Truck restoration involves updating a classic, vintage, or antique truck for several purposes, such as being able to safely drive it, competing in a show, or displaying as part of a collection. During the restoration process, the truck will be returned to its original appearance with as many original parts as possible as well as some modern updates made for safety and comfort. The restoration process can take as much as 1,000 hours to complete. With the responsibilities and commitments of everyday life, this often translates to about two years of work. Here’s what you can expect from each stage of the restoration process.
The Research Phase
Before you get started in your garage, be sure to fully research your project. Determine the ease of finding the necessary parts, and plan out a schedule and budget in advance. This is particularly important if your truck is a less-common variety. Then, determine the type of restoration you’d like to complete. If you want to make your truck competition ready, or if the truck is in poor condition, a full body off restoration may be recommended. Trucks that are in good shape and are not meant for competition may be suitable for a semi-restoration, in which the engine is not removed.
Removing and Organizing Parts
Begin taking the truck apart until you reach the frame, and have a partner to help you take out the cargo box, which should be taken to a restoration garage for sanding and painting. Remove the glass, doors, and trim from the cab and sand paper the cab, then use an engine joist to take out the engine, if necessary. Detach the cowl and set it aside. As you remove parts, stay organized by placing each one in a labeled shelf spot or bag. Be sure to keep all of the bolts, screws, and other small pieces with their respective parts as well.
Fixing Dents and Other Damage
Carefully review the truck’s body and identify any areas that are dented or otherwise damaged. Depending on the extent of the problems, you may be able to easily pop the dents out and make other small repairs yourself. For more extensive damage or particularly old vehicles, visit a restoration garage for professional guidance. Dents with creases or in car doors and roofs can be more difficult to remove, while trunk, hood, and panel dents are easier, depending on their exact location.
Restoring the Truck Bed
Many pickup trucks have rotten or rusted beds that must be replaced. In most cases, this entails cutting out all rusted areas, treating the liner panel with a rust inhibitor, and welding new steel in place. The bed can then be painted with skim coat, primer, and the final color. More extensive damage may require blasting the frame down to bare metal and welding in new cross members before priming and painting.
Upgrading the Transmission
An upgraded transmission can help your car operate like a modern vehicle. However, this process can be difficult to do yourself, as it can vary depending on the style of your truck and whether it has all wheel drive or not. Transmissions are also heavy and awkward to handle, and a professional with experience working with transmissions will be better equipped to work with one. This is why it may be best to enlist the help of a specialist and take the transmission and rear axle to a restoration garage if you decide that your truck’s transmission needs upgrading. Rebuilding the transmission with new parts may also be an option, if you’re determined to go it alone, as this can be easier because it uses existing structures and parts. To rebuild your transmission, remove it from the car, make the necessary fixes, and carefully reinstall it.
Replacing Parts and Repainting
Finally, you can replace the brakes, wiring harness, headliner, seating, cab glass, lamps, door handles, front grille, and whatever other parts must be installed. Not everything will need replacing, and you may be able to use the original parts in some areas. Sand the truck down to remove all the paint, then apply a fresh coat of primer and paint in your desired color for the finishing touch to your newly restored truck.
Professional Restoration Support
Contact Rob’s Customs & Restorations for more information about truck restorations or to schedule a consultation for your unique vehicle. Rob’s specializes in custom paint and body work and engine swaps for antique, vintage, and classic cars and trucks. With the help of an experienced mechanic and restorer, you can find the right parts for your restoration or have the experts handle the entire process from beginning to end.