L.  Test Fitting New Bed And Floor Panels

Post date: Aug 10, 2015 4:56:57 PM

After cutting out the Smugglers Box floor, back bed panel, back package tray and spare tire carrier the rust was mostly removed from the bed.  Then came time to drill countless spot welds out to remove the flange areas of the panels that were removed.  All of that resulted in this:

And that left the El Camino looking like this:

With the old out the process of fitting the new panels began.  The floor pan used for replacement is a great approximation of what was removed, but it differs a bit from the original.  It is the only one available for this replacement and is a DII piece.  It is a one piece floor pan which is great except that it can't be physically fit in one price.  This is because the entire body wasn't disassembled and rebuilt from the beginning.  So first the pan needs to be split in half and then each half fitted.  Once that is done a filler patch will need to be welded in to make it one piece again.

Trial fitting is a tedious process and should be done with many small cuts.  After endless cycles of installing and un-installing the fit is reasonable for the trial.

With the floor pan fit, the spare tire panel, back bed panel were fit.  These items are Dynacorn parts and fit remarkably well.  Some additional tweaking of the flanges will be required, but nothing major.

And finally, with the back package tray and Smugglers Box Cover.

Before all the panels can be welded in, the rear quarter panels must be removed.  The reason is the quarter panel in the sail area is sandwiched between the roof structure and the inner wall of the bed.  That back bed panel welds to the bed inner wall and so once it is installs the quarter cannot be fit to the car.  It would be possible to replace the quarter without the sail panel, but in the case of the Shop Truck the sail panels are one of the problem areas.  So the plan is to tack in the Smugglers Box floor pan and the spare tire panel to give the body some of its rigidity back and then attack the quarter panels.

Here is a quick look at what is ahead - the first photo is the sail panel area from inside the bed looking out (passenger's side).  The second photo is the same, but with outlines showing how the panels fit.  The solid red outline is the quarter panel and where it turns to dashed red it is behind the inner bed wall panel (outlined in yellow).  So the spot welds holding them must be drilled - probably completely as there is an inner structure panel on the other side of the quarter panel.  There is also a filler piece that fills the area between the quarter and the inner bed wall.  This is necessary as it is impossible to stamp that detail complete in the quarter panel.  The factory then brazed this joint at the front.  Of course having 2 dissimilar metals joined isn't a good idea as it will result in a galvanic reaction with water present.  You can see the corrosion that ensued because of this.