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1961 - 1963 F100 Unibody 1961, 1962 and 1963 Ford F100 Unibody trucks

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  #1  
Old 03-23-2011, 05:36 PM
inkednb inkednb is offline
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Looking for ideas

Hey everyone. I'm looking at picking up a '61 unibody stepside. The guy who owns it offered to hold onto it until I get home next week on leave from Afghanistan. It should be the 223 w/ 3 speed column shift. As far as I know, everything is stock.

Now, I've been doing some research. I've found the Clifford intake and header and I've read about swapping with a T5 transmission. All I would need to do is send in the 3 speed bell housing to be modded and pick up a couple of parts for the conversion, but will it be that noticeable of an improvement over the column shift? If I do it, any suggests on steering column to replace the original? Preferably one that will allow a power steering conversion. Or, by chance, has someone found a power steering conversion kit that will work with the stock 3 speed?

The other things I've looked into is the ignition system. Has anyone tried the Hot Spark system? (Electronic Ignition Conversion Kits for 6-Cylinder Ford, FoMoCo, Motorcraft, Autolite Distributors) I don't want to have to modify a 300 DUI distributor or install MSD or Petronix.

Has anyone used the alternator from Advance/Autozone that said it works for these models? It looks like it will bolt into the generator bracket and will avoid the hassle of conversions. I've never had much issue with anything from Advance or Autozone online before, so I think it would work.

I'm also trying to find a disc brake conversion kit for front and rear, but front at the very least.

I also thought about swapping the 223 and 3 speed with a 300 and either a T5 or C4. I found these mounts (Trans Dapt 4145 Trans Dapt Performance Products Engine Swap Motor Mount Kits) and also mounts for both the 300 and C4 swap (Engine Parts : NPD 1948-1979 Ford Truck 2011 Catalog - Page 96 : National Parts Depot Online Catalog) Has anyone used these? The 300 sounds good to me, keeps the I6 setup and is easier to upgrade.

I know it's a lot of questions. Thanks in advance for any help.
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  #2  
Old 03-23-2011, 06:14 PM
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Before you do anything. Ask yourself what you want it to be in the big picture.
Stock?
Hotrod?
Drivability upgrades?
Formulate a plan so that you don't waste time and money going all over the map trying to make it everything to everyone.
It's your truck. Make it what you want.
Then do your homework ( as you seem to be doing ).
And, Thank you for your service.
Good luck and welcome.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:36 PM
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I'm not trying to make it into a hot rod. If I wanted to do that I would have just looked for a 65 frame to put the unibody onto, then go crazy with a 502 or something. Not that I might not do that down the road with another project. But stock isn't going to get me around very well. I want to at least be able to get it to Austin (about an hour) or Dallas (3 or so hours) which is 70 mph interstate for the most part. Plus, the part of Texas I live in makes it so that my daily driving is mostly highway. I don't know if the highway driving issues I've read about are really transmission issues or just the 223 not putting out enough, which isn't hard to fix.

More or less, I'm just going for drivability upgrades that will keep it looking mostly stock for the vintage look. I was just hoping to get feedback on some of the products I've found to see if I should go with them or keep searching.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:45 PM
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And to be honest, I like the idea of keeping the 3 speed because of how cool I think they are, I can live without power steering, but I'm more worried about the everyday performance differences between it and a 5 speed.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:33 PM
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turbohunter turbohunter is offline
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I hear you.
I'm not a six cylinder guy so I would go with an eight cylinder unless it is a cherry truck worth keeping as is.
Electronic ignition is a great start.
I'm only familiar with the Pertronix stuff which I have used a couple times.
It works great.
As far as tranny stuff goes. That's a whole world of what ifs. Lots of revs at 60 mph sucks on the road. Local driving not bad.
On alternators I tend to go high output so that I can add on later. That would be the only thing I care about.
Disc brakes are great however I didn't go that way on my truck. I stayed with the drums and added a new master cylinder and power assist for two reasons. The drums work great and stop on a dime plus with all the other work I was doing on my truck I didn't want to spend the money unnecessarily. My truck does have the big drums though so yours is probably different since you have a six.
One more thought. You said you are OK with the armstrong steering. I thought I was too. But after a while it gets a bit tedious, especially in the tiny little parking spaces we have to deal with these days.
Cheers
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  #6  
Old 03-24-2011, 12:38 AM
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The 300 mounts will not work with the transdapt cross member. Modifications can be made if you can fab and weld.

502 big block Chevrolet will require a built Turbo 400 or a really stout 700R4. A 514 Lima series ford and a C6 is a killer combo also.

Unibody's have integral beds and cab. no step sides involved. Post some pictures of the truck and we can see just what it is.

Thanks for serving!

Garbz
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63 F100 Uni Custom under construction 4" off the pavement and built to drive. DOHC M60 5 Speed
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  #7  
Old 03-24-2011, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbohunter View Post
I hear you.
I'm not a six cylinder guy so I would go with an eight cylinder unless it is a cherry truck worth keeping as is.
Electronic ignition is a great start.
I'm only familiar with the Pertronix stuff which I have used a couple times.
It works great.
As far as tranny stuff goes. That's a whole world of what ifs. Lots of revs at 60 mph sucks on the road. Local driving not bad.
On alternators I tend to go high output so that I can add on later. That would be the only thing I care about.
Disc brakes are great however I didn't go that way on my truck. I stayed with the drums and added a new master cylinder and power assist for two reasons. The drums work great and stop on a dime plus with all the other work I was doing on my truck I didn't want to spend the money unnecessarily. My truck does have the big drums though so yours is probably different since you have a six.
One more thought. You said you are OK with the armstrong steering. I thought I was too. But after a while it gets a bit tedious, especially in the tiny little parking spaces we have to deal with these days.
Cheers

Question for you, how often do you lube your steering box? I lube mine about every 3-4 months, and that makes a big difference in the ease of steering, well that and lubing the front end as it should be on a regular basis. My daughter is 5' tall and just about 100 lbs, and she drives my 64 with no power steering. If the front end is lubed properly, and adjusted properly it should be no big deal... and don't forget to lube the king pins too!
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetcopterpilot View Post
Question for you, how often do you lube your steering box? I lube mine about every 3-4 months, and that makes a big difference in the ease of steering, well that and lubing the front end as it should be on a regular basis. My daughter is 5' tall and just about 100 lbs, and she drives my 64 with no power steering. If the front end is lubed properly, and adjusted properly it should be no big deal... and don't forget to lube the king pins too!
Not enough
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetcopterpilot View Post
Question for you, how often do you lube your steering box? I lube mine about every 3-4 months, and that makes a big difference in the ease of steering, well that and lubing the front end as it should be on a regular basis. My daughter is 5' tall and just about 100 lbs, and she drives my 64 with no power steering. If the front end is lubed properly, and adjusted properly it should be no big deal... and don't forget to lube the king pins too!
Come to think of it I should take it all apart and redo it while I have it down.
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  #10  
Old 03-24-2011, 11:51 AM
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Not a bad Idea it really makes a big difference.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkednb View Post
Now, I've been doing some research. I've found the Clifford intake and header and I've read about swapping with a T5 transmission. All I would need to do is send in the 3 speed bell housing to be modded and pick up a couple of parts for the conversion, but will it be that noticeable of an improvement over the column shift? If I do it, any suggests on steering column to replace the original? Preferably one that will allow a power steering conversion.
It will be a huge difference. First gear will make it like you went shorter by 1 or 2 ratios in the rear end. The extra gear for driving around town makes it more fun, and is sometimes more practical on the slower roads. The overdrive will increase your mileage.

I can't help with power steering, but to clean up the column after removing the column shift components, get a column from a 63-64 4 speed truck, and the collar and turn signal switch components from a '73-'77 model. The later turn signal stuff will bolt right to the early column, the assembly will directly replace yours with the exception of the switch wiring. By doing this, you clean it up, get turn signals with a built in 4 way flasher, and it will look factory to those who don't know any better.
What the other guys have said about greasing the steering is absolutely true. I'm 130 pounds and drive mine daily with no trouble at all with the steering.

I can help you with many details of the transmission and column swap.

Re Brakes, a pretty cheap upgrade is to swap the rear brakes for the wider brakes used in '68 to '76, I think. I'm sure it's outlined somewhere on the forum. Do a search for it.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:20 PM
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Sounds like it's getting swapped to the T5 then, since I'll probably end up getting the engine bored and stroke it. The only thing I don't know about with the swap is that it says to get a car pressure plate and a different clutch disc. Know part numbers or at least a vehicle I can pull up on Advance or something to get them? It'll actually work out well, I can pull the engine and transmission while I'm home on leave, send the bell housing out to the guy in California, drop off the engine block at a machine shop and have them both back and ready about the time I get home for good early to mid May.

I'm about 200 pounds myself, which is why I figured manual steering isn't so bad.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:37 PM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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You gotta ask about the clutch. I went a completely different route on that. If the 223 uses an 11", I've heard that '68 Fairlane 390 works. The 223 might be 10", in which case I haven't heard an application. In most cases, the bolt pattern is the same among the same diameter clutch so you can track something down if you know the diameter.

I used a clutch for an 80s Mustang application. My flywheel was already drilled for it. If you did this, it will require that you drill that pattern into your flywheel and will be an unnecessary expense and it simply should not be needed.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkednb View Post
Sounds like it's getting swapped to the T5 then, since I'll probably end up getting the engine bored and stroke it. The only thing I don't know about with the swap is that it says to get a car pressure plate and a different clutch disc. Know part numbers or at least a vehicle I can pull up on Advance or something to get them? It'll actually work out well, I can pull the engine and transmission while I'm home on leave, send the bell housing out to the guy in California, drop off the engine block at a machine shop and have them both back and ready about the time I get home for good early to mid May.

I'm about 200 pounds myself, which is why I figured manual steering isn't so bad.


Keep in mind that the standard T5 can only handle a max of 300 ft Lbs of torque, which in a much lighter Mustang is not much of an issue but if you plan on building your engine, it would be a shame to shell out for a T5 just to have it fail shortly down the line. I had thought about going with the T5 and that was the one draw back. In a light weight car it is not a big deal, but in a truck if you ever put a load in the truck, such as a camper, or are towing a trailer, you will break the Trans. The T6 Magnum can handle 700 ftlb. Yes it cost more but, if you only have you have to put it in once, you have saved big bucks. Just food for thought!!!
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:55 PM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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The strongest "out of the box" T5s are about 335 ftlbs. A 330ftlb version can be bought bran new.
Some real world use indicates that the t5 is actually quite sufficient for the street. Aside from the fact that it has been proven behind some pretty powerful street Mustangs,:
I have one friend with a '58 F100 with a built Y block. He hauls around an Alaskan camper for half of the year. All of this is through a 4 cylinder t5. He's had it installed for years and there are no signs of eminent failure.
I have another friend who has had one behind a turbocharged 292 in his '60 F100 for several years, again with no signs of failure.
Both of these F100s are daily drivers.
I have one behind a stroked and ported 292, again, showing no signs that it is about to fail, and I'm confident enough about it that I'll keep it when I go turbo in a year or two. Mine is a daily driver. The transmission is an FMS Z spec, rated at 330 ftlbs.
Now, if I was racing it regularly, or seriously abusing it on the street, I'd seriously consider something stronger, but for sane street driving with occasional fun, it will do just fine. And, shoot, if you do brake it, send it to G-Force for an upgrade and you have something about as strong as a tko 500 for less money.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:55 PM
 
 
 
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