I recently purchased a '97 Dodge Ram w/ Cummins Turbo Diesel. I've been working out of the regular pick up box. I've spent a lot of time moving materials and tools from the back of my truck to our garage. I'm getting ready to buy a utility body.
Where I live, I see a lot of Royal brand bodies. An EC that I used to work for currently has a Royal, but told me he'd never buy another one again. He and I have always driven trucks with Knapheide bodies. I like them and feel they are well built. My dad is a plumbing contractor, and he had a Reading body on his truck. I wasn't impressed with the Reading, but now there is the Reading Classic II body. It looks pretty sharp, and a distributor in AZ who sells both Knapheide and Reading, prefers the Reading. They feel Reading offers a better service body than what Knapheide offers.
Has anybody done a comparison of the Reading Classic II and the Knapheide Service Body? From what I can see on the websites, the Reading does look nice. Unfortunately, I'd really like to check out the seals. I like the flip top boxes and it is VERY important that these are weatherproof.
My truck is a long bed. If I were to have ordered a brand new truck back in 1997, this would have been the truck. So when I saw it for sale 1400 miles away in Spokane, I bought a plane ticket and drove it home.
Well, after looking online at the weather stripping of each body, it looks like the Knapheide is a bit better. The weatherstripping on the Reading looks to be glued to the door, so I'm not sure how long it would actually stay there.
The Reading also has spring shackle cut outs in the rear of the body. This means the rear bins will have blocked out areas, and the floor will not be flat across the entire bottom. My dad's original Classic has the same problem, and it looks like the new Classic II is in the same situation.
If you compare specs between the Knapheide Ford or GM page and the Reading , you'll see the Knapheide has better utilization of body length. It appears there is less wasted body, and more useable door.
I'll try to find a couple distributors, besides the one in AZ, that carries both Knapheide and Reading and give them a call. It's tough to make a decision unless you can check each of them out. But I've had two trucks in the past with Knapheide bodies, and I've never been disappointed.
I looked at the sites and didn't know they came in aluminum. That should help out with the rust problems. I am going to make a call on it tommorow to see how much one would be for my short bed truck. I see they list them. I also like the ones with the sliding cover on the top.
I bought a new Knapheide in 97, not a bad body but the installer and paint job sucked. They(Knapheide) had cut 3 off the top of the body(from the same model I had in 90) to get better visibility out the rear window. 3 inches(careful with that ) doesn't sound like much until you take the stuff out of your old one and refill the new one.So in 2003 I bought a Reading ClassicII. it rules, way more room and its taller so rear window is blocked but so what. I have sliding cap(another 800$) so the rear doesn't fill up with snow. From my experience I'd take the Reading any day of the week.
Edit: I had flip tops on both bodies, Readings are tighter but still leak some. I carry many thousands of dollars of Electronics in my truck and I've had no problems with seals except when pressure washed.
[This message has been edited by walrus (edited 09-17-2004).]
I have never seen an aluminum one but have seen many with rust on them. Got me thinking. I have also seen plenty of steel ones with the rear of the sides tipping outwards due to the bottom support flexing and cracking. I have seen fiberglass ones as well.
The new body was over $5000 maybe 5600 installed and painted Black with Imron paint. The best(toughest) paint money can buy. It might have been a low profile but I certainly didn't ask for it. My understanding was it was 3 inches shorter but they had added it to the bottom not removed that space totally.
As far as rust goes, I doubt any of you live in a worse place than Maine for salt damage and now even worse calcium cloride. Both bodies stand up well if painted right. I would make sure they paint with good quality paint and not just the standard spray job.If you are getting it painted and installed check other bodies at the shop. I didn't in 97 and paid the price for a lousy paint job. This time I saw it as it was being done.
AS far spring hangers taking up space, they do on both brands but I believe Readings take up more space. I had the installer make it smaller as the body is made for different trucks and on a GMC the springs are inboard some so I gained 2 inches in side lower part of cabinet.
Re: utility body#42126 09/18/0409:34 AM09/18/0409:34 AM
Both Reading and Knapheide offer the "flip top" tray on their "standard" (squared style) service bodies.
There are a bunch of companies out there that offer service bodies - Stahl is another big name here in the midwest, but Knapheide has 'em beat in IL (Knapheiede is in Quincy, IL). There's Warner (www.warner-bodies.com), Monroe (www.monroebodies.com)
Been looking at a 130" setup w/ a sliding top, so I don't have to hang a conduit tube off the ladder rack, and my stuff in the back is "crackhead-proof". It probably won't happen for a year or so, but hey, ya gotta have a dream!