Cars & Racing | 29 May 2017How to Media-Blast a Truck Cab Share article facebook twitter google pinterest For a long time, coarse river sand was widely used for media blasting, which is why it is often known as sandblasting, an outdated term. Sand can be used for removing graffiti from steel bridges, masonry structures, and various other surfaces. However, sand can quickly put heavy scratches into something lighter and will produce significant heat on application, causing sheet metal panels to warp. In lieu of sandblasting, media blasting offers a great way to remove paint, peeling chrome, and rust. However, you can’t simply start blasting away at your parts. Three very important steps to start with when prepping for media blasting are (1) mask the area that should not be blasted, (2) use the appropriate blasting media, and (3) remove all of the blasting media when the job is complete. You must also wear proper safety apparel, including eye and respiratory protection. From the book The Complete Guide to Auto Body Repair author Dennis Parks describes one of his recent media-blasting projects. HOW TO MEDIA-BLAST A TRUCK CAB My most recent automotive project was a 1955 Chevrolet pickup that I purchased sight unseen (save for a few snapshots) via the Internet. Since my first car was a similar 1957 GMC pickup, this project is near and dear to my heart, as I plan to keep the truck forever. Therefore, I wanted to take my time and get it built to the absolute best of my abilities. Even though the truck was from California, it had various patches of rust in some places. The cab had suffered some damage to the driver’s side rear corner, which was not repaired very well due to a significant angle point in what should be a flat back panel. Considering this situation, I believed the cab should be stripped of all paint in order to thoroughly address the health of the cab’s sheet metal. Before having the cab sandblasted, I already knew that the rocker panels and steps and the door hinge pockets were a bit soft. I had my 1957 GMC pickup in high school; since then, the aftermarket has flourished and many more parts are available for these trucks now than they were back then. For this project, sheet metal parts were readily available, so I could replace the A-pillars, rocker panels, doors, and back panel. After dismantling the cab as completely as possible, I took it to Chris Riedel Sandblasting. Using very fine sand, all paint, primer, and rust was removed from the cab. There were some areas where some crude repairs were made in the past, using very thick applications of plastic body filler. Due to the thickness, this could not be removed completely. However, my next step as part of the new repair work was to remove the body filler. A fresh coat of paint or even primer can often hide a multitude of bodywork sins for a while, but even in primer, it was evident that this truck cab required significant work. Doors, front fenders, rocker panels and steps, along with the rear cab panel, all must be replaced. The windshield glass, gauges, gas tank, and anything else that could come out of the cab was removed before stripping. Unlike some vehicles, there were not too many surprises when the cab came back from being sandblasted. The panels (rocker panels in particular) to be repaired looked a bit worse, but nothing catastrophic showed up. Had the cab been chemically stripped, the surface would have been smooth and relatively shiny, just as new bare metal. The sandblasted surface appears with a slight texture. One issue around the forward cab mounts raised some concern once the primer and rust were removed. These mounts are certainly not as solid as hoped for, as evidenced by the daylight around this one on the passenger side. Now the choice is to replace the entire toeboard or weld in some smaller localized patches. Regardless of the method used to strip any sheet metal body or component, it should be protected by a couple of coats of epoxy primer as soon as feasible to prevent the re-formation of rust due to humidity. There is still a lot of work ahead on this cab, but with the strong aftermarket, it can be repaired to better than new condition. However, new cabs are available for this make and model as well. Buy From an Online Retailer Everything you need to know about auto body repair-–updated and revised to cover water-based paints, the latest panel adhesives, and other body repair technologies. The only thing more reliable than rising gas prices is the wear and tear your car endures over its lifetime. Knowing how to repair your car without taking it to the body shop is a valuable skill for any car lover. If you want to restore, modify, or just fix up any car, from collector to custom, this is the book for you. In this updated and revised edition, author Dennis Parks covers new tools and techniques for dealing with ever-changing vehicular guidelines and technologies. New photography and updated step-by-step projects cover the latest information on panel adhesives, improved repair strategies, unibody vehicles, media blasting, panel overhaul and replacement, and tools and techniques for water-based paint products. The Complete Guide to Auto Body Repair provides all the information you’ll need to deal with any bumps, bangs, and bruises your car encounters, as well as the many repairs required during a car restoration project. From tools to materials to techniques, this book takes you all the way through the process. Learn how to disassemble, repair, and reassemble bodywork, as well as how to prepare surfaces for paint. The Complete Guide to Auto Body Repair equips you with all the information needed to return your car to its former glory and avoid paying a body shop for work you can do yourself. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.