Hello all! Well let me explain a little bit about what I'm going to be doing. This is going to be a long thread, and a long project that will not be done anytime soon. I'm a 33 year old husband, and father of two beautiful little girls who are not only my life, but take up a lot of time in my life. This is partially why this build will take so long. The other is because I'm always on a budget and building a vehicle just isn't high up on the priority list.
A little history about the truck and how I got it. When I was 17 years old, I was on a weekend trip at my dad's house at the time, I was asked to drive a pilot truck for a heavy hauling company. The truck I drove was a 1994 Ford F350 Crew Cab, Long Bed with a 7.5l motor, 4wd, Manual Transmission. That might have been the funnest drive I ever had. I felt so big, and it was such a nice drive. The truck was brand new of course, so that helped as well. Also being 16 years old and driving a big truck like that added to it as well. Well half way through the drive the big rig carrying the equipment powered down on a steep upgrade. SO, guess who got to pull it up the hill. Yes I said that correctly, they hooked up the chain to the truck I was driving and using that along with the big rig, we went up the hill.
It was at that point I decided "I GOTTA GET ME ONE OF THESE!!" Well up until about 4 years ago I wasn't in a position to be able to afford a truck. I had my own construction business and decided to get a 2006 F350 Diesel Crew Cab 4wd long bed. Lariat edition. I loved that truck. I had it loaded up and ended up paying for it in the end. I lost it as well as everything else when my business went south. That's life.
Last year my wife and I decided to get a travel trailer for our family to go camping and traveling with. At that time I had a smaller truck, Chevy 1500. It would not pull a trailer after further research and talking to people. SO I traded it straight across for the 1994 F350 I currently have. In the meantime, we didn't get a trailer because of financial issues. My wife works for the State of California, and unless you live under a rock, you probably know how horrible of shape California and the budget is here. So she/we ended up taking about a 700.00 paycut per month. Well the money we had saved up for a trailer, got spent on bills etc.
So now I've decided to turn this truck into a project. And that's where we're at now.
My goal is this: To basically restore this truck to a "like new" type status. Make it usable for my family to camp out of it, as well as make it a show type vehicle. All wrapped into one large truck.
To go along with that, I own a 12' by 6' trailer. It' just a box trailer, no windows, nothing. Ramp door in the rear, regular door on the side. My plan with the trailer is to turn it into a sleepable camping trailer.
I know these are all ambitious plans, but I plan to do all work myself, if I can. I'm a researching fiend and I'm not necessarily afraid to try anything. I also ask alot of questions so I'm hoping that most of you who are in here are willing to answer some of them. Just know that I'm not asking to get a hand out. Most of the time I research something and I have questions about "how it works, or why it works" and that's what I'm trying to find out from more experienced people. I have no mechanical background, I've never been to auto mechanic's school, or anything like that. I've just got this blessed and uncanny ability to put back together anything I've taken apart. Especially if I've got instructions. Sometimes I don't need them, cause most things are pretty self explanatory.
So my plans for the new truck are this:
Transmission Rebuild - PRIORITY right now. There are some major issues with the transmission right now so I plan to either rebuild it myself, or buy a rebuilt one and install it myself. Right now the transmission slips out and I have a hard time getting it to go back in gear. I've taken it to a shop and that was last year so now I don't recall what they said it needed, what was wrong with it, but I do remember them saying it needed to be rebuilt and it was gonna cost me $2400.00 to do it. Money I just simply don't have. My plan right now is to look for a rebuilt one, or a pick and pull one, and putting that in. I've just been driving it on occasion and plan to until I can afford to do that or it just dies on me.
Motor Overhaul - New seals, gaskets, spark plugs, hoses, wires, change all fluids and anything else that needs to be addressed.
Brakes - I know for sure it has brake issues. I changed the front pads a few months ago and for now that will be fine. But I went to bleed out the lines when I did all that, and I had problems with the driver side rear caliper. I couldn't even get any fluid to come out. SO I'm guessing that's either seized up or clogged or something. Either way it's not good. It does take some effort to stop this beast so that's high up on the list of things to do.
That's pretty much it for the mechanical issues at this point. Those are pretty big issues, don't get me wrong. However, the body is in great shape, aside of needing a paint job, and really everything works fine and it's a good vehicle. OR at least it has potential to be. So once that stuff is done, it's onto the fun stuff!
Paint - Like I said the body is in great shape. No major dings or dents to speak of. The bed interior is in bad shape but that's not an issue. You'll see why later. My paint scheme is something like this. I want a sort of three toned paint. Main color is going to be a grey or charcoal grey color. The middle of it, where the two tone silver is now (which I'll post pictures in a moment) will be a burgundy or maroonish color. Dark though. On the top and the bottom of that strip I want a 1/2" stripe of black.
Trims - I'm not a big fan of the rubber trims down the side. They're old and need replacing. I'm undecided how I'll handle this. I'm either going to just simply remove them and not put them back, or I'll get new.
Wheels - I'm wanting a set of black wheels. I'm looking at something like the Pro Comp's
simple but yet nice. Black for sure. I'd prefer a matte black but I'm not stuck on this. My car (Honda Civic) has 18" matte black wheels on Galaxy Grey Paint and it looks sweet in my honest opinion. I'd not do anything different. I just like the "black look".
Tires - Not sure on this yet. I'd like big but they don't have to be horribly aggressive. I'll decide on this when I get to that point.
Lift - This is the part that's really going to most likely decide the tire size. I haven't yet decided how high I wanna go, I just know I wanna go up. I'm thinking 4, 5, or 6". I'm leaning toward a 6" lift, but again, I'm not sure yet.
Here are my issues with that. This truck doesn't have front coil springs. In my experience, as I said I've had a 2006 before and it did have coil springs, and I found the ride much softer than the leafs. So I'd like to figure out if it's even possible to add springs to the front of this or not. If not, fine, I'll just go with the leaf lift. If I can I need to figure out how to go about doing it. I need new shocks for sure soon. The one's I have are Rancho 5000 (I think) adjustable shocks and they're pretty shot! Maybe if not front coil springs, I can add a second set of shocks. I could use some advise on this.
My main goal would be to soften the ride in some way. I know these things bounce all over the place, it's just the consequence of having a big truck. But if I can lessen that for my family at all, I'd be happy. I plan to add air bags in the rear as well at some point. I'll probably be adding a compressor sometime soon too, just in case we get a flat or something in the middle of nowhere, I can repair it or change a tire or whatever.
Interior - My interior is a hideous (IMO) royal type blue. It's horrible and I'd love to change it out. I plan to reupholster the seats for sure, I just will have to decide on a color scheme and a material for this. The interior I plan is going to be completely custom. Lets start with that.
Audio - I'm planning a complete audio system in it. I want three way active front stage, subs, rear fill for my girls, video, navigation, and the works. What I've been thinking about is this:
Front Doors: 8" Mid Bass, 5.25 mid range, and 1" tweeters in a custom fiberglass panel. Complete custom door treatments.
Rear Doors: 6.5" Mid Bass, 1" tweeter in a custom fiberglass panel with passive crossovers.
Dash - I'll be doing a custom install to fit a Double Din head unit for video, navigation, and rear view camera, and moving the hvac controls to another place. I still have to research this, hvac controls, and make sure this is possible but I believe it is.
Center Console - I'll be building a custom center console, removing the center section of the seat and having it go all the way back to where the back of the front seats end. This console will most likely house the HVAC controls, new center console, cup holders, and subs down firing for low end duties up front. Most likely this will house a pair of 10" subs. I still have to design this but that's the plan.
Rear seat - I'm planning on ditching the rear seat all together and designing and building a sub box that doubles as a seat. Designs are going to be in the works but that is the plan. The seat will not be movable like the current seat is but will be designed to be comfortable since we'll be traveling with this vehicle.
My other thought to this is to ditch the rear bench seat, and design a center console sub enclosure to house 12's all the way from front to the back wall, 3 or 4. Then put in bucket seats if I can figure out how to do this safely. I thought about this originally and then thought about if my daughters ever wanted to bring friends along camping. Then I'd need the bench seat. Then I got to thinking further and thought the bench seat only has 3 seat belts anyway so I could only bring one more person, so I'm thinking that if they bring any one, they can all just ride in the back. Don't trip, I'll get to that in a minute.
Roof - I'm going to be doing an amp rack to house all amps, distribution blocks, processing, etc, in a roof rack that goes from front to back. Here's how the amps are going to work. Single amp to run both front 8" mid bass, single amp to run both front 5.25" mid ranges, single amp to run both front 1" tweeters, single amp to run both 6.5" rear mid bass, single amp to run both 1" rear tweeters, single amps to run each sub (4 possibly). That's going to be approximately 9 amps, 5 2 channel and 4 mono amps. Should be quite the amp rack. Also I'll need to include processing in there as well. Most likely I'll need two processors to operate all that.
Over each front seat I'll have a drop down 10" monitor for rear viewing of movies.
The headliner will be completely redone, probably in black suede.
That should about cover the audio in the front cabin area.
Back/Bed - I plan to get a shell for the bed. I'd like to get the one with the rear door in it. I'm going to have to do more research into this. However, the bed will be completely redone so that it's nice, and then sprayed with bed liner. Once that's done, I'll start the plush build in it.
I'll be building two runners to cover the wheel wells that will act as cubbies for storage as well as just be nice to look at. It will all be covered in carpet to soften the area for if the kids ride back there or we're (my wife and I) are sleeping back there. I'll be building a rail on the sides of these runners to hold a bed platform. This will consist of a panel that we can put a mattress on for sleeping. This will be in place when not in use so things can be stored under it. If we have extra people, like kids etc, that have to ride back there, I'll most likely have the trailer with me, and I'll remove it and put it in the trailer. This will give more room for sitting. I'll most likely still put a floor board in and cover it as well, but most likely with a more durable carpet that can be walked on etc.
There will be a separate audio system in the back. I'm not planning much for back here, as there won't be much need for it. I'll be doing a pair component systems with passive crossovers, no need for active back here. I'll do a single 10" sub or a single 8" sub in one of the cubbies on the side runners for low end duties. Dvd player, probably not a double din unit, and a flip down 15 or 19 inch monitor.
The components will be mounted in custom enclosures in each of the four corners of the shell. I'll be powering these with either a single 4 channel amp or a pair of 2 channel amps. The sub will be powered by a single mono channel amp.
The monitor will be mounted in the center of the shell at the back door.
Amp rack will be housed in the cubbies as well. I'm also planning on putting in two or three deep cell batteries for all the electronics as well as a high output relay so as not to kill the original motor battery.
I have not decided on all the audio equipment at this point. I'm leaning towards Rockford Fosgate for everything but the head units and monitors. I'm most likely going to go with Pioneer for the head unit duties and I'll have to research the monitors to see what's good out there. Stinger power wires, and wiring. I'll be making my own RCA cables and video cables most likely. Batteries, will either be Stinger or something of the like, however, as you'll soon find out about me, I am kind of OCD about my gear matching. I don't like to miss match unless it's unavoidable.
That should about cover the plans.
I know this was long but I wanted to do a couple of things. First get the plan out there for comments and suggestions, and second, get it down somewhere so that I have a plan to go off of.
So, hello all, and thanks for reading and glad to meet everyone. Here are some pictures of what I'm working with at the moment. I'll have to go through and get some more pictures soon.