Durability of DCU shells?

I've just bought a 2012 F250 and I'm planning to put a DCU shell from either ARE or Century on the back.

On a different forum I frequent, some body posted the following comment on them:

"I have an ARE DCU on my Ram 2500. I also had one on my previous F350. I love them for working out of. I’ve also insulated and paneled my current one so it makes a pretty decent camper, too. But they definitely don’t hold up well to twisting forest roads. They flex too much and it cracks the aluminum right next to the welds. And I’m not talking about rough four wheeling, just the normal driving up rutted forest roads that we all do."

I was hoping owners of such shells here might be able to comment on this before I lay out a bunch of money. How are they holding up for you?

(BTW, I happen to know that the guy who posted that is a plumber, and I expect that his truck has the built in toolboxes loaded down with a lot of weight. Possibly that might explain his issues. I'm planning on just the sliding windows, myself.)

Anyway, thanks for any responses.

Regards
John
 

olshaggy

Member
Would also like to hear from anyone who can speak to the extent to which flex is an issue with DCU or DCC shells.
 

rruff

Explorer
Would also like to hear from anyone who can speak to the extent to which flex is an issue with DCU or DCC shells.
It's the truck frames that twist, and this eventually breaks the shell... since apparently the manufacturer doesn't allow for it. Best to design the shell so it can twist to the limits of the truck without undo stress.
 

Shawn686

Observer
I have had more than one of these on more than one truck over the last ten years. Leer not ARE tho. And have noticed nothing. I have yet to insulate my current one, on my 2017 ram 1500, I will take a look inside and check.

They have all been the ones that are higher than the cab or for my current one extra tall wedge front. I dont know if that might give the shell more room to twist than a shorter stiffer one. I also bolt them to the bed rail with bar stock on the back of the bed rail to prevent fatigue pull through. That might make a difference, I dont know.

Shawn
 

olshaggy

Member
Good to know you haven't had this issue @Shawn686. As I understand, it might be more of a problem on my long bed truck because Tundras have particularly flexible frames. What sort of rear door have your shells had? What sort of driving conditions / trails?
 

rruff

Explorer
You do have to consider the frame. Previous gen F250s are probably the worst in this respect... and I think open-C frames were common 20 years ago...? All fullsized pickups (not cab-chassis) are fully boxed and torsionally stiff now.

Here is a Ford "durability" test from 2009, which is really a suspension, flexibility, resonance display.
 

Shawn686

Observer
Good to know you haven't had this issue @Shawn686. As I understand, it might be more of a problem on my long bed truck because Tundras have particularly flexible frames. What sort of rear door have your shells had? What sort of driving conditions / trails?
Sorry forgot to add all mine have been double barn doors. As for roads a lot of forest service roads with some unmaintained forest service roads. I also checked in mine and it has no weld cracks.

Shawn
 

(none)

Adventurer
Obviously it depends somewhat on the truck, but i have a fiberglass topper on a Frontier just as a point of reference. Just the standard CX? model, nothing special. I've wheeled all over (lifting tires and such), tossed a RTT on it, Kayaks on it, etc. Never had any issues. The Frontier has a fully boxed frame, but of course some flex (mostly noticeable in the gap between the bed/cap and the cab) under extreme articulation is noticed. Even bouncing around hard off road has caused the cap to hit the cab of the truck. No real damage to either (paint marks on the cap from where it hit the third brake like on the cab).

I would think as long as you have the cap secured tightly to the bed, it would help strengthen the bed a bit.
 

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