Chuck the Truck's 52 Chevy - Bed & Grille

I decided the best way to tackle my painting dilemma was to paint it all at once. I got all my body work on the remaining parts done, then had one big weekend paint party. Of course, I was the only guest at the party.
The bed had to be reassembled with the angle strips welded in before painting. I bought a new rear cross sill, tailgate, and front panel since the old ones were beat to death. I started stripping the paint off the old tailgate only to find the top tube was nearly flat. It was built up with almost an inch of bondo then painted. Yikes! The sides were rough, but salvageable. It will be a driver, so they don't need to be perfect.
I bolted the front panel in place, clamped the rear cross sill in, and put the tailgate in position. Squared it all up, with woodshims to get the tailgate gap right, then welded the sill in.

Next time use thicker shims -an 1/8" on a side is too tight once things start moving around
.

I was scratching my head on the loaction of the angle strips, since I had never seen any, nor an original wood bed. I guessed that the strip of oak used as packing with angle strips was from a bed wood kit. I put it in place, saw how the holes in the angle strip lined up with the rear cross sill (there are left and right, but they weren't marked), and clamped it down. Drilled holes from the outside for my "spotwelds" and got to welding. The wood "brace" is because I don't have a clamp with a deep enough throat. It worked.




That right rear corner is a new piece of 16ga sheet and the stake pocket is new. I managed to warp the side badly welding it in, but torch, quench, and some hammer work got it reasonably flat. I will be more careful next time - the flat panels warp easier than curved panels, like fenders.
Here the assembled bed is hung for painting. The chains allow for easy adjustments, since I use a big snap clevis on the end.
The 2x4s are supporting one of my old parts bins - the old bedliner.




More parts getting hung and prepped. I tried removing just the clear and bad paint on the visor, since I read on Stovebolt that it had a special primer. I went through to bare aluminum in a couple spots, so I hit it with PPG Metalprep, DX579.




My paint party is going down as planned. Everything is hung and ready for final wipedown. Prime all the stuff that is going to be red Saturday morning. Let it dry for an hour or so, then put down the red. Let the red dry overnight, move the red parts indoors then prime all the parts for black. An hour dry time, during which I'm masking the grille for the two-tone black, then spray the black. Let the black dry for an hour, move that stuff outside, and paint the remaining parts with the interior color.







A post on the Stovebolt Page prompted me to rate the panels I installed. This may be useful to someone about to tackle these jobs.

"If you want the opinions of a rank amateur who just installed about every cab panel available for an AD, read on. Most of mine were so well rotted that I had no genuine articles to compare to. All from ChevyDuty, purchased over the past year:

Full outer cowl panel = 1 It was great, I couldn't believe how nice it looked and how well it fit. Good black primer. I wish they were all this good.

Inner to outer cowl = 4 If I had anything left of the old ones, I probably would have been better off making my own. Wrong curvature, too wide, and too narrow. Cheap, flake type primer

Inner cowl = 3 Wasn't bent properly to match the floor, but had just enough material to rework it. The passenger side would have better if it was tall enough to form the entire fresh air opening. Cheap primer.

Toe board = 2 The only improvements I would like to see are adding the rolled lip to the column opening, adding the pedal seal retaining tin and the accelerator pivot, all welded to the original. Or at least if they were available separately. Cheap primer.

Floors = 2 I think they were fine, but I located them too far forward, pinching the trans opening due to the angle of the rockers. Cheap primer.

Front floor support = 3 It was workable, but I had to do some cutting and bending of flanges to get the length right. May have been missing some detail - fuzzy memory. Decent gray primer.

Rockers = 3 Only approximated the contour, missing angle bend near front, but workable. Oiled.

Outer cab corners = 4 I don't think they were as bad as Stan calls them, but I'm no expert. About an inch or so short in each direction - stopped a 1/2" from the door opening instead of wrapping around, and came just shy of where the back of the cab rusted from the tank support. I made them work. Oiled.

Stake pocket = 2 Just a little tweaking needed, contour off a tad, irrelevant to me, but on a concours? Oiled

Tailgate = 1 Not a patch panel per se, but no complaints, just needed a little deburring. Some kind of clear coating?

Front bed panel(American Classic) = 1 Ditto above, no problem. Decent gray primer.

Inner cab corners, firewall corners, door hinge post, front fender patches (inner and outer), rear fender patches, grille patch, tank support, bedside patch, frame patch I all made myself. Show quality? Heck no, but good enough for a driver.

The new catalogs show many new and improved patch panels - OE style rockers, door hinge post, rear cab support, improved inner cowl, so I don't know how relevant these rankings are anymore, but at least you know not to expect perfection in patch panels.