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How To Install And Operate Undercover Tonneau Covers
Home Autos & Trucks Trucks
By: Mike Rosania Email Article
Word Count: 1430 Digg it | it | Google it | StumbleUpon it


You just made a smart decision to purchase a tonneau cover and you are ready to reap the benefits of your new accessory, but you need to install it first. I will walk you through installation and operation tips.

Pre-Installation Notes:
1. Paint rubbing off the truck is normally not a problem with this cover! However, because Undercover tonneau covers lock the tailgate of the truck, the clearance is tighter on the tailgate so not to allow someone to "jerk" the tailgate open when it is locked. Therefore, I recommend installing a standard tailgate protector on your truck. Many experienced truck owners install a sprayed-in bedliner that goes over the tailgate's top edge. This is often the preferred method of choice for many truck owners. However, a simple plastic, rubber, or thin chrome tailgate protector will do the job! Paint rubbing on the side rails is extremely rare. You almost have to intentionally mount the cover "out of square" to have paint rubbing on the side rails. However, realize that paint rubbing is a possibility and is the sole responsibility of the truck owner. Thin, plastic smooth side rail covers can protect your side rails and the cover will mount directly on top of these. Materials such as 3M Scotch Cal or CabSkin protective films may be used to help prevent any possible paint damage also. You can ask your dealer for specific recommendations about your truck.
2. UNDERCOVER Tonneau covers are designed for trucks that do not incorporate a Plastic over-the-rail Bed Liner. Trucks that have bed liners, will require some minor trimming of the liner to ensure proper placement of the installation brackets.
UNDERCOVER Installation Instructions:
• Step 1: Place the rear bracket against the truck stake pocket.
• Step 2: Use two of the holes in rear bracket which are unobstructed by the inside side lip of your truck bed (there will be three to choose from). If possible, use the two holes that are further apart from each other for a more secure fit.
• Step 3: Place bolt with washer through the hole. Place aluminum clamp on backside of bracket behind the bed lip of truck. Thread the bolt into the clamp being careful not to let the clamp twist while tightening (Please keep the clamp straight (in the up and down direction). Make sure the bracket is held down tightly against truck rail and in the right position before tightening!
• Step 4: Repeat steps 1 and 2 for opposite side rear bracket.
• Step 5: Per instruction, position the front bracket accordingly along the inside of the side rail closest to the front corner of your truck bed. This bracket is clamped on the inside rail of the front corner of the truck (where you have a place to clamp to). This bracket is designed to sit onto the top rail of the truck to provide you with a location to mount the front of the cover (so the front cover can hinge). Using pre-drilled holes in front bracket (which are customized for your truck), install clamps just as you did on the rear brackets (MAKING SURE THE BOLTS ARE VERY TIGHT!!!). This position is a good starting point, but you may have to make some minor adjustments in the bracket hardware due to slight variations in truck beds from one to the next.
• Step 6: Repeat step 5 for opposite front bracket.
• Step 7: Place tonneau on truck positioning female hinges on tonneau cover over the tangs of the front brackets. (Tangs are basically a small protrusion of metal that the female hinge fits onto). These tangs are the portions that protrude over the front rail and provide a surface for which the cover is to hinge upon. One you install the female hinge over the tang on each side, you will install split rings to ensure that the cover is secure and does not move forward. These split rings are very similar to the design of a key ring or a shower curtain ring (of course it is of industrial quality and strength) and will remain shut. These split rings designed to hold the cover in place until the cover is to be removed. These rings are designed to be very secure when closed but are also designed for easy removal when you are ready to remove the cover! CAUTION: BE SURE TO INSTALL THE SPLIT RINGS BEFORE ATTACHING THE HYDRAULIC STRUTS!!! The struts will exert pressure on the front female hinge/tang mechanism and you want to make sure the cover is securely anchored prior to installing the struts!
• Step 8: Install hydraulic struts making sure the LARGE end of the strut is attached to the tonneau, and the SMALL end is attached to the ball stud on the rear bracket! Basically you slip the hole of the small end of the strut onto this ball stud and it snaps into place and is held in place by the pre-installed retaining clip.
• Step 9: Be sure the front flap seal hangs over the bulkhead (or the front edge of the pickup truck bed). This flap over provides you with additional weather resistance at the front edge of the cover. Make sure this rubber flap is not folded or rolled up under the tonneau after installation. If flap seal is rolled up under the tonneau, simply open up the tonneau and from the inside, just use a yardstick or something similar to simply push the flap seal out form under the tonneau and over the front edge of the truck bed (bulkhead).
• Step 10: Close tonneau and check length on the truck. There should be a ¼ gap between the tailgate and the rear overlapping edge of the tonneau. If this is not correct, adjust by moving the front brackets forward or back to achieve the correct clearance here. Front brackets may also have to be adjusted slightly to square up the tonneau on some truck beds!
• Step 11: Adjust lock strikes. When adjusted properly, you should be able to turn the key to the locked position without having to push down on the tonneau. There should be just a very slight amount of play between the lock cam and the lock strike. A good rule of thumb is to adjust the lock by having approximately a 1/8 gap between the cam and lock strike with the truck tailgate down!! This usually gives you the proper adjustment once the tailgate is shut!!
Removal of Cover Instructions: Fast and Easy
• STEP 1: Open Tonneau and with a small screwdriver (or equivalent), gently pry out retaining clip on hydraulic lift strut about 1/8. Then, with the palm of your hand pop (gently strike) the strut to remove the strut from the ball stud. DO NOT COMPELETLY REMOVE THE RETAINING CLIP! Holding the tonneau cover up with one hand, place the loose end of the strut into the strut storage clip (mounted underneath the cover) with the other hand. Repeat the procedure on the opposite side.
• STEP 2: Remove Split rings from tangs on front brackets. BE SURE TO COMPLETE STEP 1 BEFORE REMOVING SPLIT RINGS.
• STEP 3: Tonneau is now ready for removal
Re-Installation of Cover Instructions:
• STEP 1: Place tonneau on truck, positioning female hinges on tonneau cover over tangs on front brackets and install split rings into holes in male tang on front brackets. Again, BE SURE TO INSTALL SPLIT RINGS BEFORE ATACHING THE GAS STRUTS IN STEP 2!
• STEP 2: Lift tonneau up with one hand, and with the palm of your other hand, firmly push the strut over the ball stud of the rear bracket. You do not need to pry out the retaining clip when re-installing the hydraulic struts.
• STEP 3: Be sure that the front flap seal hangs over the bulkhead of the truck and is not rolled up under the tonneau after installation. This flap over provides you with additional weather resistance at the front edge of the cover. Make sure this rubber flap is not folded or rolled up under the tonneau after installation. If flap seal is rolled up under the tonneau, simply open up the tonneau and from the inside, just use a yardstick or something similar to simply push the flap seal out form under the tonneau and over the front edge of the truck bed (bulkhead).

You are now ready to enjoy all the benefits that your Undercover tonneau cover has to offer. If you are looking for a different type of truck bed cover, I recommend checking out the line up from Truxedo. –Mike Rosania

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