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Old 08-26-2021, 10:04 AM
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Default Fill panel under '50s pickup bed rail

A customer wants this:

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7aivjpARg...818_102757.jpg

The picture is too big for the forum so please don't edit my post to make it appear. Just tap or click the link, or read the description below. Thanks.

The rolled top of the bed rail is to be connected seamlessly underneath, to the bed side wall at the point where it bends out to become the top rail. Along the entire length of the panels. A MIG welder is the available tool.

Is this possible, assuming the result must be straight? I foresee shrinkage being an issue.




In addition, 29x11x4" tubs will be added to the bedside panels. Boxing the existing rolled bed rail sounds simple, and I have always been able to do what is asked of me but this request concerns me. What are your thoughts or similar experiences?
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Old 08-26-2021, 03:21 PM
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Hi Matt.. With the MIG, distortion along the bed wall is going to be the issue. Big waves. A lot of extra work to get it back flat, but if you have to do it, you know what your in for. Wet towels to take some of the heat out?
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Old 08-26-2021, 05:09 PM
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You could consider breaking the edge along the boxside up vertical (hidden) and plug weld from inside the box side to that vertical edge. When all welding and metalwork is complete, come back and seam seam the joint flush from the bottom.
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Old 08-26-2021, 07:39 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I could tell the guy no and explain why its likely to turn out shaped like a banana. Just wanting to get a feel for general opinion of whether trying is a mistake.

I have considered the suggestion in the illustration but seamless is the key word. I might be most inclined to bond rather than weld, if "with small, pretty seam" will suffice. Perhaps to plug welded strips so the fill panel's edge could be beveled for the smallest seam.

But I don't want to resist the request if most other guys would agree to try it. Rough guessing... if I do this, with tubs, its going to mean about five meters of weld on each panel.

What I can gather from responses thus far is that the wall is in greater peril than the rail. I would guess that the rail would be more sensitive than the wall and much tougher if not impossible to correct.
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Old 08-26-2021, 08:09 PM
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My method would be seamless. The flange you’d use for plug welding would be hidden inside the filler panel. After that, a quick pass with seam sealer and a finger pulled down it to add a tight fillet, finish prime and paint you’d never know.

Yes, I would anticipate the top roll of the bed moving as well. You could potentially find a round tube / pipe the correct diameter and tap in the rolled edge to give it a bit extra strength.

It just depends on how comfortable you are, or what tools or equipment you have to straighten, bend, pull, tweak or adjust a bow in the top rail if it’s needed

Overall I certainly wouldn’t turn a customer away for that task…really should t be that involved of a project.

If you are really concerned about the top rail, you could do a 90 deg (wouldn’t really be 90, but just an example). Plug weld that to the back / bottom of the rail (contortionist may be needed) and then plug the bottom filler panel to that…follow up again with the seam sealer on the joint.

Example with the flange (blue) in two different possible orientations.

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Last edited by pplace; 08-26-2021 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 08-26-2021, 11:10 PM
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Thanks for your effort and sharing of ideas. You'll see a difference below, in the shape. Seamless, between my customer and I anyway, means welded. If I explain options and the modification is still wanted, seam sealer bead primed over might be deemed OK in light of the alternatives. As might plug welded flanges. The overall expense of body mods might dictate the route taken.

In any event, this task is but one on a laundry list already done on the project so the customer won't be run off. Wisest guidance on a fairly special build is what I am after, to offer him. Long welds are yeah not that big of a deal but I'm hoping someone has welded to those rolled rails before and can advise as to how much they squirm.

These are some thoughts I have on how to approach it-



Looking at that, I choose bonding. Not that it would, but it could... crack one day however. So could a weld but not from thermal cycles over time. The rail end cap in the linked photo is the desired teardrop shape.

Funny (sad, peculiar) story about correcting these type bedrails... When trailering a '55 Chevy bed to our shop once, the owner ran over a dangling ratchet strap and yep, yanked the bed rail down really far right in the center. With "oops" to say, they dropped it off anyway. I used a 300 lb + coworker jumping on it with the bed upside down with 2x4s under each end of the rails. With me sighting from a distance, telling him how hard to jump on it. Fixed er right up! I fear a boxed rail won't bend like that though, it will want to buckle if heavy correction is needed after welding.
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Old 08-26-2021, 11:45 PM
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One more thought. (This is how I brainstorm….just come up with all sorts of options, and later decide which is most feasible, best option, etc. maybe none, but each new idea gets other ideas flowing)

Cut the “return” of the rail wrap around off at the correct spot. Form a roll of the same diameter of the rail (only wide enough for a plug weld) step it the appropriate thickness to be flush with the rail. Insert, plug weld on the rail and the box top. Fill with sand able seam sealer, finish bodywork, prime & paint for a seamless joint on both areas.

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Old 08-27-2021, 05:45 AM
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Dane's last post would be the best idea.
If you were to fully weld it, the shrinkage from the welding would cause it to bow upwards otherwise.
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Old 08-27-2021, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gojeep View Post
Dane's last post would be the best idea.
If you were to fully weld it, the shrinkage from the welding would cause it to bow upwards otherwise.
Fully welded is whats expected of me by default but only one of you guys even entertained that idea so my reluctance must be with valid reasoning. Thank you. I will have to let the customer know his imagination has finally exceeded possibility, not just my ability. And he won't have to just take my word for it now.
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Old 08-27-2021, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drivejunk View Post
Fully welded is whats expected of me by default but only one of you guys even entertained that idea so my reluctance must be with valid reasoning. Thank you. I will have to let the customer know his imagination has finally exceeded possibility, not just my ability. And he won't have to just take my word for it now.
The customer isn’t always (usually) correct. They aren’t in the business or trade. I wouldn’t tell a plumber, carpenter, electrician, doctor, dentist, etc. how I expect them to do their profession. I take their advice and input and figure they wouldn’t steer me in the wrong direction.

It is sometimes our “job” to explain and guide the customer of how or why you may do something a certain way. In the end the customer would have no idea if it was fully welded or plug welded and filled smooth.

Would I step and plug weld the bottom of a door skin on? Absolutely not, but in this case where all of the work is hidden and in not in a critical area, a person may have to do things a bit differently to achieve the desired outcome.
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Last edited by pplace; 08-27-2021 at 12:30 PM.
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