I have been pretty busy now that summer has finally arrived, although mostly doing boring stuff like building and garden work, but as well as the more mundane jobs I have also been busy in the workshop. I’ve pretty much stopped all work on anything else to concentrate on the Sunny truck. I started by redoing a couple of repairs I had already done but wasn’t happy with. These were both on the right hand bed side which is probably the worst part of the truck, as it was not only badly rusted but also covered in dents….
First task was the top rail on the bed. I had previously tried to cure the rust in the seam where the bed side panel joins the rail at the top, but I wasn’t too pleased with the result, plus I couldn’t get to the surface rust up inside the rail itself which I feared could end up causing rusty streaks down the new paint and eventually lead to more corrosion. So I decided to do it the hard way and cut the entire rail off the bed side.
I then welded new metal into the top of the bed side panel, eliminating the seam entirely. I removed the rust from the inside of the rail by soaking it on acidic brick cleaner. To do this, I used a length of plastic drain pipe with one end blocked off, which was secured in an upright position then filled with the chemical. Just over 24 hours was enough to see it back to bare clean metal. I then washed and dried it before painting the inside with high build etch primer. The rail had to be seam welded back into position, which was quite a laborious job, as to prevent distortion I could only do little bits at a time, before leaving it to cool. The rust and potential future rust traps are now eliminated, plus the rear end of the rail now lines up better with the tailgate than before. Only downside is I now have to do it all again on the other side!
While I was in the mood for re-work, I also tackled the repair I had previously done to the lower rear section of the bed side between the arch and the rear corner. I’ll admit I hurried this repair first time round and made a shoddy job of it, so I chopped the lot out and spent some quality time with my sheet metalworking tools, fashioning a proper repair panel and making the finished panel as straight and smooth as I could. It’s a great improvement.
So having spent a couple of days making no real progress, I finally got on with some much needed work on the back of the cab. This was originally badly damaged, I presume from a heavy object falling on it. The rear of the roof was very dented and flattened, leaving the gutter totally bent out of shape. The roof skin had actually separated from the gutter at the spot welds. I had already reshaped the roof best I could and re welded the join so now I had to get on with smoothing the gutter back into shape and trying to finish flattening out the roof panel. The gutter took some careful work with a couple of light hammers, various dollies and a flat strip of steel, to get it back to shape, but the roof panel is so stretched it’s going to require some patience to get right. I also flattened out the three raised bumps in the body where the rear window guard bars originally mounted. I don’t like the guard bars and, as I don’t plan to do any heavy duty work with the truck, they are not really necessary. Rather than just leave them off, I wanted to make it look like there never were any in the first place. Flattening the bumps was harder than it looked but with a lot of heat and a domed body hammer I got them flatted out sufficiently.
Next area to tackle is the bed floor. Once the welding is complete I think I will turn the truck on its side, then strip and rust treat the underside. Not a pleasant job but it’s got to be done! More soon!