How to Repair Rusted Truck Frames

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How to Repair Rusted Truck Frames

If you love your truck and more importantly love to work on trucks, one project that many tackle is to restore older trucks, jeeps, SUV’s, etc to their old glory. While repairing rusted truck frames does take some time, some space and a little skill, it is well worth the challenge. Here are ten great tips for those that would like to repair a rusted truck frame.

  1. When setting out to repair rust on your truck frame, the first thing you should do is to evaluate the damage. A quick look is not good enough, make sure you spend time looking over every inch of the frame to evaluate the damage of it. For vehicles that are road worthy, most people only check out the area within a few inches of rot or rust, when there can be far more serious damage elsewhere. If your truck has succumbed to rust, it is generally a good idea to check and evaluate the entire frame.
  2. Once the damage has been evaluated your next step, especially if the truck is not road worthy and in the garage for a project is to remove any non essential pieces that are welded to the frame of the truck. The fewer pieces that are interfering with the frame, the easier it will ultimately be to repair. Most people use a grinder or cutting torch.
  3. Sandblast or sand down the entire frame. Remove all old paint and rust as possible. Obviously the easiest way to do this to an entire frame is sandblasting. If you don’t have access to a sandblaster then sand the entire frame by hand. Once these non essential pieces are removed do a careful inspection to the frame checking for cracks, blistering etc.
  4. Remove Metal that has been damage seriously by rust. You will be cutting away the metal that has rust damage to it. Again, you can use your grinder, hack saw or cutting torch to remove any rusted pieces of metal. Obviously if the frame in a section is fully rusted and rotted, this could mean that the frame will be in two or more parts. Keep in mind later that you will realign the frame and construct it back together with new pieces of metal.
  5. Create a template of the metal patches needed. Most people use cardboard and a razor blade to create templates to fill in the rusted areas. It is important to include all parts of the rusted area onto the template such as any holes, bolts, braces, etc. Once the template is complete, fit it onto the frame and make sure it fits perfectly.
  6. Using your cardboard template, transfer it to the new piece of metal. An easy way to transfer your template to metal is to place the cardboard onto a piece of metal, spray paint onto it and remove the cardboard. What remains should be a perfect template. Now cut out the template from the metal, you can use a hand held jigsaw. For holes use a drill bit or router, sand down to make the patch smooth.
  7. Apply rust proofing onto the entire frame and patch. This is a good time to apply rust proofing, because all areas of the frame are easy to access. Once you start welding you might not be able to access all the areas again.
  8. Now its time to re align the frame, if in fact you cut the frame in two. Make sure when realigning the frame it is kept on a level surface. If possible, work from within the frame so that most of the repairs won’t be visibly seen from the outside.
  9. Weld the patch on. If you can, keep the weld similar to the original, if not use a standard weld. It doesn’t have to look pretty, but make sure it the weld you create is strong enough.
  10. Once the patch is welded on, sand and grind the area down. Once smooth, you should spray a primer on the entire area or just the area where the patch was welded. Now that the primer has dried, finish the frame with paint and you are done.
  11. Rusted Truck Frames Repair Image Gallery