Why does it take so long to get a Camper Shell?

Even though we stock more Camper Shells and Tonneau Covers than anyone else on the west coast it is not possible to stock all sizes and colors. Manufacturers build Camper Shells and Tonneau Covers as ordered and the lead time is typically 2-3 weeks. Need one sooner ask about our “expedite” and “loaner” options.

Why don't they make a camper shell/ cap for my truck?

Consumers today demand style, function, fuel economy, etc., from their trucks. They also demand the same from their camper shell/ truck top. To achieve this, manufacturers have committed to building caps using fiberglass. Today’s trucks no longer have flat bed rails and a rectangular bed, they have curved rails and tapered rails. Fiberglass is the best material to achieve the look and fit consumers demand.

Here are several factors manufacturers take into account:

  • Manufacturers must first make an educated guess and forecast how many trucks will be sold for a given model.
  • From those forecasted numbers they must then figure out how many consumers will buy a cap for their truck.
  • Those numbers are then used to forecast their cap market share.
  • That percentage is then divided by the number of unique models they plan on offering.
  • Fiberglass caps are made from fiberglass molds, each model and truck fit must be hand-shaped (requiring many man-hours by artisans to create) or CAD molded (designed and shaped by very expensive machinery). These molds, regardless of how the “plug” is created, are costly.
  • Due to the shape of some caps, two or three piece molds must be used in order to remove the shell from it’s mold.
  • These fiberglass shells must be fitted with windows and doors. Since consumers demand a good looking product for their money, cap manufacturers must “tool” a new door and side windows for every vehicle and cap model. Tooling and shaping glass and aluminum is also costly. Only the brake light and door lock are shared by the Chevy Avalanche and the Chevy Silverado tops.
  • Special hardware must be used to mount or seal a cap to the truck.
  • Older, out of production vehicles, usually don’t purchase a cap, therefore the cap model will not be in high demand.
  • All these factors must be taken into account when a cap manufacturer decides to build a cap for a vehicle. Low volume vehicles therefore, have very few choices.
Will my Camper Shell or other painted accessory match my truck?

Most likely yes however we can’t guarantee a perfect paint match. Some of the reasons you may see a slight difference are:

  • Painted steel surface versus pained fiberglass surface.
  • Truck manufacturers use three different paint suppliers.
  • Paint technologies can differ at each plant on the same type of vehicle. For example, “waterborne basecoat” or “high solids” paints are two different paint technologies that are often used to produce the same color and on the same model.
  • Different application equipment, like “mini bells”, “robotics”, “electrostatic” and “conventional spray” all applies paint differently, changing metallic and color appearance.
  • Fluid delivery and air pressure variations in OEM plants can greatly affect color match consistency.
  • A change in the same batch can even occur because of “metal flake shearing” due to constant mixing.
  • The variation of film builds on the same colors over different color primers can change the final color.
  • Multiple substrates on the car can affect color match consistency.
  • Temperature, humidity, differences in the line speed, and piping distances can all cause a variation in color.
  • SEMA the vehicle manufacturers and paint suppliers are constantly working together to supply information that will improve the color match process.


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