When we left you last month, we had finally rolled our “beat to neat” project out of the paint booth at LGE-CTS and were ready to put it back together. We quickly realized all of the work that was still in front of us, though. So much so that we had to split this portion of the build into two parts. This month, we will show you exactly what it takes to get professional-looking results when you reassemble a truck—basically, all of the unsexy stuff you don’t normally see. All this extra work will make a much nicer base for all our cool bolt-on parts that will finalize the truck’s exterior.
| 2003 Chevy Silverado Project Over Under Part Six
We started with the big box of parts that were removed from the truck for paint but will be reused. Each of these parts is available through LMC Truck, but a lot of these items still looked fine and just needed a good cleaning. Most of them revolved around the doors, so that is where we started the reassembly process. We got new fender flares from LMC—we never had the fronts, and the rears were shot—but we wanted something more than the factory textured look, so we sprayed a coat of textured matte black over the plastic, followed by a coat of matte clear for durability. We’re hoping this new look will more closely match the bumpers and steps we have planned for the truck.
From there, we pulled the bed off for the last time, did some pressure washing and painting, and bolted the bed back down, followed by the SnugTop shell and Yakima rack. After a little work on our tailgate and a new cap, we were all caught up. Follow our work below and check out the entire build at Truckin.com. And check back next month, because there’s a whole lot more to do on our Silverado.
| When we last left you, we finished up our paint at LGE-CTS and set the bed and HD hood on to get a look at our ’03 Silverado. This is where things start to get fun.
| Well…not quite yet. There were still a lot of factory parts that needed to go back on before we moved to the big-ticket items.
| Before we even touched the truck, we spent a good amount of time polishing up every single part that was being reinstalled. Lacquer thinner, soapy water, fine steel wool, and Meguiar’s Ultimate Black were all used to get these parts looking like new again.
| Once all the parts were cleaned, we spent about an hour per side reinstalling the weatherstripping, door panels, window channels, and everything else.
| The mirrors and door handles were bolted back on, and the door glass rubber and windshield molding were put back in place. Suddenly, it was feeling like a truck again!
| Out front, we carefully masked off our fresh paint, and the remaining front end was cleaned up with Scotch-Brite and painted in a low-gloss black. It’s the best way to make all this hardware disappear behind the grille.
| As you can see, the extra work is worth it. We popped in the old headlights for our next step.
| With the front end looking like a truck again, we pulled the bed off one more time and drove the truck to a nearby car wash for a heavy pressure washing of the frame and suspension. We drove slow and used hand signals and managed to avoid the law. Your results may vary.
| Once cleaned up, we touched up the paint around the wheel and trailer hitch. We left the suspension for later when we lift the truck.
| Right before we bolted the bed down for the last time, we cleaned up the wheelwells with some bedliner in a can.
| We also taped off our new paint around the rear edge of the bed and touched up the bedliner. The areas you will see looked good as new!
| The cab vents and rubber shields that clip to the front of the bulkhead were cleaned and painted, too. That was the last step before bolting the bed down.
| We reused all the tailgate hardware but cleaned it all up and painted it black first, since we clearly forgot to remove it before paint!
| We’re covering the inside of the tailgate with that section of a drop-in bedliner, but this bottom section will still be exposed, so we masked it off and painted it with bedliner in a can.
| We reinstalled the tailgate handle and tailgate, but since we forgot to order an OEM-style bed cap from LMC, we tried out a cheapie we’re not particularly happy with. Then we bolted the SnugTop down on the bed.
| Next, we bolted the rear window back on the shell, being careful not to scratch up the new paint in the process.
| We made a few mods to our awesome MegaLoader roof rack from Yakima and got it bolted back to the roof. We love that it extends out over the cab.
| LMC offers complete factory-style taillights with bulbs and harnesses already installed. We ordered up a pair of ’em.
| We simply dropped the harness in the bed and screwed down the headlights. This was also a great excuse to clean up the rest of the taillight harness under the bed, which had been hacked up for a utility bed in a former life.
| We wanted the OE-style fender flares for a sporty look, but the texture wasn’t going to look right next to the bumpers and steps we have planned, so we decided to texture them to match. We used an Eastwood product meant for a chassis and followed that up with a matte clear for durability. We used this process to black out a chrome grille a few years ago, and it still looks great.
| We were happy with our results, and with the quality of the LMC flares.
| It takes more than two hands to get these flares installed correctly. First, we peeled the backing off the two-sided tape.
| Then we pushed the flare into place. The issue is that you really only have one shot at it.
| We installed the push clips, beginning in the back corner.
| Some of the factory holes had a lot of paint in them, so we had a drill handy to clean them out if the clip would not go quietly.
| It took a few evenings to here, but we were extremely happy with the way things were going. At this point, the doors and everything inside were 100 percent done.
| With the Yakima rack bolted down and the Bed Mat reinstalled, we were also calling the shell and bed area done. But we may have another surprise or two down the road.
| The taillights, wiring, and tailgate were all complete as well. And the receiver is all cleaned up and looking brand-new.
| With the flares installed, we’re at the point of a complete truck, save for bumpers, a grille, and headlights. Next month, we’ll install those items—plus a few more. That means our exterior will be complete, and we can finally put some more space between the frame and the ground! Stay tuned!