I have an f100 and am wanting to chop to top no more than 3 inches. This is my first chop and was hoping that a few people on here could give me some advice. (step by step pictures, and or links to sites that show step by steps or how to do it) would be much appreciated!
Have a good day!
Getting the windshield to fit can be a problem. Early cars and trucks that had upright or flat glass could trim the glass ,or have a new piece cut locally. Later cars and trucks with slanted, curved glass are much more difficult to chop and get a windshield to fit. You can get custom windshields made, but it's not cheap, easy, or for a beginer. I saw a late 50's chevy truck at a show last year that had a stock windshield and metal channel around it. The owner chopped above and below the glass. Notice I haven't even started talking about sheet metal mods yet.
Definitely research the windshield issue before you do it. Some glass shops will keep trying as long as you don't mind paying for however many windshields it takes to get a good one. The loss of headspace in the cab would keep me from ever desiring a chop.
There are three ways to do it: The quick and dirty (wrong way) that West Coast Customs used on the Stalone trucks, the right way that involves a lot of precise body work, and the way They did Chip Foose's 56 which technically wasn't actually a chop but a high wedge body section. The WCC way, cutting the posts and bending them in and out to mate up results in a difficult to fit windshield and funny proportions. The RW involves cutting the posts then cut the roof panel into 1/4s and adding strips to expand it front to back and side to side until the roof realigns with the lower posts. The more you take out the more expanding the roof needs to be stretched and the more difficult it becomes to get the crown to form a smooth curve without a flat spot and not have it warp all to heck. On Foose's truck they took 1 1/2" out of the panel below the windshield and tapered it to 0 at the back. They didn't cut the roof or glass at all. As other's have suggested I recommend doing any other body work needed first to see if you have the needed skills and patience (especially the patience) and/or get a scrap cab to practice on.
Having the right welder and experience with welding thin sheet metal without warping it is essential. 3" is a lot to take out of a F100. Take some large corregated cardboard and cut a panel to go inside the cab 3" below the headliner and tape off the top 3" of the windshield then sit in it and pretend to be driving it for at least 1/2 hr and see if you can live with it. Most taller than 5'8" will feel claustrophobic and will have to scrunch down to see out the windshield.
If we can't discourage you, ask again for advice when you are ready to start cutting it. Many cabs and trucks show up for sale on ebay because of an attempted chop that they couldn't complete.
the nicest way i have seen of dealing with the 1/4ing of the roof was this...cut the roof skin about an inch or so from the outside all the way around ( as in close to the gutters) then widen and lengthen the structure to suit your chop and new screen. You do have it handy, dont you?.
Then when everything fits nicely either find or have a new skin wheeled up thats fits the new bigger opening. Welding the new skin is much more manageable when its close to the outside where you can get at it for hammer and dolly, shrinking work.
Its a BIG job and NOT for the faint hearted, however it can look great when done well and the flow and proportions are good.
What has been covered here already is pretty good advise. If you can do it and this is what you want then go for it. Do a lot of planning before up pick up that angle grinder. I posted a pic of my 48 F1 for you over on the HAMB.
48 Ford F1 - Darkside
46 Ford Tudor - Street Rod
My advice would be to get the following book and learn all you can from it,
"LeRoy "Tex" Smith's, "HOW TO CHOP TOPS".
It goes into plenty enough detail to help you. A truck like yours is fully documented n the book, step by step. Even glass cutting. The 53-55 w/shield is not as bad as a wrap-around.
I agree, your welding and metal work skills will be really necessary before attempting this project, so learn on something other than your nice truck first. At least you're not trying to chop a '57-60 model, with the rear-slanted posts and wrap w/shield. I was going to do mine, but decided against it.
Oh, and DO NOT try re-slanting the A pillar posts, Better to extend the roof a few inches. You will have much less problems with matching doors to body that way.