Dropping your whole truck down for that slammed crusin’ stance requires careful planning, modifying, and trimming of the different parts and pieces that are in the way. It’s just that simple.
The little 1956 I bought is a prime candidate for some modifying, trimming, and finishing up. The Mustang II is already installed and done. The brakes, although not power, work great with the Corvette master cylinder that got installed. The small-block Chevy runs great, but the tranny needed to be rebuilt. Since the rebuild, the truck has been trouble free. But back to what we’re here for.
The rearend was still mounted stock, under the springs. This gave the truck a real stink bug look. So while the cab was in having the bodywork done, I removed the rearend and did the “flip.” A 3-inch C section in the frame, rearend placed on top of the springs, centered and the mounting pads welded back on. This got the rearend mounted where it needed to be. But with this rearend being 61 inches wide, my wheels and tires hit the fenders. That’s OK; I expected that. There are two ways you can fix this.
One is to have the rearend narrowed to a proper width and install wheelwells into the bedsides. For years at Bobco we have used a 55-inch overall rearend with 21⁄4-inch wheelwells from Dan Carpenter. This will get you right at 14 inches of clearance between the wheelwell and the edge of the fender. The wheels are normally 10 inches wide with 41⁄2-5 inches of backspace. This way is very expensive, but gives you the big tire under the stock fender.
The second method is to widen the fenders. That’s what I did because that’s what I do, so it kept the cost down you might say. You could also just buy a set of wider fiberglass fenders and be done with it. I have never personally liked the wider glass fenders because of the way they cover the edge of the running boards and they look a little out of proportion to me, but that’s my opinion. The two days it took to modify the fenders didn’t cost me anything but time, plus I only wanted to add 2 inches and I modified the running board ends to match the fenders, like stock.
So now I have trimmed and modified and got the truck to sit where I want it. Now I have a clearance problem with the top of the rearend housing and the bed floor. One good bottoming out and there might not be a bed floor anymore. So this brings us around to why I have called you all here in the first place.
The obvious solution is to cut a hole in the bed floor and make a nice box to cover the hole. That way the center section has room to move. Well, obvious to some, but I’m thinking of something better without a hole.
I came up with this idea years ago on a pro street ’56 we were building and have done it to a lot of trucks since. I built a framework to remount the floor 3 inches higher. This will give you a ton of clearance with the rearend housing and you won’t have a chrome or painted box in the middle of your bed.
Follow along as I make a new bed floor mounting framework that will raise the bed 3 inches and give you plenty of clearance with the rearend housing.
It’s made out of 1x1-inch L angle with some 1x1 square tubing for mounts. I weld in two supports that, along with the front and rear supports, are drilled for the bedstrip bolts. After you bolt the structure to your bedsides, you install the bed wood to the structure the same way as stock. We have our bed wood cut special so there is not a recess on the outer edge of the bed wood, where it used to fit under the bedside flange.
This framework uses the lowest rear fender bolts and runs at that level around the bed. In the front it is bolted to the front bed panel with two 5⁄16-inch bolts and each side gets three 5⁄16-inch bolts down the side. The back gets mounted with two 1⁄4-inch bolts and there are four square tube feet that mount on the top of the chassis with 5⁄16- or 3⁄8-inch bolts. I usually use the stock holes in the top of the chassis where the stock bed crossmembers bolted to.
So I don’t run into any tailgate issues, I stop the framework just short of a full-length piece of wood. I cut off the end that has been routed for the stock trim piece that the F-100s have. Then I make a little fill panel out of some sheetmetal that takes care of the edge and fills the open area left by the new framework.
When complete, you can hardly tell the floor was changed. There is still plenty of room for coolers or whatever, and you don’t have a chromed pimple in the center of the bed either.
For your viewing pleasure, the article shows two versions being built. One for a stock bedside and the other using Dan’s awesome wheelwells. When doing a bed with the wheelwells installed, I basically make a rectangular front and rear section and then join them with the pieces bolted to the wheelwells.
If you should need any parts for your bed as you’re putting it together, Mid Fifty F-100 Parts can handle any pieces you might need. Bed wood kits, bedstrip kits, (stock and boltless), bolt kits, tailgate latches, and stays…you name it.
Dan Carpenter supplies us with the wheelwells we use. We use the 21⁄4-inch-deep ones. He also handles full beds, bed parts, tailgates, latches, and stays as well. Both of these companies have been around for years and are top-notch people to deal with.