Loyal blog readers may recall my sad tale of woe of a few days ago, about my Silverado Pickup being towed home like a worn our party boy stumbling across town after a harsh night out. Sure enough, the problem was a failed fuel pump. That’s huge. Swapping the fuel pump in most modern vehicles requires dropping the gas tank, with associated issues such as gasoline fumes, room to work under the truck, and more. A few years ago I had to replace the fuel pump in our Cherokee, so I simply cut a hole in the body floor over the pump, did the fix, then built the cut floor back in as an access hatch for future repairs. Why not do the same with the Silverado? Okay.
|Fuel pump access hatch cut in Silverado pickup bed. The removed metal will be replaced by screwing to a solid ledger system. If cosmetic detail is necessary the area can be re-coated with bed liner. In my case, I’ll do a neat job but leave the hatch and fasteners available for future fuel pump issues. The area is covered by my bed box so aesthetics are not an issue.|
|New pump and access hole with ledger installed. I used aluminum bar stock and stainless fasteners, all gooped with plenty of black silicon caulk. Corrosion is a problem around here, due to all the chloride they spray on the roads in winter. We get coated with that stuff during backcountry skiing access drives.|
Oh, by the way, I thought I’d start sharing about another truck project we’ve been after for a while. Last fall I built a recessed tonneau cover in the Silverado bed. It has just enough room underneath for skis and smaller packs, while being a weight bearing structure with bed-sides above. Perfect for keeping skis locked up but still accessible, while carrying a full bed of camping gear. Check out some of the project:
|The Silverado bed has pockets on the sides the support the ends of 2×6 building material. I picked up some heavy duty 2×6 steel studs from a drywall supply company and fit them across the bed, then bolted a ledger to the bed box and another cross-member near the tailgate. Everything is lightweight but strong.|
|The superstructure is covered with 5/8 CDX plywood. Center section is hinged at the front end and is easily raised up for packing. This rig worked well over the past winter for backcountry skiing expeditions and general ventures. Only problem was weathering of the plywood. I painted the wood with three coats of exterior finish, but it still checked badly and did not weather well.|
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain. For more about Lou, please see his personal website at https://www.loudawson.com/ (Blogger stats: 5 foot 10 inches (178 cm) tall, 160 lbs (72574.8 grams).