- Article/photo's courtesy of:
- Peter SnodgrassHow do I start this off; umm…when you first start this project you will feel as though you can almost see the light at the end of the Blazer/Jimmy project tunnel. You have that D60/14 Bolt combo installed with lockers in both axles, you have the 36” Super Swamper TSL’s with the bead lock wheels, and the only thing left to do is replace the rear floor; that is if you can find one first. How many of you are tired of scrambling to get to the side of the road when your tool bucket tips over behind the rear seat; you pull over as fast as you possibly can to try and find as many of the sockets and box wrenches that just fell through your floor on to the highway. This project can take longer then you could ever imagine. Anyone that is thinking of replacing the rear floor should take a look at the detours (rust/rot) that I ran into that are now delaying the installation of the new floor.
Phase One of New Floor Install: Removal
The truck I am replacing the floor on is in beautiful condition considering it came out of New Jersey, but there are certain areas of the truck where rust seems to infect the metal and spread like a disease. If you are reading this article and your truck is in mint condition I would take a very close look at the pictures and then inspect your truck for any signs of rust forming. Ok, now to the fun part, removing the old floor. Oops! I forgot to mention that the floor being installed (Part #15571692) will only fit from a 78-91' Jimmy/Blazer, the earlier floors (73-77') were a little bit longer.
Below is a list of things to definitely do before you start with the Leather Face impression; but with a sawzall of course.
1. Find a place where the truck can be parked without having to be moved.
2. Remove all of the seats, center console, and shifter coverings; this is so you can remove the rugs.
3. Remove the front seatbelt assemblies.
4. Remove the side panels; if you have them.
5. Remove the carpets; this is an excellent time to give them a good scrubbing and look for more rust/rot. If you have a newer model like my truck with the different seat mounts, check the floor around the mount to see if the floor has any stress cracks, I can almost guarantee you do. I am going to weld the cracks back together, but I will be building my seat mounts into my roll cage.
Steps to removing the rear floor, tailpan, and wheel wells.
I started from the back of the truck and worked my way to the front of the rear floor.
Removing the bolts.
1. Remove the rear bumper and air deflector. Also, don't forget to disconnect the license plate light.
2. Remove the tailgate; don't forget to disconnect the power window lines if you have a power setup.If the truck needs to be moved around the yard or garage I would suggest skipping steps 3, 4, and 5. The tailpan is the only support that the rear quarters and top have.
3. Grind down the welds that connect the tailpan to the rear column.
4. Remove the 2 bolts on the inside of the tailpan and on the 2 bolts on the back of the tailpan.
5. Remove the 2 rear body mount bolts.
6. Remove the 3 bolts that hold in the splash guard thingy. These will be aluminum diamond plate when they go back on the truck, mine are to rusted & rotted.
7. Remove the clamp that is on the gas filler tube, which connects to a tab on the floor.
8. Remove the next set of body mount bolts, also remove the bolt holding the rear axle breather tube.
9. Remove the 2 bolts at the front of the wheel well.
10. Remove the 15 bolts at the top front of the floor.
Making the cuts.1. Before I started any cutting I pried up the rear floor from the tailpan. I did this so there was something to support the rear of the truck until I am ready to install the new floor.
2. The first cut I had to perform was around the right rear body mount. I had to do this because the mount shifted and I was not able to get a socket on the nut.
3. The second cut was on the right side of the floor, since I needed to leave the gas tank in I had to cut around the filler tube. If you look at the picture you can see that most of the area around the filler tube was rotted, so this step was actually pretty easy. What I did was cut about 2" away from the wheel well on the back and side. Also, stop about 5" from the front of the floor, so you don't cut the front floor support.
4. The third cut was on the left side of the floor, this was a really simple cut, just measure about 2" from the wheel well and make a straight cut up the floor and stop about 5" from the front of the floor.
5. The next thing I did was pry up the front corners of the rear floor so I could use a cut off tool to finish the rest of the side cuts.
6. With these final cuts completed the floor is ready to be removed.
7. Now you can also remove the little pieces of floor that are left between the wheel wells and tailpan on both sides of the truck.
8. Now with the floor removed you have the choice to either chisel or drill out the rivets on the wheel wells. Some of you might be better off just removing the wheels wells, and buying new ones. If anyone is planning on buying new wheel wells this will be beneficial to you, the new wheel wells have welded nuts that allow you to bolt the floor to the wheel wells, making the replacement almost totally bolt in.
9. Both the floor and wheel wells have been removed.
10. If you plan on removing the tailpan at the same time as the floor, remember to remove the wire harness inside the tailpan. First, Remove the taillights, disconnect the plugs, loosen the holding tabs for the harness in the tailpan, and then feed the wire out. Second, make sure you support the rear of the truck, either cut a 2x4 and prop it under the cap, or what would be even better is if you have the truck parked near a tree or something strong enough to sling a rope over, cut a 2x4 to fit on the upper inside of the cap, tie the rope around the 2x4, sling the rope over a branch or maybe a beam in your garage and tie it tight, now you have room to work and you will not mess up the quarter panels on your truck. Finally, remove the 4 bolts on both sides of the tailpan, the welds, and cut the tailpan between the column & frame for easy removal; review steps 3, 4, & 5 of Removing the bolts. Now you are all set to remove the tailpan.
Keep an eye out for "PHASE 2; REPAIR" shortly. Thanks for stopping by and hopefully this can be of some help to you.