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Cheap score! Older Harbor service body...

LBsuperJET

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Snagged this thing up for $300 in Watts this evening. It was pulled off an '03 Ram 1500 so fitment wont be an issue on my '05 1500. I am a part time fabricator and part time welding student going for my certification next year. The goal is to make this a good bed for a mobile MIG welding side gig until I figure out what I want to do after school.

So far my plan is to cut off all the junk on it, strip it down, relocate newer tail lights, repaint it white and possibly cut off the top lids and weld a permanent top on the boxes mainly because the top lids are bent up and in poor shape. Not sure yet. And of course spray on bedliner with E-track on the sides.

Any other tips before I start to tear into it? Any advice? It should be a fun project!

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Service beds are bad ass. I have one with a liftgate on one of my trucks. There are some burdens to having a truck with a service bed. If it's your only vehicle it's not worth it. Since it's a half ton you'll avoid all the registration, weigh fees, and permits to have a service bed. Since my truck is a personal service bed I almost wasn't able to get it insured because the fact it had a service bed instead of a pickup bed. I eventually got insurance under the terms the truck would only be insured going to and from work and can only carry property owned by me. If I'm carrying property owned by someone else it's not covered and I may not be covered in case of an accident.
AAA will pick and choose if they'll tow it. Transmission broke on mine and they towed it the first day for free and even had an inspector out to inspect the truck before the roll back showed up. Second day they denied the tow based on the tow truck drivers input and it cost me $1000 in tow fees to get it to the shop in Holtville. They towed it free to Holtville when it had a pickup bed 5 years earlier.
That one weighs probably 600lbs. more than the pickup bed so that limits load capacity and you'll want to get the leaf springs re arched by Betts Truck.
I hate to be that guy to say this but they can be a burden. I'm looking into starting a small side business and will probably get a 5X8 enclosed trailer to move my equipment around. Trailer can be towed by almost anything and doesn't cost much after the initial purchase.
 

LBsuperJET

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Service beds are bad ass. I have one with a liftgate on one of my trucks. There are some burdens to having a truck with a service bed. If it's your only vehicle it's not worth it. Since it's a half ton you'll avoid all the registration, weigh fees, and permits to have a service bed. Since my truck is a personal service bed I almost wasn't able to get it insured because the fact it had a service bed instead of a pickup bed. I eventually got insurance under the terms the truck would only be insured going to and from work and can only carry property owned by me. If I'm carrying property owned by someone else it's not covered and I may not be covered in case of an accident.
AAA will pick and choose if they'll tow it. Transmission broke on mine and they towed it the first day for free and even had an inspector out to inspect the truck before the roll back showed up. Second day they denied the tow based on the tow truck drivers input and it cost me $1000 in tow fees to get it to the shop in Holtville. They towed it free to Holtville when it had a pickup bed 5 years earlier.
That one weighs probably 600lbs. more than the pickup bed so that limits load capacity and you'll want to get the leaf springs re arched by Betts Truck.
I hate to be that guy to say this but they can be a burden. I'm looking into starting a small side business and will probably get a 5X8 enclosed trailer to move my equipment around. Trailer can be towed by almost anything and doesn't cost much after the initial purchase.
Great thoughts from both of you above!

I helped pull it from the half ton Ram it was on and it still had stock leaves and didn't seem to squat TOO much. My half ton already has re-arched leaves from Long Beach Spring with another full length intermediate leaf installed already. I don't really plan on keeping much full-time weight in it so I should be good there for now.

With it just on the truck it should ride much nicer, being that I have E range BFG 35's on it currently. They're like rocks at 38psi LOL
 

Backlash

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Put together a build thread with some pictures. A lot of us are into that type of stuff. With you being in the welding industry, your fab skills should be a lot better than the rest of us! 😁
 

LBsuperJET

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Put together a build thread with some pictures. A lot of us are into that type of stuff. With you being in the welding industry, your fab skills should be a lot better than the rest of us! 😁
Good idea will do!
 

Bowtiepower00

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Another thought, don’t be afraid to throw the Box on a truck trailer frame and run it as a trailer. Way better than destroying your DD as a welder truck.
 

LBsuperJET

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Another thought, don’t be afraid to throw the Box on a truck trailer frame and run it as a trailer. Way better than destroying your DD as a welder truck.
True, but I will be holding on to the pickup bed and this will be only used for part-time service work (at least as of now lol) and personal fun of course. My half ton truck is only gonna be around for a couple more years im guessing so it will move to my next truck if its a shortbed.
 

Bowtiepower00

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Worked in the industry for awhile. My advice, get your pipe certs and hit the road as a pipe liner. Bring the fam along and live in a 5th wheel. Don’t be afraid to look at overseas jobs if you want to make real money. Second choice would be tank welding. The other shit doesn’t pay- well- the shipyards do but that is awful work that will beat your body up. The foo-foo fun shit doesn’t pay, until you have enough experience and equipment to do it your way. Hit the road doing pipeline for a decade or two and finish things off on your own terms. It’s not an easy way to make a living. Good luck. If you get a 6g cert and are willing to travel shoot me a PM, and I’ll see what I can find.
 

LBsuperJET

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Worked in the industry for awhile. My advice, get your pipe certs and hit the road as a pipe liner. Bring the fam along and live in a 5th wheel. Don’t be afraid to look at overseas jobs if you want to make real money. Second choice would be tank welding. The other shit doesn’t pay- well- the shipyards do but that is awful work that will beat your body up. The foo-foo fun shit doesn’t pay, until you have enough experience and equipment to do it your way. Hit the road doing pipeline for a decade or two and finish things off on your own terms. It’s not an easy way to make a living. Good luck. If you get a 6g cert and are willing to travel shoot me a PM, and I’ll see what I can find.
Great ideas. I have thought of hitting the road but with a 4yo daughter that makes me a bit nervous. Wife has a badass job that she loves here and cannot work remotely at this time. If I can swing a couple weeks here and there then I would def consider it. I do plan on getting 6G certivied at some point soon after my general cert so I will definitely let you know.
 

lbhsbz

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If I was gonna do mobile MIG welding on the side…I’d just strap down the welder, a generator, and a bottle of gas in the truck bed…throw a few grinders and extension cords and whatever else in a cross bed tool box.

This bed seems like a lot of work for something temporary/side gig.
 

mash on it

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If I was gonna do mobile MIG welding on the side…I’d just strap down the welder, a generator, and a bottle of gas in the truck bed…throw a few grinders and extension cords and whatever else in a cross bed tool box.

This bed seems like a lot of work for something temporary/side gig.

Would you hire the guy with random crap thrown in a pickup?
I wouldn't.

Dan'l
 

Mr. C

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Would you hire the guy with random crap thrown in a pickup?
I wouldn't.

Dan'l
I'm guessing since he said side jobs, most work would be word of mouth. So no, I wouldn't have a problem hiring him
if he had positive and good quality of work feedback.
 
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Would you hire the guy with random crap thrown in a pickup?
I wouldn't.

Dan'l
Talent shows up in all different types of vehicles. Some of the smartest working and experienced guys I've worked with pull up in piles. They're smart... they leave the Navigator or Platinum model truck at home and drive their beater to work. You do have to be careful of meth addicts and the guys that nod their head saying "yes" to every single thing.
 

poncho

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Worked in the industry for awhile. My advice, get your pipe certs and hit the road as a pipe liner. Bring the fam along and live in a 5th wheel. Don’t be afraid to look at overseas jobs if you want to make real money. Second choice would be tank welding. The other shit doesn’t pay- well- the shipyards do but that is awful work that will beat your body up. The foo-foo fun shit doesn’t pay, until you have enough experience and equipment to do it your way. Hit the road doing pipeline for a decade or two and finish things off on your own terms. It’s not an easy way to make a living. Good luck. If you get a 6g cert and are willing to travel shoot me a PM, and I’ll see what I can find.
Straight truth on the shipyard, I tell young guy's cut your teeth there but don't make it a career unless you can see a super job in the near future.
 
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poncho

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Would you hire the guy with random crap thrown in a pickup?
I wouldn't.

Dan'l
Brought the boat down from Dutch Harbor last year to Seattle because of covid and not being able to get product to Alaska. Guys (welders/fabricators) I had used in the past had all moved on, hit up a friend and he recommended a guy.

Next day a shitbox mid 80's mid sized Chev car pulls up and the guy asks if I'm the Chief, I almost said no, seemed knowledgeable, see you tomorrow.

Next day pulls up in the nicest box truck welding van I've ever seen, it seriously looked like something the Government would have, said he paid big bucks to have it built, I believed him.

On a side note one his his welders was this little smoke show, said she was an ex of 7 years but lived with him and his current Girlfriend and he still got the bennies.

Most of the time what you see is what you get but not always.

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LBsuperJET

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Yeah, I don't exactly need the bed but it was a total steal AND it is good fab practice for me in my free time (of which I have right now). My plan is to use this for my side work on this current truck until I land a great opportunity and then just transfer it to my next truck for personal use (whenever that is).

Today I filled up the gas fill hole since I plan on cutting the fender openings higher to fit the 35's. I also cut the top baskets out and going to weld some 14ga or 1/8" sheet on top soon. Enjoy the pics...

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LBsuperJET

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Alright, finally got the new top skins on. 14ga. This thing is taking a lot longer than I originally thought, due to other cool shit like family, work, class, etc. lol. It looks much cleaner than it did with the rotting top boxes and lids.
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