October 26th, 2006 : Running Boards
My runningboards weren't in the best of shape even when I first bought the truck ... but after 3 years and 10 months, as you can see, they were looking pretty sad.
A NOTE ABOUT PAINT:
At first, I thought powdercoat was the way to go ... but consider this: You get a chip in the powdercoat ... you can't paint/touch-up powdercoat and it's impossible to remove ... rust starts growing where the chip is ... it starts spreading ... and you can't get to it!
Have you ever seen an 18-wheeler or large utility vehicle that has a rear bumber all rotted out? That's what powdercoating winds up doing.
The best way to go is what I'm doing now. After sandblasting, we're laying down an inorganic zinc-rich epoxy primer, followed by a top-coat of aliphatic urethane which provides UV protection so the color doesn't fade and has elastimeric properties so it doesn't crack or chip easily -- the more top-coats and/or clear coat, the more durable the paint will be.
Sunday | October 29th:
I drove up to my nephew Christopher's house and we tackled the job of removing the runningboards together ... Chris did most of the work, God bless his heart. It took us an hour and a half to remove the first runningboard ... forty minutes to remove the second one -- once you know what you're doing, things go quicker. I didn't realize we would have to remove the splash apron that sits between the bottom of the bed-side and the top of the runningboard; five more bolts to remove -- 75% of the bolts had to be cut off ... 25% came off pretty easily ... some bolts were ridiculously long; it's amazing what some people do.
Next, we had to drill out some twenty rivets from each runningboard -- these were from some form of rubber strips that were once on the 'boards. The rivets had to be drilled out ... then Chris welded the holes from the backsides of the 'boards ... then all the welds had to be ground down, flat and smooth -- this process took about an hour per 'board.
There was a pretty serious dent in the side of one of the runningboards (passenger side) ... so Chris took some time with that, too.
Here are pictures of Christopher welding and grinding the runningboards:
Now the runningboards are ready to be sandblasted and I'm driving around without runningboards for a while. I already miss getting out of the truck and stepping onto the runningboard ... I'll bet that, by the time I get them back on the truck, I'll be glad to have my footing again -- it's a good thing I don't drink; I'd wind up getting out of the truck and landing on my face!
Wednesday | November 1st:
I received my Running Board Kit today from Classic Parts (was Chevy Duty) ...
I should've asked first but didn't ... when the kit arrived, I called and asked if all the bolts were stainless or galvanized -- they are not -- which means they'll all just turn into rust soon enough. There's absolutely no sense in going through any project like this and winding up with bolts, nuts and washers that look like this:
Even galvanized stuff is going to rust soon enough ... so I went to McMaster-Carr Online and bought all 18-8 stainless steel bolts, nuts and lock-washers for everything.
Thursday | November 2nd:
Is anything ever done properly? The stainless steel Rubber Seal Retainers had holes for eighth-inch sheet metal screws and they give you quarter-inch zinc-plated sheet metal screws to install them with -- pulleeeze! Also, since the screws have to go through the Rubber Seals to get to the Retainers, it would be nice if they punched holes in the Rubber Seals for an easier install ... not to mention achieving a nice alignment. I already purchased quarter-inch stainless steel sheet metal screws, so I drilled out all the holes in the Retainers and punched holes in the Rubber Seals myself.
Also, to my surprise, the Retainers sit above the Rubber Seals ... not below; the holes in the body should be larger than the screws ... the screws pass through the body and the Rubber Seals and then grab the Retainers.
The old Seals are pretty beat looking, eh? Anyway, they are in the dumpster now and I'm ready to install my restored runningboards ... they'll be ready next week and I'll post the finals then.
Thursday | November 9th:
I got the runningboards back from sandblasting and paint today. After having done some research, I found a guy who sounded like he was really into his craft and took the 'boards to him to be sandblasted, primed and painted ... but it turned out to be just one more lesson about people not doing things with any integrity behind their words.
The runningboards were suppose to be primed with an inorganic zinc-rich apoxy for rust-proofing, followed by a number of coats of aliphatic urethane, black satin paint. But when I got the runningboards back, there were bare spots underneath that hadn't been primed or painted at all ... and, worse still, when we started grinding some bad areas down to fix them, we ran into some bondo! What kind of sandblasting doesn't remove bondo, I wonder!? Anyway, that's the way it goes ... here's how they looked:
Obviously, this isn't acceptable as a finished job; the runningboards need bondo and a proper color -- but this project is only preparation for getting the whole truck a new paint job (as well as a new engine and tranny) and Chris is cleaning them up now ... he's grinding down rough spots and will bondo stuff that needs it. Then he's going to add primer where needed and repaint the 'boards completely.
Sunday | November 26th:
Thanksgiving stopped progress on this project for two weeks but now we're back on it. Chris has ground everything back down to bare metal, applied and sanded the plastic ("bondo") and sprayed on a number of coats of primer:
Monday | November 27th:
Chris is painting the runningboards black today and in the interest of protecting all his hard work, I ordered runningboard step plates ... they came today. These will go on after I put the runningboards back on; probably Wednesday or Thursday!
NOTICE!: These aluminum step plates are not worth your money! Click Here & See Why!
Tuesday | November 28th:
Chris painted the 'boards (yesterday) and undercoated the bottoms today:
Wednesday | November 29th:
I'm picking up the 'boards today ... if I get back early enough, I'll put them back on the truck. If not, Thursday will complete this job and the final pics will be posted!
Thursday | November 30th:
I installed both runningboards today and also installed the aluminum step plates. It took me 3 hours to do, with the usual miseries involved in most projects but, nonetheless, it all went pretty smoothly. This job is done!