Must-Have's for Daily Drivers

August 2014 Feature, Cummins Ryan Harris

Last year, we picked up a 2012 Ram 2500 Mega Cab with the 6.7L Cummins High Output engine. The idea was to showcase our idea of must-have customizations and add-ons for daily-driver diesels.

We've added several hand-picked parts, such as a Firestone Ride-Rite airbag system, AMP Research Power Step running boards, Dick Cepek Radial F-C II tires on Dick Cepek Gun Metal 7 wheels, a leveling kit, longer shocks, a BedTred bed liner and an H&S Performance Mini Maxx tuner for some extra performance.

But one of the most functional additions we've made so far actually does little more than just sit on the truck. However, it turns the bed into a huge protected and secure space for all our highway trips through messy snow conditions.

The MX Series topper from A.R.E. transforms any pickup truck into a road trip machine. We put 25,000 miles on our Ram in one year, and most of those come in the winter months pulling trailers through the Intermountain West. Road salt, slush, snow, wind and cold are elements that can turn an open truck bed into a useless box. But with the A.R.E. MX Series topper, we can pack the bed full of gear bags, show equipment, magazines and just about anything that needs to stay dry and protected for a winter highway run.

We chose the MX Series out of A.R.E.'s line for a couple reasons. First, it has a higher roof so you can fit taller items in the bed. Second, the taller roof also creates a bigger rear hatch opening, so shoving a loaded gear bag or a 60-inch radio control airplane through is an easy task.We don't have to keep gear bags and luggage in the trailer with snow-packed snowmobiles that create a wet floor.  And we don't have to stuff the gear into the cab of the truck. The MX Series topper is the perfect solution.

Our MX Series topper was fitted with an interior liner, dome light and screen-vent side windows. It can easily be removed during the summer months to go back to the dirt bike carrying days. It secures to the truck rails with four specialized C-clamps and there's one electric plug for the dome light/brake light.

Adding a BedTred liner from BedRug helped turn the truck's box into a clean area that is easy to crawl in and out of, thanks to the BedTred's padding. And items don't slide around on a BedTred like they would with an ordinary spray-in liner. That keeps things put where we set them, instead of crammed up against the front wall from the last time you came to a stop. And the BedTred is keeping the truck bed's painted finish in new condition, too.With any A.R.E. topper, there are a lot of options you can choose from when you order. Such as a walk-through rear door that replaces the rear hatch and truck's tailgate. There are several side window options, including wing doors that access tool box areas. You can choose from two optional roof rack systems as well. And you can order any topper painted to match your truck.

A.R.E. shipped our MX Series topper to our local dealer, Auto Trim Design of Idaho Falls, ID. Installation took just a few hours, and everything was mounted perfectly. The guys at Auto Trim pay extra close attention to detail and treat every customer vehicle like it were their own personal truck. We appreciate that kind of customer service.

For information about products used in this feature, visit our Aftermarket.

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