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Rocket Doctor

Old Family Friend "Comes Home"

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This 1967 Ford F-100 4X4 was purchased by my folks in the fall of 1968. It was used, and Dad chose this one after test driving several used IHC's and Fords. Actually, his test drives ended up being over a long weekend, and involved venturing into the snow, mud and muck in the low mountains around our home in search of mule deer, and getting into and out of elk camp. He got along well with the dealers!

 

In any event, it came with a 352 cid V8, four speed manual, and Dana 20 transfer case, that was "in and out" with no low range. Along the way, it had a 351 "Modified" installed that was shortly removed, another 352 installed, and, after my oldest son drove it for a bit, he traded the 352 for a 390, and that's what's in there now, along with the remainder of the original drivetrain. Axles are true 'high pinion' Dana 44, and 9" Ford with 31 spline axles and open differentials at both ends. Manual steering, which, back in the days of bias ply tires, was easy enough to manipulate, but when Dad installed its first set of Goodyear radials, our arms started to make us resemble Popeye! It's even worse now, with all the wear and neglect that "Old Green" has seen.

 

Dad, of course, used it to haul a 16' camp trailer, hunting gear with a couple of Honda Trail 90's in the bed, I used it as a primary vehicle for four years in high school, where the headliner got at least a couple of sets of footprints....not saying anything more than that. My younger brothers each had a turn at trying to destroy this truck, one going sideways off a two lane road in the winter and taking out 50 feet of barbed wire and cedar fence posts with the driver's door, another brother who buried the thing in the sand and mud of a local diversion reservoir many times, and Dad, who dropped a tree across the hood while cutting firewood for the cabin.

 

I learned a lot of "back country" mechanic'n with that truck. We (my Grandfather and I) had a driveshaft u-joint bearing failure, and he showed me that I could use a couple of wraps of a hose clamp and a healthy gob of grease to close the gap after the roller bearings 'went away'. We nursed the thing 40 miles home on that repair! Found out that the truck was still driveable, at least to get back home from the boondocks when the carrier bearing failed, and we pulled the entire rear driveshaft assemblies out, and drove on the front axle. Not fast, not far, but it got us out and home!

 

This is one of those projects that will probably take a LOT of time. Mostly just to get through all the stories and memories that go with it. Dad passed away three years back, and it's been sitting in the pasture neglected for a lot of years. He was always going to "do something with it", but in the meantime, kept buying newer and newer vehicles that were more comfortable and easier to drive. Mom asked me to clean up the pasture, and I pulled it the 65 miles home to put it in my pasture.

Just another old Ford to a lot of guys, but Old Green is pretty special to Me!

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Wow, Rocket Doctor, great account of the family F100 4x4!  This brings back a flood of memories for me, too. 

 

I graduated from high school in 1967 and worked gas stations after school and summers through those years.  Neddenriep Ford at Minden sold hundreds of 4x4 Ford F100s and F250s over the years, and there were plenty of deer hunting stories at the Eastern Sierra and Pine Nut Range that involved Ford 4x4s. 

 

Ranchers liked the high-boy F250s and tall F100 leaf sprung models built from 1960-64.  The F100 coil sprung front live axle and modern, dropped chassis evolved with the '65  F100 Twin I-Beam 2WD models.  The shift to a coil spring front on the F100 with rear leaf springs paved the way for the '66 Ford Bronco breakthrough SUV 4x4.

 

Your recovered truck sounds like a "project".  The FE (352 and 390) big-blocks were a Ford light truck mainstay from '65 well into the '70s, and that engine bay would welcome anything from a 302 small-block, 351W, FE (352, 390, 428, etc.) to a big-block 429 or 460 V-8.  Restoration wise, the 352 or a 390 makes sense.  As for fuel "efficiency", expect a 12-14 mpg range unloaded.  You could easily retrofit a two-speed Dana 20 transfer case.

 

The current transfer case is an off-shoot of the Dana 20, actually a Dana 21 power-divider.  Other manufacturers offered this rare option, too, although low-range in 4x4s became a marketing tool by the late 'sixties.  Associated with real utility and crawl speeds off-pavement, the two-speed transfer case was also popular with ranchers, miners and utility companies.  Ranchers, in particular, liked both the pulling power in low range and also the ability to throw winter hay bales from the bed while the pilotless truck inched its way across a large field or pasture.

 

I'm very curious how you go about restoring this family jewel.  The history alone is an inspiration.  Your sons are can appreciate the value of a family heirloom, and they may pitch in here.  The truck is easy to work on and very basic in terms of design and function.  Great project, Rocket Doctor!

 

Most contemporary vehicles hold little appeal as family heirlooms and future restoration projects.  My Ford trucks began with a 1938 flathead V-8 half-ton pickup and a 1951 F3 pickup with an L-head six (not the flathead V-8), a spur-gear four speed (non-synchro on every gear!) and a cattle rack!  I then caught the '55 F100 wave and ended up modifying and restoring that classic '55 over a seven-year span. 

 

We tried Ford again with an '87 SWB F150 4x4, 300 inline six and NP435 four-speed, and two-speed, chain drive transfer case.  Despite plastic fender liners and paper-thin sheet metal, this truck still had a utility profile.  Today, the beam axle Dodge and Ram 2500/3500 or a Ford F350 (or heavy-duty F250 without Twin Traction-Beam) are the only remaining 4x4 pickups with a hardcore utility design, somewhat traditional in form and function.  Our 2005 Ram 3500 Cummins 5.9L ISB diesel-powered 4WD might stay in the family because it's a paid-for asset and still delivering safe, expedient service—rather than for any nostalgic value.  The new replacement for this truck is now stickered at $50,000...and you can use exhaust (urea) additive regularly and live with the next generation catalytic converter, too.

 

The popularity of restoring older 4x4s could gain ground in this contemporary climate of ridiculously priced new vehicles.  Add to that the complexity of working on a later model "used" vehicle, and the beam axle 4x4s of yesteryear begin to look quite appealing.  The fundamental utility designed into domestic trucks built before the era of "passenger car/pickups" (where we need to read the badges in order to tell models and brands apart) makes older vehicles all that more attractive!

 

Along with that restorative approach, however, we also need an informed head of household, one with mechanical skills and enthusiasm for getting hands dirty and delving into the steps involved with professionally restoring an older vehicle.

 

Moses

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i enjoyed reading about your history and stories as well, Moses!  

 

There are some similarities.  When I was around 14, I worked for the Blackfoot Flying Service mixing chemicals and spotting the planes for their crop dusting and aerial planting operations.  Our work truck was a 1952 F2, but this one had the V8 and the four speed. Geeze, do I miss the whine of a Flathead!  

 

There are three trucks that are in my earliest memories.  Waaaay back, in the mid to late fifties, Dad had a '39 PLYMOUTH pickup!  Bone stock, it was a cool truck!  Grandpa Walton had a 52 F1 that he used on the farm.  He bought that one new, and drove it until 1967, when he bought the same truck as "old Green", except his was powder blue, with the same 352 and 4 speed.  Probably what influenced Dad to buy this one.

 

Grandpa Miles was the Blackfoot City Water Superintendant, and the city provided a 1950 Chevy pickup.  He retired somewhere around 1970, and when he did, the city had him give it, IIRC, it's third engine overhaul (by that time, it was getting tough to find someone who would 'pour' babbit bearings!), and the truck is still in use, with that same overhaul, by the city owned Grove City Cemetery attendant.

 

Dad traded that 39 Plymouth on a '53 Ford F1, with a flathead and four speed.  You needed a key to energize the ignition system, but by pushing the starter button (by 1953 it was in the dash) it would turn the motor over without starting.  When he owned that 53, I was in grade school, just five blocks from home, and I'd ride my bike home in good weather and eat lunch with the folks, then ride back for the afternoon.  One day, I got there, and the folks were gone, and the house locked, so I opened the door of that 53, and climbed in to get out of the wind.  

 

I remember reading something about Ford's 50th anniversary on the horn button.  I reached out, and pushed the starter button, not having any notion that it was in gear.  Of course, the folks pulled up, just as that pickup lurched forward, and the front axle dropped into the ditch that ran in front of the house.  Dad wasn't back very long from Korea then, and in the best shape of his life.  I remember him crossing the lawn in what seemed three strides, and pulled me out of that pickup thinking I'd started it.....He traded that truck on a used '61 GMC half ton 2X4 with that old 305 V6 and four speed, four elevens in the butt, and a posi.  The thing would climb trees, but it would also bury itself in sand, mud, snow, or soft dirt without any effort at all, and it seems like I and my buddies were forever digging and pulling that truck out of a 'stuck'.  I also found out that you didn't hit a water puddle very hard, or it'd splash up on top of the engine, and short the plugs out and kill the engine.  Remember that those engines had the spark plugs on TOP of the engine.....That's where I discovered WD40, a handful of rags and a long screwdriver were my best tool kit!  The GMC got traded in on the '67 Ford in the photo.

 

I think that rather than doing anything with the FE, I'm probably going to go with a 351W "HO" w/4V Holley that came out of a 1985 E350 van with a C6 auto behind it.  I also have a 'divorced mount' NP205 that came out of a 1978 F250 "tall boy" that a friend rolled years back.  I know it'll take three custom driveshafts to do this, but, I also worked at a Driveline Service franchise in Idaho Falls when I separated from the USAF, and left on good terms with those folks.  Probably spendy, but they do make a GOOD product!

 

I'd love to do a disc brake conversion on the D44 front axle.  I believe that the setup from a late '70's half ton should sit just fine on these spindles, or at least adapt without a bunch of hassle.  Both axles need to be gone through, and with an automatic, I'd probably ditch the 4.11's, and go with something between 3.30 to a 3.78 or so ratio with the C6.  I think I'd have to drive it with the 4.11's first though, as I'm a bit concerned about a 'small block', and the parasitic drag from the C6, and the divorced case, and might need the help of the deeper ratio.

 

I figure to pull the bed this summer, and most likely the cab and front clip to leave a "rolling chassis".  I'll have time to give it a real good going over with the 3500 psi pressure washer before I pull the engine and drivetrain, and roll it into the garage for the cold seasons.  Then I can do any welding or repairs that I need to do to the frame, and have a lot more room to work on an engine swap and axle work.

 

I'm also thinking about clearing the yard out.  The GM trucks should sell well together.  A lot of high school kids are going through the Blazers and 70-80's pickups, they might want them for a decent price.  I've got to hang onto the 49 CJ2A, and if I do, I'll probably also hang onto the Cherokee, and drive it till the wheels fall off.  At 219K miles, it could happen sometime in the next couple of years.

The two F250's I drive a lot.  One is a 93 with the EFI 460 and ZF 5 speed manual and TTB front end.  It doesn't flinch when I hook anything up that I haul, from the camp trailer, car trailer, to the 23 foot Reinell cuddy.  The 04 F250 "Super Duty" has the V10 and automatic, and is the very nicest vehicle I have ever owned or driven.  You're right, though, none of the "yard debris" hold any interest with the "kids".  They all salivate over the green 67.

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Well, at least that F2 had synchromesh on 2-3-4 speed gears!  1952 was the first year for the T98 four-speed, and Ford finally let go of the spur gear four-speed that had no synchromesh on any gear.  I learned to double-clutch and even shift that truck from a rolling start through each gear without depressing the clutch pedal.  This skill helps with any manual transmission shifting.  In a pinch or when teaching someone how to shift, I can shift any manual transmission without depressing the clutch pedal.

 

Synchronicity?  Try these coincidences, Rocket Doctor: 

 

1) A good friend from high school lived at Genoa (Nevada) and had a '36 Plymouth pickup for a brief time.  The truck had the L-head six and was otherwise nondescript.  The most exciting thing I ever saw around that truck was a tagged mule deer in the bed!

 

2) I have rebuilt 216 Stovebolt sixes (1937-53) and know the sublet process.  Today, automotive engine Babbitt pouring is an art form.  These vintage Chevy engines had adjustable shimming on the rod caps.  Caps had scuppers that dipped into oil troughs in the oil pan.  The dippers and troughs led to the term "dip-and-splash" oiling.  Oil pressure ran low, as only the main bearings, cam bearings and valvetrain areas circulated oil.  If the crankshaft journal is still round and not rough, the rod bearing can be shim-adjusted to meet the clearance needs of the poured bearing (Plastigage time!).  GMC had it all over Chevrolet.  Jimmy sixes and insert type rod bearings ran higher oil pressure.  The GMC was a more substantial engine, and the 270 and 302 versions, in particular, were legendary platforms for racing and performance builds.

 

3) I bought a '55 F100 in 1968, it had the 239 OHV engine that replaced the flathead V-8 in 1954.  The 239 was the tiniest member the 256/272/292/312 family of OHV engines.  The rocker shaft design 312 was the NHRA champion in 1957 (not the Chevrolet 283 small-block as one would expect), a very potent engine popularized as the Thunderbird Special.  Baby F-Birds featured McCullough supercharging in 1957.  The classic 1953-56 Ford F100 pickups are legendary, popular street trucks to this day...Over time, I rebuilt or renewed every single moving part on that truck, which was not unusual for Ford trucks of the day, components seemed to follow a precise "duty cycle", and not an extraordinarily long one!

 

4) Coincidentally, I bought a 1960 GMC 1/2-ton step side 2WD pickup in 1971, a very clean truck with a four-speed and the first year 305A V-6. The engine was easy to tune, and this 'A' version used a large 1-barrel carburetor.  A camshaft change and a two-barrel brought more tolerable fuel efficiency on later versions of this industrial strength 305 V-6.  That was long after my truck!  I enjoyed the body style of the bigger cab, the torsion bar IFS with coil rear springs, and the overall ruggedness.  The gas bill was unacceptable, though.  As for posi-traction, GMC used a Spicer 45 rear axle, unlike Chevy, and the limited slip case bolts would come loose, often destroying other parts.  I got lucky, experiencing only the predictable loosening of these right-hand thread bolts.  I installed a conventional differential case and pinions and gave up the limited slip.  Based on your experience, it sounds like I made a good choice!

 

You have the long wheelbase 1/2-ton, so the divorced transfer case is not far-fetched.  Is a cross member in place for hanging the divorced NP205?  The C-6 is a 2WD application from an E-van.  Would it be advantageous to find a C-6 from a 4WD application and mate up a coupled NP205 unit?  This C-6 and transfer case combination could be found with a 351W engine pattern.  The '85 engine is the last carbureted version, not a bad choice.

 

Your pressure washer and welding skills from Driveline Service days will play out with the chassis work.  The axle gearing change with the C-6 makes very good sense, since you don't have overdrive, and there is the torque multiplication factor for start ups.  Either ratio sounds good.

 

Understand your "truck poor" situation, way too much rolling stock!  I like your thinking on which rigs go and what stays.  You're a Ford guy. 

 

Glad the TTB F250 has been such a strong truck, not surprising with the 460 V-8, though, the truck version is in a league of its own with MPI/EFI...You've had the kind of satisfaction from the 2004 F350 that we're enjoying with our 2005 Dodge Ram 3500.  The Cummins choice pays off big, this truck is a keeper and should be around for a half-million miles or more.  (Approaching 131K miles now, barely broken-in.) 

 

Can't imagine buying another new truck at the current prices.  Fortunately, the Ram only requires preventive care and routine maintenance.  If I tackle anything, it will be my own bench rebuild of the 48RE transmission.  I'd upgrade it at that point with either high grade aftermarket pieces or an Allison retrofit.

 

Moses

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