Our project truck had a bare bed and, being a work truck, was in need of protection. Rhino
What part of your truck takes the most abuse, and shows it? Without a doubt, it's the inside of the bed. We've all thrown tools and equipment into a bed and seen the paint chip away to expose the metal, which can lead to harmful rust. Bedliner protection is still not standard equipment in most trucks (like this one), so we looked to the aftermarket for help. We sent our truck to the Rhino Linings facility in Santa Ana, California, to get a sprayed-on bedliner, and had it color-matched to the truck's Dark Blue Pearl exterior. This process requires a few extra steps than that of the traditional black spray-on, but the results are eye-catching.
1. Prepping the bed to ensure the longevity of the product is the most important step in this process, and takes the most time, either 10-15 minutes with a machine or a couple of hours by hand. Here, the installers unscrew the bolts on the tailgate plate after leaving the plate in its natural position with the tailgate down. There are four tie-down hooks located in the lower inside corners that also have to be removed.
2. Next, the installers use denatured alcohol to wipe down the surfaces where tape will be applied. They make sure any oil on the paint is gone to be able to create a sealed bond when applying the wire trim tape on the edge of the bed, the next step. The tape will leave clean-cut edges once the liner is applied. The tape is also applied along the edges of the tailgate and upper edges of the bed.
3. Hi-tack painter's tape is lined up to the inside edge of the wire trim tape. This masking style tape is applied in the gap between the tailgate and bed to form a bridge and keep the edges clean of overspray. Tape is also applied to the internal tailgate mechanisms under the tailgate plate for protection. Hi-tack tape is used because of its high temperature tolerance, because the spray-on material can reach 200 degrees F.
4. Next, the inside of the bed is sanded down using a rotary polisher with a cup brush that's the equivalent of 80-grit sandpaper. Once the large surfaces are sanded, 60-grit sandpaper is used by hand on the hard-to-reach edges in the bed and tailgate. It's very important to make sure all edges are roughed up. Then the bed is wiped down and cleaned with acetone to make sure the surface is free of oil and dust, and the rest of the truck is covered with thick plastic sheets to keep overspray off the exterior body paint.
5. Now that the truck is prepped, it's time to apply the bedliner. A color-matched spray-on bedliner is a two-step process that consists of a base coat and a topcoat. This facility uses a RhinoPro HP-21 Plural Component Proportioner spraying machine, a high-pressure unit that mixes the resin and an ISO catalyst to the appropriate ratios. Since black is the most popular color, unpigmented opaque Rhino Lining HardLine Resin is used to clear all the black out of the machine, spray lines, and spray gun. The black cleared-out resin is drained back into a 50-gallon barrel for future use. The RhinoPro is ready when the resin comes out opaque.
6. Once that's done, unpigmented HardLine Resin is mixed with the company's Inject-A-Color base coloring in a separate container for a few minutes. The base color doesn't contain any pearl or metallic flakes. A pump is hooked up to the colored resin container, and the colored resin is pumped through the machine. This is where the resin and ISO catalyst from a separate barrel will mix for spraying.
7. The spraying begins. The painter will spray the entire bed with HardLine base coating to create a finished base liner about 1/8-inch thick. The sprayer then mists the liner into the air over the bed to add texture to the surface. The liner is dry and hard to the touch within two minutes.
8. To achieve the final color-match finish, the painter sprays topcoat with a metallic pearl flake. Rhino Linings Custom Color UV resin with a Rhino Linings UV ISO hardener is mixed in a 3:1 ratio in a painter's mixing cup. The mixture is loaded in to a high-volume, low-pressure gravity feed automotive paint sprayer and sprayed onto the surface of the liner until the base coat liner is no longer visible. This can take several passes to reach full coverage. The touch-ups are done with a small roller and brush to get any areas that were missed.
9. Next, the wire tape is pulled up to create a clean-cut edge around the sprayed liner, and the truck is stripped of the masking tape and plastic covers.
10. The technician replaces the bolts on the tailgate plate and replaces the four tie-down hooks.
11. The topcoat takes about 30 minutes to harden. The liner is fully cured within four hours. With our color-matched topcoat, it was recommended that we wait until the next day for heavy use.
Cost: A classic black sprayed bed liner starts at $400, and a color-matched treatment starts at $600. Pricing will vary based on bed length and options.