<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> 81tsb - Fabricate: Box Sides - Advice
81 T sb

Box Sides

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My Advice to You

Don't Do It

My advice is simple: this job is a LOT of work and is NOT worth the effort unless your truck is some sort of restoration project. Building a flat deck is a great alternative. Except I don't like the looks of a flat deck and I don't mind putting in the time into this job. Also, keep in mind the price of raw metal has skyrocketed in the last year or so ... so building a flat deck probably isn't any cheaper.


Secondly, I would consider glueing the replacement box panels in place rather than weld them. Apparently, that's how most body shops install replacement panels these days. I decided to weld the replacement box panels in place. Not just spot or tack weld, but COMPLETELY weld the replacement box sides to the bed and box rails. Although welding is far superior in strength than glueing, I would guess it nearly TRIPLED the time needed to complete the job.

I burned through about 7lb's of .023 wire and nearly one fill of shielding gas. Not to mention the mind-numbingly slow progress trying to prevent the sheet metal from warping. The problem with glue is that it's simply not as strong as a good solid weld. Plus, glue can harden and become brittle over time. Perhaps a good compromise would have been to tack weld AND glue.

Measure Twice Cut Once

Thirdly, I'm not sure this step was neccessary but I'm glad I took it anyways. Obviously replace one box side at a time. But before you remove one box side, it may be a good idea to build a jig to brace the box and box bed to prevent it from shifting and becoming out-of-square. The box side is a structural part of the box and by removing it, the box bed may sag or the corners may shift.

Be Comfortable

Finally, try to be comfortable. Unlike mechanical repairs where your comfort really doesn't affect the quality of your work, when you're doing body work the quality of your work is affected by your comfort level. This is really easy to do and well worth the extra effort: the box was resting on saw horses and wooden blocks. I used a cherry picker to raise and lower the box as needed. Wooden blocks were added and removed as needed as well to adjust the height of the box.

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