How to add a pickup bed to a golf cart
You'd think that a golf cart
pickup bed built by committee would be terrible, but you'd be wrong.
When the time came to
replace the decaying, two
year old structure,
we turned the project over to Bradley...with caveats. Usually, we
let him do whatever he wants (with results better than either of us
could have imagined), but Mark and I had spent a lot of time with the
old pickup bed and we each wanted some changes made.
Mark asked for the bed
to be light and durable --- he didn't want the weight of the bed to
reduce how much we could haul, and he did want the structure to last
more than two years. Meanwhile, I wanted the golf cart pickup bed
to be larger and to have higher sides. A tall order, but Bradley
came through with flying colors.
The first step was to
take apart what remained of the old bed. We love using screws
because they make it easy to change your mind about a project without
buying new materials, but these screws
had been banged around so much, they weren't removable with the
drill. Enter Bradley's favorite tool --- the circular saw.
(Yes, we went out and bought him a second copy to live on our farm so
he didn't have to lug his through the alligator swamp repeatedly.)
Mark's method of
attaching the previous bed to the frame of the golf cart passed muster,
so Bradley left it as is and simply built on top. He framed up
the base of the bed with treated two by fours similar to the way you'd frame the
floor of a house --- this method will ensure the bed is very durable,
while also allowing it to extend further beyond the body of the golf
A sheet of plywood on top
formed the floor of the bed, then Bradley went to work on the
walls. He modeled these after the slatted sides on fancy versions
of a kid's red wagon, which allowed him to extend the walls higher
without adding much additional weight. Since we haul biomass in
five gallon buckets, there's no problem with manure or wood chips
slipping out the sides, but Bradley did add a slat right against the
bed of the golf cart so nothing small will roll out.
For even spacing, Bradley
used a scrap piece of two by four to support the slats while screwing
them in place. (I could have helped, but I was busy with the
camera, and Mark was in town mailing chicken waterers.)
Bradley went home and
Strider checked out the work in progress. "Perfect!" he told
me. "I can watch the dog house but Lucy can't get me!"
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The next day, Bradley
came back and didn't get annoyed when we said, "We love what you've done, but...."
The canopy for the golf cart has weird spurs sticking back into the
pickup bed area, which were originally used to attach straps to hold
golf club bags in place. But these spurs were likely to get in
the way of our serious hauling.
"Not a problem," replied
Bradley. He took back off the bed and sides (ah, the glory of
screws!), removed the canopy supports, and replaced them with two by
fours. Then he put it all back together and added the tailgate,
made on the same principle as the sides but with some two by twos for
additional structural support.
Speaking of structural
support, the photo below shows the diagonal braces Bradley added
underneath the bed to allow him to cantilever the floor out beyond the
golf cart frame. (In case you're confused about the jack ---
Bradley was upgrading the springs, which Mark will post about later. I
just stole the photo for this post.)
Meanwhile, Bradley and
Mark teamed up on a smaller
front box to add yet
more hauling capacity, and Mark ensured the longevity of the untreated
plywood by giving
both boxes a coat of paint.
Mark and I are blown
away by the increased capacity of our new and improved golf cart
bed. With the walls removed, we easily hauled in all
six tanks, and then
I zipped back out for two heavy loads of firewood.
I felt like I was able
to haul three or four times as much wood as previously and I probably
could have stacked it even higher. The trick now will be holding
ourselves back so we don't strain the motor.