Bobbing a Toyota Bed

 

I have had many people ask why I would shorten my bed and I suppose there are many reasons.  First off the overhang on the longbed trucks is just too much for any real wheeling.  Some people take the approach of cutting the bottom of the bed and putting in a bulletproof bumper but I chose to simply get rid of the overhang.  I now have even less overhang than the shortbeds.  I did not want to lose the opportunity of putting on a campershell so I chose to shorten the bed to length of the shortbed.  This is also the very minimin length in order to keep a spare under the bed in the stock location.  If you go any shorter you will have to cut the back of the bed so that the frame can stick out.

I. Marking the cut
 This is by far the most important step, take your time here.  I don't know the perfect method, I took a lot of time and still did not get it righ on.  I decided the best location was to cut starting at the point that the fender ends its radius, this left the body mounts and the most support, and covered the bottom part of the cut with the plastic fender on my 83'.  I took a square along the trim line that extends down the bed and then drew a line up to where the deck of the bed is.  From there I drilled a hole into the bed on both sides and then ran a tight string along the inside if the bed, any straight edge will do.  I took out the spray paint and sprayed the string so that when I removed the string it left a straight line.  I used a long framing square to mark the sides, I believe the total length of the cut ot section was 11 3/4 inches.

II. Making the cut
This step is almost as important as marking the cut, choosing the right tool makes all the difference.  I first that I was going to use a sawsall till I saw how straight they cut.  I have heard many different stories on the right tool for the job but the tool for me was simply a jig saw.  I went out and bought a $50 jig saw that had a shield out front with a mark on it that kept my cuts extremely straight. 

III. Welding back together
plate.jpgAs an extreme rookie welder I don't have a lot of experience to share here, my method was a lincoln wire feed welder with tack welds every couple inches on the inside then the outside and a complete weld along the bottom of the bed and the top of the rails.  The metal will warp on the sides if you get it hot and continue a bead, of coarse you are pretty good if you can do that since the truck metal is paper thin.  
 

II. The Bodywork
This step is possible the most tedious, it took me months and I am still not done.  No real secrets, just a can of Bondo, and some sanding with a sanding block starting with a rough sandpaper and working finer.  I found a can of paint at my local auto store that was pretty close to hold me off till this winter.

After getting the weld right I have had no problems with this setup, If you use this setup or another like it please let me know. If you have done something similiar in the front I would also like to know since that is on my to-do list. I am in the process of moving so when I dig out all my pictures again I will provide some better pics..
 

2/15/99 Update - I could not be happier with the bob job. Since I did it I have made numerous trips to the Rubicon and through the little sluice, and up the soup bowl as well as a killer trip to Moab and the "pirate trail", Iron Mountain Road, the Fordyce Creek trail (Sierra Trek), and more! I still want a wrap around bumper in the rear and I may just plate the side of the bed with diamond plate but I am very happy with the setup, no problems to tell of.  I have yet to try a campershell on it but I did cut it to fit one.  I have yet to find anyone that cut theirs in the same spot as me (most cut at the back) but I really think the spot I chose is the best, all the lines of the bed still work out perfect and you do not lose any body mounts, you only strengthen the bed by moving them closer together. If you plan on doing serious wheeling then the bob job or a flatbed is the only way to go. I may eventually go with the flatbed but I am happy with what I got for now..

1/23/2000 Update - Not sure if you can call it an "update" since I no longer even have a toyota bed but I have recieved some information from others that have bobbed their beds. I hope this helps and if you have any information to provide please do!

 

The following was submitted by Scottz@CWNet.com

we just did the same thing to my roomates 1980 toyota longbed last night, few thigs I did differently though-

I think the entire cut we made on his was 19 1/2 inches, he wanted it "hellof short" Done deal, I said. I started by cutting the bed off to length, meaning about 6" forward of the leaf spring mounts, eliminating the rearmost bed mounts completely. We then cleaned up the edges on the bed. I kept the lines fairly straight by using a tape measure to draw two lines, one at the forward cut on the bed.and one where I planned to splice the parts together. I measured from the front edge of the bed towards the back in several places and then used masking tape along my measurements, marking them (exactly as you did) with spraypaint.

We used a "punch/flange" tool I got at harbor freight ($49.99, btw) to flange the sheetmetal so that the sides would lap about 1/2 inch on the inside of the bed and then used the same tool to punch holes on the inside edge of the flange. we trimmed the rail and the lower part of the bed so that the floor would also lap and punched holes in this also, about 1" apart.. This is the same way I splice quarter panels on cars at work and is a lot stronger than buttwelding.

After a bit of alignment grinding and making inserts for the top rails to weld in underneath the rails we stuck it on there and spotwelded the whole thing on there through the holes we punched using a mig welder. By putting a wet rag on the outside of the flange you can minimize the warpage caused by welding the thin metal on the bedsides and keep the bondo patch fairly thin.

He lopped off the 6 or so inches of frame that was sticking out past the tailgate this afternoon. The tailgate is now flush with the rear shackle mounts. looks cool. It turned out pretty well, unless the back of the truck is hit by a missle I don't think it will ever come off there again until he decides to make it even shorter.

The truck was a 1980 and belongs to Chris Fakes. The roll pan waas so mangled that chopping it off seemed like the best idea, he plans to add a wrap around bumper made out of 4" channel sometime this winter while the rocks are all still covered with snow and the rest of the truck is bashed so badly that chopping any of it off will save huge amounts of bondo-time.
 

 

 

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