69 Firebird
77 Trans Am
54 Pickup
52 Chieftain
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Metalwork: Cab
After removing the cab from the frame, it was now time to start all the metalwork. First we flipped the cab on it's back and started to work on the floorpans. This picture shows the floors in their original condition.
We welded a 2"x2" square tube to connect the two front cab support braces together, and then we cut out the rusted floor from the toeboard to the seat frame support.
After some deliberation, we decided to cut the floor out all the way to behind the seat frame support. This way we could make the floorpan be one piece of steel, essentially giving us a perfectly flat floorpan. Then we tacked in a temporary support that went from side-to-side to prevent the rockers from flexing.
Next we welded in 2 1"x1" square tubing to take the place of the temporary support I installed in the previous picture. These new supports would become permanent.
Here is another shot of those 1"x1" square tubing, and the welds.
Then we flipped the cab back on it's floor, wirebrushed and cleaned the insides of the front cab supports, and painted them with Rust Encapsulator from Eastwood.
What you see: The finished floor right before we are about to weld it in.

What you didn't see: We took a 4'x8' piece of 16 gauge steel and cut it, placed it over the edge of my driveway, and rolled the side edges over with a hammer like the stock pan. Then we shaped the top of the pan where the cab tapers in.

The new floorpan fit the FIRST time. Never have I gotten that lucky, and probably I never will again.

First, we welded it from the bottom.

Then we welded it from the top.
After examining the toeboard more, we found out it was damaged more than we originally thought. So, we decided to remove the bottom 11" (give or take an inch in places). On each side we left some of the original metal that contained 2 of the 3 inner fender bolt holes so that we could locate and drill the third hole on the new steel when we installed the inner fenders later.
Part of the lower driver kick panel was also rusted, so we removed that too. We also cut a long access panel in the kick panel to allow us to do work on the exterior sheet metal from the inside.
After creating a template of the original toeboard from the piece we removed, we cut out the new toebaord from the leftover 16 gauge steel from the floorpan. Then we welded the new toeboard into place.
Here is another shot of the new toeboard.
On the top of the floorpan where the bolt goes through to hold the cab to the frame, we reinforced the area with a few washers.
Here we created a new driver lower kick panel patch from the same 16 gauge steel we used on the floorpans. We then bent and shaped it and welded it into place.
At the bottom of the passenger cowl, it was rusted out a bit, so we cut out that area for repair.
When we removed the old door hinges from the body, a few of the cage nuts broke loose inside the door. To fix this problem, we cut a hole in the interior kick panel area, and then welded each of the door hingle cage nuts back to the cab.
We found some rust on the passenger inner cab corner.
After cutting out the rusted metal, we made a patch panel from a piece of 20 gauge flat steel and then welded it into place.
To ensure that the new floorpan was properly braced and supported, we built a framework of 1"x1" steel square tubing underneath the floorpan. This steel framework was welded directly to the front and rear cab mount braces, and essentially tied everything together on the bottom side of the cab.
Originally we thought we could just repair the rust that was in the outer cab corners cy cutting out the few bad holes that existed and weld in new metal. But once we got into taking off the old rust and repairing the holes, we found that the cab corners would require too much work, so we decide to purchase repop outer cab corners. Here is a picture of the driver cab corner as we start to remove it.
Next we cut the cab out to match the new patch panel. Then I cut a 1" piece of the old cab and welded it behind the cut out portion to provide a good welding surface for the new patch panel. Then I wire brushed, rust treated, and painted the inner can corner surfaces to prep them.
Here is the new patch panel after it was welded in and then ground smooth. Not bad, eh?
After completing the driver's side of the cab corners, we moved to the passenger outer cab corner. We started off the same way of removing the old cab metal, making a 1" overlap, and then cleaning and treating the other metal.
Here is the welded in patch panel before we ground down the welds. The panel was welded in one tack at time, with ample spacing between welds as to prevent panel warping.
The passenger outer cab corner after the welds have been ground down.
We decided to not use the original gas tank that mounted inside the cab behind the seats. So we needed to weld in a patch panel over the original gas filler neck hole in the passenger side of the cab. First part of getting this done is to clean and prep the area.
In order to correctly replicate the curve of the cab at this point, we took the old cab corner that we cut out previously, and use a piece of that metal that was in good shape and had the same curve to it. We traced the shape of the gas filler neck on the metal, cut it out, welded it in, and ground it down.
To prevent things from falling down into the cab corners from inside the truck (as was common for these trucks), we made two steel panels that would weld in inside the cab on top of the cab corners to prevent anything from getting stuck down there. We made then with about a 3/16" gap between the cab corner and the cover plate.
Then we placed these new cab corner cover plates over the floorpan and welded them into place. After the body work is completed, we'll use seam sealer to fill in the gap and seal the area.
To help disguise the original funky-shaped gask tank brackets that were welded to the floorpan, we took some 2"x3" square stock, cut the bottom off of it, and welded it over the old brackets to cover them up. This should also give us logic storage areas behind the seats now.
We wanted to preserve the original look of the firewall, so we didn't want to put a single plate of metal up there like so may hot rod guys do nowadays. But, at the same time, we needed to fill up all the old holes in the firewall that we were not longer going to use.
So, one-by-one, we cut steel plugs out of 16 gauge steel to fit each hole and then welded them in and ground them down.
After many, many hours of work, here is the completed firewall with all the original holes filled in except for the steering column, brake booster, and engine wiring harness.