<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> 81tsb - Fabricate: Box Sides 5 - Inner Panel Prep
81 T sb

Replacement Box Sides

(5) Inner Panel Prep

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Inner Panel Prep

Again, I had to remove the outer edge of the box bed because it was rotten. As I mentioned earlier, there are three pieces of metal sandwiched together at this location.

Driver side rear quarter:

On hindsight, maybe I should have fabricated a L-shaped piece so that there is a flange that contacts the replacement box panel. The advantage of doing that is extra metal around the flange would have acted as heat sink to prevent the sheet metal from warping when welding.

Passenger side rear quarter:

Although it would have made life a lot easier, I didn't do it because I didn't want to overlap / sandwich two pieces of metal together even though I could have used seam sealer to seal the two pieces. I decided to T-weld the bed to the replacement box panel.

Ok, more on T-welding sheet metal later. I managed to get quite a few tech tips on how to do this without warping the metal.

The inside replacement box panel is sand-blasted along the length of the welded seam and wheel well.

.... Same with the other side. The only reason I'm doing this now is because I'm sick of welding and need to do something else for a while.
Seam sealer (Pro Form 213) is used to seal the welded areas. The purpose of sand blasting the area is to promote good adhesion between the seam sealer and the metal.
Same with the other side.
Because of the three-panel sandwich at each corner of the box, I had to fabricate a new piece (pictured here) that attaches the bed to each corner of the box side. I could have just tack-welded this piece to the replacement bed side. Instead, I decided to weld it solid because the bed sides support the weight of the box bar and utility rack.
I did the same for all four corners of the box. Pictured to the left is a wet towel that is held in place with a metal bar and a couple of magnets. The wet towel acts as a heat sink and prevents the replacement box side from warping during welding. The newly fabricated piece of metal (pictured here) is T-welded to the replacement box side.
Here is a picture of the finished welds. There is almost no metal warpage. Welding tip: when you're T-welding sheet metal pieces, try to minimize the amount of filler metal (wire) in your weld pool. Less filler metal = less heat = less warpage

A picture of the left rear box corner.

All of the seams are sand-blasted and then covered with seam sealer (Pro Form #213). Perhaps I didn't need to use seam sealer because there is no overlapped metal or flanges. All of the welds are either a butt-weld or T-weld.

... A picture of the right front box corner.
The seam between the underside of the bed and the box side is sand blasted.
Same with the other side. Notice the gap that the arrow is pointing to. The original box side has a concave curvature at this location that matches the convave curvature on the cab and door. The replacement box panel doesn't have it. Don't force the replacement box panel to conform to original shape of the factory box panel! It won't work and you'll end up using a lot of body filler!
Ok, more sand blasting to remove paint, weld-thru burns, and other debris. I could have just wire wheel'd it but sand blasting is the best treatment.
.... And more sand blasting on the left front of the box below the box bed.
Seam sealer (this time I used Pro-Form 213 instead of 207) is applied to all the sand-blasted areas. Pictured to the left is the right side wheel well.
The left rear wheel well.
Right front.
Here's more inner panel prep: The factory box side is spot welded to a flange on the box rail. This area is also a problem. All of the original seam sealer is removed and the area is sand blasted.
Seam sealer (Pro Form 207 is applied along the entire length of the box rail where the box rail flanges attaches to the box side.

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