How to Install Bed Rail Caps

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Scratching and bending a pick-up truck bed is all a part of using it as it was intended. The bed caps and tailgate area are the most susceptible to damage. Loading tools and supplies over the truck's sides, or just hauling stuff around, means damage is bound to occur. Installing bed rail caps on the top edges of the bed will help protect this area from battle scars. Aftermarket bed rail caps come in chrome and diamond plate patterns that also improve the looks of the vehicle. Installation is straightforward and relatively easy for the do-it-yourselfer.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Lint-free rags
  • Grease pencil
  • Clean the truck bed by washing with automotive soap and water. Removing road dirt and grime from the installation area is important for proper tape adhesion.

  • De-wax the bed caps, tailgate cap, and front cap of the bed next to the cab. Using rubbing alcohol and a lint-free rag, firmly rub the area down to ensure all residues are removed. Once the rubbing alcohol has dried--or evaporated--a bare hand rubbed along the bed cap should feel sticky, indicating the absence of wax build-up.

  • Place each piece of the bed cap into place without adhesive tape. Mark the outside edge of the caps with a grease pencil. This mark will serve as a guide when installing the adhesive tape on the top edges of the bed.

  • Peel back four inches of tape backing from the double-sided adhesive tape intended for the front cap. The tape will be placed on the leading edge of the front cap that is facing the tailgate. Start the tape at the driver’s side corner of the front cap with the tape. Remove the remainder of the backing from the tape as the tape is attached along the cap to the other side of the bed. Firmly press down on the tape using about 30 pounds of pressure to ensure proper adhesion.

  • Remove the tape backing from the front-cap tape to expose the adhesive that will attach to the cap. Carefully position the cap slightly above its intended position to ensure the cap will be centered when pressed onto the tape. Set the cap into place and press down firmly along the entire length using about 30 pounds of pressure.

  • Apply a strip of adhesive tape along the sides and tailgate about one-quarter inch above the grease-pencil mark. Use a pair of scissor or a utility knife to trim any excess tape. Press down on the tape along its length to make sure it sticks.

  • Install another strip of tape along the inside edge of the sides and the tailgate area. Trim the excess tape and press down firmly.

  • Place a third strip of tape along the top of each side of the truck bed caps. Firmly press the tape into place with the same amount of pressure to get good tape adhesion. Remove the tape backing to expose all the tape adhesive in preparation of the bed-cap installation.

  • Place the driver’s-side bed cap into place and press down firmly along the entire length. Attach the passenger-side bed cap in the same manner. Install the tailgate cap onto the tape and press down firmly with about 30 pounds of pressure.

  • Wipe away the grease-pencil mark with a clean rag along the side and tailgate of the truck bed. Allow the bed caps to set for to two to three hours before using the truck. Do not wash the truck for two to three days after installation to ensure proper adhesion of the bed caps to the truck bed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid installing bed-cap tape onto a hot vehicle surface, or in direct sunlight.

References

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