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How do you fix $1,000+ in body damage for $200?

3793 Views 13 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  BobbyDodge
you swap beds!

Thanks to those who gave the tips...they said "15 minutes to ahve the bed off! no sweat!" of course, I knew it would take more like an hour, because if it's never been off before, the bolts will be rusty! among other complications.

total swap for the beds took me about 4 hours doing it all by myself, the other guy didn't have much help to provide, and honestly, I wasp robably faster at it by myself than if he had tried to help.

we did just pick it up and move it, wasn't too bad, but he was a short little guy with no upper body strength, so we had to take the wheels off the trucks, and almost set them down on the ground so the bed was low enough for him to pick it up.

Now I got some more work to do! --reinstall fuel cell, bed mounted battery, roll pan, flares, body kit, and finally, the already painted fiberglass bed cover thats been in my basement since about December!


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I took the bed off of my 2005 Dakota Extended cab yesterday so I could get rid of surface rust on all of the components under the bed. Even though I live in California and we have no road salt and corrosion/rust are unheard of, we live next to the Pismo Dunes and the previous owner clearly drove in the wet salty beach sand. It was caked underneath, with the salt causing rust. I used POR-15 cleaner/degreaser, pressure washer, maroon scotch brite, air die grinder for the bad parts, and then painted with Rustoleum Rust Converter Paint/Primer. It turned out great.

Taking the bed off is as described, I have the following tips/observations. It took one hour to get the bed off. I put ratchet straps in a cross pattern and hooked them at the cross in the middle to a strap slung through two eye bolts I had already installed into a ceiling beam in my garage. It was easiest for me to get the apparatus set, then jack up the rear of the truck with my floor jack, it has 2 feet of lift, then cinch up the straps, then slowly lower the truck. The bed stayed suspended, pretty controlled and smooth and nearly effortless. One helper could guide the bed while I managed the jack. For re-installation it was very easy to get the bed lined up, jack up the truck and get all of the bolts started, then release the straps and lower the truck with bed installed to the ground.

Having the truck in the air also helped to have easy access to the bolts and tail lights. No need to remove the tail light housings from the bed, you can reach up behind them and twist out the wire connectors.

You also have to release the wire connector to the license plate light. it is attached to the bed in two spots. The bumper and these lights remain attached to the truck frame while the bed is lifted off.


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