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S-10 Tilt Bed - what to do with bumper?

4785 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  bjnkm
Hi everyone,

We're elbow-deep in our S-10 conversion and it's going great so far. The rest of the parts are enroute and will be here before the end of the month. Very exciting!

We're putting a tilt-bed system on the S-10 (long bed). The basics of it are very straightforward. However, the rear bumper is a little more tricky. It doesn't look like the bed can tilt up with the bumper in place. We want to maintin the original bumper mounting system for safety (it will be driven by students after all ;-) ).

Can anyone shed some light on how this is approached?

Thanks a bunch,
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Bueller is barfing up a lung, or so someone said. I think he is dying maybe, that's what I heard....:p

I have no idea what a S-10 is so I Googled some images. I assume yours is pretty much standard and is not a monster truck on 60" rubber or body kitted on 20" chrome spinners.

Is the rear bumper a seperate metal bumper or a moulded plastic one?

Is the bumper in the way of the body tilt?

A photo of the back end of the truck showing the bed, bumper and bumper brackets may help. Also where the bed is hinged to see how the back end of the bed moves relative to the chassis and bumper mounting.
Search the EV Garage. There should be a couple on there.
1. make the hinge so the bed will miss the bumper.
2. move the bumper back on brackets
3. Cool side tilt so it is not an issue.
4. or like me abandon the idea and put them in the bed:D
I'm sure there is someone that knows or has done it, one I saw was option 1, had a double hinge that allowed it to miss the bumper.
Option 3, Side tilt would seem to work best, and has less leverage to achieve it too...
Attach the bumper to the bed so it moves with the bed but use pins or hooks, attached to the bumper, that engage into the frame when the bed is lowered.
there should be a sweet spot where you can pivot the bed and have the fenders miss the tires as well, this would most likely be near the pivot for the tailgate.
I'm doing this on a Mazda B4000 (same as a Ranger). I realize that there may be some differences between the models but from the outside, the S-10 looks even easier than mine.

I just got some fairly thin but heavy enough hinges and welded them to the top of the frame rails at the very rear of rails. I took some measurements to determine that they would contact the braces under the bed for welding. I ground off the hinge pins and replaced with a removable both halves of the hing will be welded. This way the bed can be completely removed again fairly easily. I also welded the "rolled tabs" on the hinge to ensure they don't open up with stress....making them stronger.
Next, either use the original bolts or make up new pin/bolts that fasten to/through the box at the front and engage the original mount holes on the frame to add positional accuracy and stability. You may also choose to latch the front down, but may not be necessary. There area few pics on my thread that may help.

I would do what others suggest. Find someone in the garage that has done the same with your model of truck and shoot them a PM. I have gotten some great advise on other issues in this way. It's often that you could figure it out on your own, but it saves time and aggravation of going through the learning curve. You can often improve the idea or put your own spin on it after digesting it.

Good luck.
PS. I'm actually thinking of removing my rear bumper and replacing with a roll pan for weight reduction. I am hesitant due to safety reasons though... not decided yet. That sucker is heavy though!
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Thanks for the replies and suggestions everyone. We already have the bed tilting using hinges. We choose the rear tilt to allow for more access to the frame/batteries. The side tilt couldn't high enough to allow easy access.

Sounds like noone has a real "elegant" solution to the bumper issue. I think we'll end up dropping it down and extending it a little, then filling in the gap with some sheet metal and painting it to match the body. Should blend well and still be a good safety item.

Thanks again,
Here's what I did. I bought a 97 S10 EV, (GM built, not a conversion), with no batteries. Since I can't get the original batteries, I'm going with different ones. I'll only be using the lower half of the battery box so I'll have access to the batteries from above, and needed to tilt my bed. So after staring at the underside for hours, I realized a possibility that just looked too easy. (and it was!)

The short version. Attach the bumper brackets to the bed, remove the 2 forward bumper bracket to frame bolts, leaving the last bolt as your pivot point. Remove all of the bed bolts. Now, the bumper and bed swing together.

Long version.
Only parts needed are 2 pieces of 1.5" box tubing, 20" long. (I used un-a-strut, which is 1.625"), and 6 -3/8"x2" bolts. Put the piece of box tubing below the bed support and on top of the bumper bracket on the outside of the frame. The 20" piece will catch the last and next to last cross supports in the bed. Mark the bumper bracket where it contacts the box tubing. Also locate and mark the front of the box tubing and drill a 3/8" hole to catch the bed support. (This is the hardest part). Weld a 3/8" nut to a bendable rod, like 1/4" all thread. You have to push the nut into the open end of the bed support and line it up with the hole you drilled in the bed support. Hold it in place and insert a 2" x 3/8" bolt in the front of your box tubing. Remove the 3 frame bolts and the 2 bumper bolts and remove the bumper bracket. The bracket will come off but the box tubing will still be under the bed, held by the front bolt. Now that the bumper bracket is out of the way, drill 2 more 3/8" holes, about 2" apart, through the box tubing and catching as much of the rear bed support as possible, but leaving enough clearance for the bolt. Remove the front bolt and box tubing. Weld the box tubing to the bumper brackets using the marks you made. Drill the 2 rear bolt holes through the bumper bracket, using the existing box tubing holes for alignment. Re-install the welded assembly to the bed supports and attach the 2 rear bolts, through the bracket, the box tubing and up through the bed support using nuts and lock washers. Re-install the 2 bumper bolts attaching the bumper to the bracket, and here's the key to all of this. Install ONLY the upper rear bumper bracket to frame bolt, leaving the other two out. This is your hinge bolt. I double nutted it to lock it in a slightly loose position.
Repeat for the other side.
This is the way I did it but I think it would work better if you were to first locate and mark the box tubing to the bottom of the bed supports, completely remove the bed and weld the box tubing to the bed. Set the bed in place on the frame. Now you drill and bolt the bumper brackets to the box tubing, leaving out the two bolts in the frame. This way, you could replace the brackets in the event of a fender bender.
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