Product Review: Rhino Lining Spray-in Bed Liner
Truck Protection That's Tough as a Rhino
 

The past few years have seen a dramatic shift in the automotive market. Today, light trucks and sport utility vehicles outsell domestic vehicles in this country, and a wide range of aftermarket accessories for these vehicles have become available to consumers.

Among these accessories, sprayed-on polyurethane bed liners have dramatically increased in popularity and are one of the fastest growing products in the aftermarket. Sprayed on up to ¼ inch thick, these linings provide truck beds with a solid barrier of watertight protection from dents, rust and chemicals. Linings can also be applied to truck floors, rocker panels, wheel wells and dozens of other surfaces.

Rhino Linings® pioneered the spray-on bed liner industry in 1988. As the largest and most recognizable sprayed-on bed liner company in the world, we asked Rhino Linings to explain to our readers exactly how a truck bed is sprayed, following the process from pre-spray prep to the final product.

 
Before
 
Disassembly and Pre-cleaning

The first step in the lining process is to disassemble or remove any parts not to be lined. This includes tie downs, plugs and any bolts to be left exposed. The tailgate inspection panel is also removed and sprayed separately to allow for future access. Once disassembled, a pre-cleaning is done. This cleaning will ensure adhesion of the masking tape and prevent any grease, dirt or oil from being sanded into the paint. It is important to clean all exterior panels with denatured alcohol to avoid damaging the finish of the truck.

   
Masking  
Masking establishes the boundaries of the liner. A ¾-inch strip of masking tape is placed at even points on both sides of the truck and on the tailgate. Masking paper is then hung from this line to protect the bedsides and gate while the remainder of the prep is completed. Masking of the jamb areas is next. In these areas, a technique called back taping is used. This allows the liner to be trimmed after being sprayed. Upon completion of the prep work, all areas not to be lined will be covered. This includes wheels, cab and bumpers.
After the final wiping, a special tape containing a wire element is applied to the tape edges. This tape makes it possible to trim the over-the-rail portions of the liner without the use of a razor knife. The wire element is simply pulled through the fresh urethane. This eliminates the possibility of damaging the finish of the vehicle while trimming.
   
Sanding  

All taped edges or boundaries are first sanded by hand. The use of mechanical sanding tools in these areas can damage the masking. When hand sanding is complete, mechanical sanding can begin. Using Rhino Linings' nylon cup brush, the surface is scuffed without removing paint. By leaving the factory paint intact, a vehicle is less likely to rust.

   
Wiping  

The final wiping can now be done using clean rags and acetone. All dust, dirt and other contaminants are removed to ensure good adhesion.

   
Spraying  

The spray process begins on the rails and walls. Three heavy coats are applied to these areas, achieving an average thickness of 1/8 of an inch. The floor and tailgate are then sprayed with 4 to 5 coats, achieving an average thickness of ¼ of an inch. Once the applicator is satisfied with the thickness of the liner, the texture is applied. Using a lower material volume setting and a slightly higher atomizing air setting, a fine mist is applied to create the texture of the final product. Two to three texture coats are usually applied.

   
Trim and Detail  

Five to ten minutes after spraying is complete, trimming can begin. First, the wire element is pulled through the urethane on the rails and tailgate. Next, the jamb area at the rear of the bed is hand trimmed using a razor knife. Through careful cutting, an aesthetically-pleasing beveled edge is produced. At this point, all residual masking items are removed and the truck is ready for delivery.

 
After
 

For more information on Rhino Linings and the dealer nearest you, call 800-447-1471 or visit the company's web site at www.rhinolinings.com.

Photographs by Cole Quinell, courtesy of 4x4 Power.