Tuffy Security Lids and Safes


Tuffy Security Products

Tuffy Security Products’ teenaged founder Shawn Gregory parked his Jeep at a mountain bike trailhead in 1989, and when he returned he found his Jeep burglarized and all his gear stolen. Gregory replaced the plastic center console with a stout, locking wooden box, which he was soon duplicating for friends. Steel replaced wood as the construction material, and another American entrepreneurial success story began. In 2008, Tuffy’s Jeep-centric product line was expanded to include options for the broader recreational market, as well as law enforcement vehicles. 

If my trucks were not both Tradesmans, there is a center console safe I would have chosen to install, but it doesn’t fit my models. However, Tuffy does make other application-specific, and universal boxes and safes that do work with my Fourth Generation, 2500 Rams. 

One is the heavy-duty, locking, under-floor Storage Security Lids constructed with 16 gauge and 1/8” thick welded steel ($89 each). These replace the factory plastic covers atop the backseat floor. The lids include Tuffy’s Pry-Guard locking system, a continuous steel hinge, and a 10-tumbler, double-bitted security key lock with built-in weather seals. (These do not fit the Mega Cab trucks.) The no-drill installation uses the factory holes and captive nuts, and are simple and easy to mount. However, I still have a few observations and tips on how-to do the job a bit better, with my typical attention-to-details. 

In-floor Security Lid placed before the actual installation.

Ram In-Floor Storage Security Lids Installation 

Removing my rubber floor mat, opening the factory lids, lifting out the OEM plastic liners, then pulling the four T-30 Torx screws was all that was required to prepare to mount the Security Lids. After the OE parts were removed I noticed that there were five holes through the body, not just the four from the removed screws. 

Hole near the bottom/right of image is filled by the stud on the OE plastic lid.

That fifth hole is for a stud on the bottom of the plastic factory lid, which has a rubber gasket at the top, obviously intended to create a seal and keep debris out, as shown in the photograph below. (This indexing hole for the factory plastic cover is at the outer/rear on the driver’s side, and at the front outer edge on the passenger side.) 

Factory indexing stud, with seal, bottom of the OE plastic cover.

Although unlikely in the short term, grit, moisture, and debris could reach this 1/4” hole on the bottom of the body over time or in certain circumstances. If one was to drive through, or get stuck in deep water or mud, intrusion could immediate. Anybody that drives in adverse conditions, including heavy rain, snow, slush, or dust knows that grime gets flung everywhere under the chassis, and leaving holes open to the inside is a bad idea. My solution? Spare plastic clips/plugs, like those used for securing trim pieces and such, slathered with outdoor silicone and stuffed into the holes. 

Viewed from under the truck, the larger of these two holes is not filled by one of the four mounting screws.

Plastic plug slathered with silicone to prevent moisture and debris intrusion.

The OEM plastic liners that nest inside the below-floor storage cavity can be reused, though one won’t be able to simply pull them out for cleaning like the OE setup, because they need to go under the mounting base of the Tuffy lids. As noted in the instructions, leaving the liners out is an option, which also maximizes storage space. Choosing to eliminate the liners increased the volume so that the set of spare Mopar fuel filters from Geno’s Garage I always carry in one of these bins, which always needed to be encouraged to fit inline across the bottom, now fit easily. 

Everything I had in this bin fits just a bit better with the OEM plastic liner removed.

The factory lid screws had some type of sealant on the threads, so I added Permatex white goo Thread Sealant with PTFE to the 6 mm flat head screws provided (turned with a 4 mm hex bit). The Security Lids look great and fit impressively flush with the baseline floor height, allowing my big, one-piece Husky Floor Liner to lay as it did before. These in-floor lids are slick and beefy, and I was immediately happy I installed them. 

Thread sealant on the new screws.

Made-In-USA Thumbwheel ratchet from SK is handy and helps prevent over-tightening.

There is a similar product that interested me, the Ram Underseat Locking Lid ($119), but I chose not to install it is because it’s only available for the driver’s side, not both sides under the rear bench seat. 

Tactical Lock-Box

In addition to the locking lids, Tuffy also provided a Tactical Lockbox, and large and small Portable Safes for my use and evaluation; I’ll detail the Lockbox first. There are several variations in Tuffy’s Tactical Lockbox lineup, the one I ordered is 35” wide, by 12” long, by 5” high, (# 327–350120050–067–100–01), and retails for $469. 

Their line of lockboxes were originally designed for the US government, for both high-security and portability of firearms and other valuable equipment. A patented, anti-twist, push button lock mechanism features a 10-tumbler, double-bitted security key with built-in weather seals. A user-changeable, combination push-button lock enables keyless entry. The box is designed to be secured with a padlock, and/or cable. 

Key and combination locks on this sturdy Tactical Lockbox.

Because I rarely carry passengers, the backseat and floor of my crew cab are used for general cargo, mostly lighter items that don’t need to be secured (UFOs—unsecured flying objects—are dangerous during collisions). The black box sitting on a black floor mat, covered by the black windbreaker I always have at hand, concealed by tinted windows, makes it essentially invisible unless someone has already made entry with evil intent, at which time they’d need to contend with the locks. 

Does this box make my seat look smaller?

 My intended use for this Tactical Lockbox is as one might expect, for larger weapons and tools while out in the field, when they’re not actively being carried. Of course the box can also prevent theft of expensive photography equipment and other valuables as needed when adventuring away from my vehicular base. 

Portable Safes

The final items are smaller and handy, two Universal Portable Safes, one that is marketed for full-size pistols ($99), and another for compact pistols ($79). Occasionally I will use these for firearms, however other small and slim valuables like wallets, passports and such can also be stowed inside. 

Keyless entry is provided by a three-digit, user-set combination lock. A 2-foot long, 2000-pound-tested (and coated) steel cable secures the safe to any sturdy mounting surface (bolted seat leg in my case). The inside is lined with low-density foam to protect the contents, while compression bumpers keep the lid vibration free when closed. 

Universal Pistol Safe for Full-Size on left, and Universal Pistol Safe for Compacts on the right.

The larger safe has been riding under my driver’s seat, completely out of sight, and rarely rattles, moves, or is irritating. These handy little boxes could be used other places too… like inside an RV, garage, or even inside a house, all one needs to do is tether the cable to something difficult to move. 

For years I’ve known about Tuffy Security Products, but failed to look closely at what they might have to fit my vehicles. Even though I’m late to the party, I’m glad I made the trip. 

Tell ‘em you read it on RoadTraveler.net! 

James Langan

Instagram/TruthSocial @RoadTraveler 

Resources: 

Tuffy Security Products: tuffyproducts.com, 800-348-8339 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toyo M/T 255/85R16 Part 6

1996 F-350 7.3L Power Stroke/T444E with 255/85R16 Toyo M/T

1996 F-350 7.3L Power Stroke/T444E with 255/85R16 Toyo M/T

It’s time to finish this slow, drawn-out tire review. If you need some background read the previous related post here: Toyo M/T Part 5

After a mere 1,278 miles traveled over twelve days, the measured treadwear on this set of 255/85R16E Toyo M/T tires went from 19/32″ when new, to 18/32″ on the front axle and 17/32″ on the rears.

Front 255/85R16 Toyo M/T worn 1/32" on 1,278 miles

Front 255/85R16 Toyo M/T worn 1/32″ after 1,278 miles

Rear 255/85R16 Toyo M/T worn 2/32" after 1,278 miles

Rear 255/85R16 Toyo M/T worn 2/32″ after 1,278 miles

It’s well known that diesel torque, weight, towing, and high speeds all contribute to wear, and sometimes tires wear faster initially, then slow to a more palatable rate. However, after removing a set of Dick Cepek F-C II 285/75R16D tires that were hardly wearing, same as when they were mounted on a lighter rig, this Toyo M/T wear was unacceptable. While I’d run sets of Toyo M/Ts before, I’d put them on a lighter Toyota 4Runner and a 2005 Jeep TJ, and hadn’t experienced this kind of wear. The old F-350 T444E/7.3L Power Stroke was not a daily driver—logging few miles per year, though most were working—so the tires could have lasted years if I would have left them on the truck.

We can’t always have new tires, but I prefer deep rubber, tread that not only starts meaty but stays that way for a while. Depth and void are critical components of traction, so shallow tread not only means less longevity, but also potentially less grip, sooner, after fewer miles.

LT255/85R16E Toyo Open Country M/T

LT255/85R16E Toyo Open Country M/T

There was another niggle, the extremely common right-pull of the Toyo muds. I had resigned myself to living with this on the F-350, but combined with the fast wear it more than I cared to tolerate.

My solution was to return the tires for a “ride complaint”. Some manufacturers offer customers this resolution for certain issues, sometimes they even advertise this warranty for new patterns, or for lines that have proved exceptionally popular and/or reliable. However, even when this option is available it typically expires after more than 2/32″ of tread are consumed…which was going to occur in less than 2,000 miles! In this situation I’d more than earned this option with one of my local Les Schwab dealers, having purchased many sets of tires for several platforms in recent years. The truck had to wear shoes, but which ones? A few sets of 285/75R16 treads had been squeezed onto the factory 16 x 7-inch forged aluminum Alcoa wheels, though I much prefer the 255/85 size. Same height, look great, less filling. This quickly narrows the options and I needed to buy them from Les Schwab Tires.

Maxxis Bighorn LT255/85R16D

Maxxis Bighorn LT255/85R16D

Maxxis Bighorn MT-762

Les Schwab is not the least expensive tire dealer around; in fact they can be comparatively expensive these days since Discount Tire moved into the region.  Yet, through the years I’ve been mostly happy with the service from most dealers, and willing to pay a little extra depending on the products and services. The Toyo M/T has always been a relatively expensive tire, particularly from Les Schwab dealers, while Maxxis Bighorns have been a good value. When I purchased my first set of Bighorns from Les Schwab several years ago they were a deal, and the prices still seem relatively good in 2016. Then and now, similar dollars are needed to buy five LT255/85R16 Bighorns, or four Toyo Open Country muds, so I did.

Mounting Bighorn 255/85R16 on the stock 16 x 7 inch forged luminous OE F-350 wheel

Mounting Bighorn 255/85R16 on the stock 16 x 7 inch forged stock F-350 wheel

The Bighorns are not a zero compromise choice or design. They also wear fast, even on lighter platforms, and by modern standards they are loud. But if tolerating rapid wear was a necessity, I’d prefer a less expensive product. Plus, they have never caused any of my rigs to drift right (Toyota, Jeep, or Ford), have provided excellent traction in most terrain, and are more flexible at a given pressure while offering a more comfortable ride. All tires can be punctured, but I’ve yet to put a hole in a Maxxis tire; though I did have a sidewall split on my first set on the same F-350, which was replaced under (pro-rated) warranty.

Still A Toyo Fan

I’m compelled to share that while this set of Toyos were a disappointment at the time and I decided to dump them, I’m still a fan of the Toyo brand. Toyo makes high quality tires that typically require little weight to balance, and I’ve purchased another set of Toyo truck tires recently. Wear is not always the predominant factor when choosing new rubber, and all tire choices involve compromise.

As critical as I was of the wear at the time, over the past two years I’ve again been driving heavy diesel pickups regularly, have seen similar, rapid tire wear, and with more than one brand. Those details will have to wait….

© 2016 James Langan/RoadTraveler

 

 

 

Odyssey Batteries neglect test.

Continuing with my current, electrical bent, recently I was again reminded to take care of my batteries. In this case, my dead batteries were the result of a different sin; lack of use.

My poor old 1996 F350 needs love and TLC, and has been infrequently started or driven for the past few years. Until now, the dual Odyssey PC1750 batteries have been very tolerant of the lack of charging and occasional starting. While the batteries were too low to fire the big T444E (7.3L) Power Stroke engine, they still turned the motor ever so slowly, until almost grinding to a stop, but there was none of the typical solenoid clicking that one often hears from low batteries.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

7.3L Power Stroke Diesel Tire Q&A

I received the email below asking for input, and with the reader’s permission, decided it would be nice to respond to his question on the blog and share with everyone.

Do you have a question for RoadTraveler.net? When you do, send  an email, maybe RoadTraveler can help.

Question:

I was wondering if I could pick your brain for a minute. I just bought another F350 CC today. 97 Powerstroke with built E4OD. It is going to need rubber soonish, and I have also recently bought a 2700 lb slide in camper. I am looking for a load range E 315-75 R16. All i have found so far is the Toyo MT. I am fine with those, aside from cost vs wear ratio. Any other hats you could throw in the ring?

Much appreciated, Red Thies


Answer:
.

I love the old, first generation 7.3L Power Strokes, sounds like you found a good one. As you know, you have a substantial load with that slide-in camper. I assume you desire a load-range E 315/75R16 because you want the added capacity of over the typical load-range D, and possibly the added stiffness to reduce sidewall flex and heat.

Does the camper weigh 2,700 pounds dry or is that the gross-vehicle-weight-rating (GVWR)? My guess is that with the weight of that camper you will be very close to the maximum capacity of two typical 315/75R16Ds, which is 3,195 pounds each at 50-PSI. Depending on how you set-up the F350, you might have close of 3,000-pounds riding on the rear axle (I do) when you are wet & empty before you install the camper. Using these estimates, you would have about 690-pounds of total rear axle tire payload remaining.

I’m generally a fan of the Toyo M/T because it’s a high-quality, rugged tire that balances well and rolls nicely down the road. However, you raise a very valid point; value. The Toyo M/T is generally pretty expensive, and depending on the application, wear is not always fantastic. I also know a few people who didn’t get great mileage out of their Toyo A/Ts either. As the saying goes, your-mileage-may-vary, there are always others who can share they get great wear out of Toyos. Depends. Do you want a mud-terrain tire? Diesels can be hard on tires, and so can maximum loads, therefore starting with a tire that has a spotty reputation for wear is a big gamble.

The GoodYear DuraTrac LT315/75R16 is a load-range E tire, rated for 3,860-pounds each at 65 psi, a very healthy increase in capacity. But like the Toyo M/T, some seem to get great wear out of the DuraTrac while others receive a very short life. I like the appearance of the tread, but it hasn’t been able to lure me away from the Dick Cepek F-C II.

The Firestone Destination M/T is a load-range E in 315/75, and comes with a whopping 20/32″ of tread. The Firestone Destination A/T is also a load-range E, but is a very conservative 5-rib all-terrain tread design.

What say you?

Toyo M/T LT285/75R16E on 7.3L Power Stroke F350

Copyright © 2012 James Langan