Your truck may be one of the toughest off-road vehicles ever made, but it also has its weak points. One of these is the cab corner. Its location makes it prone to water and road salt, plus the factory drain holes on it can get plugged up with dirt, which causes rust formation. Fortunately, rusted cab corners don't always necessitate cab corner replacement; the problem can be easily fixed using a patch panel. Here are the steps to help you pull off the task easily:
What you'll need:
- Body filler
- Clean cloth
- Dremel tool
- Popsicle sticks
- Abrasive discs
- Permanent marker
- Vise grips (2 pairs)
- Cab corner patch panel
- Caulk (for the auto body)
- Wooden wedged spacers
- 2-by-4-inch wood blocks (2 pieces)
Step 1: Find a quality patch panel.
It pays a lot to get a patch panel that's thicker than the original sheet metal on the truck's body. To make your DIY repair task a lot easier, get a panel that's already shaped to fit the contours of your cab corner.
Step 2: Pre-fit the patch panel to the corner that needs repair.
Once you've got the patch panel, hold it against the area where it will be installed and, using a permanent marker, trace the patch panel.
Step 3: Remove the rusted spot.
With a Dremel tool, cut out the rusted part and a bit of the area around it as long as it is still within the outline that you've made. Make sure there will be enough of the original sheet metal left into which the patch panel can be fastened.
Step 4: Prepare the area where the panel will be glued.
You need to get rid of the paint from the part of the cab corner where the patch panel will be installed. To do this, you have to sand off the area using rough-grit sandpaper. Doing so won't just remove paint but will also rough up the area for better glue adhesion. Sand even the inside part of the patch panel that will be glued on the truck. After the process, wipe all the sanding dust off the cab's corner and the inside of the patch panel.
Step 5: Attach the patch panel onto the cab.
Apply epoxy on the roughed-up spots on the truck's cab corner and the roughed-up edges on the inside of the patch panel. Spread the epoxy using a popsicle stick. Glue the patch panel into the truck.
Step 6: Hold the patch panel in place for up to 48 hours.
Of course, you can't stand there holding the newly glued patch panel in place for more than a day. So get the 2-by-4 inch wood blocks that you've prepared for the task and slide one between the truck bed and the cab at the top of the patch panel. Slide the other one at the bottom of the panel. To hold the blocks in such position, place a wooden trim wedge between the truck bed and the patch panel.
Now, to hold the bottom part of the panel to the bottom of the truck body, place a pair of vise grips at both ends of the patch panel's bottom where the panel touches the vehicle's body. Clamp them together.
Step 7: Wipe off excess epoxy.
With a clean cloth, wipe off the excess epoxy that squirts out of the seams in between the truck's body and the patch panel. Allow the epoxy to dry for 24 to 48 hours.
Step 8: Cover the seams to give the cab corner a smooth look.
With the auto body caulk, conceal the seams on the patch panel's front and back. You may need to use auto body filler for the seams that are still visible even with the caulk on. Once the body filler has dried, sand it so it will flush with the vehicle's body, giving the cab's corner and the rear a smooth look.