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Old 10-29-2010, 02:36 PM
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49 Ford F-3 pickup parts and questions

Hey Guys, new to the club. I am finishing up a restoration of a 49 Ford F-3. Looking for a few parts and have some questions.
Parts:
1. need a driver side running board. Easy to find for F-1 but not so easy for my F-3. Anyone know where I can locate one or any ideas?
2. Seem to be missing the cross member bars for the bed. I have 2 that fit across the shorter end of the bed in the center by the wheel wells but missing longer bars - any suggestions? Also need the wood for the longer F-bed. Guess we can cut them to size but does anyone sell those ready to install?
3. The truck is currently sitting on 17" wheels that have 700-17 tube tires. It is an 8 lug design but they are NOT split rim "widow maker" wheels. Would these have been replaced by one of the previous owners at some point or did Ford make solid rim 17 wheels as an option in 49?
4. Finally, I have never driven this "project" truck but I know mine came from a farm and I hear the ratio on the rear end will be a slow ride - not great for highway as it is. I know that I can swap out the rear end from a junked vehicle. Anyone have a list of rear ends that would fit in the F-3? Want to keep same measure center to center between springs and would like to hopefully keep the same 8 lug wheels. Looking for right junker (year, model, make) that would do the job.
5. I've also heard about rear end kit that apparantly retro fits in my original rear end but for approx $700 gives an improved gear ratio for better speed and highway use. Anyone have any experience with this?
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Old 10-29-2010, 03:47 PM
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I'll offer my welcome. You already have most of my responses to your questions over on the Early Ford V8 Club site, so I won't repeat them here. Let's see what others have to say.

Your question #3 here, though, relates to my final point over on the EFV8 forum. Please accept that I'm not being a jerk, but you are I fear totally wrong about your 17" wheels. All F-3s came with 17" Budd brand wheels that have a Firestone outer rim design known technically as the "RH-5°". Today known as widowmakers. There were only two 17" multi-part rims made back then having our 8 lug x 6.5" bolt pattern. Chevy tonner models had the other which had what is called a Kelsey Hayes "AR" three piece outer rim. There were no 17" one piece wheels with this bolt pattern made back then, I've made a study of it.

It is possible some prior owner might have swapped these ARs on to the front of your truck (I've got one off a parts truck for that reason), but they wouldn't have fit over your rear hubs. I'll post diagrams and pictures of each design so you can see what I'm talking about. The stock widowmaker 17 does, I'll grant you, look from the front and back like a one piece wheel. But when you get them off the truck you'll see the raised band like area around the middle on the concave side. That is the joint. Please let the air out before removing them from the truck. Stu

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Old 10-29-2010, 03:55 PM
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I don't think there is any reproduction stuff like that for F3's so you will have to search for used for running board and cross member. I have the same rims on my truck as you do but I think they are the wm. As for rear end I am not sure what would fit with the 8 lug wheels. I know a 9" rearend from a 57 - 72 F100 will fit your truck but they are just 5 lug wheels. Also if you put your location down maybe someone close to you may have the parts you are looking for and be able to help you out a bit.
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:01 PM
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A rear axle from a pre-'73 F-250 will be almost a bolt in for your truck, there are a few people who have done it. Doing the swap will help you in two ways, first you'll be able to find better gears, second you will be able to run 16" wheels and get rid of the WMs, as Stu has mentioned you have on your truck. The Ford bolt pattern stayed the same up until the mid '90s some time, then they changed to a metric rim. If you want to run stock hub caps you'll have to find 16" rims from a earlier '60s and down F-2/F-250 with rims with the inner nubs to accept the older style caps.

You won't be able to find reproduction boards for a F-2/F-3. No one makes them. You'll have to find a set of used ones or have some one fabricate one, you have the one, take it to a fab shop and see if they can make one that's a mirror of it.

You can buy premade wood for the Express box from Bruce Horkey,

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Old 10-31-2010, 06:57 AM
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Has anyone welded the two pieces of the widow makers together to get a solid wheel? Obviously you would want to have the wheel tested for strength afterward. I keep seeing hot rodders weld wheels to get the look they want, so welding on wheels can be safely done. I am just curious if anyone has done this to keep the 17 inch wheels on their truck and still be safe?
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:04 AM
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You could probably weld the two parts together to form a one piece wheel but it would make it very difficult if not impossible to mount a tire on it.
One piece wheels have a drop center to allow for the tire bead to fit over the rim.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:15 AM
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I asked this question before, too. And the fitting of the tire was the concern, as mentioned. Still in the planning stages, but I'm looking to have a wheel made at work with radial tire lips that look like WM's for originality sake. We have the capability at work to do it, but the R&D won't be cheap, and I'm broke.

As to the OP's question, Has anyone taken two F1 running boards, cut and welded together?
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 52 F3 View Post
You could probably weld the two parts together to form a one piece wheel but it would make it very difficult if not impossible to mount a tire on it.
One piece wheels have a drop center to allow for the tire bead to fit over the rim.
Ditto. Bad idea. You too, Scott.

Unfortunately only half the discussion is happening here. Here's the thread from the Early Ford V8 Club site. Stu

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Old 10-31-2010, 09:06 AM
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The idea of welding the two halves together has been brought up numerous times before. It's just not possible. You have two major concerns in trying to do so. First, the multi-part rims have a higher lip, if the two halves were welded together you would never be able to get the tire over the lip. If you welded the rim with the tire already mounted but loose, you'd risk damaging the tire, the inner tube and rubber flap and then you wouldn't be able to remove the tire. Second, you would have to be dead on with your weld so you wouldn't knock the wheel way out of balance. As Stu said, bad idea.

As for blending two F-1 boards into one F-2 board. I think it would be more financially advantageous to have a local sheet metal shop fab a set than to take two good F-1 boards and try to weld them together. If you bought a set of reproduction boards, which are about $650 a pair for steel ones, you'd have to buy two sets to make one good set of F-2 boards. Then you'd have to find some one who would be willing to cut them up and weld them together. Even if you did them yourself you'd spend a lot of time working on them to get them right. You'd have at least $1300 tied up in them. I'd bet you could have a set fabbed up for around $500. There still be some work to be done to them and they may not look exactly like originals but they'd be close enough.
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:14 AM
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Two junk running boards with the opposite halves to be decent, would be what I was referring to. These are typically running boards most folks throw away, because they aren't "good enough" to use. Cut the bad parts off, and weld the two better halves together to make 1 longer one. Shouldn't cost all that much. No different than sectioning a cab corner from one truck onto another.

I was in agreement in my previous post not to weld the WM's...it may not have been perceived that way.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:00 AM
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Havi,

It would take more than just taking two halves of two F-1 boards to make the F-2 boards. You'd also have to have to rework the rear end of the boards because the F-1 fenders are wider. You'd have to close the gap that would be there. Also, you'd have to message the seem you'd get between the two halves. Most used boards I've seen have severe rust outs that consumes about half of the board in the middle. It'd be pretty hard to find solid enough metal in the center of each board to be weld to. I guess if I had four decent F-1 boards it would be worth trying to make them into a set of F-2 boards.

Here's what I think would work best if you would have a sheet metal shop bend a few pieces. Trim the ends to fit the front and rear fenders and weld in the end pieces. You'd have to finesse the ends a little to make them look more original but I don't think it would take much:

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The real winning idea would be to have a fab shop make up a patch panel with the ribs so you could weld in a long section into the middle of the running boards, whether you have a set of rusty F-1 or F-2 running boards. Like I said above, most boards I've seen in either model have the major rust in the middle, toward the front, under the doors. There's usually rust at the front and rear edges but that's fairly easy to fix. It's the ribbed area that's hardest to fix.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:05 AM
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Makes sense, Bob. That's why I was asking in post #7 if anyone has done it.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:22 AM
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I've thought too that a set of trashed stock Express bed boards could be saved by "cut and paste" repairs. So often the leading edge is bent up, or rust has eaten out the area above the stiffening supports. Combining pieces of several trashed boards could remedy this.

Scott - Widow makers will primarily be found on the bigger size wheels. With 17" being at the lower end. As a general rule I'd think it a whole lot easier to use commercially available replacement outer rims, such as those used with Dayton style demountable wheels, teamed with old centers to solve the problem. Welding a widowmaker center into a new outer rim is tricky, yes, and as Bob said you better be darn sure that your weld is solid. But, that said, companies like American Wheel Specialist have rim suppliers, and the equipment, skill, and liability insurance to do this. American Wheel Specialist, IIRC, told me that they can even cut down wheel centers to fit into smaller outer rims if needed to retain a unique center design, hub cap mount, or bolt pattern.

The other thing to consider, tubeless truck wheels will have a 15° rim profile and cars/light trucks will have a 5° profile. These designs have industry standards and I'm quite sure will have some USDOT regulations covering them. Quite literally, reinventing the wheel is a big deal. Stu
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:43 AM
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Stu, I'm in agreement with ya. I'm not looking to drive everyday on the road, but just want something better than my WM's. I would like the lock ring style myself, but I see them and quickly notice they don't look original.
Our company truck (Peterbilt) has some "spare" outers laying out in the boneyard that I might ask about. Working in a full fledged machine/weld/production shop with CNC lathes and mills bigger than my house; programmers, designers, and engineers to boot, we've made parts "on the side" or "gov't work" for friend's tractors, trucks, cars, excavators, skid loaders, etc... and in discussing the "make it look like an original wheel" idea with them, it seemed worth trying at some point. I would have to buy the steel to do it though. Not as elaborate as a Chip Foose wheel, but where there's a will, there's a way. Certainly won't happen over night. I should mention I'm talking about F4-6 wheels. If I had an F2 or F3, I'd look to do a Dana 60 swap.

Sorry for getting off topic.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:44 AM
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Back to the WM discussion: truckdog makes it very clear that F3 stock (rear) 17" , 2 piece wheels are all rh5's and therefore widow-makers. My F3 has those on the rear and before becoming aware of this, about 4years ago I had new tires installed on them by a local tire place here and they made no mention of a potential problem or any concerns. This is a company with 18 shops in the northwest. Is the potential problem with the design or with the wheels when they get old ? Are you suggesting that you would remove them even if they were in good condition as mine are? Btw my truck probably only gets driven a few hundred miles per year. Just trying to figure out just how much of a concern this is. Thanks, Brian
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