All about that truck bed

Today was a lot of cleanup and organization.  I got a lot of the parts out of the garage and into my shed for storage while I work on the meat and potatoes – drive train, plumbing, brakes, electrical etc.  I got the spare passenger door mounted and in place, but I need to strip the original door for locking mechanisms, glass, etc.

I got the bed pulled off and began disassembly.  The bolts that mount the fender flares were Phillips head which kept stripping.  Makes zero sense to me as why they would decide to use those.  The nuts were all rusty and stuck, so after about two hours of working, I made the executive decision to grind each of the bolt heads down with a 4.5″ angle grinder. After about another hour, the fenders popped right off.

The fender exteriors were in good shape, but there was some surface rust starting to form underneath.  Colin and I used wire brushes and liberated the rust, I cleaned them up and sprayed 3-4 layers of 3M rust inhibitor inside of each.  Tomorrow they will be undercoated black so I won’t have to worry about them rusting out.  They are about $300 each and I don’t want to spring for extra sheet metal when I don’t have to.

Speaking of sheet metal, I had to order a replacement front bed panel for the bed.  I got the best deal from Raybuck Auto Body Parts for $113.45 after shipping.  All of the new sheet metal should be here this week, which is exciting because I have a few bachelor nights as the wife and kids are out of town.

Achieved a lot today, hopefully I can continue with the progress!

Front clip removal

Yesterday I only got a few hours to work on the “new” project truck.  I got a lot of things removed and blown apart that I had trouble with the first night.  The front clip has been completely disassembled, including the core support and bumper.  After disassembly, I found that there are some sheet metal issues with the fenders that, unfortunately now they have to be replaced.  It looks like, however the sheet metal is relatively cheap.  I can get a new hood, inner and outer fenders for just over $200.

I am finding that space is both limited and valuable.  I am quickly filling up my part of the garage with the extra parts that came with the truck, as well as the body panels that were removed.  I may be taking a lot of the unusable sheet metal to the scrap yard to get some money towards replacements.

Also, I have read multiple sources that told me to label and bag everything.  I splurged on 2 boxes of sandwich-sized zip lock bags and I just write on them with a sharpie.  I’m being hyper-neurotic of labeling and bagging all of the bolts with location and socket size, removing as much guess work as possible.

I also stopped by Harbor Freight and bought some off-brand go-jacks.  This will allow me to slide the truck around the garage fairly easily, and should help keep my wife happy so she can park her new Yukon XL in the garage as well.  I also picked up some saws-all blades, grinding disks, ratcheting wrenches, and wire brushes – totalling $164.30.

After putting in about 4 hours of labor that evening, I sat down and bought an e-book on how to rebuild a Chevy 350 small block ( for $21.15.

While I was online, I went to and bought sheet metal for the interior, which included floor panels for both sides, interior and exterior rockers.  They don’t necessarily need to all be replaced, but I think it’s prudent to replace them before they get to a point where they need to be.  I will get them welded in, sealed, and undercoated, and they I won’t have to worry about them anymore.  I noticed huge price differences between LMC Truck, JEGS, JC Whitney, etc.  JEGS was by FAR the cheapest AND had free drop shipping.  Total for that was only $121.94.

It was an expensive day, but I saved as much money as possible – $307.39.

A new project is arriving!

I’m totally nerding out right now.  In less than two hours, my new project vehicle will be delivered to my home.  I did a quick website for a guy and he offered me a choice between a ’73 Plymouth Duster, a ’72 Camaro and  ’78 Chevy Step-side truck as compensation.  I chose the truck because a.) I like trucks, b.) the two muscle cars required far too much work, c.) nothing is more American than classic trucks, and d.) the truck had the most parts and least amount of rust.

Here are the initial pictures (more coming when she arrives):

I really like this style of truck – we used to have one when I was a kid (style-side, not step-side).  A lot can be done – I can restore it to original condition, I can slam it and give it more of a street look, or I can even put a slight lift on it, like I did with my daily driving Ford F-150 (which has yet another check engine light on).

The pictures don’t do the truck justice, keep in mind, none of the body sections are bolted to the frame right now and it’s already got 2″ drop spindles installed.  The cab and bed are also full of replacement parts.

The truck also comes with a Chevy 350 Small Block and TH350 transmission.  This is important because they are extremely common and the parts are comparatively cheap.  I also have a line on another (free) TH350 transmission as a backup, so that’s huge.  Speaking of cheap, the sheet metal for the truck is not expensive at all.

I’m going to break everything down to the frame and work my way up.  I’ll see what I’m working with and weigh my options as I go.  There isn’t really a wrong way to go. I’m going to use this project as an opportunity to learn welding, body work, and improve my mechanic skills. Most importantly, this is an opportunity to build something with, and spend valuable time with, my kids.

Before I start investing much money into the truck, I want to pay off my daily driver.  This will help me stay in good standing with the boss lady. Success in this project will require that, a solid plan, a lot of patience, and an open mind.  It’s all about the attitude.