All in all, the '53 Ford F-100 we rounded up as a body donor to drop on top of the '56 F-100 chassis we've been covering in a continuing tech series was in pretty good shape. That said, the '53 did have rust damage typical of any '53-56 F-100 pickup exposed to the elements for over half a century. Once one begins to familiarize themselves with this series of Ford truck they learn where to look for rust. The first area to rust is on the passenger side cowl, right below the fresh-air intake louvers. The deterioration process begins as soon as the louvers draw in air. The dirtier the air, like encountered on dirt roads or blown in a dust storm, the faster dirt accumulates in the area below the hinge pocket. Then when the rains come the louvers allow water to enter and the dirt turns to mud. The moisture in the mud typically lasts for months before it dries thoroughly and that's all it takes to invite rust. Next in line to rust out are the cab corners. It's basically the same situation, first dirt gets trapped at the bottom of the corners and then water leaks in. If the truck spent its life in the rustbelt where the roads are salted in the wintertime the rust problem probably began to rear its ugly head over four decades ago.
In this segment we are replacing the driver side cab corner first. On 1953-55 Ford pickups this side houses the filler neck for the gasoline tank sandwiched between the framerail and the running board. Because of the filler neck's location and the protective grommet that seals the area shrinks and cracks with age, this side is the first to go and usually rustier than the passenger side corner. The first thing we did to get the show on the road was to place an order with the folks at Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts in Concord, North Carolina, for a pair of cab corners and the cowl pieces to fix the right side lower hinge pocket. When the order arrived shortly after it was placed we noticed the left side cab corner matched the one-year only design of the '56 F-100. Because the gas tank on the '56 models were relocated to inside the cab and the filler neck was relocated to the upper right side of the cab the '56's driver side cab corner is sans the filler-neck hole. Well they don't call us Custom Classic Trucks for nothing, it only took a few seconds before we seized the opportunity and decided to shave the filler neck and opt for a rear-mounted gas tank. With the cab already at Super Steve's in Anaheim, California, it was just a matter of having Steve allow us to follow along as he did the deed.