Ever since the Jeep brute came out, I've wanted one. Maybe some day I will own one...when I can cough up $10,000.00 for the kit. I love the way it looks with the hard top. The one thing I don't like about the Brute is how it looks with the top off. So I've decided to build my own bed. A jeep is flat sheet metal, so it can't be that hard...right?
I though about using scrambler sheet metal to build the bed. Everything can be bought new (sides, floor, wheel houses, corners ect.). The only part that would have to be fabricated would be the front part of the bed.
To save cost and to have fun manufacturing the bed myself, Ive decided to build a bed out of 16 gauge sheet metal.
I came up with some drawings and went to a local sheet metal shop. For two 4x8 sheets of 16 gauge cold rolled and labor to bend the sides cost $360.00 (I kept all the extra sheet metal).
I am using 16 gauge CJ-7 corners for the bed corners. I had to weld the little lip on the side of the corners to match the bed sides. I will use a little body filler to transition from the bed sides to the tailgate.
The inner fenders are trailer fenders. They are 12 inches wide, and take up alot of bed space. They had to be that wide to get the center of the bed between the frame rails of a Jeep. The frame rails come up high to mount the coil springs. I could have used narrower inner fenders to get more room inside the bed, but then I would have to run a body lift, and I'm not real wild about body lifts. It may only take an inch or two to clear the frame rails... I don't know I don't have a donner Jeep yet. I can't cut up my daily driver 2003 wrangler.
I used copper weld primer between the lap joints for rust protection. I will seam seal all joints before I paint the bed.
The bed frame is made from 14 gauge 1 inch sqaure tubing with 1x2x.120 rectangle cross supports. I'll be using either 1/8 or 3/16 diamond plate aluminum for the bed floor. I'll probably attach it with automotive structural glue.
The bed sides will be the same hight as the back of the cab.
Right now I have $360.00 in bed sides and extra sheet metal, $50.00 each for the custom made wheel houses, around $40.00 each for the corners and under $100.00 for the frame tubing. I should be able to build this bed for under $1000.00.
Probably buy a 2000 TJ. That year had the nv3550 trans and CCD information bus that I will need for the 360 engine swap. I can't find a manual trans, 360, ECU with a PCI data bus. I don't think Chrysler ever made one. Plus I need something to drive while I'm building the truck.
I had a few hours today to get some work done. I made a slight change to the front of the bed. I had the cab recess set to far into the bed. I made a template from the back of my TJ. I had to move the front of the bed forward. I now will have a 1 inch gap between the bed and cab. The red line drawn on the top of the bed will be where the top of the bed folds over.