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53-56 Ford F100 Pickup Truck Beds by Chad Wissmar

Should You Fix or Replace Your 53-56 Ford F100 Pickup Truck Bed
I don’t know how many project trucks I’ve looked at that the beds were just trashed. This makes sense given the 53-56 ford f100 pickup trucks are over 50 years old and they were used as pickup trucks their whole life. A lot of today’s pickups are babied in comparison. I’ve seen brackets welded to the bed sides, thick steel plates added over the bed floor and of course lots of dents, dings and rust. I forgot rotted wood!

F100 Central offers a complete stock steel bed - click here - Our bed kit is among the least expensive, but high quality bed kits on the market.

The question is this. When do you fix your original bed or buy a new one? The kind of truck you’re building has a lot to do with this decision. Original is original. Obviously, it’s up to you, but here’s a guide that may help you decide.

Bed sides are made up of a flat sheet of steel bent into shape to give you the 90 degree lip that sits on the bed wood, a flat side to mount the back fender to and a roll on top to finish off the top of the bed side. If this piece is nice and straight, you’re set. If it has a ton of waves, dents or rust, you should probably just replace it. You don’t see a lot of the bed side from the outside once the back pickup fender is on. However, the inside of the bed exposes the whole bed side. If it has any imperfections, you’ll see them there for sure.

Spot welded to the 53-56 F100 pickup bed sides are two rectangular pieces that extend down below the main part of the bed side mentioned above. These are very simple pieces to replicate and weld on. These are often rusted out because they’re down low on the bed side and have a 90 degree lip that runs parallel to the ground, a good place for mud and water to collect.

Also spot welded on to the bed sides are the stake pocket bodies. These channels are simple to make except at the top where the stake pocket body meets the angle of the 53-56 Ford f100 pickup truck bed side. This is a tricky area to make look right. You can decide if this is an area that you can fix on your own.

Connecting the 53-56 Ford F100 pickup bed sides is the front bed box panel. The front bed box panel is made up of a few pieces of bent sheet metal. This piece also has a 90 degree bend so that a steel lip runs parallel to the ground where it meets the bed wood. Because of it, this area rusts out regularly. A new front bed box panel for a 53-56 Ford F100 pickup is really inexpensive.

53-56 Ford F100 beds sit on a front crossmember, two identical center crossmembers and the back sill, which doubles as a bed crossmember and rear sill. You see the rear sill from the outside of the truck above the bumper. Keep in mind that if you want a roll pan to get rid of the back bumper, you may be fixing the rear sill area anyway.

It would be asking a lot for the bed wood in trucks this old to be in good shape. I would think it would need to be replaced 90% of the time (or higher) as well as the bed strips and hardware. New Oak bed wood that’s ready to finish and install is a little over $200 and the bed strips are very inexpensive. Finishing bed wood properly will greatly increase its life and look. Take your time and do it right! 53-56 Ford F100 tailgate hinges are usually either worn out or rusted out. These almost always need replaced. We have paintable steel or stainless steel f100 tailgate hinges. Tailgates are usually roughed up too. Anything and everything dropped on it, slammed into it and scratched it to shreds. The bottom of the tailgate often rusted out. Many of the hot rod 53-56 Ford F100 pickup trucks that you would see in the 80’s and 90’s had steel skins over the original or people simply made their own smooth custom tailgates. F100 Central offers an original style reproduction tailgate as well as a smooth tailgate.

If you decide to buy a new bed, you have several custom options available. F100 Central has stock bed sides as well as custom bed sides with custom top rolls and custom stake pockets that are rounded at the bottom. Luckily, all of the pieces of the bed are available to you.

F100 Central offers a complete stock steel bed - click here - Our bed kit is among the least expensive, but high quality bed kits on the market.

This article was published on Saturday 23 September, 2006.
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Products related to this article:
53-56 F100 SHORT Bed Side - Left - w/o stake pockets
53-56 F100 SHORT Bed Side - Left - w/o stake pockets
53-56 F100 SHORT Bed Side - Right - w/o stake pockets
53-56 F100 SHORT Bed Side - Right - w/o stake pockets
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