Nicholas Fluhart

May 26, 2013

Project Loadstar: Step Board Repairs

Filed under: Project: Loadstar,Trucks & Equipment — Nicholas Fluhart @ 7:14 pm

This installment of the Loadstar Project will cover repairing the drooping step boards that are such an eye sore. In the photo below, you might notice the step board below the door appears to be bent down. This tends to happen on the old Loadstars because there is very little support for the step mounts. They basically hang from the lower edge of the cab’s sheet metal. The front is supported by the front fender, but the rear has no other support and subsequently fatigues the cab sheet metal which allows it to swing back in toward the frame and droop.

Right Side

My first thought was to install a brace from behind the step to the frame. This would effectively push the step up level and hold it there. However, the problem with the passenger side is that the fuel tank is located directly behind the step, and there’s no easy way get around it. So for this side, I decided to use my welding machine to repair the original mounts at the sheet metal. Fortunately, this was doable because the passenger side step board was in better shape than the driver side because it likely saw less use. My welding machine is an antique Westinghouse AC arc welder so using it, or any arc/stick welder, to weld sheet metal is very difficult . These types of welders are designed to weld thicker material and easily burn through sheet metal leaving the metal more damaged than when you started. Nevertheless, it’s all I have so I’ll have to be precise. I put a bottle jack under the step board to push it up to it’s correct position. I then turned my welder down to a low setting and commenced on dressing the fatigue cracks in the sheet metal around the mounting bolts. Then I went ahead and welded the step board directly to the cab in a few spots for added stability. When I lowered the bottle jack, the step board stayed put. I stood on it, putting my full weight on the outside corner, and it is now very solid. Success.

I turned my attention to the driver side. I attempted to repair it in the same manner discussed above, but it was too far gone so I returned to my original idea of installing a brace. Since there is plenty of room behind the step board and to the rear of the hydrovac booster, I could easily weld a support from the back of the step board to the frame of the truck. I browsed my scrap pile for something I could use as a brace and I found the perfect item. It’s a piece of leaf spring left over from the leaf spring project. This is why it pays to keep junk around.

Leaf Spring Piece
I turned my welding machine back up to handle the thicker material, and then I found a suitable, effective location for the brace and welded it in place.

Step Board Brace
It worked perfectly. I can now do jumping jacks on the step board, if I’m so inclined to do so, and it will easily hold my weight without sagging into its prior cosmetic abomination.

That concludes this seventh installment of the Loadstar Project. Next I’ll address some dump bed repairs. Until then…

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2 Comments »

  1. You should not have welded to the frame flange as you did. You should never weld or drill the frame as you did. it is allowable approx. 18″ behind the rearmost spring mounts.
    Just saying. cool truck though. I like those old loadstars

    Comment by Doug — August 18, 2015 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

    • Lucky for us, I’m not a rule follower.

      Comment by nfluhart — August 26, 2015 @ 9:54 am | Reply


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