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Old 10-07-2013, 07:35 PM   #1
Sharps40
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John Lee's Synthetic Wood Bed Install

John Lee Jr has a steel bed insert...over rotted wood, loose bolts and serviceable bed skids, angle irons and crossbucks. Time to get it tightened down a bit and see what I need to buy besides trex to redo the bed. Right now I can lift the bed an inch at all 4 corners. The wood rotted and all 8 holddown bolts are loosie goosie.

Unfortunatly the steel bed is welded in so some beads to carefully grind off w/o damaging any good metal...



Just workin around the perimeter with the angle grinder...just enough to pop each weld. I'll clean things up and repaint when I do the bed install.



The last of em loose and ready to lift out the steel.



Good strips, bad wood....I'll clean up, paint and reuse the strips...hardware from the bin at Tractor Supply!



I cut out all the long bed bolts and replaced em with temporary bolts to secure the bed to the frame...should cut down on all the noise...here are the rear most mounts. Same for the other seven holddowns. These will get replaced with heavy duty hardware later...flush mounted...no screws coming up through the bed wood on the redo.







And the steel laid back in while I get busy roundin up bulk hardware, trex and cleanin and paintin the strips.

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Old 10-07-2013, 07:35 PM   #2
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Re: John Lee's Synthetic Wood Bed Install

The worst part of the bed repair is done. Cleanin up the skid strips. Not much rust, just on the surface. All of them reasonably straight after 49 years and not short work but done in a few hours with wire wheels and primer and black paint. Drying now and soon, back in place with good artificial wood and all new bolts ready to serve another 20 years or so.

After knocking out all the pressed in bolts. I knocked em out with a hammer, supporting the off side with a socket to keep from crimping or bending the strips.

Here the bottom sides ready for the first kiss of the low speed and the high speed wire wheels.



The low speed wire wheel does the best work on the underside, reaching into the grooves of the channels. I used the high speed braded wheel on the uppers, rips the rust and paint off lickity quik...



Resting comfortably with two coats of prime and two coats of semigloss black on both sides and all edges. Gonna look good in there with the light grey composite decking.

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Old 10-07-2013, 07:36 PM   #3
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Re: John Lee's Synthetic Wood Bed Install

Messin is fun, so is putting in a good lookin durable bed...here we go.

I'll work in the heat shield from Ol John Lee over this nice Thrush Glass Pack as I install the bed.



But first, some more prep. Please don't weld in a bed unless ya do it right, and please if ya do, pull out the old wood and skid strips first. Grindin all them welds is hard work. Specs say put composite lumber on 16" centers, no less. So, I'm adding some braceing where I have a long open spot or to. An angle at the rear where the motorcycle tire always sits.



And an extra crossbuck up in the middle where its got its widest open area. This should keep things rock solid and it gives me a place to bolt in all them bolts that originally just have washers on em and only pull the wood together. Now it'll pull the wood together and be stronger/well supported across the midsection.



After grindin all the weld blobs and priming and painting the angle brackets, header and tail cross buck....



Down to the wood shop. I am replaceing 8 rotted factory southern yellow pine boards with 5 composite boards. This will make a stiffer flatter bed. Now its advertised as 3/4" thick just like the dimensional lumber that's supposed to go back in but its only 5/8". No worries, I have extra supports and now I only need to make the skid strip grooves. I don't have to mill off the 1/8" for the shoulders under the skid strips cause the new boards are already 5/8" instead of 3/4" thick. Cuttin em to width...two each 10 13/16 by 77 1/8....these will be left and right sides. Two boards instead of 4.



I've cut the skid strip grooves in the right spots and check fitting the skid strips. Looks good, a grey just like weathered wood on a cottage at the beach. The right look for this truck I think....old restoration, should have old looking wood.



A better look at the grooves for the edges of the skid strips....now I gotta mark holes for the skid strip that goes next to each bedside and drill out holes for the bolts.





I've worked these new wide boards into the bedsides where before there were 4 boards and started by bolting down the skid strip. I've left the bed to frame bolts loose and did not yet install the angle bracket bolts....straighten up the bed, pry and prod things into place, drop in the skid strip bolts and cinch em down with washers and lock washers.



Once the bed is square, and the skid strips snugged down, I tightened all the bed to frame bolts. Nice clean look, no carriage bolt heads sticking up thru the bed wood and more secure...the bolts can't smush the wood and loosen up cause they are under the wood instead of like factory which were thru the wood. At this point, I drill out the holes thru the angle brackets on the bedsides and dropped in 3/8 carriage bolts....added nuts and washers and lock washers and snugged them all up too. Hard ones are up front on left and right, ya gotta pull the step sides to get to the nuts!



Cleaned up a bit, a nice look. One board instead of two and bouncy rock solid. The truck bounces under my 180 lbs of pork but the bed don't flex anymore than good yellow pine. And, no rot to worry about.





Tomorrow evening I'll mill up one wide board for the center. It will replace two smaller original boards. I'll bolt it in and then fit the boards that go left and right of center and be done. Hopefully done on Friday morning, my first Furlough day....the first of 11 long weekends courtesy of the scheisters in Washington DC.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:37 PM   #4
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Re: John Lee's Synthetic Wood Bed Install

Another fine evening making wood shavings...or recycled plastic squiggles, well, both actually. Got the center board on...11 1/8" wide by 77 1/8" long. Grooved the edges 1/4" wide by 1/8" deep for the outer edges of the associated skid strips and cut in two more similarly sized grooves on center for the central skid strip of the bed. Drilled the holes down the center and bolted it up into the bed.



This single wide board replaces the two narrow boards that were originally fitted in the bed. Again, one wide composite board and it'll be stiffer with less movement and warpage than the original set up. We'll end up with 5 boards in this bed instead of eight. And, in the process will have eliminated 3 joints and the four narrowest boards, the 3+ inchers along the bed wall and the 5+ inchers in the center section.



Lookin pretty good. My total run out over the length of the central board is 1/8" and its at the center. I suspect the three main cross ties for the center of the bed are actually skewed a bit. I'll fit the last two boards tomorrow and as necessary loosen up some bolts, slide some crossbucks left and right. But, I don't think the 1/8" of misalignment is going to be a problem.

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Old 10-07-2013, 07:38 PM   #5
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Re: John Lee's Synthetic Wood Bed Install

Finally done. Last board is always the hardest. And, who the hell invented the underbed tire carrier. That Sucks with a capital S U C K S. Take it off, put it on, drop it, put it on, drop it, put it on, drop it, strip the nut and drop it again, jack it up, drop it, jack again, drop it, jack and hold with leg, drop it, jack again after cussin for 5 minutes straight, jack not tall enough, get a second jack, drop it, jack it up again, find a nut that aint stripped an a washer to keep it from jumpin off and thru the big hole and cinch it down to 300 ft lbs of torque and I'm drivin on a flat tire to the tire shop for a new one cause I ain't NEVER pullin that tire outta there again. I need a winch tire carrier.

I think I'll wait till tomorrow morning to swap the larger 165 jet into the secondary and then go to the range and shoot my 4570 and my 7x57.

Beds in, last board is always the toughest, next to the darn spare tire. But ready for a light cleaning off of the footprints and then to get it dirty and scuffed up and bloody with deer guts.



It lays pretty good. A few kerfs cut a bit wide and the old strips are a bit wavy from age but I like it.



The beachhouse grey or barnwood grey looks great. Appears to be a nice clean old bed, as soon as I get somma the paint knocked off the skid strips from use....



Down under, way clean and all that shiny new hardware!





That's it. Shouldn't be much but drivin and washin and waxin till fall. Maybe a new glovebox and a sliding back window before then but, fall is the new front and rear suspension. I'm a few ubolts, bushings and inner tie rods short of a full kit of rebuild parts. Since the speed/performance is up, I think I'm gonna add a front swaybar at the overhaul. Just gotta pick one.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:38 PM   #6
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Re: John Lee's Synthetic Wood Bed Install

The composite boards are ChoiceDek Foundations 3/4x11 1/4x 8 BeachHouse Grey Composite Deck Trim Board. Advertised as 3/4 thick but its actually 5/8 thick. Sells here for $29.98 a board but I got 5 for about $18 each. Lowes part number is 371964.
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