100 Series Ute Conversion (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
73
Location
Eagle, ID
So I took Franky to the dump last night to get rid of the leftovers. I had kept a weight ticket with all the seats in and a 1/2 tank of gas from a year ago. Gas tank was about 6 gallons less yesterday (at a 1/4 tank). The material for the wooden flatbed is about 150 lbs, so based on my numbers over 800 lbs was removed to make a single cab with no bed.

I am estimating about 600 lbs for the steel flatbed, so I should have some pretty good weight distribution/ wiggle room when everything is said and done.

Driving it was fun on the pavement. I could definitely feel the difference in the weight for the get up and go factor. But when I was bouncing around on the dirt roads at the dump, the lack of down travel for the back end was very noticeable. The cab size still feels great, I just feel a little naked when looking out the rear view mirror and seeing nothing behind me!

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So long story short on how much time I spent to this point. I started cutting it apart in September and didn't really get into a good roll of working on it until Thanksgiving, xmas and new years holidays. This was because my wife surprised me with a desire to move to the mountains (Cascade, ID) so the kids could go to school full time. Being that it is my hometown, I had no problems with it, but it definitely threw a wrench into my schedule. So this fall, a lot of my weekends were finding a rental, moving stuff north or spending the weekend 75 miles away from my shop with the family. Ended up finding a pretty sweet place though!

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I wasn't keeping a log of the time spent on it, but if I had to guess probably 100 hours was spent in the shop at this point. Half of that time was just staring at it trying to figure out what direction to go, so probably 50-70 hours of actual work on it.

I will not have time for the next month or so to do anything with the project as I need to get a house sold, move more stuff, and have a lot going on with work at the moment. But I will put an update in with any milestone that are completed. Flatbed, interior, paint, etc. I want to get those 3 items done before summer so I can start using it for the house build.

My nice to haves will be a front bumper build and a front lift. I am thinking a 1.5" lift in the front will end up working nice after all is complete.

And with that, I will sign off with a picture of my future driveway that I need this 100 series pick-up for. I decided to test the steepness after the first big snow storm with the 80 series. The first stretch is easy, but the second stretch after the switchback ended up taking all the lockers. Oh well, it should be fine if kept plowed (I hope;). Maybe I should plan on a mounting location for a snow plow on the front bumper also!

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Joined
Jan 20, 2021
Messages
3
Location
Oregon
A look at the underside of the sunroof hole repair.

Also, I just had to pull it out of the shop for a quick look from a distance, to help picture what direction I want to continue the project.

At this point I was leaning towards removing the back existing body section and just making a separate flat bed after chopping the body down the middle.

Of note, with all the seats, glass, metal etc removed out of the back end, it caused the rear to lift about 6 inches. I would guess 600-700 lbs was probably removed.

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W
weight reduction mod! wonder how much better your gas mileage will be... increased drag but also decreased weight
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
73
Location
Eagle, ID
Ok, just a quick update on the progress. I had a couple of evenings last week to dink around on the project and started to clean up the body work a bit. I also wanted to add some type of tubing around the back window to flare the windshield seal out. I accidentally chopped one of my extension cords during grinding earlier in the project and it ended up being the right diameter. Sort of a ghetto solution, but oh well. So I cleaned it up and it tucked it under the seal. I will probably raptor line right into the cord so I don't hit the window gasket. The cord tucked in nicely and is held in well but hopefully the raptor liner will also help hold the cord in place.

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Also applied some bondo and decided to burn up the rest of the panel epoxy to help fill in the rough weld areas. I am not sure if it will hold but I am guessing that an epoxy will work better than bondo in this area. Just a little experiment on my part since I had half of an open tube leftover. I also used the epoxy to fill in the gap behind the plastic side trim that was open from the door cut.

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I was a little concerned with the thickness of filling in the front gap on the sunroof repair, but after bondo and some sanding I am ok with the little "ski jump" at the transition. Who knows maybe it will help aerodynamics ;).

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A picture from the back you can see the seems that I added the epoxy in (light grey). They ended up grinding down nice with the angle grinder and seem to be tightly adhered to metal, so I think it is going to work.

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Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
73
Location
Eagle, ID
Picked up some remnant metal pieces at a local steel fabricator so I could work out how to put the flatbed together last week and spent Monday in the shop. I ended up getting enough material to get the basic deck frame and mounts in place.
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The 6x6 tube seemed to make a nice solution for a way to mount to the existing body mounts.

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I opted to just access the spare from underneath still but decided to raise it up using the factory "spool". It made a big difference in what the departure angle looks like now.
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Not sure if a 35" fit in the spare location before, but I believe a 35" tire will fit in the area now.

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Just need to remember that it lowers from the side now.

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Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
73
Location
Eagle, ID
Here you can see that it looks like there could be room to move the muffler up. I will probably attempt to do it at some point.

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Just having the 4 mounting locations at the body mounts was a little jiggly so I added some angle at the corner bolted directly to the frame. There is another threaded location near the rear fender that I will probably bolt to also once I get a bit more material. Adding these 2 pieces at the corners made all the difference and feel pretty comfortable with how solid it is now.

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I wasn't to sure with how to make the headache rack, but I plan on having it just outside of the body plane.

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From the remnants I was also able to get a good chunk of the main frame together.

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Here is a quick look in sketch-up of the general plan now. I might actually put the fill-cap at the back now, instead of the side. Not sure how to fill in the area above the bumper, but I will probably leave it partially open like Manhattan did to make sure there is a good step platform. I would really hate to scrape my shin down the back bumper because there will probably only be a 3" ledge there and the bumper will be a separate assembly. The head ache rack will be welded to the bed and permanent. Then there will be 4 separate pieces that will bolt on/together to make the lumber rack (1 rear hoop, 2 long trusses, and 1 front cross link). That way the lumber rack should be easy to install with 1 person and not take a lot of space in storage if I want it off.

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Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
73
Location
Eagle, ID
Since I still need to order up some more material for the flatbed, I decided to go ahead and stop staring at the muffler and move it up last night. I initially wanted to keep the mounting points on the vehicle frame, but it looked like they would get in the way and be overly complicated so I opted put the mounts on the flatbed frame.

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Cut the backer nuts off of the old spare tire crossmember so I could have something more solid to bolt to. Some self centering bolts were left over from the back half that centered the nuts real nice in the holes I drilled prior to tacking them in.

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And some views of the finished product (still need to splice the pipe together).

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It's hard to see the red marks (one for 33" tire and the other for 35"), but looks like there will be a few inches from the spare tire so I don't think a heat shield will be needed. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know!

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And hopefully far enough from the flatbed column to not rattle against it.

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Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
73
Location
Eagle, ID
I know the back will probably drop a little bit more, but I decided to check the departure angle anyway.

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It came out at about 40 degrees, so by my geometry even if the back lowers another 3 or 4 inches it should still be over 35 degrees (a decent improvement over the factory 24 degrees).

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The back frame cross member is now at about 26" off the deck.

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Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
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Location
Eagle, ID
Had a couple of house showings last night, so I didn't get much done besides finish the exhaust. I lucked out and had some scrap pipe laying around that actually fit nearly perfect. The only problem is I will probably need to heat shield the wire loom that runs underneath the pipe.

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And a comparison with and without the spare tire in place.

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Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
73
Location
Eagle, ID
Had a chance for a little more work last night after picking up some more steel today to finish the flatbed. In trying to sort out the fuel filler neck, I ordered some 1.5" fuel line. This ended up being to large so I had to put in an order for some 1 3/8". Hopefully that will work, as I do not want to start collecting 3' pieces of hose! I am trying to trim the existing hard lines in a few areas to get the right curves for routing the line.

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After researching how to put a "good" coat of raptor liner on a vehicle, I decided that my time at the current house is running a bit short so I ordered up some factory matching paint to cover all the new steel, bondo, etc on the back of the cab. Since this will just be a temporary fix, I also decided to experiment with JB weld and see how it works filling in the bottom door gap that I put the 3/8 rod in (still need to sand it down). Worst case it cracks over the summer and I get to work on the cab again cleaning up all my little experiments over the winter.

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Also filled in the last bit of the side trim that I missed with the epoxy. It's going to be fun trying to dremel in matching little lines from the trim! Then again, I probably will not mess with that.

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Welding wise, added a front bar and the original rear bar to keep the spare from moving around.

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Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
73
Location
Eagle, ID
love this project.
Curious- did you ever consider a 70 series pickup bed, or a bed from a t-100?
I would have loved to have a 70 series bed around, but they are hard/expensive to get in Idaho. I was keeping an eye out for an older pickup bed ie 79-81ish when the hilux had the side hooks. I always seem to see those converted to trailers, but when I tried to buy/find one, nothing was available. Probably just simpler starting fresh anyway.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Messages
73
Location
Eagle, ID
Decided to jump on the headache rack last night and got a pretty good start on it. I started with 2 vertical post welded side by side to ensure the angles are the same.

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Then welded them to the main frame. As you can see I am already deviating from my initial plan for the lumber rack. I accidentally ordered 1" square tube for the longitudinal trusses on top, when I wanted 1.25". I think that 1" will be a little flimsy so I may just make a little roof rack mounted in the rain gutter as I mentioned last month to keep things from hitting the cab. The 1" looks about right for something that size.

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As you may have noticed I cut the angles wrong on the top. It should have been at 15 degrees rather than the 7.5 that I cut for the elbow joint. Luckily it is something a grinder can fix. I am a little disappointed that my fancy vents are going to be hidden after I fill in the lower section, but at least a lot of goobery welds will be hidden!

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The rack ended up matching the body lines in a pretty reasonable way, so I am happy with the result so far.

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And the reveal with the cab worked out as well as I could hope for having the rack 90 degrees to the bed.

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