It was a long time coming. After nearly two years, the cab is finally was back home. Never once did we imagine that it would sit so high. It was not our intention to build a "monster truck" but it certainly has enough ground clearance to qualify.
The cab was was at Countywide Collision for a year while the transformation has taken place. The cab is the only sheet metal remaining from the original cab and front clip. The factory installed front clip had enough wear and tear that it was more economical to replace the fenders, core support and the hood rather than try to clean up the few areas of rust and fix up the dings and dents that had accumulated over the years.
The process started with finding a suitable donor cab from which to replace the floor of the Project Responder cab. It was suggested to just replace the cab entirely, but that was not an option. Had we done so, the truck would no longer be our truck, but simply our frame with someone else's cab. The VIN would no longer match (without removing and replacing the entire dash) and the character and personality of the original truck would be lost. Now the plan was to only replace the floor and the rear of the cab up to the body molding since our rear quarter panels were completely rusted away. However, once the cab was at the shop and we were able to inspect our cab more closely, it was found that the oxidation was worse than anticipated. Therefore the cab was cut at the center of the rear window all the way around to the door posts.
The donor cab was likewise dismembered, separating the seam where the floor pan meets the firewall, back to the rear windows around to the door posts. Once the two halves were prepared, it was time to join them. Using several pieces of heavy gauge steel, inserts were welded inside of the cab walls on the lower section. A special weld through primer was used so the welding did not burn away the primer. The tricky part was aligning the top and bottom sections. Using the side window trim as guide by lining up the holes in the skin with the studs in the trim, the shop was able to ensure the proper spacing before making the final welds.
After the application of some fiberglass reinforced resin, the two halves are now a single whole. All that remains is to smooth out the resin, apply some body filler to achieve a smooth, seamless fit and the cab is finally ready for her first coat of primer.