• You Gotta See Mr. Truck’s New Aluminum CM Truck Bed (Installation Video)

    ford f250 aluminum utility bed sk-al cm truck beds
    Ford F250 with an SK-AL aluminum utility bed

    How difficult is it to mount an aluminum utility truck bed on a Ford F250? Why would one install a utility flat bed on their pickup truck? We went do to CM Truck Beds‘ Oklahoma factory to learn everything about it, and to also install a SK-AL bed on Mr. Truck’s F250.

    The truck we are working with is a 2012 Ford F250 with a gas 6.2L V8. It’s a crew cab 4×4 with a short (approx. 6.5 foot) original bed. Ford makes the original bed mounting bolts easy to get to. The bolts go all the way through the bed and the truck’s frame. You can get to them inside the bed, but they are generally difficult to get out due to the high amount of torque and the hex heads. It took some doing to get the bolts out. The next challenge was the network of air lines that are associated with the AutoFlex air suspension of this truck. Also, the gooseneck hitch, the rear hitch, and the bumper had some stubborn bolts.

    Once all of those original components were out, the actual installation of the CM truck bed is easier by comparison. It does require both welding it and bolting it to the truck’s frame. Although, the SK-AL bed body is all aluminum, the sub-frame underneath and the hitches are steel. This allows the bed to handle up to 26,000 lbs of gooseneck trailer capacity, or up to 14,000 lbs of rear (aka. bumper) hitch capacity. The CM bed’s wiring harness makes the hookup relatively easy.

    We chose the SK-AL bed because it offers a flat loading floor and four additional sealed storage boxes below. It also makes for a sleek appearance. This bed is approximately seven feet long by seven feet wide, and offers a headache rack to protect the truck’s cab. While the floor of this utility bed is a little higher than the floor of the original bed, there are no bed sides to hinder access to the cargo or the trailer hookup. If you tow a gooseneck trailer in an off-road situation (loading hay in a field), the absence of bed sides also offers better articulation between the truck and trailer.

    CM Truck Beds pricing starts at around $2,000 for a basic steel flatbed. The pricing goes much higher for a full-featured product, but pricing and installation fees vary greatly depending on region and the dealer. This is why exact pricing is not listed.

    Aluminum truck bed costs about 20% more than a steel bed with equivalent setup and features. Of course, an aluminum bed also weighs approximately 20% less than a steel one. This helps a lot with the payload capability.

    Check out the video for all of the details.

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    18 thoughts on “You Gotta See Mr. Truck’s New Aluminum CM Truck Bed (Installation Video)

    1. I don’t see the practicality of a flat bed for Kent’s truck. Now, if instead he installed a rack body with either removable or fold down sides. The truck would become way more usefully than a standard pickup bed. The flat bed only, as pictured is going to get real old, real quickly when Mr Truck can no longer just “throw” something in the bed, close the tailgate and go. Now everything (bags of groceries, plywood, sheetrock, firewood, everything) has to be tied down!

      1. I’m sure Ken put adequate thought into this purchase. Everything has advantages and disadvantages. For the way he primarily uses the truck, this is the best solution. For 15 years, my grandfather put 100k a year, primarily max towing a gooseneck with one Dodge 3500 after another. In 6 vehicles he only used a stock bed for one year. Otherwise it was always a flat utility bed.

    2. He has the side rails with pockets like the flat deck semi trailers. You would be amazed how easy it is to load drywall, 2×4’s even groceries in a basket that gets locked down in a tote. Even hauling gravel can be done. Put a tarp down first which is what I do anyway in a standard truck bed, Kent could just make box sides with aluminum pillars and rails that pop right into the pockets then you fold the tarp up over the gravel and lock the tarp down with the straps. With the rails on each side like that it is incredibly easy to throw a ratchet strap on and snug anything down.

    3. Pretty much ruins any residual value

      1st, it signals the vehicle has been worked hard.

      Second it looks like a commercial truck pulling up to the valet at the steak house.

      Third a date will ride in clean pickup. But not your work truck.


      I would love a utility bed for my camper.

      But I listed it’s faults.

    4. Robert Ryan
      Now that’s what I was talking about! Those fold down sides give you the best of both worlds. And if you are going to spend all that money to replace a perfectly good pickup bed. Spend a little more to give yourself the best setup. This bodies can do anything a flatbed can plus anything a pickup bed can. Thanks for the link!

      1. There is nothing to strap to on those beds Dan and I guarantee forklift drivers will damage those drop down doors. Also if you have a long load tere is nothing holding the sides up except at the front and rear so without the tailgate up you can’t have the sides up. The flat deck without the sides would be way more durable and easier to work with. Those side doors would quickly become a maintenance problem and don’t serve much purpose and as you can see you cannot get a ratchet strap tie down from the side bed rails like what you can do on the flat bed and they take away from your payload.

        1. I’ve seen dropsides that attach to the stake pockets of flatbeds. Those give you versatility, as they pack down nice and flat when you don’t want them. Like all things stakepocket, they rattle and clang, though. Pins, chains, stiff leaf rear suspensions: Cling, clang, clatter as you go down the road…. To guys with corks dangling from their hat brims, that’s probably no big deal; but it is a bit rough, compared to the Lexus grade, and priced, halftons that ply suburban Dallas corporate parking lots.

          Another solution, are lockable top boxes mounted to the top, and undersides, of the flatbed. Popular with woods guys. With just a plain platform bed, without the fancy skirt with built in lockable storage, you have virtually unlimited space under the rear (non)fender. With a lift, you can put some big tires on without clearance issues. Then hang a lockable box under the front of the bed, and mount whatever, or noting, top front. To hold chainsaws etc. Still leaving the rear of the bed flat, for access to tiedown channel, virtually unhindered gooseneck articulation etc.

          In general, flatbeds are darned flexible. They’re just a bit more involved, and a bit cruder, than a factory pickup box. And to the average San Francisco Opera patron, they look a bit scary, in the truckstop-and-coal-roll’y, big, heavy machinery sense.

          1. I agree they don’t look good but they are incredibly versatile and durable. The pocket holder sides are a good idea and when you don’t need them through them on the deck and strap them down. But they do not have to be clangy. If you run empty or not you can usually through a strap over them and lock them down and then you get 0 clang. Also very easy to make sides from 2×4’s. With the drop down doors they would just get in the way and you lose your tie down points and the tailgate has to be up to hold the sides together.

            Also be careful with lifts as your load gets higher and center of gravity sucks and your fifth wheel trailering becomes a problem and everything you load and unload becomes more work and more precarious with more potential energy to get hurt or damage something.

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