Well, since the weatherman was saying that it was going to start getting much colder here, with a strong chance of snow, I decided early in the week that I'd take a vacation day today to get the side panels cut off the LWB box, since I'd have to be outside to do it. However, the cooler weather couldn't hold off for one more day apparently....it was just too chilly to work outside today. Therefore, I decided to just work inside, and do what I could with the bed.
Pic. 1 - I drilled out the spotwelds holding the front support and got it removed, so now it was time to get started on the cleanup. I spent the entire day today cleaning the bottom side of the bed floor. The first picture is a shot taken just as I was getting started.
Pic. 2 - Because of the dust and debris I was kicking up, I'd have to take fairly regular breaks, so I could throw open all the doors and windows to let the shop air out. This composite shows why...the first pic was just before a break, the second was taken about 10 minutes later after I opened all the doors and windows and fired up a couple fans. I tried just using a cheap dust mask at first, but that just wasn't cutting it....I had to dig out my paint respirator just so I could breathe in there! So occasionally I'd have to go outside to get some fresh air....and have a smoke.
Pic. 3 - Here's a shot of the day's progress. I was planning on getting this completely finished up efore heading home, but my angle grinder had different ideas. I've been using this thing so much over the past few months that I completely wore the brushes out. The last hour or so it was loosing power, until it finally got to the point that it would barely spin. So I guess I have to see if I can find some brushes for this thing locally.
Anyway, the nooks and crannies I wasn't able to reach with the wire wheel will be cleaned up with the sandblaster. You might ask why I'm taking the time to do this if I'm going to sandblast it anyway. Well, I've found that using a wire wheel beforehand really speeds things up in the sandblast booth. For this job, I could either spend three days in the sandblast booth working the heck out of the air compressor, or one day with a wire wheel and one more sandblasting.
Pic. 1 - Got the lower bedsides removed. You can see the pitting that's on the inside of the inner bed wall. These will need to be replaced. Fortunately these are just flat steel so welding in new pieces will be the easiest part of the project.
Pic. 2 - You can see the inner bed wall and wheelwell on one side has been cut out and set aside. I left about 1/2" of edge to allow myself something to weld the replacement metal to.
Pic. 3 - The upper bedsides and corner posts are removed from the front wall and will be salvaged.
Pic. 1 - The finished product...the floorpan section after the front and side panels were removed. This whole process took me a good 4 hours or so. You can also see that I kept the four side-panel lower supports (hanging down on each corner), by just using the cut-off tool and cutting away a small section of the lower fender. I'll clean these up and reuse them as well.
Pic. 2 - In this close-up you can see the broken spot welds that I would have to grind down.
I decided to go ahead and get started on the box repair as well. My '67 box was pretty bad underneath. The support braces, rear mounts and the lower sidepanels were pretty rusty, so I'd been keeping my eyes open for another SWB box to use instead. I bought a '72 SWB on Ebay and made arrangements with the seller beneficial to us both (long story)....he'd keep the cab and front sheetmetal, and I'd get the box and chassis delivered. He said it was pretty much rust-free, but I found out otherwise after it arrived. Since buying this pretty much depleted my truck funds account, I decided the only thing I could do was do a LOT of cutting and welding and combine the best pieces of each into one good useable box. MAN, this is going to be a LOT of work!!! I decided that the '72 box would supply the floorpan and supports, and I'd have to remove one support from the '67 bed to replace the rusted piece. Since both beds had rusted and/or beat-up side-panels, I was going to have to cut the panels from my LWB parts truck, and then trim the panels down to fit my SWB.
Pic. 1 - This pic was taken the day it arrived. At first glance it doesn't appear too bad. However, once you start looking at it more closely, it's not in the best shape. The bed seams are rotted out and patched with Bondo, the front bed panel has rust issues in two areas, and the front floor support is completely rusted out.
Pic. 2 - After trying to drill out the spotwelds and realizing that most of them were completely inaccessible without a right-angle drill, I decided to just dig out the air chisel and see how that would work. This was taken right after removing the L/S end cap.
Pic. 3 - A view of the box side almost completely removed. You can see that the inside wall and wheelwell are pretty beat up....that's because I found that using a BFH did a pretty good job at popping the factory spotwelds, though I still had to use the air chisel on a few.