The Ford Maverick isn’t like other pickups, mainly because it’s a unibody vehicle instead of body-on-frame. That’s just one component that helps it net basically double the gas mileage of a Ranger, all while offering more utility than any old crossover in its price range. That, however, comes at the price of being a little trickier to service, as its more car-like unibody isn’t easy to repair, and isn’t as receptive to serious modification, as explained by a technician who has taken one apart.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a collision repair specialist in the Facebook group Apex Automotor explained that Maverick owners can kinda remove their trucks’ beds—really just their bedsides—but that the process is neither simple nor advisable. While larger, ladder chassis-based pickups like the F-150 can be separated from their beds by undoing a series of bolts and electrical connections, the Maverick’s bed isn’t detachable as a single unit. The technician explained that the bed walls are separate from the unibody-integral floor, and are held on by a combination of bolts and, at the tailgate end, seam sealer, a type of super-strong industrial adhesive. Painted over at the factory, the goop looks to the untrained eye like worryingly amateurish welding work, but the tech says the only welds present are the spot welds holding the brackets for bolts to the bedsides.
“The bed does not come off, just the bedsides. The newer Honda Ridgelines come off the same way. Sort of like a bolt-on quarter panel like the BMW Z4 and [Toyota] MR2 Spyder,” the technician told me. “No spot welds holding the bedside into the body. The spot welds just hold the brackets to the bedside which then bolt onto the car body.”
When asked if he thought an amateur could remove the bedsides, he said he believed so, but that reinstallation would definitely be a job for a pro. It’d not only require working with the seam sealer, but also painting inside the jam to prevent rust from taking hold. While he also believed that the bedsides themselves were not load-bearing (which would allow the truck to be driven without them), Ford told me that isn’t the case, and that the bedsides are indeed “structural and load-bearing.” Therefore, because the bed walls are “structurally integrated with the bed floor,” it wouldn’t be safe to take them off and try to drive a Maverick around as a chassis-cab of sorts.
This not only means shadetree mechanics need to be cautious about removing the Maverick’s body panels out back, but also that upfitting services which may be designing camper shells or similar accessories need to account for the bed walls’ structural role in the chassis. Upfits that occupy the whole bed or extend beyond it will need to be designed to take the loads carried by the bed walls if they replace them, or simply fit around them (though some reinforcement probably still ain’t a bad idea).
In any case, as the collision tech told me, serious work concerning the Maverick’s bed is something best left to the professionals. It won’t be something the extremely DIY-capable Maverick community will want to hear, but it’s better to learn the truck’s limits this way, rather than by exceeding them and ruining a lovely little pickup.
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