My bed is painted and installed with fairly nice finished Oak plank bed floor. I will be installing a triangulated 4 link and plan to do the fabrication with the bed off.
Was curious how much disassembly I must do to get it off.
The bed isn't that hard to unbolt. You will have to disconnect the running boards first, then:
There are 2 bolts (1 each side) right at the tail end of the frame that go through the brackets on the rear sill.
There are 4 long carriage bolts (2 each "c-channel") that go through the steel strips, the "c-channels", and then the frame.
There are 2 long carriage bolts (1 each side) at the front of the bed. I think on the '51 they go through the steel bed strips, the front bed cross support, and then the frame.
With these bolts out, and the tail light wiring disconnected, the bed should lift right off as one piece. No need to take it apart unless you want to take the fenders off. The only really hard part will be if some of the bolts are rusted tight. Be careful with the carriage bolts or you can round the shoulders of the bolts or round out the hole in the steel bed strips.
Again, I appreciate all the tips, ideas and pictures. I worked on the bed all day. Its been "modified" in the past and a sheet of plywood spliced in the center with a 1" spacer. All of the bolts that were mixed and matched hardware were rusted. I ended of grinding the heads off of the bolts, then using the air hammer pushing the rest of the bolts down and out of the bed frame. I have gotten the two sides and front bed panel loose and they are ready to come off. No time tomorrow but hopefully Sunday I will get it off the truck then attack the plywood.
As long as we're on the subject of removing beds, I got one really bad idea for ya. This is what the PO (My Great-Uncle) did to take the box off my 54 longbox: cut 2" round circles in each bedside with a torch, run a chain through both holes, tie it up and pull it off with the loader. This was then laid in the brush with one corner held up by a 55 gallon drum, the rest left to sink into the dirt and rot away and let me tell ya, 8' box parts are not easy to find!
Finally got the bed, plywood and all off the back of the truck. Hopefully over this 3 day weekend I will get the time to clean up the framerails and get them ready to paint. I've ordered some POR15 so I give them a good coat.
Here are a few pictures.
pretty good view of the mustang gas tank I put in a few years ago
here is the bed resting on the cart hopefully not too long there is no room now in my garage.
here is the tailgate crossmember, got a lot of rust in it. Hopefully I'll be able to weld some patches in it and give a good coat of POR-15!