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Bed interchanges up through '93

1662 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  TWX
I'm a little less desperate to start working on my '82 crew cab shortbed, now that I've gotten many of the parts that I need in order to work on the car, so I have some time to make more intelligent decisions for where I go with said truck.

One option is simply getting a different truck to start with, as I'm thinking I'd rather do a longbed crew cab, and it would be helpful to find something '79-'80. If I do find a longbed truck, I'd need to deal with the bed, so interchange becomes the next order of business.

So, I went out and took a quick look at my truck in the dark, and I've also looked at lots of pictures on the Internet, and it looks to me like the side walls of the utiline/stepside bed are a total throwback. There's some folds in the sheet metal that look like they're much more suited to a small, tight fender than they are to the huge fenders that the trucks had in the last generation from '72-'93. It looks to me like the original, narrow fender of the forties and fifties was the norm on these bed sides, and that the bigger fender was a fancier option in some years, and it was a bit of a hack, how it fit, and when the small fenders were dropped entirely no one redesigned the side panels of the bed.

So, that brings me to my next thought, that if the side panels were not redesigned, then the dimensions probably didn't change either, as a change in bed length would be a good time to modify the sides for other things. This makes me think that the distance from the front of the bed to the center of the axle and from the center of the axle to the rear of the bed is basically the same in all years past around the late fifties affecting both the "C" trucks and the "D/W" trucks of all generations. Obviously short beds were one length and long beds were another length, but I'm thinking that they remained virtually indentical for all those years.

So, that brings me to my questions. First, did the side-to-side under-bed support sheet metal remain the same in all years? That would mean that a bed from an eighties truck would be capable of bolting up to a truck clear back to the fifties, and vice-versa. Second, would the task to bolt the larger fenders on the old bed simply be a matter of marking the correct holes and drilling them, and possibly filling in the old holes for the smaller fender?

The fenders on my shortbed utiline bed aren't perfect, but they're good enough that they're probably worth repairing instead of buying new, if I could find a longbed that would bolt to the correct frame, regardless of what type of fenders it has to start with...

No one appears to make new box sides for the Mopar utilines, unfortunately.
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Hi, I ran into a simmaler situation while restoreing my 56 short bed,(still in progress) I believe the box sides are the same and keep in mind once you remove the fenders the sides have huge like 1" diameter holes drilled for the fenders to bolt to with there 1/4" bolts these are for adjustment and alignment but as far as the with goes the older ones are narrower I was going to use my old tailgate from the 56 on the 1980's box I installed and the 56 tailgate is much narrower so I would imagine all the cross supports are to and of course the older sides slope up on the top rail while the newer are flat

1,333 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ah. Okay. I guess I'll need to figure out when the box size was fixed to what it was through the end. I suspect that when the first "D" series debuted that might be it, which would be '61...
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