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Review - Top Dawg Folding Tonneau Cover

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Old 12-26-2007, 08:35 PM   #1
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Review - Top Dawg Folding Tonneau Cover

The Top Dawg two-piece tonneau cover is a solid cover. The outer skin is fiberglass reienforced plastic with a textured outer finish. This covers a frame made from aluminum tubing. It is not really a two-piece cover, it a a two-section cover that hinges. Recommended surface care is to use Armour All or a similar product.



View Manufacturer's Information

Manufacturer's Installation Instructions

This will be a review of the cover as installed on my truck (2007 Tacoma Access Cab). I did not do the install, it was done by a local vendor.

In order to keep load times down for the thread since there are so many pictures the posts have thumbnails which link to larger pictures.

The bed light you see in some of the pictures was added by me and is not part of the cover.

Edit: Response from the manufacturer in post 7.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:37 PM   #2
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Top Dawg Tonneau Review - Part 2

The Top Dawg cover is hinged in the middle allowing for either the front section or back section to be opened. You can not open both halves at once.

Front section open:



Back section open:



Either section can be opened to lay on top of the other section. The rear section, at the tailgate, has a prop rod for securing the cover in the position you see in the picture above. There is no prop rod on the front section (behind the cab).



The front sections does have a safety latch which you can see below:



This latch secures to a rod which extends from the latch mounted immediately behind the driver. Opening this section is similar to opening your hood, you raise the cover until you can reach in with your hand and push the safety latch back to allow the cover to raised completely.




I speculate that the front cover has no prop rod to keep the driver of the vehicle from driving off with the cover part way open and having it slam open.

The ability to access any part of the bed easily was what attracted me to this cover.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:40 PM   #3
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Top Dawg Tonneau Review - Part 3

The Top Dawg cover is installed on the Tacoma using the existing bed rails as mounting points.

There are four latch assemblies that are mounted to the bed rails.







The rods engage the engage the latches when the lock knob is rotated.



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Old 12-26-2007, 08:41 PM   #4
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Top Dawg Tonneau Review - Part 4

Each half has a lock knob and each lock knob can be locked with the included key (two are supplied). Each lock knob has a cover that closes sealing the lock cylinder from the weather. These are a friction seal, with a lip on the top part clicking over a lip on the bottom. These were so tight on my cover that I filed them down slightly to make opening the cover over the lock cylinder easier.

One of the main elements of this cover's design is the center pivot points.



Each half of the cover has an ear that engages onto the post of the center pivot mounted on the bed rails. When one section is open the other section's latches and engagement of the pivot post are what is holding the cover to your truck. This is why you can not open both sides at the same time.

This also makes removing the cover very simple. To remove the cover you simply:

1. Unlock both locks
2. Open the section behind the cab onto the section at the tailgate.
3. Pivot the rear section's lock knob to the unlock position.
4. Raise both sections and pull toward the rear of the truck.

Pulling the cover back about two inches disengages the cover from the pivot. You can now pick up the cover and completely remove it.

I have done this by myself, but it is easier with a second person helping you. The cover is not heavy (about 45 lbs.), but it is awkward. It also tries to open when you are handling it. I am going to make some clips to secure the two halves together in the open position to make it easier to handle.

In my experience it is easier to remove the cover with the tailgate open and with all of the hooks for the tie-down system removed from the rail between the pivot point and the tailgate. I slid the cover back, picked it up and slid to the right, then lowered the side not resting on the bed rail down onto the truck bed.

A note about the mounting hardware: after I got home from the dealer who did the install I took a hacksaw and cut off the excess length of bolts used to attach the hardware to the rails. The ones on the center pivot were almost touching the ears on the cover. I cut the others off just because I thought they looked better without the excess sticking out.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:44 PM   #5
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Top Dawg Tonneau Review - Part 5

The lack of a level surface all the way around the bed is addressed at the front with a rubber bumper that is attached to the front of the bed with double-stick tape. While this seems to work pretty well I plan on removing the front bed rail and putting a piece of aluminum angle behind it to give the cover a flat surface to sit on.

Tailgate seal:



You can see from the side view that the ends of the tailgate seal are open. This gives the cover an unfinished look, which I plan to try to fix (haven't figure out how yet). From directly behind the cover looks pretty good:

This cover is not 100% water proof, but it seals well enough that I would not worry about anything in the bed being water damaged. On my truck the bed mat is 1/2 inch thick and does not fit tightly to the sides of the bed. The small amounts of water that get in have never touched anything that I had on top of the mat.

Tailgate lock:

To make the tailgate more secure a latch bracket is installed on the tailgate that engages a hole in the cover.



Even without this it would be difficult, but not impossible, to open the tailgate with the cover closed. The addition of this bracket does make the tailgate more secure, but you now have a steel prong sticking up above the edge of your tailgate. Obviously this does not show when the cover is on, but would if you run without the cover.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:46 PM   #6
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Top Dawg Tonneau Review - Part 6

The Top Dawg cover's main asset is the accessibility it gives to your bed. It's second best feature is that you can take it off to carry a large size item, stow the folded cover in your bed, and put the cover back on when you unload. The cover is 38 inches by 60 inches in the folded position. It is about 5 inches thick, except where the pivot brackets and the safety latch for the front half protrude.

Like most truck bed covers it is (IMO) overpriced. mechanics-warehouse.com has sold them for $675 including shipping (a free shipping special). truckaddons.com sells tham for $640 plus $120 shipping. realtruck.com sells them for $640 plus $90 shipping. These prices were current on 12/26/2007.

The appearance of the cover is good, but not great. It won't make your truck look worse, but it really doesn't make it look better.

The construction of the cover is solid, but you can not put a load on the top of the cover. The skin seems thin, but the manufacturer claims that the fiberglass reienforced plastic will resist dents and dings.

The mounting system is as strong as the Tacoma's built-in rail system and you can still use the rails and tie-downs. You will be limited in that you can not slide the tie-downs the full length of the rail. The cover is high enough above the tie-downs that you can leave them in place.

For me what it came down to was that this cover has the features I needed. After using it for 6 weeks I still think that. I will be tweaking it a bit but it does what it was designed to do pretty well.

This is the kind of cover you put on a work truck, not a show truck. If you want or need the accessibility it provides and the ability to haul a large item with little notice it fits the bill. I know that when I was running the cap on my old truck there were many times that I took off the cap, hauled a large item, and then had to go back and pick up the cap. That will almost never happen with this cover since you can fold it up and take it with you.

Note - this is part 6 and the last section of the original review.
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:25 AM   #7
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Response from ProGear

This response is from ProGear the manufacturer of the TopDawg cover.

Quote:
Hello,

My name is Brian. I am a senior technical service manager for ProGear, LLC. We manufacture the TopDawg Tonneau Cover. I read your post on our cover and I just wanted to thank you and provide you with some corrections. You did a very nice write up on the cover. I think you were also very fair with your statements and evaluation.

I have two corrections for you. If you can edit your post that woul be great.

#1 The Cover's top skin is not made of aluminum. The frame and supports is made of 6063 Aircraft Aluminum. The locking rods and prop rod are the only steel on the cover. All steel is E-coated (the same process used on yoru vehicle body panels. The aluminum frame is annodized aluminum, the supports and other parts are E-coated.

The Top Skin of the cover is made of FRP. FRP is Fiberglass Reienforced Plastic. The Plastic panel if viewed from the bottom close-up has fiberglass strands embedded in the material. The most important thing to point out is FRP will not DENT or DING. It will also withstand a blow from a hammer numerous times before allowing the surface to be penetrated. FRP is commonly used in the RV and Commercial kitchens. It is also very easy to clean.

Another thing to note: The TopDawg Tonneau cover is one of the only tonneau covers on the market to have the following test completed during our 3.5 million R & D. I have paperwork that supports all of these tests.

Wind tunnel (the average truck sawy a 6-8% decrease in drag coeficient, the dodge ram saw 10%)

Salt Spray Testing

UV Testing

Cold Weather Testing

BASF tested our paint finishes

Water testing

Static load testing of panels

The TopDawg cost our company 4.5 million dollars before we ever sold a cover. We are also ISO/QS and Ford Q1 Certified.

Lastly, The TopDawg can support weight. We do not encourage customers to stand on the cover because of liability. The panels have been tested to hold and maintain 350 Lbs. without any bowing or bending. Actual failure of the panels and structure was almost 1000 lbs. (static load means a evenly placed load across the entire panel.

I hope this answers some questions for you as well as the readers of your thread.
After using the cover for two months I am happy that I bought it.
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