Rack or get a camper shell that isn't the right fit. Will be reading much more of your information at your great site in the fiture.

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      Leighann 4 weeks ago

      Hi I have a question. I have a Chevy s10 stepwise pick up and since it is a weird shaped bed what kind of camper shell would I look for and is it possible to modify a regular camper to fit.

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      Tom Zizzo 4 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Omar Alladeen -Well, with that truck you have quite a bit of options. New tops will run you anywhere from $1,500, up to well over $3K. A good used pop-up camper-not just a shell, but a slide-in, cabover style camper, can run anywhere from $5K to just under $10K. New, fully-equipped campers like that are around $27K, which is why there is a lot of demand for them used. If you just want to make a shell liveable, go for something tall. The Leer 122 is arguably the tallest fiberglass top, and check out Youtube for videos on interior/bed creations for camping/living.

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      Omar Alladeen 4 weeks ago

      Hey tom, thank you for taking the time to share this knowledge, and getting back to all the questions, it helps. I am driving a 2011 toyota tacoma with I believe a 6 foot bed. Looking for a camper shell to make the vehicle liveable. What are some options i should be looking at? Thank you

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      Rob Gladu 4 weeks ago

      Ok thanks man.... I didn't think so... but for a $50.00 cap... I figured it was worth a shot! ha ha!

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      Tom Zizzo 4 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Rob Gladu -no, they are not the same, the Dakota bed is at least an inch wider, and about an inch longer, again, it's not just the bed dimensions you need to worry about, but the contour of the cab and cab height as well.

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      Rob Gladu 4 weeks ago

      Hi Tom,

      I just read through all of these comments, and can't seem to find my answer. I own a 2005 Tacoma Double Cab long bed, and looking at a cap that is currently on a 2004 Dodge Dakota Extended cab Short box...

      I know that I'm going to need the special clamps to make any cap work... but are the dimensions the same?

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      Tom Zizzo 5 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Jon -your best bet is an older (89 to 2000) Chevy bed, they length should actually be about the same, the widths will not. The Dodge bed length should be around 80 inches, then the width is around 72 in front, 69 in the rear-they Chevy should be around 70 in front, 68 in the rear. But remember, it's not just bed dimensions but the shape and contour of the cabs.

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      Tom Zizzo 5 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @nest -I don't think that will work, your Nissan was almost two inches wider, and it won't fit the tailgate on the new Tacoma.

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      nest 5 weeks ago

      I have a nissan frontier crew cab 2006 short bed. I am planning to buy new toyota tacoma TRD sport double cab 2018. could someone tell me if my old camper shell from my nissan frontier crew cab will fit.

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      Tom Zizzo 5 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Pat B -you're correct, it will work up to the current body style -2017. I just need to update my info.

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      Pat B 5 weeks ago

      I have an 05 frontier with an are mx cap. It sounds like if I get a newer 2015, It would work on there, but after 15 it wouldn't? Or is there a way to make it fit? Thanks!

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      JDC 5 weeks ago

      I'm looking at a truck cap for a dodge dakota 2 door for my ford. Unsure of the year truck it came off of, but its one of those aluminum commercial style caps and he said the dimensions were 81x63.

      My ford is a 200 f150 stepside extended cab. The bed tapers a bit (which has made finding a used cap hard) but it looks like the dimensions are close enough to give it a go at 80 long x 67 (front and 57 (rear).

      I don't care if it's ugly as long as it keeps my stuff dry.

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      Tom Zizzo 5 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Ram Guy -yeah, I figured that would happen. From 09 to now, the Ram tailgate is the most curved, bowed out gate you will ever find, and I've always felt that if the gate doesn't lock and seal, what's the point, to each his own I guess.

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      Ram Guy 5 weeks ago

      Both trucks were standard cabs with long beds. It kind of fits but not exactly. The tailgate on the Ram is much rounder than the Chevy. the dodge is a 2014.

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      Tom Zizzo 5 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Ram Guy -what year is the Dodge? If it's newer than 09, don't even bother, it won't work.

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      Tom Zizzo 5 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Robert -depends, if they are both crew cabs, it might work, but like I just told Alan before you, the 2500/3500 trucks are not offered with a quad cab, so they can be different.

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      Tom Zizzo 5 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Alan -the beds themselves are the same, as long as they are the same length. The 2500/3500 Ram trucks are not available as a quad(extended) cab-only crew, standard or mega cab, so yes, the front cab angle will be off, and I can't remember, the top will either rub, or sit back a little off angle. Rubbing is bad.

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      Ram Guy 6 weeks ago

      Will a 2014 leer Chevy/GMC 8ft bed topper fit on a Dodge ram 1500 with a 8ft bed?

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      Ram Guy 6 weeks ago

      Will a 2014 leer 8ft bed top fit on a Dodge ram 8ft bed?

      Thanks

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      Robert 6 weeks ago

      Hello, I own a 2017 ram 2500. Looking at a used leer from a 2012 ram 1500. Both short boxes. Compatible?

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      Alan 6 weeks ago

      I am being told that a A.R.E. Cap for a 2014 Ram 1500 Quad Cab (6.5’ Bed) will not work on a 2014 Ram 2500 Extended Cab Short Bed (also with a 6.5’ Bed). Something to do with the Cab, not the Bed. Is this correct

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      Tom Zizzo 6 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @thomas -yes, those should be identical.

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      thomas 6 weeks ago

      will a 2016 chevy 1500 6.5ft top fit a 2015 2500 6.5ft bed?

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      Tom Zizzo 6 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Craig -no, mostly because of the way that back tailgate is bowed out, but you also cannot just replace a camper door with a newer one. The Rams can be tough to fit older tops on newer trucks, and while the changes seem subtle, they're enough that one won't really work with the other.

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      Craig 6 weeks ago

      I have found a cap from a 2008 ram 1500, will it fit my 2017 ram 1500? Thanks for any help you can give me.

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      Tom Zizzo 6 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Ron Shaull -older dodge (94 to 01) might work, but honestly, the longbed Superduty would be much more common-they really didn't change much from 99 to 16.

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      Tom Zizzo 6 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Ford truck owner -no, the old F150 is narrower, and the Superduty bed tapers, the old F150 does not. It kind of works with a shell, but not with a hard tonneau cover.

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      Tom Zizzo 6 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Charlie -the Tacoma bed is a little longer, width is close, don't know much about the cab contour though.

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      Tom Zizzo 6 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Robert -they always look like they'll fit, most of the time though they don't. The Titan is an odd size-it's wider and shorter than most, especially on the older ones. Keep in mind too that it's not just the bed dimensions, but also the cab height, front angle, and cab contour to consider. Just measure, but take outside bed measurements, or, to the edge of the bed.

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      Tom Zizzo 6 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Bucksmom -not sure, it will likely be longer and too narrow, newer Nissans have odd dimensions.

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      Tom Zizzo 6 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Rock -no

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      Ron Shaull 6 weeks ago

      I am looking for a super duty 2003 long bed fiberglass shell. Will any thing else fit/dodge chevy etc.

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      Ford truck owner 7 weeks ago

      Will a 1994 f-150 long wheel base tunnel cover fit a 2004 f-350 super duty long wheel base

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      Charlie 7 weeks ago

      Will an 05 regular cab colorado topper fit an 01 tacoma standard cab.

      Thanks

      Charlie

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      Robert 7 weeks ago

      Ok check this out I've been looking at a lot of shells for my 06 Nissan titan...

      They look like they would fit

      What would fit my 06 Nissan titan

      Any good ideas ..thanks for trying to help. me out.

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      Bucksmom 7 weeks ago

      I found a Leer from a 2005-2015 Tacoma for $1200 I have a 2012 crew cab long bed Nissan Frontier. Do you know if it would fit?

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      Rock 7 weeks ago

      Would an Lear cap off of a 06 f250 crew cab fit on an 05 f150 extended cab?

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      Tom Zizzo 7 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Gary Peters -yes, a Ford top will fit, so long as it came off anything older than 1997 (80 to 96). The exception is if it's a 97 or 98 F250/350 -those beds were still the old 80 to 96 beds. I have an old SnugTop that came off a 68 longbed GMC, it would fit on an older F150 no problem.

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      Tom Zizzo 7 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Charles -no, read the hub, in 1988, Chevy beds became tapered, Ford didn't start doing that until 1997.

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      Gary Peters 7 weeks ago

      I have a Chevy 70 to 73 truck bed and need to know if a Ford cap will fit!!! Want the cap to protect anything in the bed from direct weather!!! Not really concerned with the looks!!!

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      Charles 8 weeks ago

      Will a 1996 f150 shell fit a 2005 Silverado?

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      Tom Zizzo 8 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @B.martin -Nissan changed that in 2005, they made the bed wider and shorter, and it's significant enough it probably won't fit.

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      Tom Zizzo 8 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Tim -no, probably not.

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      B.martin 8 weeks ago

      Would a camper from a 2002-2003 frontier fit a 2014 frontier?

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      Tim Wicker 8 weeks ago

      Will a Leer cap for a 2007 Titan fit a 2010 Tundra? Both 5 1/2' beds.

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      Tom Zizzo 8 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Bill -kind of, I mean, the bed dimensions are almost identical, but the cab height is a little different, you'll also have to remove the plastic tailgate piece in order for the door to sit on the gate.

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      Tom Zizzo 8 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Nicole -see the previous answer-you need a new back door that will compensate for the bulge in the tailgate, and in most cases, simply replacing the door skirt is not an option because it's typically bonded to the glass.

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      Tom Zizzo 8 weeks ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Toddbo34@gmail.com -theoretically yes. The only real change on some of those was that back door if your truck has the step in the gate, but do keep in mind, those doors are not cheap. A SnugTop rear door in that case is $575, and that does not include tax.

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      Bill 8 weeks ago

      Will my LEER 2002 Silverado cap fit a 2011 Silverado?

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      Nicole 8 weeks ago

      I have an 09 F250 long bed and bought a topper from a 00 F350 long bed. I’m having that issue with the back window due to the tailgate, is there any way to make it work? Thanks!

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      Toddbo34@gmail.com 8 weeks ago

      I found a top that I want for my truck. It came off of a 2002 F250 and I want to put it on a 2015 F350. I have the rear step tailgate. If I change out the back door on the camper top will it fit my truck?

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      Tom Zizzo 2 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Ed Lucius -it kind of fits, I mean, the dimensions on those aren't that different, but if the top has relatively flat rails, you could probably make it work. It may not seal perfectly.

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      Tom Zizzo 2 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @KeithC -I think what you have there is for a Superduty Ford, short bed, fits 1999 to at least 07 before they started adding the step in the tailgate.

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      Ed Lucius 2 months ago

      i'm looking at an ACT top says it's for a 6 1/2 foot Chevy 2000-2007. Will this top fit my 2010 2500HD short bed (6 1/2)?

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      KeithC. 2 months ago

      I've got a topper with dimensions of 75" wide in front, 71" wide in rear, with a length of 84" . I am trying to find out which trucks this would fit. Thanks.

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