When doing a ground up restoration on a pickup, it is just as important to clean up the frame as it is everything else. In this post we will give a step by step guide on how to restore the frame on your truck. The frame we are working on is from my 1981 Dodge D150. Keep in mind there are many ways to give a frame an overhaul. This is just the way I did it.
Tools and equipment needed:
Various sockets and ratchet
Impact or Breaker bar
Step 1: Strip frame bare of all bracket, suspension, lines, etc.
The amount of work you do here will greatly increase the quality of the restoration. Leaving brackets and parts installed will save time but it leaves any rust that has formed in between parts. This will come back in a short time and leave rust stains on new paint in short order.
Step 2: Wash Frame
This step is optional but will save you time when media blasting as grease and dirt does not always media blast cleanly. Your local media blaster will greatly appreciate not having to deal with greasy, dirty parts. It saves them time and ruins less of their media. I made quick work of cleaning up the frame with Purple Power soap and a pressure washer.
Step 3: Media blasting
Since I do not have a great area to sandblast, I elected to drop it off at my local sand blaster. His rates are very affordable and not much more than the cost of media. The DIY weekend warrior is more than capable of doing this job at home but keep in mind it is very dirty and makes a huge mess of your driveway/yard.
Step 4: Primer
I set the frame up on 3 jack stands to get it off the floor. After prepping the frame with wax and grease remover I primed it with Van Sickle Tractor Equipment & Industrial Dark Gray Primer # 40574 reduced with Van Sickle Tractor Equipment & Industrial Enamel Reducer # R05. I sprayed one side, allowed to dry, and flipped the frame over to spray the other side.
Step 5: Paint
Once the primer was dry the frame was sprayed with Van Sickle Satin Black Tractor Equipment & Industrial Enamel #47274 with Van Sickle Tractor Equipment & Industrial Enamel Hardener #70196 and reduced with Van Sickle Tractor Equipment & Industrial Enamel Reducer # R05. I followed the same method to spray both sides as I did with the primer.
I was very pleased with the results and the frame came out looking like brand new.