Last September a co-worker of mine had a brother that died. His brother lived about 1.5 hours away. He knew I was into cars/trucks and asked if anybody I knew might be interested in "an older Ford 4-wheel drive" that had belonged to the brother since new. I expressed interest and he told me it was a 70's Ford 4x4 with a fully rebuilt 390 and 4 speed. All it needed was some body work and the "rebuilt engine" installed the rest of the way. He said nobody in the family wanted it and it could be had cheap. I offered him scrap prices and he accepted. I had not seen a pic of the truck yet but was worried a deal may escape me because his sister was trying to sell it as well. I figured I had nothing to lose with the price I offered. A buddy of mine agreed to meet him a few weekends later in the city the truck was in with a trailer.
(as I found it)
I was a little turned off when we got there and saw how rough the truck looked. The guy had told me his brother said it was “about an hour away from being road-worthy”. I was about to walk away from the deal when the guy started busting out the spare parts. Among them was a new-in-the-box Edelbrock 600 electric choke carburetor, and a brand new Garrison style power-steering valve. This paired with the fact that the truck had brand mud/snow tires all around it made me feel a little better. I started planning on scrapping the truck, selling the wheels/tires and steering valve and keeping the new carburetor. Figured I would at least make some money. After getting the truck on the trailer I started realizing that the body wasn’t actually too bad and the frame and suspension were both really solid. I decided I would give it a chance. When I got it home I got it in the garage and started looking at the engine.
(my 355 S-10 in the background...not that anybody here cares)
I was already leery of the “fully rebuilt 390” but there was fresh RTV creeping out from under newly painted valve covers so I thought there was a chance. The engine had an iron 4 bbl intake that looked a little rusty inside. I decided to pull the valve covers and found an extremely sludgy valvetrain. Pulled the intake and found a crispy and sludgy lifter valley. Pulled the heads and found nasty cylinder bores.
(My buddy, Noah, lending a hand)
It was apparent that this engine was not rebuilt in any fashion. It was also soon evident that it was a 360, not a 390.
(my 1965 Rambler wagon in the background)
This sucks but I had no illusions of the engine being worth a crap when I bought it. Removed the engine and pulled the pan. Found the oil pump pickup covered in this stuff…
Found these shards of twisted metal in the oil pan.
(metal shards on 3x5" index card)
I came really close to trying to start this engine without a tear-down too. That would have been pretty interesting.
(my improvised valve compressor from Harbor Freight C-clamp)
Took the crank to a machine shop that specializes in only crankshafts in my town and the block to one of the few remaining engine machine shops left. When I went to install the crank it was too tight and didn’t want to turn very easily. Wound up taking the block back to the machine shop where it is awaiting an align bore and/or crank turning.
(blasted and painted steel rim, though it's dirty and dusty now)
In the meantime I have removed the entire front end. I have sandlblasted and painted the core support. I have also welded new patch metal into the rusty areas of the front fenders and stripped them of paint and primed them. Still need to replace both sides of the floor pan in the front and patch the cab corners and a few areas on the bed. I plan on pulling the bed and cab and completely sanding/blasting the frame and suspension components and sealing them with something. I have also masked the tires off and sandblasted the wheels and gave them a coat of gloss gray Rustoleum. Made a world of difference. I guess I am going to stick with the often hated power-assist steering because I have the new valve all ready to go. I am going to be interested in selling the old one that is still on the truck for somebody to use as a core or would be interested in trading it towards a rebuilt steering ram.
As my username suggests I am usually a Chevy guy and have a lot of experience in that field but this Ford stuff is new and intriguing to me. This site has been a lot of help so far. Thanks to everyone. Don’t expect a lot of action from this thread. I have two small daughters that I watch from the time I get off work at 1pm until my wife comes home at night. I am also pretty broke most of the time. And lazy. Going to be a slow process probably. Also I get busy and forget to take good pictures. Thanks for looking. Any advice and/or tips are welcomed.
Thanks for the post .. It was a good read .. How disappointing about the motor .. A solid frame is how I've started a few of my projects over the years and there's nothing wrong with that .. Do as you can when you can with what you have that's how we roll out this way
I am going for a stock"ish" restoration. I want it to look mostly factory and period-correct but I am not going to worry about a concourse restoration. I plan on going with a 2-tone paint job with brighter-than-stock-yellow over white with the division occurring behind the factory trim strips in the middle of the "dent". I will probably use a spray-in type bedliner too as I intend it earn its keep as well as look good. I am going to retain the factory painted steel wheels with the tall, skinny tires that are already installed for that old-school 4WD look, with no additional lift. (the pic with the engine being hoisted gives a pretty good perspective shot of the tire size) This truck will probably see way more snow duty than mud anyway. I want to recover the front seat in plain black vinyl and get a new plain black rubber full floor mat. I want the truck to have that stripped-down, clean, and utilitarian look.
Pulled the bed off Friday. Aside from a little dirt and surface rust, it is totally solid.
With a combination of wire wheels, flap-discs and the sadblaster I cleaned everything up and started on the painting. I am using Rustoleum Chassis paint on the outside but will probably use POR-15 on some of the inside spots and on the bottoms of the frame rails.
Not a true "progress" picture...but my daughter and I took some time out from the real work to paint the rear section of the driveshaft the other day. She helped me lay out the masking tape. Should look pretty good to people in low cars around me in traffic.
Weather was kind of crummy in my neck of the woods today so I concentrated my work inside the garage. Hung all the new .030-over pistons on the crank. I have to do all the work on the actual truck in the driveway because it is too big to move around when it is in the garage. Hope to at least have it moving under its own power by the time it gets cold so I can pull it in and out by myself. Thanks for the support and stay tuned. I have a feeling I'm going to need quite a bit of advice in the coming weeks.
You're definitely off to a solid start. A lot of members have started off with a lot worse.
Work on it as time and funds allow and post updates. This will help keep you motivated and not lose interest.
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