I considered building a flatbed. Really, i did. But, in the end, I wanted something with style. And for that, you just cant beat a stepside! Enter the secret weapon!
I removed the busted fiberglass fenders,and the rotted out xmembers, and took what was left of the bed & got it up on the frame. Well, its a tad too long:
But man if that aint a sexy tailgate!
So after some careful measuring, i decided that the bed needed to be 15" shorter. Specifically, 8" from the front, and 7"from the back. So i busted out the sawzall (again) and went to town!
The shortened passenger fender in front of the d.side, shows the difference in length:
The next step was to take the stake pockets, cut the sheetmetal off the back of them and then re-spot-weld them to the newly shortened fenders. Fortunately, a buddy has a spotwelder that he lent me to do this job. And damn are they cool!
then i busted out the dremel, made some choice cuts, and viola, the stake pocket was usable again!
...and that was basically all the fabwork for the fenders. Neat thing with these beds is, the fenders bolt to the header and the rear wall, so it was just as simple as redrilling the holes and the bed simply bolted back together, 15" shorter
Ok, so next up was to make some new xmembers for the bed. Settled on 4, since stock the bed has 5 and this one is a good bit shorter.
Then i bought a pile of 1*3s, and started making a new floor
...and heres something cool...put the toolbox on the rails, and slid a tire in. It *just* fits:
Ok so anyways......i trimmed the floor to match the fenderwells
and got the bed set up there, so i could move it to the driveway for some welding
First things first: Narrow the bumper. Cut ~7" off each side, so figure the bumper is now roughly 18-20" narrower than a stock bronco bumper. Ill have to measure that tomorrow.
Then i cut the rear stake pockets, and then the flat panel in the back as well
So that gets us here, but the bed still isnt bolted down:
I settled on 6 mounts for the bed. 4 in the back, and two up front. Out back they are short, only 2" tall, so i made em like this
Theyre not perfect, but they work so im happy.
Up front, the mounts had to be 5 3/16" tall, so i put a little more effort into them
Heavy bead inside, light one outside, ground smooth, to make them appear as if they are on piece and not 4
Coincidentally, they ended up being dead center on this xmember
...and the other 4
So with those done, they got painted, and the bed installed for the final time.
From there i used a piece of 2" filler neck hose from national, plus a 1 7/8" 45º exhaust fitting, plus halfpof my stock filler neck, to get to the inside of the bed. This is still a work in progress.
i intend to brace this up somehow, just not sure yet
So this gets me caught up to today, when the toolbox got bolted in
I also decided that there is nothing left to do that will be harder to do with the iroks on, so they finally made it back onto the truck
So this officially catches us up to today.
Right now im in crunch mode....i need to relocate the batteries to the bed, re-finish the OBA and get a totally new exhaust system on it before FSB's NE Chapter Ride at Rausch Creek in 3 weeks. After that im going to go back and finish off whatevers left, and then i can start playing with the suspension again.