Duracover Toyota Tundra Tonneau Cover Review
We were recently given the opportunity to review the Duracover tonneau cover for the Toyota Tundra, and we obviously jumped at the opportunity.
See all the photos we took of the Duracover for the Tundra.
First, a little background on Durakon Industries. Durakon is probably best known (to truck owners at least) as a bed liner manufacturer. They supply hard plastic bed liners to a lot of OEMs – Ford, GM, and Nissan have all contracted with Durakon to supply factory plastic bed liners for their new trucks. Durakon’s expertise isn’t limited to bed liners, however – they also supply tonneau covers, bed mats, and other high strength plastic components to OEMs and as after market products. Durakon, for instance, manufacturers the Honda Ridgeline’s award winning tonneau cover, a big chunk of the Avalanche’s cargo system, and the cover for the Subaru Baja (among others). A lot of times when you buy an after market part, you’re worried about quality. Based on Durakon’s background, we were expecting a high quality item. We were not disappointed.
For starters, our Duracover arrived in some heavy-duty packaging. Opening the box, all the items were packaged carefully and everything arrived in excellent condition. We opened the instructions and we were pleased – of all the products we’ve reviewed, the Duracover instructions were the best. They were clear and very well illustrated. It’s a simple thing, but a good set of instructions makes it easy to visualize the installation. You won’t need much in the way of tools to get this cover on – a 10mm socket, a 17mm socket, a 17mm wrench, a tape measure or ruler, and a flat head screwdriver will get it done.
The Duracover doesn’t have many parts. Everything was carefully packaged.
We put the Duracover on an 07 Tundra Doublecab with the cargo management system, and we think this probably makes install a little more complicated (as opposed to installing the kit on a Tundra without the rail system). Duracover provides two sets of brackets to secure the tonneau. The front set attach the hinges to the rear of the tonneau, the back set serve as strikers for the tonneau’s latching mechanism. Installing the rear set of brackets is easy, but making the front brackets “slide” all the way to the front of the bed is tough. The nut on the backside of the bracket – the one that slides inside the rail – is square. There are fairly large holes in the bottom of the rails, and the square-shaped nuts tend to get stuck in these holes as you move the main bracket backwards (note to Durakon – round shaped nuts would make install easier). We figured out pretty quickly that we needed to plug these holes with our fingers as we slid the bracket forward, but it was slow going. With a little practice, one person could complete the initial install in less than 20 minutes. However, if you’re new to the process, it might take you 20 minutes just to figure out how to get those main brackets to the back end of the truck. Take a look at our video and the end of this post for some tips.
Once the brackets were on, we attached the hinges to the bottom side of the tonneau. When we took a close look at the hinges and the plates that butt up against the bottom side of the tonneau, we noticed some nice touches. First of all, the backside of the plate that touches the tonneau’s surface is protected by rubber. This prevents damaging the plastic. There are also foam stops on the inside edges of the hinge that make the hinge open and close quietly. The hinges themselves are solid and heavy – Durakon brags about the hinge’s 4-bar design. We don’t know what that means, but the mechanism is definitely first rate.
View of hinge from inside bed and close-up of foam damper.
Once you’ve got the hinges bolted onto the tonneau, you simply set it on top of the bed and slide the cover into position. The hinge and the rear bracket fit together in such a way that friction and the weight of the cover are more than enough to keep everything in place. However, Duracover provides two screws that hand-tighten so you can lock the tonneau down. This makes the cover very easy to take on and off while also providing enough security to prevent theft (provided the tonneau is locked of course).
Finally, install is complete once you get the gas struts attached and the latches and strikers adjusted. This final process takes about 5 minutes. This is probably an obvious tip, but while you’re adjusting the latches and strikers, don’t even think about closing the tailgate. If the latches aren’t adjusted and they don’t release, and if the tailgate is closed, you’re out of luck. The directions say you should open and close the tonneau 8 times before you close the tailgate, just to make sure everything is adjusted properly and tight.
Once the initial installation is done, taking off the tonneau and putting it back on is fast. Two people can do it in about 2 minutes. Simply remove the hand tightened screws at the rear bracket, disconnect the struts, slide the cover forward about 2 inches, then pull it off. The struts clip onto the back of the tonneau so they’re out of the way, and the tonneau can be leaned up against a wall for storage. The brackets, once adjusted, don’t need to be touched in order to take off and put on the tonneau. One tip – the gas struts leave some goo on their posts, so watch out for that as you’re moving around in the bed. Putting the cover back on is the reverse. While it can be done by one person, it’s a lot easier to get someone to help (just because the cover is so bulky).
Duracover tonneau’s hinge design allows easy removal and security.
The Water Test
Once we knew we had the tonneau on right, we drove the truck thru the carwash to check for leaks. After about a minute of water sprayed right at the edge, we opened up the cover and couldn’t find a leak. The only water we saw had dripped inside from the bottom of the tonneau after we opened it. Success! NOTE: If you’re planning on keeping dust out of the bed, you’ll need to seal the tailgate using any number of after market products. Unlike the tonneau cover, the tailgate doesn’t have any weather stripping to seal out the elements.
Looks and Function
The cover is made from black ABS plastic, and it looks understated and very “factory.” The tonneau goes on top of the rail, but it only adds 1.5″ worth of height to the bed when closed. Opening and closing the cover feels natural. A lot of tonneau covers we’ve used in the past slam shut, but this one closes really nicely without making a lot of noise (at least when the tailgate is closed). It’s also very light when opening. In fact, the struts are strong enough to open the tonneau with very little assistance. We noticed that the front edge of the tonneau (the side closest to the cab) actually closes after the back. The hinge lifts and then drops the tonneau into place (maybe that’s what 4-bar means). This probably makes for a better seal, and it looks very cool. Check out the video to see what we’re talking about.
Side view of the tonneau on the truck, close-up of seal flap between cab and bed.
The single lock mechanism is nice too – it’s more convenient than tonneau covers with two different lock cylinders. They actually provide plenty of keys for the lock too – three to be exact. Inside the cover, there’s a nice battery powered light. Of course, there’s also the federally mandated emergency release inside (sorry, but you can’t lock anyone inside your truck bed – at least if they’re not tied up first). The latches are first-rate and secure – very similar to what you’d find on a vehicle trunk. We pulled up on the tonneau and, once it was adjusted, it didn’t budge.
This is a quality tonneau cover. We had only one issue – one of the cable tensioning screws was over sized for the allen wrench provided with the kit. We simply used a small screwdriver to make the adjustment. As far as pricing goes, it will vary from retailer to retailer. We’ve found prices ranging from $550 to $699 for the parts, plus another $40-$75 for install. Visit Durakon’s site to find your local Durakon retailer, and be sure to shop around a little before you buy. Comparing this cover to the model from Undercover, we like the single lock cylinder and the Duracover’s superior latching mechanism. Based on the ease of install, the quality of the parts, the solid locking mechanism, and the OEM type look and feel, we definitely recommend this cover. If only it could be painted to match…
– Getting the brackets to slide requires you to adjust the nuts on the backside of the brackets just right. We suggest you get this figured out before you slide the bracket too far. If the nut comes off inside the rail, you’ll need to start over.
– Plug holes along the bottom of your cargo rails with your fingers as you slide the bracket forwards. That will keep the nuts inside the rails from getting caught.
– Don’t worry about measuring the exact distance for the striker brackets (the ones closest to the tailgate). Once you get the tonneau cover on, you’ll need to adjust their position anyways. The hinge brackets and gas strut points must be measured carefully, however.
– The striker brackets need to be moved up and down to make the latch more secure, and the latches on each side may need to be loosened and moved in or out in order to hit the striker just right. Once you get these adjusted, the tonneau closes and locks very tight.
– Don’t forget to put your tie downs back on the racks between brackets.
– Watch Duracover’s install video (opens a video) and/or download a copy of the Duracover tonneau cover instructions (pdf) for the Toyota Tundra.
Special thanks to Jeff Jenkin, Dan Blankenship, and Yisay Cha of Mountain States Toyota, Denver’s best Toyota dealer.
Filed Under: Toyota Tundra Accessories