New Reproduction Bed | Early Classic Enterprises


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Dear Early Classic Enterprises Customers,

Early Classic is excited to announce we have joined the Holley family of brands. To all of our customers, we thank you tremendously for your continued patronage over the last 24 years and moving forward. You will soon be able to find all of your favorite Early Classic products, as well as new ones, at Keep on Truckin’

Your friends at Early Classic Enterprises

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New Reproduction Bed

Publication Name: 
Custom Classic Trucks
Publication Date: 
June, 2003
It's Bedtime...

The build up of Early Classic Enterprises' latest project truck is in full swing, and this month we are following along as Project Heavy Hauler gets new rear sheetmetal. For those who are new to this project, we've been following along as the crew at ECE has taken this well-worn '71 Chevy C20 camper special and installed a new 3/4-to 1/2-ton conversion suspension and rear air spring setup. Along the way, the crew has also cut down the longbed chassis to shortbed dimensions, and installed one of the company's new stainless rear fuel tanks.

This month, we'll cover the assembly and installation of ECE's new reproduction shortbed kit on Project Heavy Hauler.

How To Steps and Images: 
Here you go, one bed in a box! For years now, a clean ‘67-’72 GM Fleetside shortbed has been one of the hardest items to find. To make life a little easier, Early Classic now offers this ‘68-’72 shortbed kit that comes with virtually everything needed to install. For less than $3,000, you can add a brand new bed to your truck.
To begin the assembly process, the bed sides were bolted to the head gate to form the front of the bed. The bottom lip of the head gate is slightly lower on the wood floor compared to the steel floor. While it is possible to modify a steel floor head gate to fit the wood , most original head gates have sustained some type of damage over the years and need to be replaced.
The back of the bed is held together by the rear cross sill, which also serves as the rear mounting ledge for the oak wood planks. After bolting the four corners of the bed together, the entire assembly is diagonally measured and squared up before proceeding. Failure to align the box properly will cause an untold number of headaches later in the assembly process.
The guys at ECE use stainless mounting hardware in their kit, and to prevent the threads from galling, they require a small amount of anti-seize lubricant. With the bolts lubed, the wheeltubs were set in place and tightened down. Since both the long and shortbed used the same wheeltub, you may be able to re-use your factory tubs, depending on their condition.
With the wheeltubs installed, the new oak wood planks needed to be pre-fit before the perimeter mounting bolt holes could be drilled. Setting the small corner boards in place and using the bed strip mounting holes for alignment can achieve this. Once you have double-checked your board fitment, the perimeter holes can be drilled.
With the oak wood pre-fit and the perimeter holes drilled, the bed was set in place on the chassis. Because the weight of the bed rests on the cross sills, Early Classic recommends trial fitting the assembly off the chassis to make your life easier.
The factory bed mounting bolts pass through the wood and cross sills to the frame, using a carriage bolt and eccentric washer to hold the bed in place. For a smooth clean look, the team at ECE hid the mounting bolts underneath the oak floor. This is a rather simple procedure, with only a few small relief cuts into the underside of the plank using a router.
After the wood has been pre-fit and all mounting holes drilled, the grain needs to be sealed to prevent weather damage. Your geographic location will determine what type of finish you’ll need to protect the wood from the elements, and your local home improvement store can help you select the best products for your climate. Early Classic ships the wood ready to finish, but some light sanding may be needed to remove any scuffs or marks from shipping.
With a few coats of finish applied, the planks were set back into place and aligned, and the bed strips were bolted down. Early Classic offers several different versions of strips, from raw steel you can paint, to polished aluminum or stainless steel. The company also carries an aluminum strip that features hidden mounting bolts in a track on the bottom side, leaving the top smooth.
Early Classic offers several choices when it comes to the tailgate of your classic. You can choose between the original stamped Chevrolet and GMC, or they also offer a plain tailgate with no letters. The only tailgate items currently not available in ECE’s kit are the tailgate rods and handle, which can be re-used from your original tailgate.
The tailgate rods were attached to the latches before the assemblies were slid into the tailgate. After snapping both inner ends of the rods to the tailgate handle, the handle was also bolted in place. Here again, when using stainless bolts, make certain to lightly coat the threads with anti-seize compound.
The tailgate links not only limit how far the gate can open, they also provide a striker for the latch to grab onto. The tailgate pivots on the trunnions, which bolt to each bedside. Unlike the newer model trucks, these trunnions must be unbolted to remove the tailgate, slowing down potential thieves. Having all of these hard to find parts included in the kit certainly makes the project a lot easier.
The kit also includes the tail and back up light housings, lenses and gaskets, along with a new rear-lamp wiring harness. Early Classic also offers LED rear light inserts that replace the factory bulb for that modern look. Since the bed will now be disassembled for paint, the lights and wiring will be installed at a later date.
Now that everything has been assembled for a trial fit, the bed is now ready to be disassembled and prepped for paint. After the truck has been painted, this ECE chrome rear bumper kit will also be installed, along with all new trim and weather-stripping. Stay tuned for more.
Technical Articles
Company Name: 
Early Classic Enterprises
--, CA --
United States
(888) 777-0395
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