So lets talk about that hinge.
This is how its designed. One bracket that bolts inside the frame, one that bolts to the bed, and a 5/8 Gr8 bolt for a hinge pin
Frame side bracket. Not thrilled with this piece. The bushing is a nut with the threads drilled out, but its oversize so the bolt is sloppy
Bed-side bracket. has this angle iron tab that extends forward to tie into the next forward bed xmember. Good idea, but it doesnt fit on the 92-97 bed, so its gotta go
so here's the new bed half. Not a fan of this as the hole on this is also oversize so the bolt is sloppy.
At this point i figure i had two options. Use their hinge and upgrade to a 3/4" bolt for a hinge pin, or just build my own hinges. So i looked it up. According to this page, a 5/8 Gr8 bolt has a shear strength of 27,920lbs! Clearly i dont need a 3/4" bolt for the hinge, and the 5/8 will fit in the space better. So i guess im making new hinges!
Ok, gotta make some spacers. Carbide holesaw in 3/8" plate
New hinge, with spacer welded in place. All 3/8"
Installed on frame. Unlike theirs, mine uses all existing holes in the frame. Also of note, i need to finish trimming the frame. That notch is required for room for the hinge to pivot.
...and the comparison between mine & theirs. IMO, mine is far superior.
So now i need to build the bed-side half of the hinge. Well, i scrounged up some more 3/8" plate that im going to use to build them this week. I really liked the idea of making the hinge double shear, but there just isnt any room under there to do it with the hinges built as such; i might have to make a second spacer to weld to the inside of each frame-side hinge, but these will most likely need to be 1/2" in order to space them far enough away that they will not interfere with the bed bolt. So my goal for next week is going to be to finish the hinges, as long as mother nature cuts me some slack!
One thing i want to say. Im not trying to bash on Pierce-Arrow. These guys have been building these kits for, as far as i can tell, 15-20 years, and everyone loves them. No complaints from anyone on the parts that ive found, which tells me that if their sloppy single-shear hinge is good, then mine will be better. Also, it doesnt have to be double shear, but if i can i want to do it, just cuz i can. The scissor for the hyd cylinder seems like a nice piece, as does the pump, and the wiring & hardware kits are both nice as well. So basically, my only complaint with it is the hinge, which will soon be resolved.