SAN ANTONIO – The pickup box is what makes a truck a truck, so for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, designers developed a smarter box that’s stronger and more durable, easier to use and offers greater cargo flexibility.
“The new Silverado’s pickup boxes offer a range of smart solutions for everyday life,” said Rick Gjestvang, program engineering manager. “It all starts with easier access and greater flexibility to haul items, and more options for securing them.”
Silverado’s new CornerStep bumper, along with ergonomically shaped handholds built into new box rail protectors, provides easier access when it’s time to climb in the box or retrieve items from it. Integrated steps at each corner of the rear bumper are designed to accommodate work boots and feature textured pads for sure-footed grip.
The box itself comes standard with a two-tier loading design and offers more than four feet of loading space between the wheel houses, allowing standard 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood to stack flatly on the box floor. There is also more than five feet of load space between the box walls. An available, factory-installed spray-in bed liner provides protection for the box floor and walls.
The two-tier design allows customers to insert a platform to separate items during hauling or conceal valuables below, such as power tools. It incorporates resting points at the same level as the tops of the wheel houses – enabling the platform to effectively divide the box into upper and lower sections. There are also built-in provisions for cargo bulkheads to subdivide the box even further.
For the first time, Silverado 1500 crew cabs are available with a longer 6’6” box, offering more cargo-carrying capability, while still being able to park in many garages. A 5’8” box remains standard with the crew cab. Double cab models come with a 6’6” box length, while regular cabs offer 6’6” and 8’ boxes – with the 8’ box able to hold 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood on the load floor with the tailgate closed.
A wide range of utility-enhancing accessories offered through Chevrolet dealers makes the Silverado more functional. They include tool boxes, bed liners, bed mats, box nets, ladder racks and more. And for recreational uses, hitch-mounted bike and ski racks are available.
Tailgates, tie-downs and more
Seasoned truck owners know a heavy tailgate that’s difficult to open when holding cargo – or worse, one that slams down the moment the latch is released – makes loading cargo more difficult. Silverado’s new EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate eliminates those compromises. An internal torsion bar reduces the effort to raise and lower it, while a rotary damper allows for a controlled and more gradual lowering motion when opening it. The tailgate is also easily removable without tools.
The EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate is standard on double cab and crew cab models with LT or LTZ trim, as well as High Country models.
“The first time you use the Silverado’s tailgate, you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life,” said Gjestvang. “It’s one of the many features designed into the new truck that makes it easier to load, secure and keep tabs on cargo.”
To ensure loaded items remain in place while the vehicle is in motion, four integrated cargo tie-down provisions are built into the lower corners of the Silverado’s pickup box and new, adjustable upper tie-down hooks are available. The patented upper hooks – each rated at 250 pounds – can be placed in several locations around the upper bed rails, providing flexibility for securing loads of all shapes and sizes. Moving them is fast, easy and requires only a simple hand tool. Four of the hooks are included with the optional package, with additional hooks available as accessories from Chevrolet dealers.
A box light is standard and mounted above the rear window, providing illumination when loading at night or indoors, or when an owner simply needs to check his or her cargo from the cab. Available under-rail LED lights, located in the middle of the box, under the rails, enhance illumination and turn on with the standard overhead box lamp. They are included with all accessory tonneau covers, providing illumination for the box when the cover is in place.
Tested and built for the long haul
With trucks lasting longer than ever these days – the average age is now more than 10.4 years – engineers knew the 2014 Silverado would require an even more robust box to stand up to years of punishment. They developed a stronger box and torture-tested it to ensure it could take anything customers threw at – or into – it.
Each box floor is made of roll-formed steel that’s stronger and lighter than the conventional stamped boxes of major competitors. Lower weight helps control the truck’s overall mass, which enhances efficiency, while the stronger steel bolsters the box’s durability. Also, spray-on stone protection on the outside of the box offers improved paint protection and corrosion resistance, which helps keep the box looking good longer. Wheelhouse liners (standard on all but 1WT trim levels) under the box provide even more protection from road debris, as well as a more finished appearance for the truck.
The roll-forming process takes a long strip of steel and passes it through a set of rolls, each performing part of the desired bend until the final shape is reached. The process allows the use of thinner-gauge, higher-strength steel, because the metal does not need to be shaped as much as it does during a conventional stamping process. Also, less scrap is generated with the process.
In addition to the stronger steel used in the construction, new box rail protectors are incorporated along the top of the box sides and across the top of the tailgate to protect those vulnerable areas from damage.
Before going into production, the Silverado’s pickup box design was tested in a number of grueling evaluations to validate its strength and durability, ensuring that everything from the steel used in the panels and welds holding them together would stand up to the work and driving conditions customers would subject the truck to for years to come. They included structural validation tests in the lab and on the tracks, as well as a tailgate load test.
In the lab, the truck was mounted by its wheel hubs on a simulator that shook and twisted it with extreme intensity. Outdoors, Silverado prototypes were driven over a variety of rough surfaces and swells – including torturous “truck blocks” – inducing natural frequencies and real-world driving conditions that don’t occur in the lab.
For the tailgate load bearing test, a 400-pound (181 kg) load was dropped in a concentrated area on the tailgate to test the strength and durability of the tailgate panel, torque rods and cables.
“Nothing was left to chance with the Silverado’s pickup box,” said Gjestvang. “From its design and construction to the new features that truly make it a multi-use tool, it’s the smartest, easiest-to-use box in the segment.”
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
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