I took the cab off my sled trailer and put it back on the frame. I was nervous as I lowered it but it lined up perfectly. Whew. I haven’t fish plated the frame yet but I have got a piece of 3/16” x 6” flat bar to do that job when I get back to it. I took my trailer and proceeded out to the farm to resurrect that old long box. She has some major surgery awaiting her and I have been hmmm-ing and hawing 🤔 about how to make the original box work.
A lot of the box’s rust is in the front corners on the downward body curve. The floor is actually in really good shape, but I want bed wood and will likely sell it. Anyone with very minor welding skills would love this floor. I removed the inner wheel tubs and fought with rusty old bolts. I cut most out from underneath with the grinder and zip disc. I then hammered on those tub buggers for about 6hrs to get all the dings and dents out. They are straight now and look really good. Other than that the floor, tubs, rear cross and cross sills, and front panel are in great shape for a 50 year old truck. Just some minor hammer and dolly work to get the front panel completely flat again.
The box sides have some nasty dings here and there that I have to address, but my plan is this:
As little welding as possible.
Remove box sides.
Scribe 11” out of the front of the box.
Scribe 12” out of the front of the box.
Remove spot welds in front bed brace that hangs down.
Remove front stake pockets and spot welds if necessary.
Cut out 11”, leaving extra tabs to accommodate the stake pocket.
Cut out 8” of rear bed side. This includes chopping out the light hole. More on that later. Keep cut line as close to rear taillight compound curve as possible.
Remove right rear stake pocket assemble. I have some terribly bashed up iron here and need access to the back side to get it straight before rewelding.
Separate the inner and outer panels so as to creat accesss for hammer and dolly work and to fix any wheel well rust.——This scares me!
Cut inner skins in front of the rear stake pocket and remove 8”. Repeat at the front stake. I want to retain the bead bent into the metal from factory, so I will have to weld this up. -approx 2 ft weld near bead. Should be somewhat stiff.
Patch any rust. Recontour the wheel opening at the bottoms and fix rust, etc.this will be a big job also.
Fix front brace on the box leading edge if necessary.
Attend to wheel well rust.
Plug weld inner and outer skins back together using old tacks as references.
FOLD the front 1” extra over top of the front bed brace and plug weld in for a factory look.
Weld rear panels back up and adjust, as required, to get the slight body line drop to line up. It shouldn’t be too bad. Only a bit an estimated 1/4 to 3/8' over those 8” I have outlined. It shouldn't be too bad... should it?
Prepare for bed wood.
Modify front panel for wood. Same for rear cross sill.
Redrill side bolt holes if need be.
Somewhere in there I am going to sand blast and epoxy the whole inside/outside of the skins so there will never be rust up there again. It is pretty rusty up there.
Side marker lights I haven’t quite decided on yet. Cut and Weld? Build a mold and press it?
Well, that’s the plan. It is a big, ambitious, probably stupid thing to attempt, but I want to try to keep the box sides and front panel at least. So far, I have removed most of the rotten bolts(ugh), removed the fender braces, inner tubs, hammer and dollied the snot out of those tubs and got them straight again, removed the left box side, and began laying out the cut lines on the rear box side.
Fingers crossed this works, or I’m out a lot of cash for a replacement box...
Oh, by the way, I also picked up a used ‘72 GMC hood that side steps a lot of steel work. It is very nice. 4 tiny little dings vs a huge front end pinch, tree damage, and various smashes over top of the hood braces. https://photos.app.goo.gl/XAnBZ29dDe9ygyFj8