Installing a tonneau cover onto your new truck provides a level of versatility and security, allowing cargo to be left safely in the bed. Most of the traditional tonneau cover designs include a giant-rear hinged solid plate that covers your truck bed. This can cut down on the amount of gear you can store in your bed due to the height limitations of the cover itself, and the gas shocks getting in the way of bedside access.
With the installation of a Roll-N-Lock, you can achieve all of the versatility and safety of a tonneau cover with none of the hassles of crawling in under the cover to retrieve cargo. As the name implies, this cover is constructed of interconnected, louvered, metal slats that roll up into a convenient cover at the bulkhead, leaving complete access to the bed from all sides. It can even be slid back and locked into place to allow quick access. A retractable bed cover also gives the versatility of hauling taller items or taking a quick drive out to the beach loaded up with some bikes and a cooler. None of the sacrifices, yet all of the benefits.
| The Roll-N-Lock kit is pretty straightforward and most of the attention is paid to the mounting points. This easy-to-install, lockable system is almost universal in its design, but when ordering, be specific about the type of truck you have and its bed length.
We traveled over to Accessory House in Montclair, California, to install a Roll-N-Lock onto this ’16 RAM 1500, so it, too, could enjoy this stylish and useful retractable, lockable, bed cover. So, follow along as we give this Ram one of the most advanced tonneau covers ever made.
| Our first step was to remove the plastic mounting screws that hold down the bedliner on either side of the tailgate. We were then able to dislodge the bedliner from the bed.
| Here is the bedliner after it had been completely removed. It was a snug fit because it is pretty new, and it took some coaxing to remove.
| We removed the liner to slice down the area that sat against the bulkhead. The size bed length you have determines how much plastic will be removed. Because we had a 5 1/2-foot bed, we had to trim 6 1/4 inches off the rear to allow room for the roller housing.
| As can be seen here, the top of the bedliner was sliced off. Our expert installer at Accessory House cut us a nice clean line to ensure the liner would not interfere with the sliding tonneau cover.
| We also had to measure the rear-mounting rail against the tailgate. We measured where the mounting rail would be, well, mounted and set about removing the tailgate cover.
| We used a small powered driver to remove the many screws holding the tailgate cover to the tailgate. The rear-mounting rail would use the existing screw holes in the tailgate to secure itself. That’s all part of the no-drill aspect of this install.
| With the bedliner prepped and tailgate stripped, we were ready to install the main housing and cover assembly on the rear of the bed. We will be securing the main housing in another step.
| Next, install the tracks that ran atop the bedrails, using the L-shaped clamps that come taped to the bottom of the tracks. The clamps are location specific and should be installed in the same order that they were removed from the tracks.
| We attached the clamps loosely to the tracks and tightened the screws to make the clamps do their thing. We did not screw down the clamps all the way, as we still would need to adjust all the components to fit each other.
| We tightened down the mounting screws of the main housing and cover assembly. We tightened the truss head screws against the cargo nuts, which secured the housing assembly and the tracks to each other. As you can see, the tracks extend slightly into the housing and are secured there using screws.
| As mentioned previously, the kit is made specifically to fit our ’16 RAM 1500, but needs to be adjusted to fit perfectly. That’s why this sticker reads: “This Surface Must Contact Tailgate.” We made sure that happened.
| Our installer is fitting the tailgate rail under the tailgate cover using the stock holes. He’s done this a time or two, so he took the plastic tailgate shield next door to a plastic shop and had them trim off the top inch on their massive cutting table with a circular saw. If that seems too complicated, a rotary cutoff tool or angle grinder will work just fine.
| It was time to go back to the housing assembly to orient the tracks. Moving back to front, we locked down the clamps and tightened them by hand to ensure a proper fit. If we noticed one track starting to pitch upward, we corrected that by loosening the clamps and rotating the track down to properly contacted the bedrail.
| With the rails and main housing assembly properly installed, it was now time to install the housing lid, which slipped onto pins in the rear, and had screw holes (visible on the bottom side) to protect the rolled track and its ratcheting mechanism from the elements. We tested the tonneau cover to see if the rails had been installed correctly and it rolled up and back with ease.
| With the main operating areas of the Roll-N-Lock installed, we moved on to the optional cargo shield, which can slide and lock into place, preventing cargo in the bed from sliding around. We assembled the two-piece brackets and screwed in tightly their rollers and locking pins.
| Installing the sliding brackets into either side of the cargo shield was a breeze, as this square tube slid into a receiver on either side of the shield.
| To install the shield, you must depress a spring-loaded switch on the driver’s side, and it snaps right into place. Removal is just as simple. The shield comes with a bungee cord that we strategically placed on the lattice of the shield to be used whenever a bungee cord is needed.
| And with that, our Roll-N-Lock was completed! All in all, it only took a couple of hours. But it will now provide us with a stylish and lockable bed cover to run around town and keep our cargo safe and secure.
| With the cover closed and locked, our bed will stay nice and secure. And the fact that the color matched our truck’s exterior paint helped, too! A quick install can provide the functionality of a locking tonneau cover that stows away to give complete access to the bed.
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