In part 3 of our Speed Bump build, you might remember that we took the body of our tired F-100 to Dustless Blasting in Clovis, California to have the years of paint, body filler, and rust removed. You might also remember that the blasting process revealed a truck that was far worse for the wear than we ever imagined, with parts of the truck actively doing their best to return to the earth.
To get this rusty old truck back on the road, we knew we needed some serious professional help and turned to our friends at LGE-CTS to spearhead our rebuilding efforts. Together with Alfredo Altamira at Altamira Autobody in Upland, California, we were able to put a plan in place to start reversing the damage and age on Speed Bump and prepare it for the paint booth.
Knowing the extent of the rust we were faced with, our first call was to LMC Truck. LMC Truck, a trusted and important resource for the enthusiast truck market, is a company that has seemingly everything you would need to build a truck from scratch. LMC’s illustrated catalogs are dedicated to commonly needed, as well as hard-to-find parts, and they support a wide variety of vehicles, stocking more than 30,000 parts.
For this installment of the build, we raided LMC’s catalog for just about every patch panel they make, which is nearly everything you need to fix one of these old trucks, within reason. The vast majority of sheetmetal patch panels come are e-coated, and the patch panels and reproduction sheetmetal parts are reasonable replicas of the stock body parts, doing a good job of matching up with the stock bodylines. With our LMC goodies on the way, we delivered the body and parts to Atlamira Autobody to begin the beautification of Speed Bump.
Within a few days of dropping the body off, we received the grim news from Alfredo; due to seriousness of the rust, as well as improper previous repairs, the old cab wasn’t salvageable. The news hit like a rod through the block and immediately visions of scrapping the entire build crept into our thoughts. Fortunately Alfredo felt that he could find a new cab to work with for a reasonable price and bring the truck back from the brink. Within days, a hideously orange, but solid, early ‘70’s cab was located nearby and purchased. We were back in business!
Right away we had our new-to-us cab blasted. The surface rust we noted when we bought the cab was just that, and save for a couple of minor rusted spots in the floorboard, the cab was solid. Even the rear corners and body mounts were pristine, a rare feat for this era of F-series. Now, there are differences between the ’67 trucks and the ’68-’72 trucks, notably unique doors and dash. Because our one-year-only ’67 doors were in decent shape, we decided on keeping them with the newer cab. This would allow us to devote our budget to concentrating on the rough and wavy bed floor. Yep, that is where we were going to put the majority of our time and labor.
With the build back on track, we got down to work. Fortunately for us, the LMC patch panels were often much bigger than what we needed, allowing us to repair the damaged areas, while leaving as much factory sheetmetal as possible. As with all sheet metal parts, these panels requires the deft eye and skills of an experienced body man to fit them just right. It is important to remember that these trucks were manufactured on the same tooling over the course of many years and no two trucks are exactly alike. With a great recommendation from LGE-CTS we were put into the capable hands of Atlamira Autobody, so read on to see the outstanding results we achieved with the LMC sheetmetal parts and a qualified shop.
These well-loved LMC catalogs became our go-to resource, not only for this part of the build, but for just about everything in our build-up going forward.
One of the best days of the build was when the LMC parts arrived. This meant that we were about to start this project in earnest, and get a rust bucket of a truck back to a condition it deserved to be in. Nothing is better than reviving old metal, and LMC makes that possible with the company’s extensive catalog of parts.
Here are a couple examples of the e-coated patch panels that LMC offers. These panels are available for the most problematic areas of popular vehicles, such as the floorboards and rear cab corners shown here.
After pulling the cab from the frame, we were able to thoroughly inspect it. Unfortunately our cab turned out to be so rotten, even LMC’s high-quality patch panels couldn’t save it. Here you can see the driver’s side rear cab corner.
With almost the entire floor missing, or more accurately floors patched with fiberglass and tin flashing, we knew the cab wasn’t going to be structurally sound. Even if we were able to patch it up, the cab would never be right.
Another area of concern on Bumpside trucks are the cab mounts rusting out, and ours were no different. After surveying the damage, we realized the best course of action to ensure the truck was safe and roadworthy was to cut our losses and find a new cab.
Fortunately Alfredo was able to locate a solid and mostly rust-free cab in a nearby junkyard. Once a fair price was negotiated, we hauled it back to the shop to start its new life as part of Project Speed Bump.
After careful examination, we could tell our new cab was from a ’68-’72 truck. The differences are easy to spot, such as a different dash than our ’67, a larger radio opening and a square opening for slider-style HVAC controls, as opposed to the ‘67’s three knobs. The ’68-’72 trucks also use different doors, but we chose to repair and retain our ’67 doors.
After media blasting our “new” cab, we were relieved to discover that there weren’t many surprises hiding under the old paint. The paint-free surface revealed solid rear cab corners, rust-free body mounts, and no body filler. Even the roof was nearly perfect.
The only problem areas of the new cab were a small bit of rust at the bottom of the A-pillar on the floorboards, which were easily removed.
Using LMC’s patch panels, Alfredo was able to cut out the amount of metal we needed from the panels and repair the floor.
Moving to the doors, you can see just how extensive the rust was before our repairs, especially on the driver’s side.
After LMC’s lower door skin panels and some quality bodywork, the end results are hard to argue with.
With the major metalwork completed on the cab, it was ready for paint prep and we moved on to the bed.
Unfortunately our bed was a mess, featuring a wavy and pitted bed floor that looked like it had been hauling unsecured bowling balls off-road in acid rain storms for the last 50 years. There were dents all over, holes from the old factory trim in the besides, and pinholes poking through all over.
While the bed floor was bad, the passenger bedside had a massive dent that appeared to be filled with concrete and the rear corners were waging a losing battle against time. Not to be outdone by the rest of the bed, the bedrails held their own signs of abuse, feeling much like a topographical map of the nearby foothills.
Because the hardened bedside body filler was so hard and thick, it was easier to just remove that portion of bedside and patch it.
Using an LMC bedside patch panel, Alfredo cut out the section of metal that we needed and fitted it to the hole in the side of our truck bed.
Here is the result of Alfredo’s work on the bedside, an imperceptible repair done right.
Another problem area was all the pinholes in the exterior bed corners. Rather than trying to fix the already weak metal, we cut out the cancer.
Once again, it was the LMC patch panels to the rescue, allowing Alfredo to make worry-free repairs in the areas that needed them most.
Here you can see the like-new bed corners after Alfredo worked his magic.
For some of the areas of the bed that LMC didn’t offer a repair solution, Alfredo made his own patch panels. Here you can see new metal in the bed floor corner where plumbing for the in-bed fuel tank used to pass through.
Alfredo also made new underside bed supports from scratch, where necessary, and hand-worked the factory bed floor, welding up holes, pounding out every dent, and making the floor as straight as possible.
Considering how bad the truck was when it arrived at Altamira Autobody, we couldn’t be happier with the results. Thanks to a skilled body man and the support of LMC and the company’s various body repair panels, we are one step closer to taking project Speed Bump away from the junkyard and returning it to the open road.