defiling the lv

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May 2, 2009
salt lake city
(spoiler alert) if you have a weak stomach or you are a toyota purist this is not the post for you. i will be repairing/rebuilding my lv and it wont be cherry,oem,factory,or even completely toyota. but what the heck.....its my party and i'll cry if i want to

my plans revolve around a chevy 350 sb, a np203/tlc doubler, some fj 60 axles. some ac and wiring, fancy pants seats, and whatever else i can throw in along the way

the story starts out with me purchasing a 65 lv from a fella named Vernal who had it sitting in his yard for about 10 years.this resulted in degregation of most all the sheet metal, seals, gaskets. and led to a ton of rust.good ol vernal picked it up from some other mad scientist who had put a chevy 327 in, extra tanks, a guage panel, and a bunch of other crap that desroyed any hope of being original in the first place.that being said, and coupled with the fact that replacemebt parts are pretty hard to come by i'm just gonna build it the way i want.

so i dragged the beast home and took it apart. tonns of rust, bondo, duct tape, and other bad fixes. well a fella needs a place to start and the floors were as good as any.i tried to scrape the poorly applied undercoating off and every third scrape went through the u put it up on some sawhorses, cursed a lot, and made a plan.
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my best friend Rotten Tom(who will be refered to as R.T.) got himself a 4-runner and put a ton of time and money in it....lockers, doubler, 3 tranny swaps, all kinda stuff. well his trial run out he rolled it. poor bastage. he ended up getting a repacement chassis and gave me the cargo area floorboard.

i decided it was a good place to start and i could give a junkyard bound item a new lease on life. the lv was up on sawhorses by now and i was in a good position to start hacking away. at the base of the b pillar between the front and rear door was a re-inforcement channel that had rusted through. i decided to use a piece of 1x5" angle iron to suppliment while i was replacing.tack welded it in, and ran some angle iron to the front frame mounts to keep it from folding like a taco. i cut out the floorboards and kept the area arounf the tranny hump. then cut the floors to fit. and tack welded them to the 1x5 angle
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k next i yanked off the rear quarters.this thing had been hit before. there were several attempts to patch/repair/bondo over its lifetime.the chassis on this thing pretty much sat on the floorboard assembly and both the floorboards and a lot of the lower portion of the walls were pretty much powdered rust. its a going out of buisness sale folks....everything must go!

the wheel wells had about 4 layers of metal that had been added to suppliment the rust and give the rust a healthy supply of metal to feed on. some of it had been riveted on over older rustier areas, the rear portion of the wheel wells had been smashed or cut for some internal fuel tanks. i was faced with a choice.....i could negate the patches and try to fix up what i had or just pack it up and replace it all. after cursing a lot i decided to just give the entire floorboard/wheel well a humane death rather than prolong their agony

so i went out and found myself a '88 chevy longbed. the price was right(free) and it was in great condition.the side beds, wheel wells and tailgate lip were cut out and it was just the right width....perfect. the lower portion of the rear walls were replaced with some virgin sheet metal, allthough one of the two ribs had to be offered to the gods as a sacrifice. i bent up some reinforcing brackets and zipped 'em in. the rear sill was sliced away from the floor pretthy easily so i just left it floating, being hung and supported from the side walls. after some further trimming i dropped the whole floor out and slid my truck bed up into place.....
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more pictures
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How about an "I started with this!!" picture. I don't see a whole lot of anything worth saving yet.
an i atarted with this picture ehhh...k bet. as far as there not being a lot worth saving your probably right.
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greasy 015.jpg step was to complete the rear floor behind the front seats. I cut in the lower floor section, then tacked it to the angle iron. the rear cargo area is about 6 1/2" above the lower section, and at a angle. so i line the ribs up, and welded the lower portion of the ribs together. i got the trusty cutoff wheel (which dosent seem to mind trying to cut fingers either) and cut the angled bit off just above the higher section of the ribs. i kinda carved up a bit and banged the ribbed sections together with a metal persuasion device commonly refered to as a 3 lb. hammer, and welded them down.

now for some wheel wells...the chevy ones i butchered from the bed were just too big to work. even cutting them to the correct height they were too long to center.i kinda liked them 'cuz they had a nice compound curve. well, without an english wheel, a press/die, or a team of experts to peen metal into shape i decided i could suffer with a simple set of angled ones. a little time on the brake and a bit of welding i made my own. a bit more time with the evil cut-off wheel and i got them incorperated into the floor and for the door frames...

given the shape i cut the wheel wells in i was faced with reality that the radiuseses of the door frames wouldn't line up with the wheel wells. the rounded portions of the door frames werent too much of a challenge. but a pita nontheless. i bent a 1/2" lip on one side of some slightly tapered piece. then about 50 billion relief cuts in the 1/2" lip. i used the old rusted section as a template..measured a bunch and welded it in.
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i cut in a piece of metal and slid it in between the newly created door frame and the wheel wells to give the weatherstripping something to stick to. then had to figure out a way to close the triangular shaped hole. i ended up using some construction paper to make a template. it took a bit of cursing but i got it in there. i still gotta trim down the vertical piece of metal i slid in between the door frame and the wheel wells...but i'll give it some fine tuning later.
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looks good, are you going to run into problems on your rear floor where it originally had the bumps to clear the frame?
off to the back end....

"looks good, are you going to run into problems on your rear floor where it originally had the bumps to clear the frame? "

thank you!

hehe funny you should have mentioned that. the truck bed came with c channels running perpindicular to the truck. they are about 2" tall. it should sit above the hump in the floor with no problem. the real problem is the mounting locations for the bed dosent match the frame. it will have to be kinda custom fit but i have a plan.

i doubt it was a factory sill on the thing given the way it was hacked and welded. still the thing was decent and i could get it to work. the top half was burned away with washers and a bolt welded on to mount the tailgate so i cut that part away, and flipped it over. i bent up some sheet metal and zipped it in on the bottom side of the bed.
1, i needed to fill in the 1 1/2" gap where the 2" strut on the bottom welded and the rear sill would mount to,
2, i neeed a spot for the chasis to sit on the frame.
3, it boxed in the end of the chassis quite nicely.

so now with something to mount to i zipped the flipped rear sill to the boxed in floorpan. there are two verticle sidewalls that tie into the sill. they hold silly stuff like latches and braces for the 150 pound tailgate(yeah i know but its still heavy). the bolts for the latches and stuff go into some blind nuts on the inside of the walls. well one of thse walls was bent up pretty good. i cut it off and used it for a template. it was a pretty straitforward cut on the lines kinda thing. i welded the new side on no problem. for some reason the metal tabs that hold the blind nuts in place were the hardest took me an hour or so to bend em up, put the little holes in em, and keep them loose enough to move.

the bottom of the sill where it transitioned to the door frame walls were curved just a smidgeon. it wasn't sofisticated but i bent some transition pieces that were about 4" long by hand. i bent them together at the same time so they would match at least. finally i cut some metal and boxed the 3/4" or so that was exposed on the real sill. i still gotta create a place for the tailgate to bolt to the sill. but i told myself to do it later
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some more pictures....under the rear sill, the side peice i added, and the area i boxed in by the sill.....notice the 2" body lift I have to givemyself because of the c channel bracing on the truck bed
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some more pictures.....
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so on to the door mud sills.....

hmmnn.. really throughout the whole thing so far i've been fairly lucky just cutting out one rotten peice at a time and using it as a template for whatever i have been replacing it with. yeah there is the whole measuring thing....that helps a lot. still the best laid plans.....often go astray. I'm not above telling touse guys that i've resorted to banging on stuff with a hammer, or trimming and slicing stuff to get it to fit.for the most part leaving things a bit longer than you think you need to has saved my bacon quite a bit. i'm unable to create a lot of the shapes the fellas who made it at the factory could 'cuz they had a press to smash out more complex peices. compound curves on the wheel wells are a great example.still....after you slice a part out you can get a good example of how it was fabricated in the first place and then reverse engineer it as close as possible.

anyways... the door sills were fairly easy once you got a game plan. i did one side at a time so i could use the other side as a reference. first of all the floorboards ar about 1 1/2" higher twards the firewall then the door sills. also they have a slight bend/radius that follows the curve of the door. if you patient, and dont mind cursing they werent too hard to fabricate.

I started off with a peice of sheetmetal about 6" wide or so, and right around 3 feet long. this meant the segment would be spliced under the door pillar. the angle iron i used to brace stuff is now gonna be perminent 'cest la vie. to follow the slope of the floor pan i made the first bend at an angle, so one end was about 2" tapering back to about 1/2". now the fun the door pillar i measured about 3 1/4"wide for the flat part of the sill, then about 11" twards the front it got to about 4", then finally tapered back to about 3 1/4" at the firewall. it was just a matter of picking the right places to start and end the bends and make a relief cut so i could make two seperate destinct bends and follow the curve of the doors the best i could. i left a gap by the door pillars at the worked out ok 'cuz i slid the verticle section of the sill in between the pillar and floorboard, and the flat section of the sill i wedged in between the base of the pillar and my now perminent angle iron.
the rear sills were easier, no tapers and it sat basicly even with the floorboards. it got the same wedge treatment as the front sills under the pillars.

now for the tricky part....the rear doors have some curvy sections that transition from the sills to the verticle part. to make matters worse there is a section that stepps a bit and mates up with the rear quarters. the stepping part is also curved making the whole thing a PITA!!! well once piece at at eating an elephant.i hear elephant is ok if you cook it correctly, anyway i digress. i had previously added a verticle piece of sheet metal for the rear floor, and on this i markered a guide for the curvy part of the sill. the sill itself i left about 1/2" longer than i needed.i slowly and carefully tacked the curvy sill piece in place using the marker line as a guide. i used a level, a chalk line, and even eyeballed a bit to try to get a strait line to mark the outside edge of the sill. the reason the line was so important is because i used the extra 1/2" or so to make a bunch of tabs. the tabs were bent down at a right angle and gave me something to mount another verticle surface. again the new verticle peice was tacked, marked, checked, cut about 1/2" longer than normal. tabbed, then bent horizontally. a few more times doing this you'll have yourself a rear sill and quarter panel / wheel well transition peice, and a day or two of your life used up.

last but not least i created some trim peices to look like rocker panels. it was pretty much just a long peice bent up and welded on the flange i left from the sills. i left the bottom open so mud or water wouldn't collect und rust. sooner or later i'll tie some braces from the rocker to the floorpan or mudsill to brace it. and eventually i'll make some burly rock slider type things mounted to the frame. hopefully that'll protect the sheet metal.
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more pictures
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and a few more
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Nice sheet metal work! Subscribing to see the result.

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