Category: Blog


I remember when I bought my first truck at 18 years old, and I was so proud of myself. I bought a Ford F150 extended cab and treated it like it was my first born child. One day I was at a stop light and someone rear ended me, wrecking my rear bumper and tailgate. I was so upset and couldn’t believe that I now had to deal with the headache of trying to get my truck fixed. In this industry, we see customers all the time that are faced with this reality, and come into our shop upset with a frustrating story to tell. Like today we had a gentleman come into our shop with a dented in Chrome face plate due to an elderly woman backing into him. He said, “every time I look at my beautiful truck, all I see is that dent.” I remembered how I felt when looking at my bumper and tailgate, and new we had to do something to help this guy out. So we found the replacement part and began doing surgery on this truck.

This is the damaged face plate. If you look in the middle of the truck you can clearly see where the dent is. In order to get this face plate off of the truck, a lot of bolts, nuts, brackets, and other components of the truck need to be removed first.
Here is a closer look of what we are dealing with. Luckily all the hardware, brackets, and pins were not damaged and we could reuse all of these parts.

We first began disassembling the truck by removing the grill. the shop foreman, Mike, has taken lead on this task and is under the truck removing the bolts holding the valence in place. Once the grill, valence, and skid plate is removed, it is time to remove the the damaged face plate.

This is a picture of the grill, face plate, skid plate, and valence removed from the front of the vehicle. Now it is time to assemble the new parts and install them.
This is the new face plate that will be installed. This plate is vehicle specific and when ordering one, a consumer will have to tell the seller if they have sensors, fog lights, tow hooks, etc. as well as year, make, model, and VIN#. Doing this will ensure you will be getting the right part for your vehicle.

The new face plate is ready to be assemble and installed. Since the face plate itself was the only part damaged, we will reuse the skid plate, grill, and valence. So we will have to install the skid plat and valence onto this face plate as well as the gaskets for the fog lights and brackets for tow hooks. This vehicle also has sensors which is why you see holes in the middle of the face plate. We removed them from the damaged part and install them onto the new face plate. Time to install this bad boy!!

Once the new parts are install and secure it is time to install the grill and ensure that all bolts are tight and every tool, bolt, washer, and nut is accounted for. Lets take a look at the final results!!

The customer was over the moon with his truck looking brand new again. This is what Central Arkansas Truck Outfitters strives to do. Put smiles on the faces of those who come into the shop looking for help. We love what we do and man did our mechanics do a great job!!


Today was very interesting and a shock when we heard that we were installing a Dixie horn on a Dodge Ram for a customer. It was a shock because well frankly we don’t get too many orders like this. The cool part about this install was that we got to use some creativity on how we were going to make this work for our customer. So lets dive in and see how CATO installs a Dixie horn.

If you don’t know what a Dixie horn looks like here is a good picture of each horn laid out as well as the wiring, tubing, and compressor that is at the top of the picture.

Laying everything out on a flat surface gives us a good idea of what we are dealing with and to start brainstorming how exactly we are going to make this work. The customer wants this horn to be out of sight under the hood of the truck, but this horn has to be mounted in an area where the sound is not muffled. The main issue here, is that these horns are longer than expected, and under the hood is a lot of parts, tubing, wires, anything and everything that will get in our way. This is where our creativity comes into play.

Now that the horns are bolted together it was time to mount them into the truck. Before we started on the truck we decided to look for better options on where to mount these horns and get the best quality out of them. We found that under the front bumper was the best place and not under the hood.

Here you can see that we have all the room to work and there is nothing to muffle the sound coming out of the horns.

To mount the Dixie horn under the truck we had to use two more straight brackets to extend out to the frame of the truck. This will give us a great place to drill and bolt down the horn ensuring us that it will not fall off.

After the Dixie horn was mounted we ran the wiring to the battery, and to the on/off switch in the cab of the truck. This was a fun job to do and something that will not do often. The customer was very pleased with the result and is now a lifetime customer.


The day that we got the opportunity from T&B auto sales to install some shelves into one of their new Mercedes sprinter van was one of my favorites. Yes, it was just installing shelving, but this van is amazing, and the brand speaks for itself. Let’s dive in on how CATO installs some of their heavy duty shelving.

This is the new Mercedes sprinter van that we worked on, and I have to say they are pretty impressive.
This was our workspace for the shelves, and inside one of these vans you are able to stand straight up without worrying about hitting your head. This van is brand new and very clean, so we want this van to leave the same way it came in; just with some new added upgrades.

For this van, we ordered three shelves to be installed. One 30 inch shelf that will be mounted on the passenger side over the back fender well. A 60 inch shelf bolted together with another 30 inch shelf that will be mounted on the driver side of the van over the fender well up to the back of the cab. We monted the shelves this way due to the side sliding door on the passenger side so that the customer still has access through that door.

The shelves are bolted together with the back of the shelf facing up. You then simply attach the bottom shelf to the sides, and one back panel and repeat the process until the whole shelf is built. Tighten all the bolts, stand it up and the shelf is complete. Here you can see Mike attaching the last back panel of this shelf.
Here is what a completed 60 inch self looks right out of the box. excuse the mess in the background, a lot of unboxing took place to build these shelves.

Once all three shelves were built it was now time to install them into the van. Before we set all the shelves into the van, we went ahead and bolted together the 60 inch shelf and one of the 30 inch shelves. That way when we pre set them in the van we know exactly where we want to drill out our holes into the floor of the van.

Here is the 30 inch shelf mounted and ready to use. As you can see we have mounted two brackets on each side of the shelf as well as four more bolts in the floor of the van to really secure this shelf when the van is moving.
On the driver side of the van, we have the 60 inch and 30 inch shelves mounted together with again two mounting brackets on each side and six bolts through the floor. I tried tipping over the shelves, and let me tell you, these shelves aren’t going anywhere.
Here is the full picture of the back of the van with all of the shelves mounted, secured ready for action.

It was an absolute pleasure working on one of these new Mercedes vans. If you can tell, we made sure that the van was spotless before we handed back the keys. It is critical that we keep our customer’s vehicles looking great, and with these shelves installed, this van is ready to hit the road with one happy customer.


Here at CATO we are always striving to help out any customer who is in need. We are never to surprised about what comes through our door, but every now and again we are faced with some challenges.

here you can see where the service bed was damaged right at the filler neck position. This is also where two of the doors on the service bed are damaged as well leaving this side of the bed inoperable.
here is a better look at the damaged side with one of the doors removed. As you can see the top door will not close due to the damage above and below it.
With a lot of hard work, we were able to unbolt the bed from the frame and jack up the bed in order to get our forklift to lift the bed off of the truck and begin
preparing for the new bed.

Once we removed this bed from the frame, we were able to really see the damage caused to the filler neck, wiring issues, bent or cracked brackets, or any other issues we may come across when going through our checklist. The filler neck needed to be replaced, new wiring for the tail lights and 7-way harness, and a real good pressure wash on the frame and brackets for the new service bed.

With the damages fixed and the filler neck replaced, we then set the new service bed onto the frame.

Now that the new service bed is on the frame and bolted down, we could then start on the new bumper and wire all the tail lights, brake lights, and 7-way harness.

Here you can see mike, our number one mechanic, installing all the wiring for the back bumper. You can also see where we decided to replace the hitch and kept the original brackets in place.
Here is a great close up picture of mike heat shrinking the wires together on the 7-way harness.

In addition to completely replacing the service bed and bumper; the customer had a steel transfer fuel tank, diesel fuel hose, and a mega compressor that was all welded to the bed of the truck. All of these tools needed to be put back on the new service bed and welded into place.

Here you can see Quinn, the boss man here at CATO, welding the transfer fuel tank and compressor into place.

Once everything is secure and ready to hit the road, we wanted to give the new and improved truck an overall wash. Making the truck look brand new the day the customer drove it off the lot.

Here is the finishing look to the new service bed with the transfer fuel tank in the back, the mega compressor in front, all securely welded, and the new bumper.
The complete look of the truck with a new service bed and washed clean.

This truck was a challenge for all of us, but nothing that we can’t handle. I loved that we all were able to work together solving critical problems and completing a task for a customer that was overjoyed to see his truck back in action.