One of the largest and most prominent aspects of a classic truck is that protuberance that is flanked by the rear fenders and is what makes a truck a truck. Of course we're talking about the business end of a truck, the bed. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most abused portions of any truck. Finding a classic truck with a decent bed is seemingly impossible these days, but fortunately there are numerous companies out there that offer many choices when it comes to fixing problematic areas. From complete bed kits to individual pieces, it's easier than ever to make that hammered bed as good as new.
When we originally tore into the bed on our F-1 project, it seemed to be pretty decent save for a couple areas around the stake pockets. But as we really got into it, it became apparent that there was more damage than a little hammer-and-dolly work was going to fix. For starters, the rear stake pockets had a handful of extra holes for who knows what, and the rear sill panel had two sections that had been torched out to clear a custom bumper. Fixing these problems alone called for a number of patch panels to be fabricated and installed, not to mention the metalwork that was just not possible due to the inability to reach certain areas. Additionally, the front header panel had been drilled out and bolted back together in a rather archaic manner.
The solution to our problem was to contact National Parts Depot (NPD) and order up a new pair of rear stake pockets, rear sill panel, and front header panel to replace the damaged parts. This allowed us to completely removed the damaged sections and replace them with brand-new pieces.
While this seems like an easy fix, it's actually pretty laborious. The stake pockets and rear sill panel are spot-welded to the bed sides from the factory, which requires them to be drilled out before any repairs can be made. This task is eased by a tool sold by NPD called a Spotweld Cutter. Mounted in a drill, the Spotweld Cutter broaches a 3/8-inch hole in the panel, effectively cutting out the spot weld. Once all the welds are cut out, the stake pockets and rear sill panel can be removed from the bedsides. The 3/8-inch holes are used to effectively spot-weld the new stake pockets to the bedsides, resulting in a factory appearing repair. After the welding is completed, a die grinder knocks the weld down flush with the bed side.
Although the removal and installation of the stake pockets is fairly labor intensive, the new parts yield a much cleaner appearance than what could have been achieved by repairing the original pieces. It also allows the bed to be squared up relative with the tail gate so the final fit and finish of the back side of our truck will be much better than the original. This will also make installing the new bed wood kit next month much easier, so stay tuned!
The first step before any repairs can be made is to disassemble the existing bed wood.
With the wood gone, the bed is bolted back onto the chassis so that the original stake poc
Both bedsides had some pretty serious sheetmetal damage in the stake pocket area that...
...could not be repaired easily due to the presence of the pockets themselves.
Years of abuse have taken their toll on the stake pocket area of the bedsides, especially
The right stake pocket was the worst of the two and has seen better days. There should onl