When discussing classic custom trucks, it's important not to confuse chopped with channeled. "Chopped" means lowering the height of the cab and cutting down the doors to fit. "Channeled" refers to resetting the entire truck body lower on the frame. In terms of time, cost and the work involved, it's easier to chop the top and modify the suspension if you want the lowered look. Remove the headliner and seat, take the doors off the truck and organize the metalwork tools to chop a 1940 Ford pickup truck.
Things You'll Need
- Allen wrench set
- Utility knife
- Chalk line
- Reciprocating saw
- Metal cutting blades
- Body metal
- Electric grinder
- Cutting wheel
- Welding equipment
- Fine grinding wheel
- Metallic primer
- Sanding Block
- 120-grit garnet paper
- Body paint
Cutting the Top
Disconnect the electrical leads from the windshield wiper motor. Pop the retainer clips at the base of the wipers with a screwdriver and pull the wipers off the mounts. Loosen the small Allen bolt at the base of the rear view mirror and remove the mirror.
Cut the rubber windshield gasket along the outside seam of the glass with a utility knife and peel the strip away. Ask an assistant to push on the windshield from inside as you work it out of the opening. Remove the remaining bead of gasket. Repeat the process to remove the rear gasket and window glass.
Chalk a level line around the cab at the point where the windshield posts attach to the top of the cowling at the engine compartment. Check the line to make sure it is level across the back of the cab. Re-chalk the line if necessary.
Follow the chalk line and cut the top off the truck using a reciprocating saw and metal cutting blade. One approach is to cut the window posts and have an assistant steady the front of the top as you work your way around the cab.
Lift the top off the truck and place it in the work area. Establish the amount of chop you want, such as 3 inches or 5 inches. Measure from the base of the windshield posts and chalk a second line around the top. Put a fresh blade in the reciprocating saw and cut the chalk line.
Welding and Glass
Determine the size of the chopped windshield and rear window. Measure from the upper lip of the front and rear window openings and mark the height for each window at each end of the openings.
Make cardboard templates for the front and rear windows. Enlist an auto glass shop to cut down the front and rear windows and provide the gaskets for each.
Cut pieces of body metal panels that fill the lower section of the openings where the top was cut down to height. For stability, the front panel between the window posts should be at least two inches high. The outer ends of each panel radius to match your window templates. Cut the body metal using an electric grinder with a cutting wheel.
Weld the panels to the top and allow the welds to cool. Turn the chopped top over and put it in place on the truck. Mark any spots or sections that need to be detailed for a uniform fit. Detail these areas with the grinder and a fine grinding wheel.
Place the chopped top on the truck. Tack-weld the four corners. Weld the window posts to the cowling. Weld the rear section of the top and the wrap-around sides from inside. Allow the welds to cool and grind each weld uniform with the fine wheel.
Prime the inside and outside of the top with two coats of metallic primer, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next. Sand the final coat of primer with 120-grit garnet paper and a sanding block.
Apply two or more coats of body paint, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.
Install the front and rear window gaskets and glass.
Remove the door panels and door glass. Cut the doors posts down to match the top. Finish the doors using the same procedures. Order new door glass to fit the chopped openings. Install the glass in each door and mount the doors on the hinges.
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