Retrax PowertraxPRO XR Tonneau Cover For 3rd Gen Tundra – Install & Review

Retrax PowertraxPRO XR Tonneau Cover For The 3rd Gen Tundra

Trail Tested: Powered Aluminum Truck Bed Cover From Retrax – Premium Option With Track System For Compatible Accessories Like Bed Racks

Do you ever worry about leaving expensive items in your truck bed? I do and live in a city where, unfortunately, car break-ins aren’t even investigated. I’m sure some of you do as well.

A cover can help with that and a hard-sided or aluminum roll-up cover will go a step beyond some pleather and Velcro, by providing a hard physical barrier between your stuff and the outside world. They also help keep items dry and secure while you’re cruising to the next spot.

There are a TON of choices when it comes to tonneau covers and a great place to start searching is Real Truck. They have a great selection of brands with many quick-ship items that can be delivered to your door in just a few days.

I opted for the Retrax PowertraxPRO XR aluminum roll-up tonneau cover for a few reasons: it’s powered, aluminum, and has a low profile. Now, let’s roll into the install.

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Features & Specifications

Retrax PowertraxPRO XR Tonneau Cover For The 3rd Gen Tundra Review

  • Powder coated aluminum cover
  • T-slot accessory track on the rails
  • Electronically opens and closes
  • LED lighting built-in
  • Nearly flush mounted
  • Maintenance-free mechanical parts
  • 3-year warranty
  • 500lb weight capacity on top of cover if evenly distributed
  • Weather resistant
  • Can help secure loads


Retrax PowertraxPRO XR Tonneau Cover Installation Guide

This installation is best completed with two people as the unit is quite heavy. It can be done solo, though. Remove all accessories from the bed rail tracks before beginning.

Steps are to be performed all on one side unless otherwise noted. It does not matter if you start on the passenger or driver side.

Tools Required:

  • Allen key
  • 12mm socket
  • 9/16” socket
  • 3/8” ratchet
  • 5/8” drill bit
  • Tape measurer
  • Drill (20v recommended)
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Fish tape or metal coat hanger

Step 1. Prepare Main Cover Component

Retrax PowertraxPRO XR Tonneau Cover Install On Tundra

The first step is to remove the plastic tube that is inside the roll-up unit for shipping. It is a little difficult at first but it gets easier. Be sure to keep a hand on the unit while you pull so you don’t pull the cover off the tailgate.

Step 2. Remove Screws

Retrax Hard Tonneau Cover For The 3rd Gen Tundra

Use the Phillips head screwdriver to remove the two screws on both sides of the roll-up cover. Both screws are located in “dimples” as shown in the center of the above photo. Remove the white plastic retainer (behind the gold bearing) by pulling the cover out of the canister about 6”. Leave the canister pulled out for the next step and place the screws somewhere handy as you will need them in the next step.

Note: Save the white plastic retainer, you will use it as a spacer in Step 8.

Step 3. Attach Rails & Braces

Retrax Hard Tonneau Cover For The 3rd Gen Tundra

Note: Reference both photos in this section. The reason for this is to show you where the rails go and which side goes where. For reference, the rail with the green sticker goes on the passenger side. The white sticker goes on the driver’s side.

How To Install Retrax Bed Cover

To attach the rails to the unit, you will need to slide the bearings into the channel on the rail. This part is pretty easy. Next, you will need a second person (or some ingenuity) to align the mounting tabs on the rail with the holes that we removed the screws from in Step 2 and insert one of the 1/2” 10-32 screws to hold it in place. I used the “back” screw (one by the opening of the roll) to keep everything in place and use as a pivot to get the front screw lined up.

Step 4. Add Support Brackets

Installing Retrax XR Tonneau Cover

Note: The braces have “P” and “D” etched into them to identify which side they install to. The braces are in the box but not with the rest of the hardware. They are sandwiched between the expanding foam and the box.

Raise the rail using the screw as a pivot to line up the open hole. Then, place the bracket nipple into the dimple and install the 1/2” 10-32 screw enough so the bracket still swivels. Leave the screw about 3-4 turns out from full tightness.

Next, remove the first screw and put the bracket into place and reinstall the screw. Tighten both screws with a screwdriver by hand until they are snug.

Do not use an impact or screw gun you will strip the shallow aluminum threads.

Repeat Steps 1-4 on the other side of the unit.

Step 5. Add Cover & Align With Bulkhead

Retrax Hard Tonneau Cover Alignment On Truck Bed

The canister cover is attached by sliding it under the rails and lining up the screws on top of the rails. To secure it, you insert the counter sunk screws into the rail, through the cover, and tighten them down till tight.

Place Unit Onto Bed

I don’t have a photo of this because I installed this by myself. Place the unit onto the bed rails about 1” from the bulkhead by the cab.

Bulkhead Seal Alignment

Lift the canister about 1/2” and slide it against the bulkhead. Make sure the rubber seal goes over the bulkhead of the truck as pictured above and is not folded or smashed between it and the canister.

Step 6. Insert T-Slot Nuts Into Rail

Tonneau Cover T-Slot Nuts

There are plastic plugs on each end of the bed rail. You will not be able to reach the front plug with the canister in place. So, remove the back plug and insert two T-slot nuts. Then, reinstall the plug.

On the canister, the T-slot nuts are drilled slightly off-center; insert them with the taller portion facing the top of the bed. As shown above, the difference is about 1mm and is difficult to see.

Step 7. Align Bed Rails On Cap

Retrax Hard Tonneau Cover Installation

This step is important to the operation and sealing of the tonneau cover.

Shut the tailgate gently and place the white plastic retainer between the tailgate and the underside of the rail sitting on the cap as shown above. Slide the rail back until there is about a 1/8” gap between the rail and the tailgate.

Note: I have the AL Offroad Trailgate tailgate panel, so I had to go between the Trailgate and the tailgate to get the proper placement. Without this, use the flat spot on the tailgate.

Step 8. Measure Distance Between Rails

3rd Gen Tundra Tonneau Cover Adjustment

Push the rails against the inside of the bed and use a tape measure to measure the distance between the rail tracks at the front and back. If the numbers match, you’re set. I got lucky with 58.75” on both ends.

If the numbers do not match, use the supplied Allen key to adjust the white plastic set screws until the measurements match. Screw them in to bring the rails closer to each other and unscrew them to widen the gap.

Step 9. Attach Clamps To T-Slot Nuts

Installing Tonneau Cover 3rd Gen Tundra

Place the bolt through a washer and clamp, then thread it into the T-slot nut. The clamp goes between the white adjustment screws. Tighten fully with your fingers and then back off one to two turns to allow the rail to move up and down freely.

Step 10. Angle Rails & Tighten Clamps

Tonneau Cover Installation 3rd Gen Tundra

Angle the rails so the inside edge is just slightly above the outer edge ~2 degrees. This will prevent water from pooling on the rail and allow drainage off the side of the truck. When you have the right angle, tighten the clamp to 5.5ft/lb. Do not over-tighten the bolt as it will crush the plastic alignment screws and possibly damage the factory rails.

Repeat the step at all four adjustment locations.

Function Test

To test the cover, I plugged a wire harness into the canister and connected the leads to a 12v cordless drill battery. On the included remote, I pressed the “C” (close) button. If everything is set up correctly and your battery has a charge, the unit should start moving. You may need to manually help it unwind and close the first few times. Leave the cover open for the next step.

Note: If this cover does not move check that the leads are correct. If they are and it still doesn’t work, STOP and contact Retrax for support.

Step 11. Connect Drains

Retrax Hard Tonneau Cover Drain Holes

The drains are quite simple to connect. Simply them push into place on the bottom of the canister. Then, mark the location where you want the drain tube to pass through the bed of the truck.

Step 12. Drill Drain/Power Wire Holes

Retrax Tonneau Cover Drain Holes

Unfortunately, the drain holes in the bed are too small to run the drain tubes or wires through. I used a 1/8” bit for the pilot holes, a 3/8” drill bit for the wires, and a 5/8” drill bit for the drain holes. Place the drain tube holes outside of the wheel well arch so you don’t hit them when loading wide items like sheets of plywood. The bed is composite and drills easily.

I did have to wallow out the hole for the wire harness plug to fit through the hole. A 1/2” bit might be best, but 3/8’ will work.

Step 13. Run Wires To Battery

Retrax Hard Tonneau Cover Power Wire Routing

Note: How you run the wires is entirely up to you. I ran wires from the accessory to the battery where I can coil and stow any extra wiring.

Retrax Hard Tonneau Cover Wire Routing 3rd Gen Tundra

I ran the wires along the top of the frame then up into the engine bay and across to the battery. Then, I zip-tied them where I could to keep the wires off anything hot or from potential places to rub the insulation off. (Wire loom not installed so you can see the wires in the photo – loom is included in the kit)

Step 14. Attach Wires To Battery

3rd Gen Tundra Battery Terminals

Use a 12mm socket to undo the battery terminal connections and attach the red lead to the positive terminal and the black lead to the negative terminal. Then, reinstall the terminals and put the cover back on the positive terminal. Ignore the ugly wiring job, it’s going to be redone with Switch-Pros.

Initial Impressions

3rd Gen Tundra Tonneau Cover LED Lighting

The only downside to the roll-up style tonneau cover is that you do lose some bed space due to the canister. If you’re frequently putting a motorcycle in the back, you may want to consider other options. However, they’re great for the weekend warrior or home DIYer. It can be removed in about 10 minutes with the help of a friend.

As you can see photo above, there is some space under the canister and cover to stack some plywood and 2x4s.

Powered Hard Tonneau Cover For 3rd Gen Tundra

This cover is awesome. Recently, I was taking some cardboard to the local recycling center with the cover closed and the facility worker asked to see what was in the bed. With a normal tonneau cover, you’d have to get out, unlock, or unlatch the cover, and open it.

This is not the case with the Retrax PowertraxPRO XR. I simply used the remote to open the cover without ever having to get out of the truck. The worker thought it was pretty cool and wants one for his Tacoma now. A power-opening tonneau cover is also especially useful on a lifted rig with 37-inch tires. The integrated LED lighting on the cover also allows you to easily see everything in the bed.

The cover sits slightly above the top of the bed and has a clean, low-profile look. The remote control function also works from quite a ways away – about 200 feet. It’s worth noting that this cover does not have a manual locking system or latch. When not in use, the system auto lock engages and the cover cannot be moved without causing serious damage to the mechanical parts.

Final Thoughts

3rd Gen Tundra Carrying 37" Tires

Overall, this is a great cover. I live in southern Texas, and not having to touch black metal in the summer is a huge win!

Yes, the cover is a bit more expensive than other options, but having the flexibility to open and leave it in any position is great. This also helps hold items in place. For example, I closed it on four wheels and tires to keep them against the tailgate and they didn’t move at all. I also retracted the unit fully and used a ratchet strap and the factory tie-down locations to secure these four 37” tires. As you can see, the cover is extremely versatile and can be adapted to fit your needs.

I have had this cover installed for about four months now and have driven about 6,500 miles. The cover still functions and looks like new. I took a cross-country road trip over the holidays and placed my spare tire along with recovery gear and gifts in the bed. During this trip, I experienced rain, snow, freezing rain, regular rain, and fog so thick it made molasses look inviting to drive through. The Retrax cover did an amazing job of keeping my cargo safe and just as importantly, dry.

Now that I have a hard retractable cover, I’m not sure I could ever go to a manual roll-up, lift-up, or fold-up tonneau cover. I would 10/10 recommend this one.

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2 months ago

This makes me want a truck so I can have one!!!

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