Pajero Ute Conversion – Creating An Extra Cab

Last time we showed you some details of the roll cage.

Moving The Rear Door Forward

Rather than simply chopping the Paj then fitting a flat sheet behind the cab, it sort of made sense to use the rear door and matching surrounds. After chopping off the back half, we measured the rear door-surround and decided it would fit neatly behind the B pillars.

Pajero Ute Conversion. Rear door-surround finishes off the back of the cab nicely.
The rear door-surround is the right width.

There were a few advantages in taking this approach over fabricating a flat rear wall:

  • The rear door-surround is strong – lots of internal gussets and folds to stiffen it.
  • By chopping then using the top half of the rear door, we had somewhere to screw a polycarbonate window into.
  • By using the rear-door surround, it effectively becomes an Extra Cab. It’s always useful to have some space behind the seats to store stuff.
  • It would look better than a flat sheet, if done properly.

Downsides? It’s a lot of work!

Step 1: Sort Out The Back Doors

So the first step was to sort out the back doors. The window frames disappeared pretty quickly then the doors were welded shut – as was the fuel filler door.

Pajero Ute Conversion. Rear doors welded shut.
Back doors welded shut.

We left the back doors on their hinges. Why? Two reasons:

  • The door seals could stay in place. This would help to keep the dust out of the cab.
  • The doors were already properly aligned. Why create more work by taking them off their hinges, then welding them back in?

Step 2: Fill In The Gaps

The next step was to tack weld the door-surround in place, start filling in all the gaps with sheet metal and then grind all welds smooth. Sounds pretty simple, but it took a lot of time to blend everything in.

Pajero Ute Conversion. Rear door-surround is a pretty good fit.
Some work to do to make it all fit.

The inner doors had been gutted earlier. So they were covered with aluminium sheet. The gap from the bottom of the door-surround to the floor was also filled in with aluminium sheet, to form the rest of the rear wall.

Pajero Ute Conversion. Filling in the gaps with sheet metal.
Filling in the gaps.
Pajero Ute Conversion. Inside the cab - aluminium sheets used to cover the gaps.
Inside the cab. The insides of the back doors are sheeted with aluminium sheet.
Pajero Ute Conversion. The inner panels are now filled in with aluminium sheet.
All this will be sheeted as well.

Step 3: Filler, Filler And More Filler!

Dave spent endless hours filling in any gaps and blending the panels  to get it all a smooth finish. After weeks of filling and sanding, he was finally ready to give it all an undercoat.

Pajero Ute Conversion - rear doors and fuel filler door welded shut. The sanding back begins!
Fuel filler door and back doors are starting to blend in.
Pajero Ute Conversion. Filling in the gaps in the roof.
Starting the roof.
Pajero Ute Conversion. A folded sheet was welded along the top edge and blended in.
A folded sheet was welded along the top edge of the “tub” and blended in.
Pajero Ute Conversion. Primed and ready for painting.
Primed and ready for painting.
Pajero Ute Conversion. Primed and ready to paint.
Looking good now.

Step 4: Fit The Rear Door (Or What’s Left Of It!)

The rear door was cut down and the top half was used. This was bolted in then the gap between door and door-surround was filled and sanded back.

Again, the original rubber door seal was retained. We figured it wouldn’t hurt to leave it in there.

Pajero Ute Conversion. What's left of the rear door.
Cutting down the rear door roughly to size.
Pajero Ute Conversion. The rear door fitted to the back of the cab.
Rear door fitted – still needs to be filled, sanded and primed.

Step 5: Give It All A Coat Of Paint

Finally it was time to get out the paint gun. After all of Dave’s careful preparation, this was pretty straightforward. It’s starting to look like a rally Paj now!

Pajero Ute Conversion. Finally painted!
Finally painted!

Next time: Modifying the suspension.

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