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1966 F100 Short Bed Styleside Metal/Body/Paint Work


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I just started another '66 F100 short bed project at the shop, this time it'll be a mild custom. I'll only be doing the metal, body, and paint work instead of a full build like the last one ('66 F100 Stock Restoration).

I'll be fixing the rust, correcting the panel fit and gaps like the last truck, shaving some items on the dash, mocking up a Vintage Air evaporator, smoothing the firewall, adding spots for A/C vents, and painting the truck.

Here is the truck. It seems to be pretty solid overall other than the bed floor and door bottoms; definitely better than the other truck we restored.

 

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First update.  I took everything apart that wasn't needed to make it run.  All of the small parts were bagged and labeled so reassembly will be easier.  I'll drive it around to one of the rear shop stalls tomorrow and finish dissasembly.  

 

 

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I have the bed floor and header panel out now, and have blasted around the peremeter to prepare for welding the new floor in.  A 2008 Super Duty floor is the same dimensions so we ordered one to use, along with a new header panel and front sill from Carolina Classics.  The rear sill isn't available so I'll have to repair and straighten it.  

 

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The seam sealer was difficut to remove by blasting so I used a dremel to cut it out.  

 

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New floor and header. 

 

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Edges blasted to prep for repair work and new panels. 

 

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The four corner panels were all bent and sunk in so I started straightening those this morning.  This was the driver side rear panel.  

 

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I started with the flange, then used a socket and hammer to shrink the panel back flat.  The socket "traps" the metal and lets the hammer push the metal into itself, shrinking the panel.  The socket has to be bigger than the hammer head and you have to keep the hammer in the dead center of the socket or else you'll hit against the edge of the socket and stretch the metal.   MP&C has info on the "donut dolly" technique in his '55 Wagon thread.  http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/showthread.php?t=564201

 

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The inside of all the panels were shot with undercoating so I scraped all of it off to prep for blasting. 

 

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After:

 

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The two center floor braces were bent so I used our tubing roller to straighten them. 

 

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They were also dented around the mounting bolt holes. 

 

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The truck was stripped and repainted at some time.  The paint strips easily and quickly with a razor blade leaving a thin coat of primer and some spots of filler.  I'll strip the primer/filler with a DA sander to avoid blasting and warping the bed sides. 

 

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I test fit the front header and cross brace, the filler panels I made, and the center braces. 

 

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Also cut out the rust that was on the flange that the bed floor spot welds to and welded in new metal.  

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been working on blasting the bed, inside and out and underneath, that's about 95% done.  I'll work on straightening and repairing as much as I can while it's in bare metal before going back over the areas I missed with the blaster and then shooting epoxy.  

 

 

The seam between the upper and lower passenger side bedsides was pretty rough so I spent extra time cleaning it out with the blaster. 

 

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The new F250 bed floor has stamping for a fifth wheel ball, and the owner wants to add a fuel tank under the bed with the filler cap in the bed floor.  I'll cut out two sections and swap them to make the center smooth and have a stamped area around the filler cap. 

 

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The rear corners had back up lights added, so I straightened the area and welded up the holes. 

 

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The bedside is wavy and sunk in over the front of the wheelwell so I've started stretching the area by hammer-on dolly plannishing the area to raise the low spots.  

 

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The bottom driver side behind the wheel opening had a couple creases, dents, and a torn spot on the edge of the flange.  

 

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I had seen people use Bronco wheel tubs to widen the factory tubs, and to use for trucks with raised bed floors but not for stock tub replacement so I wasn't sure that they'd work.  They were only $70 shipped each so we bought one to try out and the stamping ended up being identical with only a couple details that needed attention. 


The stock tubs were pretty rough so I cut them out with the plasma to get to the inner flange. 

 

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For Bronco applications they had a notch cut out for the shock mount.  I welded that up since the bed floor will be welded to that area of the flange. 

 

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Test fit. 

 

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Trimming the bottom edge to match the original shape. 

 

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Couple of pinholes welded up. 

 

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There were dimples in the flange area from the original spot welds so I straightened those so the new tubs would fit flush. 

 

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The driver side bed corner fit pretty well at the bottom but stuck out past the bedside towards the top. 

 

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I was able to reach the spot welds through the taillight opening with an extended nose grinder and carbide burr.  You can see how much I moved the panel inward to make the two flanges flush. 

 

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We decided to shave the stake pockets, so I cut out the flanged lip and made a filler panel that keeps and extends the seam so it looks like a factory panel, if the factory had made a panel with no stake pocket.  

 

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I drilled a couple holes to plug weld the filler panel's flange in place like the rest of the corner's flange. 

 

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Coated the inside of the corner with epoxy before welding it shut. 

 

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Finished. 

 

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The passenger side pocket was a bit more work since the seam was crooked at the top.  I rounded off an air chisel tip and used that to move the edge of the long panel over to where it should've been.  

 

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After moving it over, still not perfect but much better than before.  

 

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Patch made, determining the right spot to make the bend so the gap is even. 

 

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Bent, fitted, and welded weld in. 

 

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The front bed pockets were opened up to get back to flat metal, then were straightened, spot blasted to touch up missed areas of rust, primed, and welded shut. 

 

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The second wheelwell came in so I started getting it ready to install.  The shock notch was welded up first, then I had to narrow the mounting flange to clear the raised lip on the inner bedside. 


I scribed a line on the patch, then trimmed with tin snips for a near-exact fit with no grinding needed.  This saves grinding discs and makes less dust in the shop. 

 

 

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Difference in flange width. 

 

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I welded in the header panel using the original spot weld holes, but some of those were halfway off the edge of the panel so I used a copper spoon to keep the weld contained and the edge straight. 

 

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The upper seams weren't pretty from the factory and they won't really be seen once the truck is assembled.  I welded them up and ground down the welds so that all of it would look decent once seam sealer is applied. 


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  • 2 months later...
On 5/21/2019 at 9:54 PM, Luv2Wrench said:

I like the copper spoon trick.. care to share some more details?

 

Its just a piece of copper tubing with the ends hammered flat.  The weld won't stick to it so it's a great tool to back a hole you want to fill in.  

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I've made a bit more progress, just haven't been posting.  The hood, doors, and fenders are all stripped now.  One fender is trashed too bad to fix, the other is in pretty good shape, both doors are pretty straight with the normal rust at the bottom edge, and the hood is really nice except the edge of the nose.  

 

 

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I also started the bodywork on the upper part of the bedsides.  I'll wait to do the lower section once the bed floor is welded back in, it's too flimsy as-is.  


I always block the "flat" sections first, first the top and then the side, leaving the rolled area for last.  The flats need to be established first before rounding the curved area.   I stopped blocking as soon as I saw epoxy showing through, continuing to block will result in low spots.  

 

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Once the flats are blocked straight I spray more guide coat on the flat areas then carefully block the curved section until it blends evenly into the flat areas.  The guide coat shows how far you're blending the curve into the flats. 

 

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All work up to this point is done with 80 grit on a 3/8" thick acrylic sanding block.  The acrylic has a hard surface force the sandpaper to cut the high areas down quickly and 3/8" is stiff enough to not flex.  80 grit is aggressive enough to shape the surface without leaving excessively deep scratches.   Once everything is shaped with 80 grit I clean the surface well and apply more guide coat, then block it again with 180 to prep for primer.  This round of blocking will show if you blended the curves into the flats evenly. 

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After spraying a couple coats of epoxy to seal the bodywork.  You can see how straight the flats are, how crisp the edges are, and how evenly the curved areas blend into the flat areas.  This will be further refined with polyester high build. 

 

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  • 3 months later...

I didn't go into much detail about this earlier, but the F250 bed floor had four flat areas for a fifth wheel hitch that looked really out of place for use in a '66 F100.  I contacted Robert (MP&C) about having him make dies for his Lennox to reshape those spots into continuous ribs to look more like the original bed floor.  I  sent a sample so he could make dies a while back, and yesterday our schedules finally aligned so we could work on the bed floor.  

 

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We started by gas welding plugs in the four holes that won't be used on the F100.  I didn't want to weld those with a MIG at our shop since the weld would be more brittle and would probably crack during the reshaping process.  Gas welds are much softer and more workable. 

 

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The welds were smoothed down and the flat areas were pre-stretched in the english wheel with a bit of guesswork as to how much we should pre-stretch. 

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Then into the Lennox to add the ribs.  This was done gradually in multiple passes, adjusting the depth of the dies after each pass. 

 

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Slightly reworking the dies to gain more rib height. 

 

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Finished ribs. These are hard to photograph so I stripped an area with the two new ribs in the center of the outer original ribs to show the matching profile. 

 

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18 hours ago, John S. said:

Really nice metalwork on the Ford.

Thanks!

 

 

6 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

What a job! I'm sure this truck will be way nicer than when it was new. I'm surprised by your method to shrink the metal. I don't know exactly how that process is working, but certainly is as effective as with hot spots. Do you have a dolly under the panel?

 

Thanks Roger!  I use a hammer with a slightly convex face and a round dolly (large socket) that's slightly larger than the face of the hammer.  The edge of the socket "traps" the stretched metal and bumping the metal with the convex hammer face forces the metal to work into itself which shrinks the high spots.  

 

Robert has a video on the subject here:

 

 

 

4 hours ago, SeventhSon said:

I have to ask, what's up with that steering wheel? Is that a stock option?

 

Someone got creative with a hacksaw, not stock at all.  

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  • 1 month later...

The bed tops are fully bodyworked and ready for epoxy sealer except for adding and shaping the seam sealer. 

 

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I started prepping to weld the bed floor in by using tubing to align the side panels and leveling/squaring the bed on a body cart.  The header panel was slightly out at the front so I pulled it in with ratchet straps to correct that before tacking the front corner panels in place.  As usual, I applied epoxy between the layers to prevent future rust.  

 

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The bed floor had a few high spots where we accidentally over-stretched before adding the ribs.  That was an easy fix with the shrinking disc. Still need to fine tune it before welding it in but the overall shape is correct now.  I also trimmed the floor to the correct length so it can be dropped in for a test fit.  

 

Before/after. 

 

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Edited by theastronaut (see edit history)
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On 12/9/2019 at 5:18 PM, Mike "Hubbie" Stearns said:

Looking good. Keep up the good work

Thanks Mike!! 

 

 

The '09 bed floor was too long to fit the '66 bed so I trimmed 3 1/4" off the front to make it fit.  It dropped right in place after slightly trimming the 90* flanges at the front to clear the crossmember.  I also stuck the fenderwells back in place to see how they fit against the floor.  It looks really good for just the initial test fit!

 

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Tight fit against the header panel. 

 

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The rear flange fits the recess in the rear crossmember exactly like the factory floor did.  I was a little worried that the raised sides might not fit flush with the four side panels but they line up very well.  The end of the raised stamping on the floor needs to be moved forward about 1/4" to close up the gap, but that's an easy fix. 

 

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We decided to weld studs into the crossmembers and braces to mount the bed to the frame instead of using bolts from the top side.  Two reasons for that; the existing flat mounting areas from the '09 floor didn't exactly line up with the '66 mounting pattern and it would look better without bolt heads showing.  


Since there wouldn't be any flat areas needed for mounting bolts, I extended the ends of the ribs all the way to the edge so all ribs would match.  I did the rear edge first using the leftovers trimmed from the front edge.  Unfortunately each rib is a slightly different height so they didn't line up exactly and the filler panels had to be manipulated into place.  

 

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The process was to get one area to line up, tack it, then work around with a hammer and dolly to make other areas line up.  The small, square face hammer with a pointed end that I found a swap meet was perfect for fitting within the narrow flat spots and inside corners. 

 

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Close up of the misalignment.

 

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Ready for welding solid. 

 

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Welded and smoothed. 

 

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The front edge only had one row of ribs missing and the ends run straight out instead of having a flattened end.  I made my own filler panels since they would be easier to fit and I didn't have enough leftovers after extending in the rear ribs. 

 

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Filler piece welded in.

 

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Welds leveled with 2" 36 grit discs. 

 

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100 grit used next to remove the 36 grit scratches and to fully blend the weld areas smooth. 

 

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100 grit scratches smoothed with 80 grit on a DA sander, ready for epoxy primer.  

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I posted earlier about the rear outside edges not matching the outer corner panel edges. 

 

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After reshaping. 

 

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Tons of test fits, lots of minor tweaks, and drilling a ton of holes for plug welds later, it's all welded in.  

 

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Mounted on a rotisserie, then flipped to finish welding everything underneath.  I'll start bodywork and prep for epoxy primer and seam sealer inside the bed tonight.  

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I roughed in the bodywork on the inner bedsides and outer floor panels, stripped the cheap primer off the wheel tubs, and shot a couple coats of SPI epoxy.   A great thing about SPI epoxy is that it's glossy enough to easily show all the places I missed.  

 

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I started straightening the passenger outer bed side.  I used a sanding block inside and out with 60 grit to find the highs/lows, then hammer/dolly to straighten and level the panel.  Then DA sand it to remove the sanding marks, resand to find the smaller highs/lows, more hammer/dolly work... repeat until it's good enough to skim coat then DA sand it for an even finish and to prep for epoxy.  

 

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Wiped down with wax and grease remover to check the reflection. 

 

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Straightened the rear of the wheel opening flange. 

 

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