How To Replace Cab Corners

Kev’s Rod & Custom’s Method Makes Cab Rust Repair Easy

By John Gilbert – Photography by the Author

The difference between a person who likes to sit and watch classic trucks being built on a TV show and one who reads a magazine for the tech articles is the magazine reader is a hands-on person who loves to do the work himself. That said, there can be pitfalls related to undertaking a DIY project without knowledge on how to do the job right. One of the easiest DIY projects to get wrong is installing replacement sheetmetal body panels, especially if fabrication is required to complete the job.

02 Brother_s truck was the source for the driver and passenger side cab corner replacement panels
Brothers Truck was the source for the driver and passenger side cab corner replacement panels and replacement passenger side door and front fender.
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Our subject vehicle is a ’69 Chevy C10 and is a great example of body panels that were replaced by an incompetent body man before it landed in the hands of its current owner.

Read More: How to Replace Window Channel Balance on a 1967-1972 C10

For the DIY guy wanting to advance his fabricating and bodywork skills, replacing the cab corners on a classic truck is a good basic place to start, and we have the perfect person to reveal all the tricks needed to do it right. Meet Kev Elliott of Kev’s Rod & Custom in La Habra, California. Originally from London, England, Kev served as the editor of Custom Car magazine before moving stateside to Southern California where he joined Rod & Custom magazine as a tech editor.

03 The C10 fenders_ gaps get adjusted first
The gap from the C10 fender to the door and gap between the door and the rear of the ’jamb should be gapped (adjusted) first.
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Throughout the years truck magazines have published a variety of tech articles on how to install new cab corners and not all of the methods used were exactly the same. Some articles illustrated cutting the replacement panel to fit the hole left by removing the rusty cab corner and matching the new cab corner to the hole. This method works fine for a master fabricator capable of producing an exact gap to butt weld, but for the novice fabricator that will leave uneven gaps. The overlapping and then cut method Elliott developed for installing cab corners is perfect for the novice and pro alike because if followed step by step it will deliver perfect results.

04 The C10 fenders are checked for correct gap
After adjusting the C10 fender and door hinges to obtain a gap, Elliott used a paint stirring stick to measure if the gaps were equal.

Read More: How To Replace A Door On A 1977-1987 Chevy C10

The purpose of a tech article isn’t just for the hands-on DIY guy, a good tech article serves to inform the person looking to have work done and question a prospective shop to determine if they know what they’re doing. When Rod & Custom magazine ceased publication in 2014, Elliott switched his career to being a shop owner and opened the doors to Kev’s Rod & Custom and has been producing world-class quality builds ever since.

05 Rust holes and paint is disformed on the C10 Corner cab
Rust holes appearing with blisters and bubbles in the paint are strong indications the rust damage is more severe than it appears.
06 We check fitment of the new replacement panel first
Step one is to place the cab corner replacement panel over the top of the existing cab corner to test for fitment.
07 Rod and Customs remove the paint and expose body filler
Next, Elliott ground off the paint, exposing body filler from previous repairs and determined how much bad metal needed to be replaced.
08 The rocker panel replacements were installed improperly by the previous owner
Elliott climbed underneath the cab and detected the previously installed replacement rocker panel was fitted improperly and hung below the cab corner.
09 Rod and Customs tape off a cut line for the new cab corner to meet the strongest edge of the body line
Taping off a cut line on the new cab corner to meet up with the strongest edge of the body line.
10 Body grinder is used with a 6-inch abrasive cuttoff wheel
Maybe not the safest way to use a body grinder with a 6-inch abrasive cutoff wheel but using it cautiously Elliott got results.
11 Patch panels are typically oversized and cut down to fit
Arrows indicate the side of the line to cut. Patch panels are typically oversized and cut down to the right size needed to fit.
12 After cutting the cab corner patch panel to size rod and custom used a 24 grit sanding disc
After cutting the cab corner patch panel to size, Elliott used a 24-grit sanding disc to smooth the metal’s rough edge.
13 Rod and Customs gets the cab corner panel placed, aligned, and marked
Elliott held the trimmed cab corner patch panel positioned exactly into place and marked a legible alignment line with a black Sharpie.
14 Cab corners1-inch masking tape was placed 1 inch below the alignment line
For the cut line to remove the original cab corner 1-inch masking tape was placed 1 inch below the alignment line.
15 First step in cutting the cab corner off was using the die-grinder
First step in cutting the cab corner off was using a die-grinder with a 3-inch cutoff disc to cut open the end seams.
16 Stock corner is spot welded into the doorjamb so Custom and Rods cut the welds
The stock corner is spot welded into the doorjamb. Elliott cut just behind the ’jamb, making removal of the remaining piece easier.
17 1 inch of lip left to clamp the new cab corner
Cutting at the lower line leaves 1 inch of lip left to clamp the new cab corner in place to meet alignment marks.
18 We peel back the 1 inch lip looks like as harbor freight butt welding clamps are inserted
Skipping ahead a few steps here’s what peeling back the 1-inch lip looks like as Harbor Freight butt welding clamps are inserted.
19 The factory spot welds must be drilled out
As part of cutting out the original cab corner and removing it, the factory spot welds must be drilled out.
20 Rust damage appears in the exterior of a cab corner the damage is worse than expected
By the time rust damage appears on the exterior of a cab corner the damage is already more extensive on the unseen interior structure.
21 The seat belt anchor bolt area is compromised by rust and a repair patch is installed
Above and beyond a normal repair, Elliott felt the seat belt anchor bolt area was compromised by rust and fabricated a repair patch.
22 Clamping the replacement cab corner where it needs to go is the first step of install a new cab corner
Clamping the replacement cab corner into place exactly where it belongs is the first step to begin Elliott’s method of installing a new cab corner.
23 Cleco fasteners used to pin the cab corner patch panel into place
Cleco fasteners used to pin the cab corner patch panel into place. Notice the notch cutout to view the Sharpie alignment line flush with the cab corner.
24 The new panel just long enough to peel back the excess metal inside the cab
At the doorjamb a cut was made along the top edge of the new panel just long enough to peel back the excess metal inside the cab and insert a butt weld clamp.
25 Custom and Rods continue to cut the top line marked on the cab with a sharpie using a 3 inch cutoff disc
Elliott continues the cut on the cab using a 3-inch cutoff disc, peeling back the trimmed metal inside the cab every 3 inches and installing a butt weld clamp to align the old and new steel perfectly.
26 Custom and Rod spot welded the cab corner replacement panel
Elliott spot-welded (tacked) the cab corner replacement panels in between the butt welding clamps, keeping the heat down to prevent warpage.
27 The line was traced around the where the factory spot welds were located
At an earlier point in the job a line was traced around the projecting area where the factory spot welds were located.
28 5_16 inch holes were drilled where the factory spot welded the panel to the inner structure
Holes 5/16 inch were drilled in the location where the factory spot welded the panel to the inner structure. Elliott replicated these using plug welds.
29 The heat zone kept to a minimum while welding the odds are much better to not have to repair warped sheetmetal
With the heat zone kept to a minimum while welding the odds are much better to not have to repair warped sheetmetal.

30 technique for installing new cab corners

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Sources
Brothers Trucks
(800) 977-2767
brotherstrucks.com

Harbor Freight
(800) 444-3353
harborfreight.com

Kev’s Rod & Custom
(714) 686-8982
kevsrodandcustom@gmail.com

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