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Tips on Buying a Shell or Top for Your New Truck

Updated on January 3, 2017
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So you finally got that new truck you've been wanting, but now that it's sitting safely in your driveway, it looks naked. You're considering a shell or a top, maybe even a hard lid-type cover, but there are so many options. Where do you begin?

I spent many years selling truck accessories, but no longer do, so I will try to help by offering this information.

The first thing you want to ask yourself is: How do you plan on using your new truck? If you put a top on the truck bed, will you still be able to use the truck in the same way?

If the answer is yes, meaning a lumber rack and/or tool boxes aren't part of your vision, then you're ready to start looking at tops.

Types of Removable Covers

So you want a shell, or even a lid (also known as a hard tonneau cover), but you want to be able to remove it without too much trouble for that occasional large load. After all, what good is having a truck if you can't use it like a truck.

The good news is that many truck top manufacturers know that truck owners want the option to be able to remove a shell or lid.

SnugTop Covers

SnugTop Mounting System

Where the rail is bulging out is where the mounting clamp is, a feature exclusive to this brand.
Where the rail is bulging out is where the mounting clamp is, a feature exclusive to this brand.

For a good shell that's easy to remove, consider a SnugTop. It uses a J-hook style installation that works like a clamp—no drilling.

The other benefit with this brand is that their tops are very custom fit, meaning the base rails of the shell are a contoured fit, not flat, so you will actually feel the shell fit in place when you set it on the bed.

Their tops also have a bulb rubber seal built-in along the base rail, meaning there is no seal to have to re-do when you remove and reinstall the shell.

Leer

A Leer brand top has a rubber seal and J-hooks as well, although their J-hooks are a little different. Most manufactures require a foam tape to be installed along the base rails to seal the shell to the bed.

If that tape is not replaced when the shell is removed, it will leak after you reinstall it. Either one of these brands of shells will weigh between 150 to 200 lbs, depending on how large your truck is.

Pro-Tip: Ask for the Boards the Shell Was Shipped On

A good tip to remember if you plan on removing a shell after you buy it is to ask the dealer for the boards that the shell is shipped with, that way if you do remove it, you can reuse those boards when you set it on the ground for storage.

These boards typically get tossed out or recycled, so the dealer should not have a problem just giving them to you. Remember too that a lot of truck shells now have what they call wrap-rails-for a nice custom-fit look. They can easily be damaged, so having these shipping boards really helps.

Removing Hard Lid Covers

Hard lid covers (tonneau covers) are not as easy to remove as you might think. A hard, fiberglass, painted-to-match lid is actually quite heavy, and depending on the brand or style, it can be a little tricky to take on and off.

Believe it or not, something such as a basic SnugTop hard tonneau—which they call their TC lid-or Tonneau Cover—weighs almost as much as some shells do. They have a very thick honey-comb construction, and despite what the company says, they're heavy.

Painted-to-match Leer covers are about the same in weight.

Another good painted fiberglass lid brand is the Gaylord cover, and their mounting systems have a lot of flexibility for fine adjustments.

Pro-Tip: Stay Away From Shut-and-Lock Latching Systems

This will make sense when you re-install a lid, since the real trick is for it to be able to open and shut with ease, and for this reason, I like to stay away from these shut-and-lock latching systems.

These latching systems work on the idea that your truck bed is now like a big trunk—use a key to open it, then slam it shut to lock it. Many of the popular brands operate this way, and they all say they work great, but I have sold and installed many lids, and on average, we would replace 2 to 3 Snuglid SL lid locks every week.

The Snuglid TC lid, and the Gaylord basic lid, use the standard lock that turns and swings a cam under a fixed plate to lock it in place. This is really the best way to go. It's not that fancy, but there are no headaches later on. Back in the late 90's, most hard lids used these simple locks, and they hardly ever had problems.

Remember too that all of the lids I described are clamped on-no drilling, but that does not mean they are easy to remove, it simply means less holes in your bed.

The Easiest Lid to Remove

Probably the easiest lids to remove are the non-painted, black hard covers, such as the Undercover brand. They weigh less than half of the painted fiberglass covers, but they are also just as strong. They tend to fit great and are very easy to install.

I found that their cover on the new Tacoma beds were extremely simple to install. Professional installers can get them on in about 15 minutes or less. It's no surprise then that removing these and re-installing them is just as simple.

Since they weigh about 50 lbs. (less for the extra short mini-truck beds) and they aren't painted, taking it off and propping it against a wall in your garage takes about ten minutes and you won't have to worry about scratching it.

True, these covers don't look as good as the painted ones, but they are very functional, secure and strong. Older style covers, like the old Protecto Tops, were very flimsy, and could be broken in half like snapping thin plywood.

The newer Undercover lids are also very reasonable in price, and don't pay too much for labor if you get one of these installed, because believe me, even someone who is mildly handy could put one of these on by themselves.

Rolling Covers

You may also consider a rolling cover. They roll up out of your way into a canister in the front of the bed, and you don't have to remove it. But remember, more moving parts means more that can go wrong over time.

It may work great when you first get it, but give it a year or two and it may need some occasional adjusting, or sometimes a lot of regular adjusting.

Roll covers also take up bed space, and they are notorious for leaking. That's why most of them come with drain tubes. A good, secure cover is the Pace Edwards Full Metal roll cover. It costs almost as much as a shell, but they are designed well, and have few problems.

Style

What do you want your truck to look like?

Good shells and higher-end models will cost well over $2,000 at the end of the day, so before you even start looking, keep that in mind.

Fiberglass

Even when there are special sales, a simple, color-matched fiberglass shell can cost between $1,200 and $1,400 depending on the brand.

Shells are not what they used to be, which were gel-coated (not painted) plastic pieces of garbage that fit lousy, and spent more time on the side of the freeway than on the bed of your truck.

Plastic shells are now non-existent and most fiberglass tops are clear coat enamel paint, just like your truck. I know they seem expensive, but if you just spent more than $35,000 on a brand new truck, you should put something on it that is comparable in quality to the truck itself. After all, you wouldn't buy a $5 tie for a $1,000 designer suit.

High-End Tops and Their Downsides

Expensive styles of tops usually have the all-glass doors with hidden or semi-hidden hinges for that realistic SUV look. SnugTop's models that have this all glass, frameless rear door are the XV (eXtra Vision) or the Super Sport models.

It's all about the look, nothing more. Going with that SUV look may be the coolest, but remember that if and when you do break that back door, it's expensive. Trust me, a lot of people break the back door on their shells.

Backing into the garage with the door up is the most common scenario. Same goes with Leer's popular 100XL model. Remember that the glass in these doors is tempered safety glass, but not laminated like a windshield, so all it takes is one small rock, and all that glass will shatter into very small pieces.

Aluminum-framed doors on the other hand are much cheaper to replace, sometimes half the cost for the part. Most basic fiberglass shells use the aluminum framed rear doors.

SnugTop calls their basic top the Cab High, meaning it is level in height with that of the cab of the truck. Leer's is called the 100R. Of course, all of these tops I just described are cab level in height.

These two types of tops are the most popular, and I highly, highly recommend looking at actual tops at an accessory dealer so you can see the quality difference in the parts they use.

SnugTop vs Leer

SnugTop's shells tend to cost more than any other brand, but that's mostly because they use more expensive parts. It's arguable if that means those parts are better, but they look and feel better, like sturdier latches and metal, not plastic hinges.

SnugTop shells also have thicker fiberglass construction, which may mean nothing unless you want to mount a rack on top of it or if you have an off-road truck and actually use it that way and subject the bed to a lot of flexing.

There are of course many other models, most of which involve extra height for the camping enthusiast or just someone with a need for more headroom and space.

Leer has several taller models, the model 122 being the tallest, but I personally think they look ugly. SnugTop has a very smooth-line taller top called the High Liner, but its availability is sometimes limited as most people want the clean look of a cab high top.

The Best Brands

Notice I am mainly talking about SnugTop and Leer here. That's because these are the two most widely known and popular brands on the market today. There are other more obscure brands, but be careful what you buy.

I have seen manufacturers come and go, and good luck getting parts or service for these tops once the company goes under. SnugTop and Leer have been around for a while. Century is a decent brand, and it's owned by Leer so it's basically a cheap Leer.

Glasstite use to be a really good brand, then they sold out to different corporate owners a few years ago and the service went down the tubes.

A.R.E. is another brand, and they have a very distinct model of top where the tailgate of the truck bed is removed, making it a full walk-in rear door, but be careful with this one, it's prone to many potential problems. The fit from A.R.E. isn't that great either.

Other Options and Add-Ons

Carpet Lining

Yes, truck caps or shells have many optional features. The most common is the inside carpet lining. Most shells have this, that is to say most dealers will stock tops with this option and many models actually come with this option included.

Is carpet necessary? No, not really, it just looks much better than the raw fiberglass, and it helps to insulate the shell better. The carpet is like speaker box carpet, and it's indoor/outdoor grade, so it won't get mildewed if it gets wet.

Windows

The front of a top usually has a sliding window, so the inside of the now covered bed can be accessed from the truck's rear cab window-provided your truck has a rear sliding window. Solid windows are usually standard, but you would only want that if your rear cab window is solid as well.

An option for that front sliding window in the shell is to have one with the capability to fold down, or in the case of Leer, it can be removed.

Why is this a good option? Because cleaning the rear cab window once a shell is installed becomes quite a chore without it.

The gap between the truck bed and cab is very tight, especially now since trucks have more streamlined designs, and if you want a nice custom look, the shell has to fit this way. Fold down glass is also available with solid windows as well, for the same reason.

Folding Front Slider Option

As you can see, with the front slider dropped down and out of the way, cleaning the cab window is a lot easier.
As you can see, with the front slider dropped down and out of the way, cleaning the cab window is a lot easier.

Boots

Don't get a boot. This option is still offered, but I highly, highly recommend not getting it. They leak, they rub off all your paint, they don't last and the list goes on. With folding front sliders now available, they really aren't necessary.

Racks

Racks on top of shells are also common options. The best thing to do is to order the shell with the tracks pre-installed. Either Thule or Yakima tracks are cross-compatible, and even if you're not sure what specific type of rack you want, you at least now have the option to install the towers and bars on the tracks after you get the shell.

You may even have these parts already and want to transfer that system to the shell. Tracks also give you the option to vary the spread between the bars. They can typically hold about 165 lbs. I only know of one shell manufacturer that offers the option to have the roof made thicker to accommodate extra weight, and that's SnugTop.

They call it the sportsman package, and for a price, they will make the roof thicker as well as reinforce all of the critical stress points. Tops with this option can carry up to 500 lbs, which is perfect for a small aluminum boat. For most, this option is probably overkill.

Keep your cargo in one place

Buying Used

You can get a really great deal buying a used shell if you know what to look for. I had a customer once who not only got the exact fit, but he found a used shell that was the same color, and it wasn't a common color either. He bought the shell used for $500, and new, the same shell would have cost $1,500.

Do Your Research

The key is to know what fits what. Full size Chevy beds for example:1988 will fit up to 1998, and some 99s. 2000 up to 2006 Chevy beds are also the same, despite the body style changes. The 2007 model is different than all of them.

Simply measuring the bed though will not always be enough to know if the used shell you're looking to buy will fit. This is because most truck beds are now tapered, meaning the bed is wider in the front and narrower in the back.

Chevy started doing this in 88, Ford in 97 and Dodge in 94. The new full-size Dodge truck beds are so tapered in fact that lumber racks on these beds don't seem to fit until you push the rack all the way forward.

Try It On

Setting the shell on the bed is the best way to determine if it will fit. Remember that even if the shell appears to fit, if the rear door doesn't open and shut right, or lock, what's the point of even having the shell on the bed.

Some dealers also offer close-out shells, because truck bed fits have gone through so many changes over the last five or six years, they may still have a top in inventory that they would love to get rid of.

I once sold a shell to a guy that only fit a 2003-04 F150 crew cab with the extra short bed, and it was even in is color, and he got it for almost $800 less than if he had ordered it, and the shell was technically brand new.

Ask, Ask, Ask

Remember to always ask about warranties and paint finish for those really good deals you see advertised.

Sometimes shells will be offered super cheap, but they may only come with a one year paint warranty, where most have a lifetime warranty.

Good luck, and I hope this info helps.

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      Amy 4 weeks ago

      Thanks for the good info! Coming from a newbie first-time truck owner who is unfamiliar with all this stuff, I could really use some visuals (photos) inserted along with all the different options you describe.

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

      @Robert McGee -depending on where you live exactly, you may have few dealers close by to get competitive pricing, but always check on SnugTop's site as they will list monthly specials, which are typically free optional items, like a free fold-down front slider (about $120 off). Any discount in addition to that is good buy.

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      Robert McGee 3 months ago

      Tom, I'm sold on Snugtop. Can you give me an idea of how much off MSRP would be a good buy?

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      Tom Zizzo 4 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Tracey -for a truck like that, you're looking at maybe just over 200lbs in added weight with the top, so it should be able to handle that no problem. I know a SnugTop XV for an 8 foot bed, full-size truck is just over 300 lbs, but that's a much larger truck.

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      Tom Zizzo 4 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Doc -well, you typically only see the tailgate removed for utility shells, but remember these are shells, not cabover campers, so that back wall, where the gate use to be, is never sealed very well. I like to keep things simple. Simple things seem to last longer.

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      Tracey 4 months ago

      I have a 2002 Toyota longbed, V6 I am considering a camper shell. I am not sure who to ask if my truck can handle the weight. any suggestions, Great article it helps those who need it!

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      Doc 4 months ago

      Thanks for the article Tom. In your opinion, is it better to have the pick-up truck's tailgate removed and have a full back door installed on a custom camper shell or is it better to keep the tailgate and get a camper shell that sits on top of the tailgate?

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      Tom Zizzo 5 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Annette -forgive me, I'm no longer getting notifications for some reason, not sure what you're referring to about the bed being sealed.

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      Tom Zizzo 5 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Kelly -the gap should be even, yes. You want to avoid the cab and bed rubbing while driving.

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      Tom Zizzo 5 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Rex -if you read my other post, I address that issue. There really isn't any cross compatibility, however, on older trucks, like a pre 1980 Ford and Chevy, they were essentially the same dimensions, we also use to use shells from the old (pre 93) S-10 on the Nissan hardbody trucks. For the most part though, this is not the case anymore with new trucks.

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      Kelly 5 months ago

      should the truck cap gap be evenly spaced with the cab?

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      Al Lewandowski 7 months ago

      I just purchased a Toyota Tacoma and am planning to add a hi-rise as I plan frequent camping trips. This article was really informative and helpful.

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      Rex 7 months ago

      Is there any compatibility between truck brands? I found plenty of used chevy caps that according to measurements should fit on my ford, but after speaking with a leer rep, they say 'no way will it work.' If there is any cross-over, the next question would be how perfectly do these caps need to fit onto the bed?

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      Annette 7 months ago

      Hi

      My husband has a 1988 GMC 3500 truck which we have found a cab for. However, the bed of the truck is sealed and does not have side rails. How do you install the cab on this?

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

      @pposey -good question, there have been some slight modifications to that truck, but the old top may still work on it, not sure though, I know that SnugTop has a new mold for the 2014 to current model, Leer also shows that there is a new mold for the current truck, so it might not be a perfect fit.

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      pposey 7 months ago

      First great website and info,,, I have a 2008 Tundra Crewmax with a Leer fiberglass top that fits really well,, I am looking for a 2015-2017 Tundra Crewmax, will the top fit the newer truck?

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      Jim Heckenkamp 7 months ago

      great advice here. Thank you.

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      Tom Zizzo 8 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Mike -great question, and once upon a time, a couple of manufacturers did. You may be able to modify an aftermarket accessory for a top. Check out the Lund Windjammer. Hope this helps!

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      Mike 8 months ago

      HI Tom,

      Why is it and I've checked and checked, that no Cap Manufacture offers a Wind Deflector mounted above the caps rear window to deflect Snow/Dirt off the window????

      All Sport Utility vehicles have these that in most cases work great. When traveling in snow I have a couple of inches of snow that builds up.

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      Tom Zizzo 9 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @aradsc -they're not wrong, they ARE different, mostly toward the rear, and unfortunately, if you want to get the best water seal, you need a specific mold. If you do have to go with a new top, check out Century, it's made by Leer, but more basic parts so it's cheaper. Hope this helps.

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      Chris 9 months ago

      Thanks for the info in this article Tom. You did not mention Jason brand tops and was wondering if you have any experience or knowledge of them. I am on a really tight budget and need to get the most bang for the buck.

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      aradsc 9 months ago

      Here's my dilemma.

      Guy on CL has a 2012 Silverado w/ short bed and is trying to sell his Leer 100XL truck top for a fair price; I'm interested.

      I have a 2015 Silverado w/ short bed and want to buy the CL one but the Leer site says it wont fit. Leer says the 2012 model Silverado uses a 2007-2013 model 100XL and the 2015 Silverado uses a different "new" model. What is the difference going to be? Bed rails? Can I make this fit on my truck and be water tight? I would hate to pass on this deal if I don't have too. Leer was useless & no one seems to be able to tell me what the fitment issues are.

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 9 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Ann, first thing you need to do is locate your local SnugTop dealer, will make what you want to do a lot easier. They should have replacement parts, like the j-hooks and even a key to the lock, or just a new lock. You can mount a rack to the roof-those shells are fairly thick. I recommend using the Yakima or Thule false rain gutter attachments, then you can use any rain gutter style mounted rack. There are battery dome lights available, sealing everything up gets expensive, for the labor, but a dealer can explain that. Hope this helps!

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      Ann 9 months ago

      Dear Tom,

      Your wealth of knowledge is astounding.

      I'm gotten certified in HVAC and may need to use

      Toyota light truck with Snug top shell as my "vehicle" 1993

      My question is how can I for CHEAP

      Lock Snugtop with tools/ equipment (lost key to lock that came with it)

      Put ladder on top of Snug top

      Get replacement J hooks used?

      Keep leaks under control without "smelly" insulation

      All gaskets really need to be replaced!

      (I'm chemically sensitive)

      I make need to overnite in it for work and want to rig up little fan for ventilation?? Battery?

      I know the economy is tough

      and then there's being a woman.

      J hooks first 91101

    • Tom Zizzo profile image
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      Tom Zizzo 9 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Ken -that's a new one, and by insulation I'm guessing you're talking about the carpet lining. Not sure what to tell you. Spray it with a lot of fabreeze or something, I have no idea. In all the years I sold truck stuff, never had that complaint. Wish I could be more helpful.

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      Ken 9 months ago

      Hi,

      Hopefully you receive this message as you seem to be pretty knowledgeable about shells. I just got a brand new Leer shell about a few months ago. It came insulated. One thing I noticed as soon as I got home was the very strong and nauseating odor of the insulation. I figured it would be gone by now but no such luck. Every time I open that shell, I'm blasted with an odor I can't stand. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can get rid of this "new insulation" odor?

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      Tom Zizzo 11 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Joe -wish I had some advice for you. A shell manufacturer will not just make a new one, and if they do, it's really rare and depends on what the dealer is able to work out with them, this goes for SnugTop OR Leer. One problem is, every time the shell goes back and then comes back to you, you're going to go over it with a fine tooth comb, I've seen this many times. Shells will never have a 100% paint match, there's multiple reasons for it, and no manufacturer will tell you it will. Does that mean they aren't using the same Dupont code associated with your vehicle? No, they are, what that means is you could park another truck, just like yours, painted the same color, next to your truck, and they probably won't match. No shell is totally leak free, but windows, in general, shouldn't leak. You can keep trying to plead your case, but I'm sorry to tell you that they will still want to 'fix' what you have. Sorry I don't have better advice.

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      Joe 12 months ago

      Bought a SnugTop canopy in December 2015 and it was installed on a brand new Toyota pickup in February 2016....in the last 9 months it has only been on my truck for a total of four months because it has been back and forth to the factory and I still have a MESS. It was installed incorrectly which leaves my truck with scratches all around the top of the bed sides, the paint was inferior from the start with "orange peel" and swirl marks besides not being a color match......The windows leaked, the fancy liner was coming undone, etc etc. Nothing but a run-around from the factory.....it has been sent back three times and comes back worse....the clear coat has mostly been buffed off, the paint is compromised, etc etc .....WHAT to do? The warranty says "until the customer is satisfied???? I have put over one thousand miles on my new truck just taking the canopy back and forth......I asked for a new one and that request is not even taken into consideration.....it has cost more sending it back and forth then it would have to just replace it to begin with.....any advice?

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      Tom Zizzo 13 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @bobcostas -not sure what you mean, a boot IS an open window. They all leak, and most manufacturers now won't even offer a boot. The fold down window, or with some, you can actually remove that window, has become standard because dealers and manufacturers were tired of dealing with boots. Cabs are no longer the smooth, flat surfaces they use to be, so boots just don't seal well. A better option back in the day was the accordian boot, which clipped around the edge of a unique truck slider that would be installed. It sealed, offered the pass through, but didn't compress against the cab. A fold down slider is just a simple solution to all that.

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      Tom Zizzo 13 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Vishal -I've yet to see a rack and fiberglass tonneau installed together, unless the rack is installed on the cover itself. Sorry for the late reply.

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      bobcostas 13 months ago

      You know what leaks worse than a boot? An open window. I still go with the boot. That way I still have my electric pass-through and only one window to clean tilt down or otherwise. In the old days, I used to put vinyl tape around the cab to keep it from chafing. Now I use 3M paint protection film.

      Never had a boot fail (crack or deteriorate) nor really leak. Even if they did 20 years ago, there's little that modern polymers have in common with those old materials. There'd always be a drip or two running down the truck window but no infiltration into the cap.

      To me, if you have a pass through truck window, you almost have to do away with the front window in the cap. Otherwise, whats the point. When we would actually camp out in the truck cap, we'd have a near air tight seal between the truck and the cap so we could leave it open and pass things through. There's not much reason to use a boot or the pass-through. Trucks aren't as durable as they used to be. Laying a 2x6x12 across your rear window is pushing its durability. To me, its about being able to grab stuff quickly without getting out.

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      Vishal 14 months ago

      Hey Tom is there any way to get a fiberglass tonneau cover installed with a chase rack on my F150. Thanks.

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      Tom Zizzo 14 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @mike ace -they probably aren't much different. I haven't sold truck stuff for a few years so I'm not exactly sure, but I know that the major change GM has made recently has been with the Canyon/Colorado truck, not the fullsize version.

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      mike ace 14 months ago

      Can a ( pro top 100) shell from a l

      2013 GMC Sierra Regular cab 2500hd

      fit a ;

      2016 GMC Sierra Extended Cab 2500hd ?

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      Tom Zizzo 16 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Greg Z -after 09 Ford extruded out that tailgate section, not sure why, so, anything from 04 to 08 will be an exact fit. Remember too that if someone has an 04 Heritage model F150, it's the 03 body style-just a footnote :)

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      Greg Z 16 months ago

      Hey Tom, I have a A.R.E. Z series off a 04 F150. Its been in my Garage forever and a day. Tried to sell it today to a guy with a 11. BTW, both trucks a 4dr short bed. The top was only like 1/2 in off from getting the Tailgate to close. Am I just SOL, or is there something we can do? What years does my top fit?

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      Tom Zizzo 17 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @ -hooks Well, you could just bolt the sucker down if you really had to, but that kind of defeats one of Snugtops main selling features. One thing to do is wrap a little rubber around the part of the hook that's gripping the bed rail. I'm surprised the dealer didn't do that. Give it a little grip if you know what I mean.

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      Tom Zizzo 17 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Christina -I use to work with this company called Access Manufacturing, and they make utility shells, called the Tradesman. They will custom make just about anything. You'd have to find a dealer though, and I'm not sure there are any where you live, and you're right, it would be expensive.

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      David 17 months ago

      Regarding the 2006 Tundra (see immediately below), my clamps are NOT the j-hoks, but Snugtop's proprietary low profile clamps.

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      -hooks 17 months ago

      Hi. I have a 2006 Toyota Tundra double cab. Bought a Snugtop Rebel, which attaches to the bed with Snugtop's "J-hooks" clamps. After initial installation, had to return to dealer twice because the hooks weren't holding the shell in place. (Slid back a whole inch.) They finally tightened it enough that it quit moving. However, the shell developed another problem, so dealer took it off to ship back to factory. The J-hooks had really misshapen my plastic bed rail caps, and slightly bent the bed rails where they turn down on the inside of the bed. Any other options for securing the shell when it comes back? Would aftermarket stainless bed rail caps, which might not be susceptible to bending, work? Thanks!

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      Christina 17 months ago

      Great article! I'm looking into buying a Daihatsu Hijet Japanese mini truck. It doesn't look like canopies are common for these trucks. Is it possible to have one made? Or would that just be so expensive it wouldn't be worth it? Any advice on where to look? I'm in Vancouver BC.

      Thanks!

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      Tom Zizzo 19 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Henry P - if you're looking for used, the auto parts section of Craig's List is your best bet, just search using the words 'shell' and 'Tundra'. 2007 was the first year of the new body style. Used will be a lot cheaper than new, but higher end would be like a Snug Top, which is manufactured not far from you in Long Beach. For a new top, prices are probably close to $2K and up. Like I said, used are a lot less.

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      Gordon 19 months ago

      I read your article with special interest on you negative recommendation for a boot between cab and shell. Can you recommend another device that will keep out the rain and snow? Either snow in the gap (during winter), and rain on the outside of the two windows pretty much eliminates vision via inside mirror, and the outside mirrors have too much dead space. I certainly would appreciate any suggestions as I am in way over my head!

      PS- I have a 2014 Ram 1500 regular cab and a Jeraco shell on a 6 ft nominal bed.

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      Henry P 21 months ago

      Tom,

      I'm looking for a 2007 Tundra 6.5ft camper shell higher end (black color) with clamp on and light weight if possible. Do you know how much should it be and where to find it in my area CA 92802? Any recommendation to find used that I may afford? my email fbahenry@yahoo.com

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      Tom Zizzo 22 months ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @ChrisCamps -not familiar with the auto tailgate drop, it's been a few years since I sold truck accessories, I'm guessing that's the pneumatic assisted tailgate that lowers it down slowly. I know you can get the keyless remote lock with a Snugtop, at least I think you can, I know it's available on the hardtop lids. If it pops the back door open, it shouldn't interfere with the tailgate. I'm assuming your tailgate has a factory lock on it. Most truck accessory shops won't know how to tie in the keyless shell lock and your truck's locks, you might want to try contacting a stereo shop for that, those guys usually know that stuff better. Hope this helps!

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      ChrisCamps 22 months ago

      Hi Tom, Great write up and cudos for all the help your providing folks!

      I just got a 2015 F150 5.5 SCrew and am looking at putting on the SnugTop XtraVision. My first question is, what is the best lock that would work with my Trucks Fob to unlock, and be the most reliable and secure? Next question is, Do you think there is a way to retain the ability to Deploy the auto tailgate drop by using one of the locks that "Pops Open" the Back glass by tying its release in with the Tailgate release but keeping the lock and unlock feature separate. Not sure I'm making much sense here. I want the most robust lock that is seamless with my remote first and foremost. Second The auto tailgate drop option ability with shell on.

      Thanks, Chris

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      Tom Zizzo 2 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Jesse -search CL, anything for a hardbody Nissan will work, just remember that there might be a difference between the king cab and standard regular cab shortbed, that is to say I know the bedliners between those two are different, even though technically they're both shortbeds.

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      Jesse 2 years ago

      Im looking for a tonnau cover/ snug top for a 1994 nissan hardbody

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      Tom Zizzo 2 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Mark Jones -Both are NOT short beds, meaning they are not the SAME beds. The double cab Tacoma from 2001 to 2004 ONLY came in what's called a V-Bed, meaning it's less than 6 feet long. The extended cab trucks all have the same bed, which is at least a foot longer than the double cab bed. Sorry, those are not compatible.

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      Mark Jones 2 years ago

      Hello Tom, first of all I appreciate your time and effort answering these questions.

      I am needing to know if a cap from an 02 double cab Tacoma will fit a 02 Extended Cab Tacoma ?both are short beds.

      Thanks.

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      Tom Zizzo 2 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @lisa508 -If you're talking about the rails that are like tracks, in which a rack slides into them, then no, you can't mount a shell on top of those. If the rails are thin and flat, then yes, you can mount a shell to it, but without seeing specifically what you're talking about, it's hard for me to know.

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      lisa508 2 years ago

      I have a '02 Silverado 250HD XT.

      I have ladder rack rails that run on rails atop the sides. Can a truck cap be mounted over those rails, so that I wouldn't have to remove them? If so, which brands, please?

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      Tom Zizzo 2 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Mike -interesting, I know that stuff will deteriorate after time, but not that bad. The carpet doesn't really do much, truth be told, but I will say that trying to add it after the fact is virtually impossible. My shop tried to do that once and it kept sagging no matter what type of glue we used.

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      Mike 2 years ago

      I had a 99 tacoma and purchased a nice LEER shell with carpeted top. About 7 years into it the carpet started to disintegrate and any little touch of it would rain down a fine dust of what appeared to be fiberglass. Was a pain to rip out and clean up.

      Other than that it was solid.

      Buying a new LEER top and curious if anyone had a similar issue. Debating on carpet this time around...

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      Tom Zizzo 2 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Primeaux -You can call Leer if you want, and if you give them the serial number on the top-should be etched on a small metal plate, they can tell you what it was built for. I don't have an 800 number, but a number of their midwest plant is: 574-522-5337. -Leer is part of the 'TAG' group, which stands for Truck Accessories Group, they make more than just tops.

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      Primeaux 2 years ago

      Is there a way to find out what a top fits by the model # I have a leer top i want to give away needs work but dont know what it fits model #2991032

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      Tom Zizzo 2 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Jared-so sorry I didn't respond to this, the last three weeks have included everything from extreme sciatic nerve pain to a death in the family.

      Remember that what you have is not technically a 'long' bed, it's just not the extra short bed, I say that because the old Nissan Hardbody did in fact have a long bed, they aren't that common, and it's not what you want. The Nissan in those years can be tricky, I tried to get a rubber mat for a guy once with the same truck you have and it was never exactly right. Your truck is either about 74 inches long, and just under 55 inches wide, or, it's about 72.5 inches long, and like 58.6 inches wide. If it's the 74 long and 55 wide, then you're good with the older Frontier shell-your tailgate has that budge in it though, or you have the wider bed. I do think a Tacoma shell will fit, again, if you have the 74 long and 55 wide dimension. Sorry again for the late reply, hope I've helped.

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      Jared 2 years ago

      I am trying to find a shell for my 2008 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Long Bed. I dont need it to be perfect, just fit on my truck. Will long bed tacomas, gen 1 frontiers or hardbody shells work? I found an old Glasstite shell for a Nissan Hardbody and the dimensions are super close. Any suggestions?

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      Harry Callahan 2 years ago

      Thanks for the reply. Yes...I remember Campway. I believe they had a store in Martinez near where I grew up.

      I will take a look at the Lux and the Trifecta....the folding ones are pretty attractive feature wise.

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      Tom Zizzo 2 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Harry Callahan -near San Jose actually, but I worked for a company called Campway, and they do have a store in Sac, on Power Inn road. Yeah, that center lock thing was nothing but problems, and the front spring thing you're referring to is the no drill mounting system, again, just more stuff to have to adjust, etc. The old lids were so simple. Undercover does make a smooth, painted lid, called the LUX I think, forgive me, I've been out of the truck accessory biz for a few years now. It has a different style to it though, but those covers are soooo much lighter and simpler. I liked that folding cover too, the Trifecta by Extang, it's really simple.

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      Harry Callahan 2 years ago

      This is very helpful...though too late for me unfortunately. You're right about the Snuglid tonneau covers. I owned one about 10 years ago for my 2004 Tacoma. It was the old style with two locks....one at each side. It was stone reliable. I was led to believe that the ones with one key in the center were better...they certainly were more expensive.

      Fast forward to present. I just found a used Snuglid SL for my 2005 Tacoma. The previous owner had the same exact truck, so fit wasn't a problem. It is very heavy and awkward (no longer a one man job.) The single key system sucks. It never seems to want to grab both sides despite the strikers being well positioned. I really am not liking it...and the new style hinges at the front with the springs...what is that? Very poor design.

      I have never liked the look of the Undercover...the flat black and all, but after reading this I may just try one. Being able to take it off by yourself is a huge benefit.

      Thanks for the helpful article. Are you near Sacramento by chance?

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      Tom Zizzo 2 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      Angela!! I haven't talked to you in a really long time, hope all is well :) Yeah, boots suck, stick with a front slider, many of them now fold down, which will give you the access that a boot would, but without the problems. A basic Leer, painted to match, will run you like $1,400, and it includes the front slider, it's a little more if you want the lifetime paint warranty, but it's really not necessary. I called the Campway in San Jose to check on the price, their basic Leer is called the 'Legend'.

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      Angela Quintana 2 years ago

      Hi Tom! This article is super helpful. I just had my 200o Tacoma totaled by a wreck less driver while parked in front of my home. I'm looking at new Tacomas and shells of course to keep our dogs safe on trips. I had a Leer on my truck and loved it, except for the crazy random squealing during the first few years I had it. Spent lots of money on diagnostic checks etc., but nobody could figure out where the noise was coming from. Per your article, my guess is that the boot was causing the noise, because it all sudden stopped after we adjusted the shell a couple times. I'm looking at Leers again, and was curious about price range and which would be the most basic painted shell with side sliders, and black molded screens?

      Best Regards,

      Sutter Frog Jumper

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      Tom Zizzo 3 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Kris -it's hard to compare to Stockland and SnugTop-both of which came out of southern California, which is why they had a similar style and construction. I sold some AREs, and I was never impressed with the fit, but that probably wouldn't matter so much with your older F150. Lifetime warranty is only good if the company is around for a while, ARE has been around for a long time. You can check Century or Leer as well-both are actually the same manufacturer. There was a time when Leer used aluminum rails, pieced with the fiberglass-not so good-but they stopped doing that a long time ago. I would say ARE is better over Pro Tops-never heard of it, but I have heard of Vision.

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      Kris 3 years ago

      Actually I just realized you said the fit from A.R.E isn't the greatest. Dang. I was looking at a company called Pro Tops? I think formerly known as Vision I believe. Thank you for all the info again.

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      Kris 3 years ago

      @Tom thanks for the response. I Saw the XV I do like the big windows but it is what it is. I may just get an V series cap from A.R.E yes a little pricey but I was told it has a lifetime warranty AND it gets color matched to the truck. I don't think i've seen you bash on A.R.E at all and they seem decent.

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      Tom Zizzo 3 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Kris -Stockland's were great tops, arguably just as good if not better than a Snugtop. I sold a couple of those in the day, in fact, Snugtop copied the Sebring design for their own line that they called the 'extra vision', or XV for short. I always tried to discourage customers from getting front boots. The problem is that the hole cut for boots was typically too large to allow for a window frame, meaning you couldn't add a slider even if you wanted to. Good news is, Snugtop does in fact still have a mold for that truck, it's not cheap, but if you wanted a new top, with the same quality, that would be the way to go.

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      Kris 3 years ago

      Im glad i found your page. I have a stockland sebring on my 91 f150 love the shell, seems built well but of course stockland no longer exists. The thing i hate about it is it has a boot and no front slider. Sounds like it'll be expensive to get a slider installed. So im probably going to sell the stockland and get another fiberglass shell.

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      Tom Zizzo 3 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @ Eva m. -yeah, they're close, the Chevy bed has a taper to it, so the rear of the bed is about two inches narrower than the front, and the length is very close between the two. A Glasstite shell has one-piece fiberglass rails, but I don't think they 'wrap' the rail, that is if the shell came off the Chevy. It might work, the shell would sit a little lower than the cab though.

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      Eva m. 3 years ago

      Hi Tom. Curious how the fit would be between a 2000 Chevy 1500 and 2004 f150. Box sizes seem very close. Topper is a glasstite.

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      Tom Zizzo 3 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Derek -you should be fine. Those lids are actually thicker than the shells. I've seen what the honeycomb constructions looks like-thicker than any other manufacturer, and you're right about Thule. Don't be fooled that the company is Swedish-they are, but nearly all their products sold in the US are made in Michigan. Yakima is now made in Mexico, and owned by an Arab bank.

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      Derek 3 years ago

      Thanks Tom - If I'm lucky, this truck should be my last. Trying to make it as easy as possible to handle kayaks, bikes, tow camper, store goods, etc. From my reviews, I'd have to say I'm leaning towards Thule for the racks. I'm somewhat concerned about the weight on the SL top. The top itself is a beast (weight wise), so it seems like it should handle a couple kayaks, but I'd hate to damage it if not necessary.

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      Tom Zizzo 3 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Derek -the best thing to do, and I don't know if there's a link or not, is use the roof tracks. Yakima and Thule sell them, and there is no, and I mean no difference between the two. The tracks will allow you to vary the spread between the bars so you can add virtually any attachment that Yakima or Thule offer. It will also give you the flexibility of removing the rack if you want to. I would say the 60 inch long tracks would be fine, and you would just make sure to mount them into the area of the shell that is the thickest-i.e., away from the edge, mount in into the thick honeycomb area. The kit will come with everything you need to install them, and it's not that hard, just make sure they're straight. Of course, depending on the brand you prefer, you'll need the towers that slide into the tracks, the bars, and whatever attachments they sell to ad to them. There really is no other way to do it. Remember too that if you ever sell the truck, you can slide those towers out of the tracks and use them on another vehicle. I found this video online, it's for a camper shell, but the concept is identical:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsOpf-zlIKQ

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      Derek 3 years ago

      I'm looking for a link to options on what to use (and how to install) a rack for a single (maybe 2) kayak on my SungLid SL top on a 2006 F-250 long bed.

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      Tom Zizzo 3 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Nick-not likely as your truck bed is about a foot longer than the crew cab truck, unless you have the very rare extra short bed, but it's highly unlikely that you do. Now, it's also unlikely that the crew cab truck has the same bed as yours, but what is very likely and typical is that your bed is 6.5 feet long, and the crew cab 5.5 feet long, approximately.

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      Nick 3 years ago

      Hi, I'm looking for a shell for my 2003 silverado extended cab short box will a 2007 crew cab shell fit?

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      jmell44 3 years ago

      Thanks Tom, that's what I was looking for, a little bit of reassurance before drilling holes in my $2300 shell.

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      Tom Zizzo 3 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @jmell44 -ok, I know what you're talking about, so the Tracker 2 mounts are stand alone then, instead of in the tracks. I don't think it will be a problem moving them over, so long as they are still on a relatively flat area. If the overall weight is distributed evenly, you should be fine. Keep in mind that those racks are typically rated for any standard car roof, which is like 160 lbs I think. So, go for it, but remember to plug any holes you leave after you move the mounts. SnugTops are not like any other brand, which has much thinner fiberglass-even in the non-honeycomb section. I've seen a cutaway of what they look like-you'll be fine.

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      jmell44 3 years ago

      Tom, the mounts I have are not the gutter type, it's the Thule Tracker 2 Rack Pack. The problem is that the Aerobars don't allow the towers to be adjusted far enough in to reach that thicker area. I'm just wondering if it is ok to mount the Tracker mounts outside that thick area without posing a problem. Ideally, I would like to use the thicker area but that would mean buying shorter crossbars. I really need the wider ones not to mention the cost of buying additional crossbars.

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      Tom Zizzo 3 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @jmell44 -The 'thicker' area of a SnugTop roof is where the honeycomb construction is, which is by far much better than anywhere else on the roof of that top. My guess is the mounts you're referring to are the tracks that they install. The weight shouldn't be a problem, if anything, you may need some longer crossbars. We use to mount these false rain-gutter type brackets on the sides of tops all the time-before the tracks became popular, and they were literally on the outside of the top, i.e., not the roof. I don't see what that would do for you though, the tracks should be fine. I don't know where you live, but you might also want to ask someone at Rack 'N' Road and see what they think. Don't worry too much about flexing, SnugTops have reinforced corners, etc., hand-laid rails, it should be fine, unless the Kayak was twice the weight, I would consider a shell with the off road package on it-the roof is twice as thick, but has to be custom ordered that way.

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      jmell44 3 years ago

      Tom, I've got a 2008 Tundra Double Cab long bed with a Snugtop shell and Bedrug. I have a Thule rack I want to mount to carry a Hobie kayak (100 lbs). It comes with permanent mounts that allow you to easily remove the racks. The crossbars don't adjust far enough in to be able to put the mounts on the shell where it's thicker (about 1" thick). I'd like to put the mounts closer to the top edge but that would be outside the recommended thicker area. I would think it would actually be stronger being closer to the sides of the shell. Do you see any issue with that? I was considering putting metal supports from the truck rail inside the shell to the mount but I'm concerned about the bed flex and tweaking the shell and maybe popping windows. Any suggestions?

      Jeff

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      Tom Zizzo 3 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Englishman007 -yeah, I DO NOT recommend that top, the door is very prone to shattering. Remember that all camper tops use tempered safety glass, so they don't crack or chip, they shatter into a million pieces. Glass on those tops is NOT like the windshield of a car, if they were, the tops would be incredibly expensive. But for safety standards, they have to use tempered glass. Most of the big companies have dealers overseas , I know for a fact that SnugTop does, pretty sure Leer does as well.

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      Englishman007 3 years ago

      Hi tom,

      I'm considering an ARE mx top with walk in door but as I will be carrying large dogs that are vehicle protective I'm concerned the glass door would be suitable! In your opinion would it be safe? Or at risk of shattering?

      I'm in England so do you know of suppliers here or someone willing to ship to uk

      Many thanks for your reply in advance

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      Tom Zizzo 4 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @ToneTorres -Yeah, the old ProtectoTop dealer would have been in Santa Clara no doubt, and like I said, I'm almost 100% sure that is an early El Camino SnugTop mold. In the picture I can tell those are fairly common parts. I know that their old tonneaus had unique t-handles, but not the tops, and looking at your picture, it looks common, although the inside placement of where the mounting holes are could be off compared to a new one. You may have to do what you said and just use the old base. Like I said, find a dealer, bring in the part, I'm sure they can help you. In my days I saw much more unique stuff than that, like the old MG hardtops, which were SnugTops, but very hard to get parts for those. You would be surprised by how many old El Caminos and Rancheros are still on the road. My old shop sprayed line-x in those things at least once a month.

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      Tone Torres 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      That's some pretty good news and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge. Its a simple thing that is very hard to find these days believe me. I am the guy that always seems to have the vehicles that parts are not repoped for so everything is a mission. But I am good with that especially when I don't look like every other car on the road. I checked the tag it says 400 Bellamy St. Santa Clara Calif. None the less if its an old SNUGTOP I like even better. Parts or no parts I will make it work and it will have a rubber seal not foam. As far as the color the Camino and the top will soon get new matching ones. Mr. Z thank you for your time again.

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      Tom Zizzo 4 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @ToneTorres -I saw the pics, what you have is most certainly an old Snug Top. They were sold under the Protecto Top name, your serial number plate may even say Fremont CA, but I know my tops. Call the mfgr- 1-800-SNUGTOP and see if they can direct you to where you can get parts. I know it's a SnugTop because of that ridge in the mold, although what you have might be an early model, pretty sure they used the same parts. Call them, they can tell you where to go, you can get new rubber and t-handles. I saw the pic of the t-handle, that's a standard part, not sure why the measurement is off. I haven't worked in a shop in years so I'm not looking at a current t-handle, but I know what you have there is not unique or uncommon, like an ARE t-handle. If you can find a local SnugTop dealer, talk to the oldest guy there, i.e., the guy that has been there the longest, and just say that I'm pretty sure this top is actually a SnugTop, and I need some parts. Don't put foam tape on that thing, stick with the rubber bulb seal, that's what would have been on there originally.

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      Tone Torres 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Protecto top shell, right now there is no rubber seal on the bottom of the shell. I noticed in another comment a link to Extruded rubber site? would you use one of them or what do you suggest? I do not want to put any foam tape on the bed chrome molding or the shell It doesn't look like it lasts too long? Wouldn't a rubber seal be better?

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      Tone Torres 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Here goes a try at a picture of the T-handle and the shell.

      http://s1.hubimg.com/u/8338164_f1024.jpg

      http://hubpages.com/u/8338152.jpg

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      Tone Torres 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Tom it is a surface mount T-handle w/ diamond base . The base is 2"1/2 x 7/16 x 1"1/8 (LxHxW) Center width 1"1/8 tapers to 1/2" on ends. Mounting holes are 1"3/4 center to center and 2"x 5/16 square shaft. I was thinking if I cannot find another T-handle lock that I could get a new lock and put the old base on the new lock. All that holds the T-handle in place on the base is a press fit washer on the shaft? That is if the new locks are assembled the same? I am not exactly sure how to send a picture from here.

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      Tom Zizzo 4 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Tone Torres -surface mount? Is it a round base? There are basically square, or diamond shape based T-handles, and round base ones. Of the round base type, there is one called a 'blind' mount, meaning there are no holes on the surface of the base from the outside, you have to screw it in from the inside. These are fairly standard handles. I actually know the brother of the former owner of Protecto-Top, some of which were actually SnugTops. I think what you have may be a blind mount. If you want, you can e-mail me a picture of the handle you're trying to replace and I can tell you exactly what you have.

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      Tone Torres 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Funny I came across your page I am not buying but already bought a shell for my 1984 El Camino. Actually number two the first is a gemtop shell that I do not like cause it has a bumped up section that looks camper like. After looking for 4 years I just found and bought a protectOtop shell that is as much a cab high as you can get. It is in great shape and found it a mile or so from my home for $150. One problem need a new t-handle with keys. I cannot find one that is surface mount with mounting holes that are 1 3/4 inch apart. All I find are ones with holes "1 1/2 apart. any suggestions?

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      Tom Zizzo 4 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      The beds are a little different-not much. I can't link to my other Hub, but I have one on tips for buying used tops, and there's a picture on there of an older style Chevy/GM shell on the new bed. It will basically be a little narrower than the new bed, and I'm not sure about how the door will meet up with the top of the tailgate. You can get an estimate from just about any body shop on repainting, your paint code is listed on a sticker in your glove box. It's basically two numbers followed by the letter U. I would set it on your bed and test the fit before getting it repainted, you can even check with your local Leer dealer and ask them is Leer will re-paint it. It would have to get sent back to the factory though.

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      Rob Decand 4 years ago

      I currently have leer 100xl style (961046) a 2000 sierra 1500 extendcab short bed 6.5ft. Will it fit on a 2013 extendedcab with a shortbed? If so, how well And what is the best way to repaint to match?

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      Tom Zizzo 4 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Allan -Which Snuglid do you have? If you have the single lock in the center, worst case scenario, you have to drill the lock out, if it's stuck, or locked and you don't have a key. If you just need to fix the lock, you can get replacement parts from a local dealer, typically the center lock itself, the rods under the cover are probably ok, or you just need to adjust the rotary latches on each side. There is an adjusting bolt on each rod assembly, which you will see when you remove that cover. The two lock style lids are really easy to repair, they just have a single cam that swings under a plate. You can get all those parts from a dealer.

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      Allan 4 years ago

      How to open fix broken lock snug top cover

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      Michellet 4 years ago

      Thank you! I think we'll get this one we're looking at then. Amazingly, it's even the right color.

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      Tom Zizzo 4 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      @Michelle -yes, that's exactly correct. Technically nothing else is different, with respect to the two beds. Even if the '08 did have the step in the gate, it would still fit, but not the other way around.

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      Michelle 4 years ago

      Wondering if a 2008 F250 shell would fit our 2002 f250? (if I read your info correctly it should fit as long as the '08 doesn't have the step in the tailgate right?) thanks for your help!

      http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=678&ad=246234...

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      Tom Zizzo 4 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      My concerns are several things. One, that back door-in the center-is all glass, and all camper shell glass is tempered safety glass, meaning one thing in side slides back and hits it-boom, no more door, and they aren't cheap to replace. That glass door also doesn't seal really well, so expect leaks, and it's also not very secure. The other issue is that giant door that opens up, which is the entire rear gate, is not that easy to open up and it puts a lot of strain on those props, which are not cheap to replace. Believe it or not, the concept of that full back door is not new. Glasstite was making those 20 plus years ago, and there's a reason they stopped doing it.

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      jimca 4 years ago

      Great info Tom.

      Can you expand on your concerns with A.R.E. MX canopies with the tall door (with the man door inside of it) that replace your truck's tailgate. I like the looks of them and think not leaning over the tail gate seems to be a good idea (I did just purchase a used Bedslide which will alleviate most tailgate leaning over). I spoke with one guy who had one and liked it. I have a new 2012 GMC ext. cab 6.5 bed truck.

      Thanks,

      Jim