Mounting a generator under a folding tonneau cover on your truck bed can provide some nice benefits. It keeps the generator out of view and protected from the elements. It also utilizes the empty space under the cover to hold a useful piece of equipment.
However, there are some important factors to consider before deciding to mount a generator under a folding tonneau cover. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore if it is possible, the safety precautions to take, tips for proper setup, and alternative generator mounting options.
Is It Possible To Mount A Generator Under A Tonneau Cover?
The short answer is yes, you can mount a generator under a folding tonneau cover on your truck. However, there are some key things you need to take into account to do it properly.
The most important consideration is size. You need to carefully measure the dimensions of your tonneau cover’s interior space and compare it to the size of the generator you want to mount.
Will the generator actually physically fit under the tonneau cover when it is folded down? Make sure to measure the length, width, and height of the generator. There needs to be sufficient clearance between the top of the generator and the underside of the tonneau cover when folded.
If the generator is too wide, you won’t be able to securely fasten down the cover. And if it’s too long, the generator will prevent the cover from properly folding.
The weight of the generator is another key factor. Some tonneau covers have weight limits for what can be mounted on them. Exceeding this capacity could damage the cover lift mechanism or prevent safe operation.
So as long as the generator is not too large in dimensions or heavy in weight for your particular folding tonneau cover, it is possible to mount it underneath. Just be sure to take the proper safety precautions.
What safety precautions should I take when mounting a generator under a tonneau cover?
If you’ve determined that your generator will physically fit and is within the weight limit, there are some other safety steps to take. Having a generator mounted under a tonneau cover is a unique situation, so following these precautions will help avoid hazards:
- Allow for proper ventilation and exhaust direction. Make sure the generator exhaust is facing the rear of the truck, so dangerous fumes are not trapped under the cover. Allow for ample ventilation by leaving the tailgate open when the generator is running.
- Secure the generator properly. Use high-quality straps or cables with heavy-duty hooks to anchor the generator tightly to the truck bed. You don’t want the generator bouncing around under the tonneau while driving.
- Protect from rain/moisture. Ensure the generator is shielded from rain entering under the tonneau cover edges. Consider a waterproof cover designed for generators.
- Prevent fire hazards. Don’t store flammable materials under the cover near the hot generator. Make sure the exhaust has ample clearance from contacting any combustible surfaces.
- Isolate from electronics. Keep the generator isolated from devices and connections so that electricity cannot backfeed into truck wiring. Use a transfer switch if connecting to the truck battery.
Taking these precautions will help safely contain and operate the generator in this unique mounting location under a folding tonneau cover.
Tips For Properly Mounting A Generator Under A Tonneau Cover
If you’ve done your safety homework, here are some useful tips for properly setting up the generator under your truck’s folding tonneau cover:
Choose an appropriate sized quiet generator
Opt for an inverter generator or other “quiet” generator that produces under 75 decibels. This will prevent the loud noise of a standard generator from being amplified under the tonneau cover. A 2000-3000 watt compact inverter model is ideal.
Calculate required clearance
Measure the interior dimensions of your tonneau cover and compare to the generator’s measurements. There should be a few inches of clearance on all sides and several inches between the top of the generator and underside of cover when folded.
Reinforce the cover
Consider adding support struts or bars under the tonneau cover to prevent sagging under the generator’s weight. Consult your cover manufacturer.
Secure the generator tightly
Use heavy-duty straps, chains, or cables to anchor the generator firmly to truck bed loops or tie-downs. Prevent all shifting during driving.
Allow for exhaust direction
Position the generator so the exhaust is pointed toward the rear tailgate opening. Never direct exhaust under cover.
Keep covered when not in use
Use a waterproof generator cover designed for outdoor use when the generator is mounted but not running.
Bring tools for access
Keep basic tools on hand so you can remove straps and fold up the cover to access generator controls and power outlets as needed.
Use an isolator or transfer switch
If you need to connect the generator to charge the truck battery or power onboard electronics, use an appropriate isolator or transfer switch.
Following these tips will allow you to safely and effectively mount your generator under your folding tonneau cover for convenient portable power.
Alternative Ways To Mount A Generator Besides Under A Tonneau Cover
While mounting under a tonneau cover is one option, it may not be the best fit for everyone’s needs. Here are a few other possible ways to mount your generator on a pickup truck:
Mount to the truck bed rails
Some truck beds have integrated side rail or track systems designed for securing cargo. Special mounting brackets can attach your generator securely to these rails. This leaves the truck bed open.
Mount to the front trailer hitch
A trailer hitch generator carrier can hold your generator at the front of the vehicle. This leaves the bed open and provides front access to the generator controls.
Mount to the side on a flatbed
For flatbed trucks without a cover, side mounting brackets can attach the generator securely above the bed along the side rails.
Carry it in a storage box
Truck storage boxes and tool boxes that mount over or replace the truck bed can provide lockable, weatherproof storage for a generator. Easy access to power.
Place on the ground near the vehicle
The simplest option is placing the portable generator upright on the ground near the rear of the truck. Use an extension cord and power strip to connect devices in the truck bed.
Ultimately, the best mounting option depends on your specific truck setup and needs for generator access and function. Take time to consider all the pros and cons of each approach before deciding where to permanently mount your generator.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mounting Generators Under Tonneau Covers
There are lots of good questions people have about whether you can mount a generator under a folding tonneau cover. Here are answers to some of the key frequently asked questions:
Is it safe to run my generator with the tonneau cover closed?
No, you should never run your generator with the tonneau cover completely closed. This can trap dangerous exhaust gases and lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Always leave your rear tailgate open when running the generator.
Should I buy a special waterproof generator cover?
It’s a smart idea to get a waterproof cover designed specifically for generators. This will provide an extra layer of protection from rain and moisture since the folding tonneau cover is not entirely watertight.
How do I prevent the generator from shifting while driving?
Securely anchor the generator to fixed points in the truck bed (e.g. tie-down loops, rail mounts) using heavy-duty straps, chains, or cables with tight fasteners. Do not rely solely on the tonneau cover to hold it in place.
What kind of generator is best for mounting under a tonneau cover?
An inverter generator or other “quiet” generator under 3000 watts is ideal. This provides sufficient power while keeping noise lower which is helpful in the covered truck bed.
Should I buy a backup camera if my generator blocks visibility?
Yes, a rearview backup camera is a great idea if your mounted generator obstructs rear visibility from the cab. The camera provides an unobstructed view behind your truck for safety.
How can I safely access my generator controls under the tonneau?
Keep basic tools on hand so you can quickly remove any mounting straps and fold up the tonneau cover to gain easy access to the generator’s control panel and power outlets as needed.
Is moisture or rain a concern for my mounted generator?
Potentially yes. Use protective covers when not in use and seal any gaps where water could enter around the perimeter of the tonneau cover. Keep an absorber or dehumidifier inside to manage moisture.
Carefully considering these key questions will help you determine if mounting a generator under your folding tonneau cover is the right solution for your pickup truck needs. Follow the safety tips and setup best practices outlined to do it effectively.
Mounting a generator under a folding tonneau cover is possible but has some important considerations. The key is ensuring the generator is the right size to fit, securing it properly, allowing for exhaust and ventilation, and taking precautions related to fire hazards and electricity.
With proper setup and safety practices, a tonneau-mounted generator can provide convenient portable power. But alternative mounting options like side rails, hitch carriers, storage boxes or ground placement may be better suited depending on your specific truck and needs. Considering all the factors carefully will lead to the best and safest solution for your particular situation.