Dangers of Bed Liner Material

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John L
United States of America
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:48 am
Location: Covington, Louisiana

Dangers of Bed Liner Material

Post by John L »

I have a 1975 710M. My truck came from Arizona where the weather is generally nice and dry. The truck is currently in South Louisiana where it rains every day in the summer and during hunting season we are driving through wet areas to get to where we need to be. The person who had the truck before me applied a bed liner material to the undercarriage as well as on top of the back floor area. Many people think this protects the truck and helps with soundproofing. I never gave it a second thought until I had some work being done by my buddy Andre Swanson at Fat Fabrications. He stated he did not see any signs of active rust; but that I should consider removing the bed liner material for the reason that when it gets even a pin hole in it the moisture stays and begins to propagate rust. FYI my truck is garage kept, so she is not out in the weather.

In the midst of doing a summer cleaning of the cab area, I noticed a few spots under the floor plate on the passenger side of what appeared to be bubbled paint. The more I dug the more I realized I had a bit of rust developing. I remembered what Andre told me and embarked on the process of removing the bed liner material. Not only did I have rust developing under the foot plate on the passenger side, it was developing at some of the seems in the tub underneath, under the original vinyl under the crook of your knees above the wheel well, also had it developing on the driver's side in similar locations. There was some pitting where the steering controls come out of the tub, as well as other locations. I have to warn anyone who has bed liner material under or on top of their truck that this could be happening to yours as well. I caught it well before a repair needed to be made to the metal; but please beware. The bed liner material gives the bad spots some strength and hides the signs of the rust many times before its too late.

My plan of attack is to remove all of the bed liner material from the truck. As you can imagine this is labor intensive. I am focused on the cab/front portion for now and will move to the back probably after hunting season. I am about 85% done on the removal process. I'm using a product called Citristrip which you can buy at your local big box home improvement stores. A half a gallon is about $25. You paint it on with a brush, cover it with cellophane or plastic sheeting, let it sit for about 24 hours and then scrape and wipe it off. Sometimes it goes straight to bare metal with one application. Generally it takes about 3, especially in the harder to reach areas. Be patient and understand the project will take some time.

After I get all of the bed liner off and have the tub, wheel wells and undercarriage down to bare metal, I will do the same thing to the interior. The interior paint will come off easy. Use the same product and same technique and after 24 hours you are merely wiping the paint off with a rag. No need to scrape. Once I have both sides of the tub down to bare metal I will grind the bad spots to smooth them out. I only have two or three of those. Then it'll be time to treat the rust/metal. Pics will be posted.

I am using a POR 15 set of products that entail cleaning the metal, treating the rust, preventing more rust, then top coating it all. This product will create a hard seal that supposedly withstands direct impact strikes from a hammer... or a rock :). As I move along with this I will post some pictures so you guys can benefit from my research and trial and error. Thanks Andre for the warning.

As with all Pinz projects, they grow in scope as they move along. As I was removing some of the interior components in order to treat and repaint the interior it turned into a tear down and rebuild for everything in the cab except the dash. Clean, wipe, repair, repaint and reinstall. While I have her somewhat stripped down I am going to attempt what Vince wrote about extensively and try to "soundproof" the truck... starting with the cab. I'll post information about that work and how it comes out on a separate thread.

Back to this post... from what I have seen with my own eyes, beware of using bed liner material for any reason on these old metal trucks. At some point it will cause rust to develop and if not caught in time you wind up with a parts truck or a rolling rust bucket. They are way too cool to let them rust away! Levers Down!!
User avatar
John L
United States of America
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:48 am
Location: Covington, Louisiana

Re: Dangers of Bed Liner Material

Post by John L »

As an update for anyone interested, I found some rust under the passenger seat, at the bend where your legs would bend, in the foot well area, around the heater hose floor connection, and in the air tunnel. None of it was bad; but it exists nonetheless and will be totally repaired and treated. I'll report on the drivers side when I complete stripping it down.
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