Onto finishing the bed’s supports. The last changes to the bed only consisted of the exterior sheet metal and not any structural support. I borrow a rolling frame to work on the bed easily.
With heavy gauge sheet steel I form a new front support.
The front support will tie into the bed floor and the front portion.
With the sheet metal being rusty from swamp coolers I toss the new
support into the sand blasting cabinet.
After sand blasting I paint the inside to protect from future rust
since I won’t be able to paint it after its welded on.
Now I weld the bottom of the support into place.
Then with vice grips I clamp the sheet metal to the support and slowly weld all of the spots welds previously drilled out.
To create the rounded corners of the wheel wells I cut strips of steel and bend them into the rough shape.
Then I go crazy with spot wells to fill the area with material. Kind of ugly, but necessary.
After the welding madness I grind everything to the correct shape.
Now its to extending the wheel wells to reach the front of the bed. I create two paper templates that fit the curves.
I then cut sheet metal to the templates pattern.
Using a rubber mallet and a hole dug in sand I beat the sheet metal close to the correct curve.
Then I slowly weld into place.
And repeat with the second half.
Same process gets repeated for the other side.
Standing the bed on end I clean the area with a sand blaster.
Using a plasma cutter, I remove the excess material.
Creating yet another paper pattern for the small remaining piece of the wheel well.
New piece created then welded into place.
Another piece is made from the template to cover the other side.
When every piece is fully welded I begin grinding down the welds. Then sand blast them.
Using seem sealer I smooth out the welds.
I then mask off the fender and spray bed liner in both wheel wells.
Now I finish off the front support on the inside of the bed. I start by removing paint for clean welds.
Then cut and bend sheet steel to fit.
And weld into place.
Next I drill a large hole through the entire support beam, where a piece of steel tubing will be placed. The tubing will keep the sheet metal from crushing once the body mount is bolted down. With most of the camper’s weight being up front, I use thicker material.
Once aligned properly, it gets welded in place.
Flipping the entire bed over, I weld the under sides of the sleeve.
Then ground flush on both sides.
Body bolted back into place.
Partly patching up a miss-cut and reinforcing I add sheet steel to the inside wheel wells.
Wrapping up the sheet metal work on the bed, I cap off the bed stake holes.