Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Swing-out storage boxes fit into truck-bed panels

E.D. Industries Inc.'s Undercover Swing Case offers locked storage for one or both sides of a pickup truck's bed. (E.D. Industries Inc.)

Larry Edsall / Special to The Detroit News
The new Dodge Ram pickup truck will be available with locking storage boxes built into the bedside quarter panels. But you can equip any full-size pickup with storage boxes that not only hug the side of the bed behind the rear tire well, but that pivot out for easy access.

The Undercover Swing Case was developed by E.D. Industries Inc. of Rogersville, Mo. The firm was created in 1972 and produced Sportsman pickup truck covers until the mid-1990s, when it sold that line to a West Coast company and re-established itself as E. B. Industries, producer of the Undercover truck bed tonneau cover.

A year ago, during a brainstorming session to explore additional products, an E.D. Industries engineer suggested the need for a storage container large enough to hold jumper cables and other gear truck owners may carry on a daily basis, but don't want inside the cab or loose in the bed.

Any such storage box would need to mount in a way as not to interfere with an Undercover tonneau cover or other popular truck bed shell caps. It also would have to be easy to access, an important consideration as trucks and their bed sides are getting taller, making reaching over the rails and into the bed more difficult.

The result was the Swing Case, which has a "pork chop" shape so it fits between the tires well and the tailgate. The Swing Case mounts just ahead of the tailgate on a metal bracket with a pivot arm so it can rotate nearly 180 degrees from the bed side.

The mount is designed for easy installation and so the Swing Case can be lifted off so gear inside can be transported.

Like E.D.'s Undercover tonneaus, the Swing Case is made from thermal-formed, high-impact ABS plastics.

The case locks into the mount and cannot be removed unless the tailgate is open. It includes a locking top to keep contents dry.

The Swing Case is designed for full-size pickups, but a smaller version for mid-size trucks should be available late this fall, and development is underway on a super-sized Swing Case with room for more than 50 pounds of gear.

The Swing Case is sold through various retailers (which can be found through the company's Web site). The suggested retail price is $245, but several retailers offer it for less than $225.

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