Having access to the front of your truck’s bed is difficult with a solid shell tonneau. For many truck owners who want a nice truck, yet use the vehicle daily for work accessing all of the bed is essential, but the security and strength of a hard tonneau is also desired.
One of the latest designs in tonneau covers comes from Gaylord’s in Long Beach, California. The Butterfly tonneau is their solution, which is a solid tonneau cover that is split in two down the long axis of the truck bed. Each side operates independently and has its own lock and latch. One or both sides can be opened at a time.
The underside can be left alone or it can be painted or covered with carpet for a custom look. The solid metal frame that this tonneau sits on supports the weight of the entire tonneau. Gaylord’s also included no-drill attachments so that the tonneau simply clamps on and requires no holes in the vehicle’s bed.
But does it actually do the job?
As for usefulness, this tonneau is great. We found the doors to open easy and access to the entire bed a breeze.
The only drawback is if you have to open the tailgate of your truck for long items and don’t want to use the tonneau doors. You have to lift slightly on the tonneau frame to open the tail gate. A minor inconvenience for the usefulness of this tonneau.
Butterfly tonneau conclusion
For a truck that you work out of during the week and play with on the weekends, the Butterfly tonneau makes sense. You can easily put in dividers and boxes into the bed and have full access to everything. When closed, the tonneau locks everything away from anyone wanting to permanently borrow your tools and equipment.
How to install a Butterfly tonneau instructions
The installation is simple and we observed as the Gaylord’s staff installed one on a F-150 work truck.
The bed of this F-150 truck is nice and deep, but not so secure to put any tools and toys in it. The owner wanted something to close off the bed, but allow easy access.
After pulling into the install area of the Gaylord’s store in Long Beach, the first thing was to remove the rail clamps for the tonneau.
These clamps were marked for installation on the bed rails to prevent any type of drilling to damage the truck bed. Once in place and bolted down, they were very secure.
The tonneau was put on its side to make sure the locks and latches were in the open position for an easy install.
With all the prep out of the way, it only took two strong staffers to place the tonneau on the truck.
With the tonneau in place, it is checked for proper fitment on all sides of the tonneau. You want a little bit of overlap on the sides to allow for the tonneau to move with the bed of the truck and flex on angled surfaces.
Next step in this rather short process, is the placement of the locking rail clamps. This keeps the rails where they should be in the bed of the truck. Once set, they don’t move unless you want them to.
With everything else ready, it was time to adjust the locks and strikers. Each bed is slightly different and one has to crawl under the tonneau, with it in the down position, to allow for proper adjustment of the strikers.
With everything adjusted, the movement of the individual doors and locks were checked. Remember you want a little bit of slop here to allow for the bed to twist through its normal range.
Now that all the fitment and adjustments have been made, the latches and striker are secured.
With the tonneau doors up, the owner has full access to the bed.