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UA Tacoma Sheet Metal Body Fabrication - Shelling A Taco

Posted in How To: Body Chassis on October 1, 2008
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Cutting the body off the Tacoma took an entire day as we removed the cab in sections. The proper structural supports need to be left behind, or places to fabricate new ones have to be taken into consideration. We could have easily plasma-cut the cab off the floorpan to save time, but then we would have been left with fabricating new structural panel supports.

Resurrecting Our '01 UA Tacoma has been hard work, but also a lot of fun. It had been rolled and flopped on its side a few times so there's lots of fun damage to repair. The Taco still runs and wheels great, but the cab has been mangled almost beyond recognition. Our options for repair were to replace the cab with a fiberglass body, scrounge up a salvaged cab, or skin it with sheetmetal. We decided on the sheetmetal because it's far more economical, and sheetmetal panels are much easier to replace, as they will likely be damaged again.

This conversion turned out to be a weeklong endeavor, as the Taco's old cab was removed and the new sheetmetal body panels were taking shape. The hardest part of the truck's reconstruction was cutting off the body and straightening the crumpled floorpan and rocker panels. Once the cab was removed, making templates and properly lining them up for fitment was easy.

We're not professional autobody guys, so we approached this job as a "learn as you go" challenge. But the staff here are all hands-on guys, so give us some tools and something to fix, restore, or break, and we'll get it done.

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