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Generation 6 1973-1979 F100, F150, F250, F350

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Old 04-25-2017, 10:51 AM
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A second chance for both of us. 1977 F250 4x4 Build

This story starts in the fall of 1998.

I was 14 years old and had a few thousand dollars saved up to buy my first car. Nearly everyone I knew at school was a chevy fan, so naturally I wanted a Ford. Well, I was riding the school bus home on the first day of school, and the bus stops in front of this house to pick up a few kids and I see it. This big brown Ford F-250 4x4. It was a light brown Ranger, with tan paint inside the trim. The bed was in rough shape however. It was red and yellow and looked like it had gone through hell. Every day, twice a day I looked at this truck, I watched it I dreamt about it. I imagined it blue with dual exhaust and big mud tires. I could hear the engine howl in my dreams and knew that's what I wanted for my first car.

Several months later, I got to know the kid that belonged to that truck. I learned that they had moved from California, and that the truck had towed all their stuff on a big flatbed trailer. Eventually I asked if they were going to sell the truck and found out that they were. I told my parents and we went and looked at it that night. I learned that it was a 1977 Ford F250. It sat on new chrome 16.5 triangle hole wheels and 33X12.5 all terrain tires. It was originally a flatbed, but they didn't want to deal with weigh stations on the trip from California, so they took the flatbed off and put the junk bed on so they could avoid getting caught with an obviously overloaded trailer. It was missing one locking hub, the power steering leaked and the exhaust was rusted out just past the muffler. The engine was a 429, it had an automatic transmission, divorced NP205 transmission, and a 40 gallon aftermarket tank in between the frame rails in the back. Dad and I looked all over it. We lifted each wheel and shook them, we took it for a test drive and dad said it drove well, but had a bit of a vibration, which dad said was a bad u-joint. It stopped well and didn't pull to either side. On the drive dad said that the truck needed some work, but not too much. We brought it back, paid the man a little under the $1200 he was asking and drove it home. It was within a month of my 15th birthday, so I had about a year to fix and paint the truck.

Over the year that I had to get the truck ready, I went trough everything I could. I replaced the hubs, packed the front bearings, put in new brake pads, replaced the bad steering valve, and did a tune up. That winter, wile moving the truck to clear snow, I had the transmission go out. I didn't have money set aside for a new transmission, or to have it rebuilt, so I ordered a rebuild kit and tried my hand at rebuilding a C6. A couple weeks later I had my transmission in, and still couldn't get it to move. Clearly I did something wrong. I ended up having the truck towed to the local transmission shop, and had them fix it. It needed a complete rebuild as I burned my clutch packs trying to get it working. Later that spring i bought a parts truck with a decent bed and some dash parts I needed like the instrument cluster. That summer I worked on the body and in late summer painted it. I was all set to drive it come October.

After I turned 16, my truck had the worst possible thing happen to it. It was owned by a 16yo kid that thought he was a race car driver. I destroyed the engine, spider gears in the front axle and sheared the input shaft to the NP 205 transfer case doing a neutral drop at a stop light. The engine was replaced with a stock 460 and the shop that did it didn't realize the pilot hole on the crank shaft was different on the new engine vs the old one. So the extra pressure on the transmission pump caused it to fail, so I needed another transmission rebuild, this time on the engine mechanics dime. I still had no 4x4 and didn't have money to fix it. My lead foot was causing more damage than I could earn money. Every penny I earned was going towards insurance and fuel, as I had a 15 mile drive to school, a 30 mile drive between school and work then 45 back home. I was driving ~90 miles a day in a truck that got 4 mpg, the way I drove it. So, 6 months after turning 16, my pockets were empty, and my folks didn't want to fix a truck that I could barely afford to drive, much less fix. The writing was on the wall and everybody could read it... a week later I sold it and bought something slower and more reliable... a newer GMC.




Fast forward 16 years to the spring of 2016...

My nephew was selling his truck because it cost too much to keep fuel in it. I remembered my first truck and dug out an old photo of it. I showed my wife and daughter and told them about how tough it is to fix up an old truck as a kid. I told them that it essentially didn't matter what was wrong with the truck, it didn't matter if it cost $100 or $10,000, you don't have the money.

A few months later my wife shows me a picture of a truck, and it looks nice. She informs me that she has been spending most of her extra time searching craigslist adds in all of the western states looking for a 1977 Ford F-250 highboy. She then tells me that this truck should be at the freight terminal for me to pick up the next day. She shows me all the pictures and I can't help but feel a little excited. The truck looks nice. It is from Arizona and is rust free, but the paint is starting to peel, and almost everything in the interior needs to be replaced. I remember thinking that if that's all that needs to be done, then everything should be ok.



I get the truck home the next day and starting giving it a good once over. The truck has a transplant 460 tied to a c6 automatic. NP205 divorced transmission. Dana 44hd front, 60 rear, in cab fuel tank, and the frame measures out at 33.5" in the rear. Ok this is a highboy like my first truck. I find the vin on the frame and cross reference it to the vin on the cab, and they match. there are some flaws, and some beyond what I first knew. Some I knew how to fix, others... not so much. The interior needs to be completely replaced, the power steering parts all need to be replaced, the paint needs to be stripped, and a bracket for the t-case shifter needs to be installed correctly. Finally, I find the front axle crossmember, or what's left of it. I learned that my wife knew about it and figured it wouldn't be too difficult to fix. I look at her and saw how excited she was to surprise me. I probably would have walked away from the truck if I had a chance to look at it before purchase, but I remember looking at the truck and looking at my wife and knowing that I would be fixing up this truck... whatever it took, this was the one.

That night, I got online and ordered the original ford build info on the truck. I learned that it was built March 10th, 1977 at the San Jose plant. It was originally light blue and was destined for Liberty ford in La Verne California. I found it interesting that the serial number starts with Y220XX. I seem to remember reading in several places that the highboys were not made after February 1977, and after Serial number Y20,001. Could this be the last one? How cool would that be!

Anyway. I let the truck sit in the driveway for the summer, starting it once a month and letting it come up to temperature. I was still using my shop for another project, and needed time to put together funds, and a develop a game plan.






More to come!!
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Old 04-25-2017, 02:08 PM
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That's really cool....... for a minute there i thought it was going to turn out to be the same truck. Your wife is definitely a keeper for doing that for you mate
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Old 04-25-2017, 03:17 PM
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Might be cool to install an up to date engine in it for fuel economy ,
I pondered that thought!...
Mine is latterly killing me at $3.00 bucks a gal.!...
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:47 PM
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Great story!!!!...welcome to the site!
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:49 PM
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Well, I want to say that this project is already well underway. I will be posting updates every week and will be showing approximately a weeks worth of work... maybe two weeks of work if things continue to go smooth. We'll see

Kiwif150

I can't help but agree. We have been married for 11 years, and I can't help but feel lucky to have such a wonderful wife... she even helps out with the truck... this weekend, for example, she'll be helping out a lot.

Cbaker65

The engine is going together Friday... look for it in a later post, but it's not going to be a modern engine.

SC
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Old 04-27-2017, 02:36 PM
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Cool project

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Old 04-27-2017, 04:25 PM
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Nice back story! Keep us posted on the updates.
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Strippers, ammo and SKS, wow, that is almost sig worthy!!
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Old 04-27-2017, 06:48 PM
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A cool story to go with a great project is always a winner, looking forward to the updates!!
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:59 AM
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Welcome to FTF!

Awesome story, yeah, you gotta get that rig done for sure!
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Old 05-01-2017, 12:15 AM
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Week one

Week one of project.

Got the truck in the shop, built a tent around it so I could control the dust ,and started removing paint. I used a 4 inch grinder with these Scott bright pads to bring most of the truck down to bare metal. Stripping the paint took all week and there was a crap-ton of bondo all over the truck. Most of the bed side panels were covered with up to 1/4" of bondo. I burned through 20 of the pads getting 95% of the paint off. On the roof, I found several layers of bondo adding up to about 3/8"! The interesting thing is that there wasn't really a dent where all the bondo was, whoever did it just pushed the steel in and kept adding body filler.

After getting everything off, I ordered a new tailgate, bedside panels, drivers side door and a new hood. I understand that I probably could have saved the original metal, but a lot of it was really damaged and had some creases in it, there were was a small section of rust in the door, tailgate and in the front section of the hood. Additionally, the drivers door had significant damage in the area around the windows, and had a replacement skin. The drivers side bed panel had a replacement skin on it that was covering a section of rust so it needed to be redone as well. Instead of patching in material, I just got new parts. For me, the reduction in time is worth the increased cost.













Sorry this one is a bit out of focus, but these are the pads.

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