EASY LOADER
Bed “extender” provides both form and function for new Tundras

By Bruce W. Smith

Anyone who has hauled an ATV or bike around in the bed of a pickup that has to have the tailgate left open knows the pitfalls. An open tailgate it’s not always easy to secure loading ramps, fuel cans, and other items from sliding out the back of the truck while enroute.

That’s where the tubular “bed extenders” come into play. These cool aluminum “fences,” which are available from both aftermarket and OEM manufacturers, provide an extra foot more of secure cargo space in the pickup bed.

We ran across the open tailgate dilemma when we loaded up a new Polaris 800 X2 two-up quad in an equally new ’07 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4. The tailgate had to be left open to accommodate the long-wheelbase  ATV, leaving the aluminum loading ramps we use to sit precariously on the slippery Tundra factory bedliner.

The quickest fit: Get a Toyota Bed Xtender from our friendly Gulf States Toyota dealer. The Tundra Bed Xtender is actually made for Toyota by Amp Research, the company that pioneered the concept. (Amp also makes them for Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Mitsubishi,Nissan, and other truck manufacturers.)

According to the story, Horst Leitner, president of AMP Research and an avid off-road motorcyclist, brainstormed the whole concept  while was at a trail head watching bikers struggle to load a motorcycle onto a pickup. The bike barely fit with the tailgate down, and all the equipment rattled off the end of the bed as the truck drove off.

A light bulb went off in Leitner’s head, and a few months later AMP cranked out their first model in 1996. The rest is history as they say.  

A Bed Xtender is a very neat accessory for any pickup because not only does it provide a barrier at the end of the tailgate with the tailgate open, it be flipped the other way to form a nifty little cargo area to keep small items in place when the tailgate is closed.  

As these following photos show, installation is very straight forward, requiring a minimum of hand tools. This installation took us less than 20 minutes. Now we can load and go without fear of leaving anything falling behind.—Bruce W. Smith

Toyota’s Bed Xtender comes in a kit that includes the anodized aluminum curved side section, matching center connecting tubes, mounting hardware and instructions.
Special plastic wedges lock each center tube to the fiberplastic uprights. Installing self-taping screw pulls wedges tight against upright, securing cross tube to the curved Xtender end pieces.
Extender’s pivot/locking latch mounts underneath the existing tie-down loop located on each side of the bed at the tailgate pillar.
Each side of the Tundra Bed Xtender has a special pivot pin at its midpoint that locks into a the latch mechanism mounted along the tailgate opening. The Xtender can then be flipped inside or outside the tailgate opening—or easily removed. 
Xtender anchor straps—one on each side—keep the Xtender from bouncing up and down in transit, and lock into the tailgate catch mechanism when the tailgate is down.  They are released by pulling up on the tailgate handle.
The finished installation adds both form and function to the new Tundra Duble Cab’s pickup bed.