Alas, with the final step of joining the plate’s two halves, the job was complete. From start to finish, it was a three-hour task—that includes a fair amount of BSing along with a celebratory joy ride to the bottom of the hill and back.

During this impromptu repair, though, we spotted a handful of other loose ends that’ll need tying up if we want to avoid doing the same job over again. For starters, the bed’s passenger-side subframe is showing signs of—you guessed it—cracking. It too has been repaired before, though it seems to be holding on all right for now. This will surely change over time if we don’t take action, given how most of the flex will now be transferred to that side with our most recent repair.

Further back, the rear of the bed’s frame is only fastened by one (1) bolt on each side, directly underneath the tailgate. Said bolt is supposed to clamp that half together, avoiding slop. However, the wood plank—remember those?—that it’s supposed to run through has largely rotted away on one side, putting the bolt in a pinch. Whoever installed it also didn’t fit any washers, either, so that’ll likely be my first focus going forward.

I’ll also be replacing the blocks of wood I was so concerned with previously. As I’ve since learned, those are in place to prevent a few different problems, like the frames rubbing together, rusting, and squeaking. I assure you, the ones that are equipped right now aren’t in the best of shape. Luckily, I come from a family of sawmill pros so finding new lumber shouldn’t be all that hard.

In the meantime, I’ll be taking it easy and doing more preventative maintenance. The ol’ Ford is due for fresh grease pretty much everywhere, and I’ve got to check my fluids. Between the frame repairs and replacing my rear axle seals, I’ll likely have my hands full, but it’s a rewarding experience. 

I’m just happy to be here, and owning a sweet vintage rig like this makes it even better. 

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