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Old 11-23-2006, 09:17 PM
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Sectioning/Rebuilding a 37' Truck Cab?

So...I have a 37' Chevy Dualie truck. The cab is in decent shape, except for the lower, and back half of the body. you can stick your finger through the back-sheet metal, for some reason, and the lower half of the truck....rocker panels, lower doors, cab corners, about everythin, all the way around is pretty much rusted off. The floor is pretty gone also.

So, I was thinking, why not just cut the lower half of the truck off, turn it into a hotrod (which i was planning anyway) and try to rebuild the floors and rockers.

The only problem is, I don't know how to go about it. I have the tools and the metal, and some of the knowledge. I'd just like to have some advice on trying to rebuild the floor, rockers, and most of the "support" for a truck, from pretty much scratch. But It really seems as the only way to save the truck, as the lower half is pretty much shot anyway.

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Last edited by Good Frosty; 11-27-2006 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 11-26-2006, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Good Frosty
So...I have a 37' Chevy Dualie truck. The cab is in decent shape, except for the lower, and back half of the body. you can stick your finger through the back-sheet metal, for some reason, and the lower half of the truck....rocker panels, lower doors, cab corners, about everythin, all the way around is pretty much rusted off. The floor is pretty gone also.

So, I was thinking, why not just cut the lower half of the truck off, turn it into a hotrod (which i was planning anyway) and try to rebuild the floors and rockers.

The only problem is, I don't know how to go about it. I have the tools and the metal, and some of the knowledge. I'd just like to have some advice on trying to rebuild the floor, rockers, and most of the "support" for a truck, from pretty much scratch. But It really seems as the only way to save the truck, as the lower half is pretty much shot anyway.
Anything can be saved given time, patience, and money!

You just have to decide if the project is really worth the effort.

Have you possibly tried looking for a donor truck to get a decent cab from?

Got any pictures to get a better idea as to the extent of rust-through?

I take it you're planning on keeping the dual axle?
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Old 11-26-2006, 09:59 PM
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I wrote this too quick...I guess, i was in a hurry.

I was actually planning on using this cab to build a fenderless truck, I haven't paid anything for this truck other than the labor of hauling it home, the truck i went and got it with was loaned to me.

But, the body is pretty rotted on the lower half, its at the point where i would consider it to pretty much be beyond restoring to "original" condition.

So pretty much all I'm going to be using will be the cab, the front sheetmetal is fine, except the grill, which has been beat open with a axe or something, I have a 34' Ford Grill anyway, and I plan on using it.

I was just wondering on how I should go about re-building the lower half of the cab. It would be pretty much clean cut all the way across using a cut off wheel, I plan on sittin the stripped cab on its back, and just cutting the whole way around.

I don't think it would collapse or anything, the roof is still together, and the truck seems pretty solid as it is right now. There is no floor, nothing left of the rocker panels, and I really don't think cutting the bottom half of the truck off would really change the structure of the cab enough for it to fall apart.

But should i really try to rebuild inner rocker panels? or would a good floor be enough to hold the cab together? I know i'll have to patch the bottom of the doors (Inner door-to-Outer Skin) to keep stuff from getting inside, and for the door skins from flapping around. But I just don't really see how rocker panels would really be neccesary if the sheetmetal is already somehow attached to the floor, but I'm rambling now....

Ah well...I guess I'd need some advice from someone who has actually done this before.
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Old 11-26-2006, 10:29 PM
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Basically on something like that I woudl look for a decent floor pan from something newer and graft the upper part of the cab to the new floor pan..

I hit on this as I am building my rod and needed to make a floor pan and was looking at a trashed S-10 and got the pan from that..

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Old 11-27-2006, 05:55 PM
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I would certainly advise that you brace the cab, by welding in some cross supports, before you cut off the entire bottom half. One of the most difficult parts of a project of this type is keeping everything square. After that it's all your baby. You can do whatever you want. Put in a flat floor, make custom rockers, channel the floor, shorten the body, or whatever. It's all a matter of what you want and can do. Good Luck!
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Old 12-02-2006, 11:23 PM
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I think i have came up with a pretty good plan on how to go about the sectioning.



I would have one set of 2x4s, drilled into door jams, running from side to side. To hold the cab "solid" while i'm cutting. Then, a set of shorter ones, running in the new "rocker" panel area, up and down, i guess, since the cab will be cut on its back, with the doors off. These will keep the firewall and foreward section from collapsing, and destroying the roof of the truck, until a solid floor can be put in. So, I've got braces to hold the truck from spreading, and from the foreward section from collapsing, and to keep it "solid".

So it should work?

Also, one more detail. The green blob on the back section of the cab, is pretty much were the metal is rotted to the point that you can poke through it. So i'm going to have to salvage a Chevette hood or something to patch this. And the red line is some where along the lines of were its going to be cut, maybe farther up. But its just a sketch.

Last edited by Good Frosty; 12-02-2006 at 11:33 PM. Reason: i posted a image of a 53' mercury, instead of my sketches?
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Old 12-02-2006, 11:33 PM
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Might be a good idea to make templets now BEFORE you cut..
You could use posterboard and tape to make patterns for later .

Heres a link that kinda shows a smaller fix but the same idea.
clicky--> http://www.a2zautoforums.com/showthr...0&pagenumber=1

Sounds like a great project ..
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Old 12-03-2006, 10:49 AM
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Another question.

How should i go about trying to get the body back to the point where the doors will shut? Just use a jack and start pushing on one of the rocker panels till the body is back to "square" or what?
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Old 12-03-2006, 04:32 PM
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I would square everything up before cutting anything. Then, as CMC suggested, WELD IN SOME CROSS BRACING to keep it square. Parallel bracing will allow too much flexing. You don't want it to flex at all while cutting and replacing any sheetmetal, or braces. Keep in mind that rocker panels are structural parts of the cab. They are not just there for looks. Even though you will have a frame under the body, it needs strength to keep from being twisted and everything thrown out of alignment.

Aaron
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Old 12-03-2006, 05:03 PM
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First you need to measure the truck out and make certain that it is square, do any necessary straightening. Make the body as right as possible as it is. Then you need to "weld" metal braces running from corner to corner in as many directions as plausible, making sure that it stays square as you go, before you cut anything. Try to make the cab so it will be as solid as possible after it is cut. After you get it completely welded back together and all of your necessary metal has been replaced, then you can cut out the braces, and should have a nice square truck. Then making the doors work will be gravy. I would be against using wood, I don't think it's solid or stable enough. Not to mention, in the event that your project gets delayed, wood will warp over time, so you would have a warped truck.
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Old 12-03-2006, 05:18 PM
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Right now, my plans are to.

Use a jack to push the body back to the point that the doors will shut, and fit the right way. Leave it like that, take the doors off, brace the cab with the 2x4's screwed into the inner door jambs, to keep the body from spreading, or collapsing. This body seems pretty light, so I'm not worried about any of the wood snapping in half.

Cut the bolts off from the body mounts, take the cab off the frame, put it where it can be cut, which will be done side, firewall, side, then the back side of the cab.

As far as bracing the cab (with metal) and flooring. I'm going to use some rockers, flat ones though, that will run from cowl to cab corner. Which will be welded to the floor pan, on either side. I'm planning on using some channel steel or something to brace in the toe-board area, about midway through the floor, and in the back. then the floor will be built on top of this, with probably some bracing inbetween. But, i'll just have to see how things turn out.



I'm actually thinking that the hardest part will be the body work, there is pitted rust everywhere, but i have $0.00 invested in the whole truck. Body work shouldn't be too horrible. I don't like the "Rat" look, which usually means trying to make the vehicle look worse than it actually is. But i have seen some trucks, which have left some dings, some pits, and they still look alright. But they usually have some kind of horrible stake-bed on them, or something else that is supposed to be "old sk00l" but actually looks, or is, useless. Anyway, most of the damage will be taken care of, but my first priority is just getting it together, and running, i'll take care of body work as i can. It may still look too "Rat-cliche" but...i really don't mind. You kinda forget about dents, rust pits, and all of that when your on the road, as i have actually figured out, so this is probably what I'll be doing.

I did manage to find me a $50.00 52' Chevy chassis, which included the cab, and the door, and pretty much everything except the running gear. So this is what it will be built around. The frame is actually narrower that the stock frame of the 37'.

Last edited by Good Frosty; 12-03-2006 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 12-03-2006, 06:44 PM
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As has been said, you need to brace that thing. More than just something to keep the door openings open. You need to keep the cab square! It will collaps when you start cutting. You need to do it with metal, and welded in place.

Cutting corners and trying to do it your way is a recipe for a real mess that will be alot of work to correct.

Aaron
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:34 PM
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but i'm not trying to just keep the door openings open though. I figured that this way, the wood would be holding the body together, once its in square, and the pieces running from jamb-to-jamb up and down, or horizontally if its standing up right, would be keeping the cab from folding in.

Its going to be cut, laying on the back of the cab. Most of my problem...i figured, would be the cab trying to collapse in on itself. creasing the roof. It dosn't seem like it should want to twist much more than it already is, if its laying on its back.

So...anyway, get the cab squared up, weld in some steel supports, before i cut?
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Old 12-04-2006, 03:54 PM
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"cross-brace" it with metal! In spite of what you are thinking it will twist! The supports you are planning on putting in will not keep it from twisting, and as stated you will be in for a world of hurt trying to fix the mess you will make!
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Old 12-04-2006, 05:01 PM
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One of the things you could do and works out well is to fiberglass from the inside on an old cab like that..

Years ago one of thefellows at the fiberglass plant got hold of an old truck cab and rather than replace all the metal he got it straight and then we glassed the inside.of course we had a chopper gun and roving and all that we needed but it worked out just fine..all the existing metal did was give us the shape...and the doors were made to fit and such//sometimes on somethign like this it is easier to fit the cab to the doors than the other way round..

Jut another way of doing this..

Sam
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