Those that love their trucks usually keep them for many years until they are on their last legs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take that much time for rust and the elements to attack it. Rust is a huge problem and a common occurrence. Here are some tips on how to repair it.
When faced with a truck frame that has plenty of rust remove any extraneous parts. You want to isolate the frame on its own and work on it piece by piece. If you have some pieces that are not part of the frame, but are welded on to it, remove them with a metal torch, grinder, hacksaw, etc. Once the frame has been isolated, inspect it well.
Sandblast or sand down the entire frame or area that has been affected by rust or rot. Obviously if you are going to sandblast, you might as well sandblast the entire frame; however for those frames where rust is located in a select area, sanding the area is good enough. Start with a low grit sand paper such as 36 and then move up.
Metal that has been damaged by rust or rot should be removed completely. Use your hacksaw, grinder, cutting torch, etc. If you are removing a part of the frame that will create a separation, keep in mind that you will need to realign the frame before welding the new piece of metal to it.
Create a patch. In order to create a patch, you will need to make a template. Use regular cardboard and a razor to create a template of the patch that will fill in the rusted areas. When creating your patch, the template should include all parts of the rusted area, such as any holes, bolts, braces, etc. Once the template for the patch is complete, make sure it is an exact fit.
Now that your template for your patch has been created, you will want to transfer it to metal. One of the easiest ways to transfer your template to metal is to lay the template on top of the metal and spray paint over and around it. You will immediately see a perfect outline of sheet metal and it will even include areas in which you will need to cut out holes, etc. Once the patch is outlined, cut it out using a hand held jigsaw or other cutting tools. Make sure the metal you use is strong and it helps that the metal itself is treated. Once cut, smooth the edges and holes.
Now is a great time to apply rust proofing to the patch or the entire frame since it is easy to access.
If you have cut the frame into two parts, you will need to realign it before welding it together. Make sure you realign the frame on a level surface and if possible work from the inside out, this way any welds you make will not be visible.
Now that the patch is ready, you can fit it on the frame and weld it in a similar manner as the original. While you don’t have to worry if the weld doesn’t look pretty, at least make sure that the weld is very strong.
Now that the patch has been welded on, you can sand down the area. Make sure the area is smooth. Once smooth, add a primer and paint it. Once the paint has dried, rust and rot will no longer be a problem for your truck for the next few years.