I wanted to come up with a way to fix the cab corners, but yet last somewhat long. I obviously knew that filling the crap out of the hole with Bondo body filler would be a horrible idea. I have seen many people try that strategy but too often it fails fast, sometimes in mere months! I pondered over what I should do for days; I had so many ideas. Eventually, I asked myself "What about fiberglass mat and resin?".
I made up my mind pretty quickly. I decided to do it: What do I have to lose. Fiberglass resin and mat would hold up so much better than regular body filler. Since I decided to stick with white paint for my budget restoration project, I contemplated doing a two-tone paint job. Nothing I really wanted to tackle right now, but maybe in the future. I figured if I have to redo my cheap fiberglass cab corner job in a few years (the right way by welding in sheet metal replacements) I would add the 2nd tone around the bottom of the truck of whatever color I choose.
So it began... I removed the bed by grinding off the old bed bolts and even sold that rusty old bed on Craigslist for a couple hundred bucks. Have no fear: I was honest with the purchaser about the condition. Starting with the now exposed frame under the bed, I cleaned it all up with a power washer and using wire brushes attachments on a die grinder. I purchased a half-gallon of Rustoleum Hammered and brushed the paint onto the frame. To this day two years later, that paint is holding up nicely. I cut the rusty cancer of the cab corners off and coated it with some POR51. Approaching the cab corners like anyone on the cheap would - I created a backing out of expanding foam by using cardboard to build a template for the curve on the outsides of the corners. The template had a hole in the middle for filling with the foam and space in the inside for draining water. After filling the hole with the gooey stuff it took some time to let it harden and expand.
Using a knife, I made some rough cuts and carving of the foam and proceeded to sand all the paint off the metal body about 7 inches in all directions from where the patch was, which wrapped around the back of the cab. Started apply the fiberglass mat and resin in layers that overlapped the previous layer and always contacted metal body. Sand and repeat. Finally filled the minor imperfections and feathered into the body with body filler. I have attached pictures of the rough cut, mid stage, and finished stage.
I did all the prep work, removed the windows, door seals, door handles, ect. Links are the picture: Taped everything up on the left, taped everything up on the right. My booth was my garage. I cleaned it the best I could. I wrapped everything and taped plastic to the interior where the door seals ride so I could paint the door jambs. I decided, reluctantly, to do the roof and hood in a separate paint session.
I sprayed it. It turned out better than I thought. This is right after the paint job. Got to add my first full vehicle to my belt. I notice all my mistakes. A few runs on the door, a little light on the clear coat in a few spots. I had about $500 bucks in this painting project (not including the bed). Overall, I'm very pleased. Thankfully white hides imperfections well. Since I had the windows were removed, the wife and I went ahead and tinted them all easily in the house. All that was left was to attach the new bed, rewire it, and pick up some new tires, and I would later splice in some new carpet from a single cab truck. Two years later the paint hasn't curled, the fiberglass hasn't fallen off, and I'm still feeling pretty good.
So that's my story. What is your story? I would love to hear it!! Feel free to contact us via social media!