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Getting our hands dirty with the dismantle

There aren't many things as gritty and greasy as a 50-year-old truck chassis. Truck owners don't spend a lot of time trying to preserve frame supports, connectors, or rubber bushings that hold suspension, brakes, steering, and drivetrain components in one cohesive unit.

This 1972 C10 saw its share of rural roads and hauling duties, accumulating thick layers of dirt mixed with oil and grease, covering areas where mechanical parts need to be separated. Cleaning those areas and getting the chassis to a point where all components are identified is the first order of business.

While the sheet metal is treated for removal of paint and primer, the chassis is totally dismantled, all the front and rear suspension removed and prepped to place the new suspension from QA1. The frame also is being shortened to accept the new shorter box and bed.

It's a tedious process, as most anyone knows that has taken a vehicle apart to the point where just the steel frame remains. Shortening the frame presents a challenge that requires careful planning on exactly how you will approach this all-important aspect of the build.

Shortening the frame not only will allow installation of the shorter bed, but also alters the wheelbase. It can be done in a number of ways, but with this truck frame we used the Brother's Truck kit. The kit consists of two steel templates. Though the kit doesn't require removing the body from the frame, it was done so the chassis could be blasted and prepped for powder coating. Once the frame was leveled on jack stands, students measured and double checked all dimensions, and bolted the templates to the frame using existing holes in the frame rails.

Some factory rivets were removed before that all important first cut. After the initial cuts to the center, the two halves were separated and another cut made to remove the 12" from the frame rail.

Following the cuts, the frame was ready to slide back together, bolting the reinforcement C-channel in position. The center was welded and once complete the frame's box bolt mounts were relocated and bolted in place so the new shorter box could be bolted to the frame. Moving to the rear, parts of the template were used to mare a line so 8" could be cut off the rear and holes marked for the truck read bed bolts and bumper holes.

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