Following is a letter I sent to the owner of 4 Boys Mfg after a disastrous adventure relocating my loader from a 1997 to a 2019 Ford F250 dsl. The root cause is the shape and dimensions of the box rail of the 2017 and newer F250/350 Superduty trucks and 4 Boys failure to address the 'new' dimensions.
As expected,I have not heard a peep.
So, as far as 4 Boys is concerned - buy our product, The end.
It is unfortunate that Curtis is so unwilling to help' or even accept that their product, as configured, does not safely/securely mount to some vehicles.
It is also unfortunate that they are the ONLY option.
So, newer Ford truck owners beware! Contact me with my 'solution'.
April 16, 2019
4 Boys Mfg
11505 Three Forks Rd
Kelowna, BC V1P 1J8
To who it may concern
I’d like to make you aware of an issue with installing your base plates on the newer Ford Super duty pick up trucks.
I bought a new 2019 Superduty and ordered a topper, which my Ford dealer arranged through their preferred supplier, Cap It Calgary North.
As I am moving the loader from an older truck to this one, I organized a set of new plates for the new truck and met up with Curtis Cayer in Calgary.
A few days later I drove to Cap It Calgary North to pick up my topper and have them install the mounting plates to the box rail. Upon seeing the plates the installer indicated that there is not a safe, secure way to bolt the plates as they are about 2” too narrow (6” not 8”) for the front position. The box rail of 2017 and newer models is NOT a uniform width, but has significant curvature making it wider at the front than rear - 2” wider. Your plates, at 6”, necessitate moving the plates outward 2” to allow clearance for the loader legs, resulting in being unable to bolt through the folded lip where intended.
At this point I phoned Curtis and he vociferously indicted that they ‘should’ know what to do. He then suggested two possible options. One: to simply move the plates a little farther out and then bolt by accessing from the wheel well making use of a single thin sheet of aluminum. Discussion ensued about the strength of this single layer of aluminum and its’ propensity to crack with flexing and eventually fail. Two: make use of stake pocket inserts and one bolt (still accessed from the wheel well). In a later conversation he even suggested a couple of sheet metal screws, again into very thin aluminum.
Neither of these solutions were deemed safe and secure by the topper installer. So they phoned Curtis. Apparently their distributor also phoned him. A couple hours later, after being informed that the installer would not proceed, I called Curtis again and was thoroughly chastised that he’d received so many calls. He seemed perturbed by someone who was in need of guidance. An at times heated discussion ensued.
The installer suggested I get some stock welded onto the plate to give the needed width. I went home (Banff and the topper dealer is in Calgary) and attempted, unsuccessfully, to find a welder locally who seemed to have any time in their busy schedules.
Not being familiar with any special considerations with regards to aluminum, I also checked with my local auto body shop for some guidance. After looking at the construction of the box rail and the thinness of the material (they happened to have a box in the shop with the plastic rail caps removed making the ‘swiss cheese’ metal visible) it was strongly recommended that bolting through a single layer, as suggested by Curtis, NOT be done. Exacerbating the situation are the many ‘lightening’ voids in this metal. A copy of the pertinent page of the Ford parts catalogue showing the box rail is attached below. Is one, then, expected to ‘hope’ that they luckily manage to avoid these voids?
I later texted Curtis and he suggested I look at the Facebook page as there were numerous pictures with the loader on Fords with toppers. True enough. There are many nice pretty pictures showing the finished product. Not one of how it is actually attached. Curtis has repeatedly insisted that there are many such installations. Given what I now know I have to think every one of these is an accident waiting to happen.
Two weeks later I returned to the installer, who apparently thought that I would arrive with ‘modified’ plates, and after conversing for a while they checked with ’their’ welder in Medicine Hat. It was agreed that Cap It would send the parts and make this happen. Two days before I’m to return for the install I receive a call informing me that they ‘won’t do the welding for liability reasons’.
At this point I am understandably more than a bit aggravated. I call Curtis and we have a rather protracted and at times testy conversation. He essentially INSISTS that I go to his ‘preferred’ installer Cap It Calgary South, and again states that there ‘shouldn’t’ be an issue, that they ‘should’ know what to do. I asked for the name of someone (installer) who had successfully used the 6” brackets on these model trucks, so I could find out how they did it and get their opinion. Curtis refused, citing privacy. Not really pertinent as I was not wanting an individual but a ‘store/installer’. Does this indicate an unwillingness due to the fact that only DIY people follow his recommended methods and ‘professionals’ don’t. What other reason can there be for this refusal?
At one point in the conversation I asked what I was supposed to do with a $90,000 truck and $3000 boat loader I can’t use? His response ‘Well, it’s your decision if you want to park it’ WOW. He also stated that they (4 Boys) were not responsible for ensuring that their product can be safely installed because there are so many trucks and models, and that the plates ‘should’ work on all vehicles. Again using the word ‘should’. Should is not definite, but certainly implies the chance of maybe not. There is a big difference between ‘should’ and ‘will’. I find this sort of customer service to be insulting.
I made an appointment and went to his recommended installer on April 5. Pretty much as soon as this installer saw the plates he said “Don, they need to supply you with 8” wide plates. These will not work for these trucks.” He mentioned that they, in the past, had invited Curtis to their shop to ‘educate’ him on an issue, which indicates that he doesn’t know everything. He tried to call Curtis, but as of two hours later when I departed there had been no return call.
I spoke with the ‘preferred’ installer after Curtis returned his call. 4 Boys has no intention to do anything.
So, you have issues.
I now have two installers who have been unable to install the supplied plates and will not utilize either of Curtis’s ‘solutions’ and an auto body shop recommending against his other ‘solution’.
I ask again, what am I supposed to do? Or, rather, what are you going to do? It has now been six weeks since my first visit to have plates and topper installed. Two extra trips to Calgary, many hours of thought trying to come to a satisfactory and SAFE solution, and I am really no farther ahead.
As a side note, this situation has created significant animosity between myself, my Ford dealership and their topper/accessory supplier based on my believing Curtis over the original topper dealer and installer. Tension between two Calgary installers has also been escalated. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some repercussions in the relationship between both of the topper dealers now involved and 4 Boys as well.
The courtesy of a prompt resolution by May 1, 2019, is expected and appreciated.