2015 Ford F-150: Adding a Line-X Spray-On Bedliner
February 18, 2015
For some time we've toyed with the idea of equipping our test trucks with spray-on bedliners. Without any sort of protection they get scratched up, which comes across (to some) as unsightly. Truck bed scuffs can also diminish resale value and increase the risk of future corrosion.
We could have equipped our 2015 Ford F-150 Lariat 4x4 pickup with a factory spray-on bedliner for $475, but we'd never spent any time with the factory offering in real life. Besides, Ford's bedliner department still follows old Henry Ford's famous line: any color you want, so long as it is black.
The brilliant "Blue Flame" paint on our truck is not a particularly dark color, and the Lariat Sport package adds enough black accents of its own. We figured a color-matched bedliner would look much better, so we turned to Line-X, a stalwart in the spray-on truck bedliner business.
Line-X is a franchise business, so prices vary a little across the country. Our local shop in Orange, California sells the basic black one for about the same price as Ford: $485. A UV-resistant topcoat that prevents the black from fading costs $150 more, but the color-matched UV-resistant topcoat we had in mind is a $300 upgrade. Do the math and you'll see that our total came to $785. More money, for sure, but better-looking.
They said it'd take about three hours to prep and spray our truck. After that I could take it home so long as I didn't load anything into it and kept it dry for the next 24 hours. So I showed up at their front door at 8:30 a.m. and texted my wife to say I'd be back in time to take her to lunch.
Things progressed quickly. The tailgate came off almost immediately, and after that they removed all the bolt-on bed hardware and unscrewed the six huge bolts that hold the bed to the frame so none of that stuff would get coated and frozen in place. What they couldn't remove they masked off: the two LED bed lights and the flat rubberized switch that controls them.
Next came a lot of masking tape and paper, and then they brought out the sandpaper to scratch up the surface enough to allow for a strong bond.
It wasn't long before everything was rolled into the spray booth and the cab was swaddled in protective plastic film.
"Oh right, these won't work on this one," exclaimed Joey as he put away the hockey puck-sized magnets they usually use and broke out more masking tape.
The tailgate and its access panel were placed on a separate stand in the booth so they'd be in easy reach of the spray rig.
And we're off! Compared to the preparation process, spraying didn't take long at all. As you can see, the Line-X material comes out blue all the way through. The topcoat came next, with practically no wait time in between, and its shade of blue had been specifically mixed to match our truck's paint code.
In no time at all the prep crew came in and removed the paper while the man in the space suit was off cleaning his spray rig.
They started screwing the hardware back in place less than 15 minutes after spraying was complete. The surface was still tacky, but curing fast.
That's because Line-X is a mix of two heated and pressurized components that first come together near the tip of the nozzle of the spray gun itself. But it's not an epoxy coating; it's in the polyurethane family. The atomized spray is a "hot" mix that begins to gel and get deep into the polymerization process within 5 seconds, which is about 4 seconds after it hits the truck.
I was out of there slightly less than three hours after work began, plenty of time to make the lunch date I'd made with my wife.
The only thing I had to do was keep the tailgate down for the next few hours so the still-curing liner material didn't get abraded by the rubber tailgate stoppers. I eventually decided it was OK to shut it just before I went in for dinner later that evening, at which point I could detect no lingering tackiness. Next day at noon the 24-hour no-load, no-wash waiting period was over, too.
I don't know about you, but I think this Line-X bedliner looks mighty impressive. And the color match is just what we were hoping for.
I'm ready to try it again on the Ram. That one has plenty of scratches I'd like to hide.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 1,849 miles