Quick-Change Bed Skid

Shop DIY: A ProPickup How-to

On The Skids

A quick-change mounting platform to carry bulky, heavy service equipment safely and securely in the bed of a pickup

By Bruce W. Smith

Transporting equipment in the bed of a pickup is relatively straightforward as long as the load has a fairly low center of gravity and it doesn’t extend much above the bed sides. But when the equipment is both tall and heavy, loading and transporting becomes a bit more complicated.

That’s what we faced when tasked with the job of transporting two pieces of heavy, bulky service equipment in the bed of a pickup being used to perform multiple duties during the typical workweek.

The equipment consisted of a 450-pound Air N Arc® All-In-One Power Systems® (welder/air compressor/genset) unit from Vanair, and a custom three-tank lube skid from Sage Oil Vac of similar weight.

These two pieces of service equipment would be ideal for anyone called to a jobsite to handle oil/lubricant changes, along with any type of welding or mechanical repairs where air power and electricity are called into play much as they would in the shop.

Custom bed skid allows quick loading/removal of service equipment while keeping it securely locked in the bed during transport.

The challenge: How do you make a pickup bed setup that allows fast loading/unloading while keeping the equipment totally secure?

Our solution: Custom fabricate a “skid” to mount the two units on and have the skid lock in place on the gooseneck hitch already in the bed of our Big Boss Ram 2500. That way, all it takes to quickly load/unload nearly 900 pounds of service equipment is one simple pull of the gooseneck coupler handle and the help of a forklift — or hoist.

Truck Supply & Outfitters‘ fabrication expert, Daniel Parker, spent a half-day putting the custom quick-change skid together. The total cost of material was less than $225, which included the cost Bulldog Gooseneck Coupler repair kit used to build our own locking setup.

We also went a step further to enhance the looks and durability of our skid by having it coated with Line-X. The $200 cost of the coating will be worth it to keep the skid looking good for years to come.

This mounting system is rock-solid, too: Neither the Air N Arc nor Sage Oil Vac move in the bed, even while driving our 4×4 Ram 2500 Crew Cab over rough, uneven ground at construction jobsites.

So, if you use your pickup for multiple tasks during the week, but don’t want to have some piece of bulky equipment filling the bed on a permanent basis, build yourself a quick-change skid. It’s a slick setup.

Bruce W. Smith

Materials List

  • (2 pc) 6”x 2”x ¼ ”x 50”L Steel Channel
  • (1 pc.) 50” L x 44” W x ¼” Diamond Steel Plate
  • (4 pc) 1-½” x ¾” x 44” L 14GA Steel Tube
  • (1 pc) 6” x 4” x ¼” x 12” L Rectangular Steel
  • (1) 2-5/16” Bulldog Coupler Latch Kit (#HB2516NP)