So I've been slowly looking for a heavy duty 3/4 or one ton pick-up to do some stock car hauling and other occasional work. I don't have much of a budget to work with and have been looking at spending $2,000-2,500 or so for an older crew cab gas or diesel.
I found several Brand X trucks with 7.4's in decent shape for the right $$$. I really didn't seriously consider any FOMOCO's with the 7.5 because of my experience with 10 MPG fuel economy. I sold new Fords for six years… I knew what to expect. The brand x jobs usually do a little better than that… but this truck will never be a daily driver so I can live with whatever I get.
My son just bought a '95 D*dge Cummins 4X4 for $800.00! But he's not letting the old man in on his good deal… so I kept on looking.
So I'm a member of several forums and I made mention on one that I was looking for a truck… and I had a very tight budget. Bingo… a benevolent member of one forum stepped up to the plate and has offered me his '88 F350 dually free!!!
Not that's a price I can live with.
One minor problem… I'm in Wisconsin and the truck is in California. So I'm busy booking a flight, shipping out some tools (UPS) ahead of my arrival to prepare for the 2,200 mile ride back home.
The good news is this truck seems just right for the job. 7.5…C-6… not sure of the rear gear. It's a 60,000 mile dually that's been parked for a few years. The owner had horses so this deal pulled his trailers. No more nags so the truck hasn't been used for awhile.
It's had new fuel pumps installed and exhaust manifolds repaired before it was parked. The plan is to drain the fuel tanks, install a new fuel filter, check/replace belts, hoses and other maintenance items as needed then point it east.
Should all happen around the 15th of July. I haven't been out to LA in about 8 years. Might visit some relatives for a day or so and maybe take in the Peterson Museum. Then head home.
Nothing like a road trip across Route 66 in the summer.
Sounds interesting! Post pics! And get some pics of the journey home! Lucky dog getting a free F350. You may get lucky but most likely has 4.10s. Mine s a 460 with c6 and 3.55 gears. Look forward to the progress
I sold these things from early '91 until Dec '96. Many of our customers had campers or cattle trailers that they pulled. Some didn't want to pony up $3k for the diesel option so they bought the 460.
My yearly mileage probably won't hit 5K so the 460 will be OK. I have a 20' open race trailer with a two row tire rack and 48" tool box up front. My DD for the last three years has been a D*dge 1500 4X2 SWB that's dropped in the weeds… not exactly a good candidate for a hauler.
My last DD F-series was a '94 150 supercab 4X4 that I sold about four years ago. Just sold off my '56 F100, too. Now I have room for another…
I do have a little 3 speed Browning auxiliary box I could hang behind the C-6 if I wanted a winter project… that would keep the revs down…
One rule.....we need pics.......or it didn't happen
One of my favorite rides was a 2wd 1978 F250 w/460 and a C6 trans. It was a Camper Special model that I bought from a farmer, yes it was barn find, around 1986. I brought her home, gave it a tune up then took it to the exhaust shop for a full dual exhaust. Even back then they questioned "where is the catalytic converter?". The VECI label under the hood clearly stated "Non-Catalyst". I had factory mufflers installed to keep the beast quiet. After that I took it to a chassis dyno shop to see if they could tweak it up a bit. I sure wish I had kept the print out of the RWHP/TQ readings...Whatever it was I was able to frequently blow the doors off some Civics and other early ricers. The look on their face when this huge two tone brown truck with aluminum running boards quietly walked away from them was priceless.
After all of that was said and done I could routinely pull down 13-14 MPGs on the highway unloaded. Mind you the speed limit was 55 MPH back in those days.
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Randy A | Central Illinois
I am able to get 13-14 mpg on the highway with my F350 Centurion, but only 8 mpg in town. I have not been able to determine what gears mine has as the sticker on the door jamb is missing, and I am disabled, so crawling under to look at the tag is not an option.
Back in the 70's I was driving for a meat packing outfit out of Milwaukee. The dispatchers company vehicle was a newer F250 'camper special' equipped with a 150 gallon Peterbilt fuel tank in the bed.
The truck was used for his daily commute but got pressed into service on a regular basis to transport parts to trucks that had broken down on the road. I remember making a few trips out east hauling a transmission or engine parts to far flung places on the map… paid good and it was a pleasant change from the responsibilities of tight delivery schedules and dealing with customers.
The big fuel tank was on that truck for a reason… the 460 was thirsty.
Okay boys and girls… just got back from my record setting, amazing, visually stimulating and often copied but never duplicated west coast trip code named "Operation Desert Dog"… otherwise known as let's get this damn thing running and head for home"...
So I departed Milwaukee on July 15 (5:30 AM flight…)via Frontier Airlines headed for LAX… that's Los Angeles for those of you in Rio Linda. One stopover in Denver to change planes. Ok flight… three across seating would have made for a tight right but no one had booked the middle seats on either flight so my neighbor and I had plenty of elbow room.
I had been told to take mass transit to the end of the line and Jim, my benefactor and the guy giving me the truck, would pick me up. Due to my advanced age and inability to walk more than 100' without a break, I chose to grab a cab.
The outside temp was about 80F but the Prius-wielding Nigerian driver had the windows rolled up and the a/c was non-functional. But he gladly unlocked my window so I could lower the glass and get some breeze.
The $83.00 cab ride was worth it not only from a fat, old partially dilapidated guy's point of view but also from the perspective of a former race car driver. I never thought I'd ever see a Prius be able to change five lanes of traffic in about 300' while traveling 85 mph and still manage to slide between two Kenworth gasoline tanker trucks and still make the off ramp without anyone dying.
This guy needs to be on America's Got Talent or get a job with Joey's Chitwood's Hell Driver's…
So I get to Rosemead and meet Jim… a good guy. We jump in his cluttered but capable Grand marquis and head to meet my 'new' F350.
His friend Tony is working on the truck when we get there. Stuffed under a trellis loaded with vines, and not-so-convienently jammed between two lemon trees, the truck sits there dirty, dusty and very sad looking. Talking to Tony I find that the old Ford hasn't moved in ten years… not the three to five I had been told. No big deal. My mind conjures up thoughts of two inches of varnish in the fuel tanks and multiple fuel filter changes on the trip home.
I pitch in to help with whatever is needed but we are short a few parts so Jim and I make our way to the local pick-a-part yard. We each pay $2.00 admission and start to wander thru the yard. We find the three small parts we need… fuel cap, brake reservoir cap and a fuel pump relay. $18.00 total which I didn't think was much of a deal.
We head back to the scene of the crime…
After installing the fuel pump relay we find we still don't have any fuel. It's now 8:00PM so we call it a day.
Wednesday I beg out of another day at the junkyard to save my back some pain and discomfort. Tony and Jim return from Ontario with the right parts and install the relay. Jim comes to the motel to pick me up.
The truck now runs but has a major water leak from one frost plug located behind the right side motor mount. Tony is done working on this truck… he has a building project that needs his attention. And i don't have enough tools with me to do it so we take a ride over to a local shop to get it done on Thursday. the four mile trip is done on six nearly flat tires and with brakes that don't work very well and a transmission that isn't shifting with any precision.
I make it there without any injuries.
Thursday the shop owner get's busy… I told him to look at the brakes. No linings left on the front pads… rear shoes are oil soaked on the left and brake fluid soaked on the right. I tell him to fix 'em…
After the brakes are done, and the now TWO frost plugs are replaced the truck starts but soon dies… both fuel pumps are toast. It's now 5:30 and the day is done… back to Motel 6.
Friday AM Santos, the shop owner, tracks down a pump (with gas gauge) after two hours of looking. It's gets to the shop at 10 AM or so… the truck is running at 1 PM. We let it run for about 30 minutes. the water temp and oil pressure gauges are inop. But the engine does not overheat nor does it rattle… we figure all is well. I take off @ 2PM,make a quick pit stop at Walgreen's for some Aleve and ice, and i hit the road at 2:30PM.
Five exits down the 10 freeway and a CHP pulls me over for not wearing a seat belt.
He asks for my license, registration and insurance card. I tell him I have one out of three.
I explain… I can't get a CA temp tag because I live out of state. I can't get a WI tag because they need to verify the VIN# before issuing a tag.
I couldn't get a fax from my insurance agent because Santos fax doesn't work.
He writes me up for the seatbelt deal and no registration and tell's me to tell my story to the judge… adios and he leaves.
I lower the tail gate so it's harder to see the expired tags (2003) and put 'er in the wind.
500 miles later I'm in a small town in Utah and take a two hour nap in the back seat. The morning sun wakes me up and I set out to find a tire shop that can balance the front wheels.
I find that shop, get the work done in a half hour, fill the front tank and buy a new right side tailgate cable.
I hit the gas…. My route takes me north on I-15, over Parley's Summit, across I-80 to Rawlins, WY, up US 287 and WY 220 to Casper. Then I grab I-25 south to US 20 thru Lusk, WY and into NE.
I lay my head down again in western Nebraska about 4 AM Sunday morning. I'm tired…
Two hours later "Old Sol" (the sun) gets me outta bed and I head across NE, up thru a short section of The Badlands then thru Kadoka to catch I-90 east.
I hit the interstate at 9 AM and put the hammer down… that's if 62 mph is 'hammer down' (wheel balance didn't work!).
54 hours and 2185 miles after leaving Rosemead, CA I pull into my driveway tired and happy to be home. I felt happy to make that run by myself like I did for 40 years, on and off, when I was a trucker. Came all the way home without looking at a map… or a God forsaken GPS.
While I didn't take a lot of truck pix, here's a few shots of the scenery of the American west… what an absolutely amazing country we live in.
The old joke is found on road dead means ford right? but take a 20 or so year old truck and wake it up through hard work and a vision. resurrection is something that any old truck can do so long as the owner puts some of themselves into it. long gone will be the days when metal framed trucks exist due to cutting corners for the almighty dollar. enjoy the challenge now, one day plastic and aluminum will replace the truck or car that has a soul. more is the pity.
Several years ago I bought a barn find '55 F-100 with a 351-C that had been inop for twelve years… eight years in the AZ desert and four years in the barn. I worked on it for a week trying to get ready for a hot rod show in MN but couldn't get a fuel pump to keep working… after FOUR pumps I found the gas tank was home to a couple pounds of sand. Fixed it by installing a 6.6 gallon marine gas tank in the front seat.
Hit the road one hour afterwards and made the whole trip without any fuel problems (it DID burn out a condenser… but the story of trying to explain to a guy at Autozone what an ignition condenser is will have to wait).
When resurrecting these hulks and driving them I figure if they die on the road the worst that can happen is being forced to call a tow truck… my daily driver may die any minute as well.
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