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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.
For Power -
Rockford Fosgate Punch P400-1 for driver front 8" mid bass
Rockford Fosgate Punch P400-1 for passenger front 8" mid bass
Rockford Fosgate Punch P300-2 for both front door mid range
Rockford Fosgate Punch P300-2 for both front door tweeters
Rockford Fosgate Punch P300-2 for both rear door mid bass
Rockford Fosgate Punch P300-2 for both rear door tweeters
Rockford Fosgate Punch P700-1bd for one sub
Rockford Fosgate Punch P700-1bd for one sub
Rockford Fosgate Punch P700-1bd for one sub
Nope that's not a typo, I've got one amp per sub running at a 2 ohm load, but can go to a 1 ohm load if I need to. Each sub will get approx 450 watts at 2ohms and if I decide to go to 1ohm I can put up to 700 watts to each sub.
For the rear of the truck in the shell.
Head unit - Undecided
Monitor - Undecided
Rear Door Components -
Rockford Fosgate P1652-S - Running Passive
Front Components -
Rockford Fosgate P1652-S - Running Passive
Rockford Fosgate P3SD210 10" Shallow mount sub
Rockford Fosgate Punch P400-4 for all components
Rockford Fosgate Punch P300-1 for sub
So there's what I have so far. Now I need to start collecting equipment while I get the rest of the more important stuff started.
So I was just looking into lifts for the truck, cause I'm trying to get things in order as far as what I want to do, and things to start thinking about. Well I came across a truck in the "garage" portion of the site. Someone had mentioned in there Sky Manufacturing's reverse shackle lift. I started looking at it, and while I've not really really dove into it cause I'm at work, I understand some of it, but don't think I understand everything I'm going to need. I started pricing it out and this is what I came up with.
Lift: 5 Inch (Ford-FSR-005) +$150
Finish: Black powdercoat +$35
Rear Flip Kit.: Add our 4.5 rear flip in black powdercoat +$165
Shocks-Bilstien: Full set, 5" FSR 6249 front, 6250 rear +$330
Intercooler option: NO INTERCOOLER +$0
Drop Pitman Arm: 3-4 inch drop arm-yes +$79
Adjustable Pan Hard Bar: Yes +$119
Total Price: $1178.00 plus shipping I assume!
So my questions are these, and I'm going to be looking into these things:
Are the shocks that come with the set good enough, well not coming with the set, but listed above for extra, or should I look into better shocks? Would a nicer shock give me a smoother ride?
The kit states that this will basically smooth out the harshness of the ride, but I'm not sure I'm understanding why it would smooth it out. Seems to me that the harshness is from the stiffness of the suspension. I mean it is a one ton for crying out loud right? We're not driving a Lexus here! But be that as it may, I'd like to understand if there's that big a difference between this and a regular lift. I mean I guess it's not much more compared to what's out there, but if the ride smooths out, I guess it would be worth it for the comfort of my family. I really don't care, it doesn't bother me. I drive a lowered civic on stiff sports suspension, and i've owned a big stiff truck before, so I'm used to the bounce.
The intercooler, what would that be good for? What's the benefit of this and is it worth getting the option that would allow it to be put in? There doesn't appear to be an additional cost for it, so I guess to get the option where it can be added would be worth it but I don't know if this is something I'm looking for in the future. Is that for a diesel motor or for gas motor? I need to research this more.
I've decided on the 5" lift for it for a couple of reasons. I want a big truck, and I think that would look sweet! Secondly I don't really care about getting in and out of it, I'll have side bars, and for the back, I'm planning the shell with the door portion anyway. That would eliminate the tail gate and i'll build, with my new welding skills (soon to come), a hitch attachment that add stairs for getting in and out.
The Pan Hard bar, is that something I would need. This isn't going to be a mudding truck or major off road truck, so I'm not sure if this is something I'm going to need or not. Is that worth the extra $80.00. What benefit is this going to be for me if any?
So these are all the things that I need to figure out before I decide what I'm going to do with the lift. I have lots to learn and plan to learn it.
There's lots of other things that I'm curious about as well. Some of the other parts on the site like, Ford Traction Bars, Billet Threaded Adjustable Link/End Bung, Hiem Joints, and stuff like that. What about steering stabilizers? Is that something that I should think bout with a lift? I have lots to learn about with a suspension.
Oh no. Nothing has happened with this thing as of yet. Gotta figure out the tranny first. No sense in putting money into a lift on a truck that doesn't move. But if I get that fixed I'll be on the lift next!
Ok so I've decided I just simply don't have time right now to deal with the transmission on this thing. I hate to take it somewhere cause I'd love the knowledge and get the experience with it, but it's getting so bad right now, and my time is just non existant so I'm gonna have someone fix it for me. I'll update when that happens and what they say.
Second. I'm ready to change the shocks out. I wanted to get some new shocks and I thin I want to put in some air bags? Does anyone have any suggestions on what direction to go with this? I know there are firestone bags out there, but is there something better or no? I could use some help a little here.
I'm not towing anything, so I'm not sure I even need bags, but I heard somewhere that they helped with the ride a little bit.
That's what's on it now, the adjustable ones, but i have no idea how long they've been on and they're squeaky and rough. I figured it was time for a change.
I was looking at some Firestone bags all the way around, then some firestone air shocks to go with them, but I'm not sure I've got the 1000.00 to spend plus tank, compressor, and parts. So I'll take a look around and see what I can find.
Ok so here's the latest. I dropped it off for a full on inspection. That way I can get a list and report of what needs to get fixed on it. Tranny is priority and beyond that brakes are next. Then I'll worry about the shocks and suspension. But I'll wait to get the report and make a list of what needs to be fixed and start there.
Ok I just heard back about the tranny. There's some for sure internal issues between gears 2, 3 and 4. They said that shifting 1-2 is fine but occasional slip from 2 -3 and a lot from 3 -4. They checked the fluid and it was low and burnt they said. I check that regularly, well at least when I drive it, and it's been ok. SO I'm not a mechanic but that tells me that something is causing it to use alot of fluid.
So the next step is to tear it apart and figure out exactly what is wrong with it, which they're doing now, and then we'll know what exactly has to happen.
Ok well it's official. Complete rebuild. They started it yesterday, so I'll have it back no sooner than Wednesday they said. I'm in no rush but it'll be nice to have it fixed and driving right. Now I can get onto the rest of my issues that need to be addressed on it.
Ok just heard back from the transmission place. It's good to go. Gonna go pick it up later this afternoon.
I'm also changing some stuff on the build Not gonna do the camper shell etc. Here's the new thoughts and possible equipment list. Just going to do a cab build now.
First I want to still go with bucket seats in the back. Remove the bench, and remove the front 20 seat. Or, if I can find some, go with buckets all the way through. But I'll have to start looking at junk yards when the time comes.
With the seats that way, I can do a center console sub enclosure all the way from front to back. I'm thinking 3 Sundown SA-12 Dual 2ohm 12" subs in a ported enclosure. Probably, again just thinking at the moment, will down fire them cause it's really my only option in a build like this, and then have a vent in the back. So if you can imagine a scorpion body with the tail. Something like that. The vent would come up the back wall a little and face forward.
My thoughts on power for the subs is probably either a Sundown SAZ-2500D or a SAZ3500D depending on what money is like. Gonna have to upgrade the alternator and maybe add a second for this set up, but I'll cross that bridge at that time. Same with the battery. Gonna have to go with a bigger battery up front and add a couple more. Haven't thought much about that at the moment. I'll do more of that when I get there.
Front stage. Gonna go with a set of Sundown E8 V.2 8" for mid bass. Then the mid range and tweeters I'll have to decide on. Probably a 4" mid range and a 1" tweeter.
To power the front stage I'll go with a Sundown SAX-100.4 for the mid range and tweeter, and then a second one bridged for the 8's.
For the rear stage I'll go with a set of 6.5" components. Not sure what kind yet, but I'll decide that later.
To power the rear stage I'll go with another Sundown SAX-100.4.
Head unit I still have to decide on. That will probably play a big factor in what components I decided on as I like to match everything. If Sundown had components I'd probably just go with them. But they don't so I'll go with something else. I'm thinking Alpine or Pioneer most likely.
That's all for now. I'm sure this will not happen for quite a while. A long long while. But I'll start building things up soon and as I buy a piece I'll be paying it off. So that's part of why it's gonna take a long time. The other reason is I'm still building my Civic. Nothing much with the truck will happen until I get the car finished. That's my daily driver and my baby.
Ok so here it is. The list of things that were done to the tranny. Basically a full on rebuild.
New Assembly Kit
Rebuilt Torque Converter
Switch Manual Lever
Valve Body Assembly
Planet Hub Assembly
So there you go. I've not driven it yet cause I need to go pick it up. I had my car so I can't drive both at the same time, go figure. So my wife will drop me off tonight after work and I'll drive it home.
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